By by IBM Verse Basic

I don’t think anybody is interested in this information but I give it to you anyway.

IBM Verse Basic Users,

Thank you for your use and feedback of IBM Verse Basic. Now that IBM Verse has been in market for a year and we’ve matured the product, IBM will be withdrawing Verse Basic from service on June 15 2016, after which you won’t be able to log in. To continue to enjoy the benefits of IBM Verse, we encourage you to visit to purchase a subscription to IBM Verse or IBM Connections Cloud S1.

If you have any additional questions please refer to our support forum.

Thank you,
The IBM Verse Team

That was it then. So much for „Taking on Google“ or any other quote about something IBM has never done before. Same old, same old.

Is that the „first 100 days“ Vowe talked about last week? Wow, what a bold move.

I just shut down the last IBM box I had. Probably the last Lotus Foundation box in active service. Now I don’t have any IBM product in use anymore. Kinda sad, but live moves on.

ConnectEd in Zürich – Old Boys meeting

I am not going to bore you with a lot of technical news about IBM Verse and stuff, but first, I want to thank the IBM partners and distributors, who actually run the show. IBM provides rooms and some speakers, the partners do all the rest, as I was told. Great job, really.
This time, there were more C-Level tracks half as long as a technical session. I suppose that was to allow for the lower attention span of the C-Levels, therefore I will do the same thing here and give those with a lot of meetings waiting for, a management summary:

ConnectED Zürich: 5 march 2015
IBM Verse: Very good. Strongly suggest to consider replacement of Microsoft Stack.
IBM Watson Analytics: Great technology. Not available from any other vendor.
IBM Notes: Will be supported for the forseeable future. Consider to move to Verse anyway.
IBM Connections: By all accounts and opinions even from some Microsoft Partners, still the better product. Consider to move as soon as possible.

Having now reduced the number of readers by half we can go to a more in-depth look.
IBM Switzerland must have reduced its workforce significantly again, because half of the building is now used by other companies. That isn’t really good news. And the roof leaks. Really. I got hit by drops twice during cocktail hour.
I and others had the feeling, we were at an old boys/girls event.

There are one or two things I found rather interesting.
Scott Souder stressed the point, that Verse isn’t just about mail (we have heard that before … for about 25 years) and IBM is looking into making classic Notes apps available in the browser without a plugin. As we were told, this is a sky-high priority, since most browsers could not care less about plugins and IE is as crappy as ever (I did not see a single hand, when Scott asked who used it). He also said, that we all have to realise, that especially Notes is 25 year old. There are things in there that make it hard, to make it a modern client. The browser is just the better and easier tool for the future. But Notes 9.0.2 is coming and a 64bit version for OSX, too (Scott said we shouldn’t tweet certain things he said, that would get him fired: Sorry, Scott, I forgot which, I didn’t tweet it and you say that every time).
Domino, XPages and Bluemix are really something to be considered. It really can ease some pain. IBM thinks, it is a tool to get new developers on the platform. We have heard that before, too. I rather think it is also a great tool to migrate slowly of Domino. I just wonder about the OpenNTF tools and Bluemix.
The thing that let my jaw drop to the floor was this: Jeff Schick apparently said, that IBM wants to have 500’000’000 users in the Verse cloud … half a billion … 5 times 10 to the power of 8. Err…. Dear Jeff, do you realize that the world has roughly 7.3 billion human beings? Only about 40% use the internet: 2.92 billion. Half a billion would be about 12% market share. Notes has less than half a percent. You would have to convince a few big ones to move to Verse. I see a few hurdles to this idea.

(Disclaimer: Below is what I have seen until now. It is subject to change by IBM and I have not seen the pricing. So I might be completely and utterly wrong.)

First: Not everybody has the 500-emails-per-day-problem. Many live happily and stress free with their current installation. Even if it is an Exchange server.

Second: Do you really think companies would trust a computer to filter their mail? Companies (and there are many) whose administrators day after day go through the quarantined spam and look for mails that might be important?

Third: We don’t need another email address. The domain of the free Verse is From a marketing point of view, that is a nightmare. It sounds like a beta domain (apart from that the name „Verse“ itself is a marketing nightmare, for example in French „je verse“ is pouring something and in German it sounds just awful).

Forth: It is really sad. Again IBM does not understand small companies. Nobody will move from their free or almost free (change countries and providers as appropriate) address to a free address, if there isn’t a huge advantage. 500 MB file space isn’t enough. I think IBM should match Google Drive.
For small and micro companies there isn’t that big advantage that makes them change. None whatsoever.
Every single time IBM tries to get small companies in the boat, they mess up … every f+%&/* time (my blood pressure … breathe slowly). I can’t see any reason, why this time it should be different.

Fifth: IBM claims every time they announce some new feature for Worse – ups sorry, just the sound of it, I mean Verse – competitors come up with something similar. The only difference is: The competitors deliver. They are here right now.

And last: Nobody understands Watson. You can’t show it really. How do you want to sell that? There will always come up the argument, that users can do that with rules. I use that single button on my apple mail quite often and that works nicely for me. And just for the record. Most don’t understand „People centric“ neither.

Dear IBM, the Verse offering does not show a USP that makes Tom, Harry and Dick/Sally, Susan and Diana move. None. Nada. No „wana have“. I did not say it is bad, oh no, it is great, but as ever IBM marketing su….. isn’t good enough. You have to come up with an offer that is so good, that about 2 billion users might consider a change (By the way, how about a run-your-business offering for business partners? I am looking into moving my this blog and mail to something else. But I want to keep my domain).

I have seen the Verse ad for the second time. The first time was in a blog post. It isn’t „everywhere“ as was claimed. At least not here. But Here and again, IBM fails again to „SHOW THE PRODUCT“ as what it is. If you don’t know, it is about email, you just wonder what it is all about and the ad was clearly targeted towards big companies.
IBM isn’t on the radar of small companies. Just isn’t. Not here, not there. Nowhere. It would be IBM’s duty to go to the small companies to change that. But this is hard work and by far not as interesting as the Global 500. Which have their act together and don’t need IBM to explain it to them.
Since I am generally a nice person (some say), I give you an idea, what I think the offering should look like and makes it different from others.
A difference would make: „Pay once, use forever“.
For example. I just need freebie Verse but I want my own domain. I give you 20 bucks and that’s it. Don’t need no support. I can point my MX record to your server myself.
Need another user with the same domain? 20 bucks.
Need guest access to files? 20 bucks.
Migration of old mail and calendar entries? 100 bucks (20 from Notes).
Just add features that are not important for everyone and I pay you if I need it … once, because there is just one change once.
Give me a choice.
If I want something that asks for more space or computing power? I would pay for it every year. That is fair. But just because I want my own domain, I don’t see, why I should rent that right from you.
I want an offering where I have the choice and the difference between free and full service isn’t a 1000 bucks. Sometimes I just want a salad and not the whole menu.
And now the last bit. I don’t want to be the product. Not even if I use the free Verse. Therefore NOBODY touches my stuff, I don’t know personally. Make that clear to everyone. And even more important. I want my stuff here in my own country.
IBM I make you an offer. If you get the offering right, I will personally stand on 10 Saturdays in 10 different shopping centers and on 10 Thursdays at SMB exhibitions around Switzerland. You just have to provide the marketing material and your name. I give you my time. The exact terms would depend what we agree on, but you don’t have to pay me for those 20 days or more than 100 hours of hard work. Deal? That should once and for all show, if Verse is the product for SMB.
By the way! Where is the business partners place in all that?
So far so good. Scott Souder, HP and Louis Richardson were fun to see as ever.
Other memorable sessions – because I went there – were those of the University of Zürich and the one of Klaus Bild about SDI (formally known as TDI).
The switch of the University of Zürich to Notes is one of the big success stories of the last years. Nobody knows about it, which is another IBM marketing failure.
They have rather interesting problems. 158 institutes that can do what they want. Central IT Services can’t even do something, if one of the institutes decides they want their own stuff. The institutes are completely free, as it should be at a research university. And they have from Amigas to the latest Apple gadget everything and it has to work (well somehow limited in case of an Amiga). And only Notes/Domino can do this. Now did we ever doubt that?
During the speech Dr. Roberto Mazzoni wasn’t all nice and cheery with IBM. Scott was sitting in the audience but probably didn’t get everything, since it was in German. I suppose he heard it before. Today the University of Zürich runs a huge Domino/Notes infrastructure for about 40’000 users. All that with just 2 Admins. Amazing isn’t it? And that isn’t all. The Uni-ZH has added Connections, too (needs a bit more manpower to keep it alive though).
Two words of warning came from Sandra Bühler of Belsoft, the company that helped the University: If you use Traveller on a Microsoft Server, be aware that Microsoft might come after you and wants you to buy CAL’s for your users. There is probably something in the fine print that says you must. Therefore: Linux. It’s anyway the better solution.
IBM always says to engage HR in the deployment of Connections. Don’t! They don’t have the time and „resources“ to do it.
My last breakout session was about SDI. Google it and you find „SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure“ or „Software Defined Infrastructure“. We were getting a closer look at „Security Directory Integrator“ or better known as „Tivoly Directory Integrator“. When is IBM ever going to stop the product renaming circus? It does not make sense at all.
Anyway, it is still a great tool, but IBM should invest a few bucks to get some limitations fixed. It is very annoying that one has to write the whole XML code on a single line. That line can easily be a long as a cargo train. Is carriage-return-new-line such a big problem?

That was about it. I am really a bit annoyed, that I never got the chance to test Verse in its early stages. I have registered several times and never got a reply.
Whenever it comes out, I want to test it thoroughly. Is anybody out there game to do a group test? Sending emails to myself is a bit boring, but if anybody wants to find out what is all the fuss about, we could do it together. Some real life testing.

We will see what happens next.


Notes and Domino as Open Source – Is this really a good idea?

Once in a while the call for open sourcing of Notes and Domino comes up. Actually I personally would like that. But would it really boost the use of Notes and Domino? That is the point were I have doubts.
Let’s just forget for a moment some issues that will prevent this, because apparently there is some third-party code in there, IBM can not just give away. That’s a legal problem.
Let’s focus on the other problems, which are huge enough.

While I have no doubt, that there is a great many code that is wonderful, we had some snags in the not so recent past, that annoyed some of the best yellow bleeders so much, that they recoded a whole bunch of things, just to have something that works as it should (I just say Java).
When we would dive in the source, we would probably find quite a few more things, that should be rectified and that does not pay the rent.
While Notes is based on a Non-SQL-Document-Database, which are very en vogue today, the performance of the NSF is not at par with MongoDB or CouchBase (or CouchDB for the matter). Replacing NSF with CouchDB would give a huge performance boost, but that would demand quite a bit of new code. Some logic could certainly be reused, but still, somebody would have to write a few thousand lines in Erlang.
A few other thing were to address, the lousy performance on the Mac, search isn’t that good either in comparison. I think some of us would gladly kill the Eclipse RPC.
Domino becomes more and more expensive to maintain, too. A whole bunch of new code would be required to make administration easy and save. Web Admin comes to mind, too. There isn’t a way around a web admin.
And let’s not forget the slight security problem we have with it. Not addressing this, would be certain death of the whole thing.
We would have to do without Watson, that wouldn’t be a show stopper, but probably we would have to live without Traveller. That would be a show stopper. Developing a Traveler replacement would be quite a task.
Repeat after me: „Migration must be painless“ and let’s not forget updating it should not be rip and replace.
And to round things up; to be a success, it can’t be „the same old“. Feature- and performance wise it would have to be something out of this world.

The one most important thing I hate about Open Office (and Libre Office); it’s ugly. I hate to look at it. It might be technically good, but I still hate it. Notes hasn’t very compelling looks either, but still better. But to be a success, that Open Source Version 1.0 would have to be the best looking email client ever. As an example we have only to look at Android. Only because Google and others have invested in good Design, it became a success. For us geeks, Linux was always the better server choice. But as a desktop, it never really succeed. I think it is because of the desktop design. It just isn’t up to specs. Or better, it never was overwhelmingly better as Windows. Only then it would have seen as a replacement. People hate change.
But who is going to do the design? A real good designer with a vision would be required. John Ive isn’t available and I do not believe in hundreds of designers fiddling around with some design language. For a single product it has to be one person that makes all the design decisions.

While the Apache Foundation does one hell of a job, most of the really important tools are not made for the run of the mill end-user. I doubt, that Apache would be the best way to organise the work. Notes would deserve a dedicated organisation and it probably would need one that works full-time. Therefore it has to make money. Who pays?
Probably Linux could work as a model. Having a few experts who decide where to go, is probably better, than having a democratic vote. These half gods would also be responsible for preventing any attempt of forking.
The Linux model also has the advantage, that it lets companies make money with it.
For our purpose, the initial financing could be done by the highly committed customers. Getting them in the boat and building a project and team based on Kelly Johnson’s 14 principles, is the way to success and fast.
Probably we should only focus on the server anyway. Clients could be the thing to make money. Except for basic client that serves as example and first building block, if a rich client is really needed.
Mobile is without question one of the corner stones that must be included.

Who is going to sell that thing to companies who are absolutely against open source software for their strategic tools? Or the ones that are fed up with Notes anyway? Or those who have only heard terrible things about Notes? Only keeping the few companies that are willing to dedicate time and resources to an open source project, isn’t a viable solution for all the partners and the product. And there is the fear about migration. That should be painless. I mean really. Not just a sales pitch.
Small companies might want to go for a free version, but please in the cloud.
There are tons of ideas, how to build a business model around this and one would certainly be a good one. But is a group of volunteers capable of doing this or will there be an eternal fight between those who want to feed their kids and those who rather starve than going against the higher ideals of open source?

I believe, that IBM rather lets Notes/Domino die, than give it away. But if IBM does it and it becomes a real success and IBM would have to explain that to the greedy share holders.

Having said all that, I believe the better solution would be starting from scratch altogether.
Getting the code and finding out, that more than half of it would have to be rewritten anyway, would be a bad surprise. Starting with a clean sheet gives the opportunity to get the best ideas from the best people and make it happen much faster.
From the start the group could build something that really can change the game. For example a server, that does not care which client it serves. A server that does more than just mail, also chat, SMS and documents. A server that uses Apache as a web server (but carefull: the more third-party code, the more dependencies).
A structure that lets one store anything project AND contact based.
Thinking about it, it should be something like Connections for the poor, only with more features and fewer servers.
Still, it would be a lot of work. But fun. I would help. But frankly, the yellow bleeders are not the open source geeks who flip burgers during the day and do miracles during the night. Somebody would still have to come up with a sustainable organisation that keeps the project going and contributors happy. Even if that means the final product will not be free to use for all.
But since we know by now all the remaining Notes customers, all of them could tell us what they want from the new thing not called Notes at all. That’s a plus.
Oh, and migration should be painless. I did mention it, did I?

It’s time to say goodby … or is it?

25 years of Notes & Domino and the signs of the end of an era are getting stronger. Hardcore yellow bleeders are moving to other pastures. Some think it is the last ConnectED. That’s sad. Especially since IBM had tons of chances to turn it around. Instead of using those 138 billion (138’000’000’000 or 9.86b/yr) USD since 2000 for making a few people richer (and a lot of employees/retirees poorer), IBM could have used that, to get its act together. Did not happen. Somehow giving away money was more important, than making money.
Just to give a perspective, how much money IBM did not use for product developement:
The LHC, the biggest machine in the world, did cost 9 billion and found evidence for the Higgs and a quite a few other things important to all of us (particle physics is important, very). Still the CERN fights a constant battle against people who think this is a waste of money. It isn’t. CERN is justified just by the existence of WWW alone.
National Cancer Institute budget 2013: 4.8 billion.
Fermilab 2013 0.360 billion, down 9%.
UNHCR 2012 4.3 billion USD
UNICEF 2012-2103 0.96 billion USD

It is amazing, IBM made itself into the poster child why shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world (Jack Welch). That must count for something.
In short, 2014 was for IBM rather a disaster. Hardware sales are down 40%. There isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel to be seen.

IBM had CouchDB once. Would have been a nice replacement DB for Notes and Connections.
Instead of making programming in Notes ever more difficult and complicated, IBM could have invested money in making it easier.
Looking into a new design language in 2014. That should have been done years ago.
Did not happen. Anyway it’s a waste of time to look back.

Verse is bound to be the next cool thing. Well, we will see. At least for those who like to have their stuff around them and not in some foggy thing, it will be at least another year if not two, to wait until Verse will be available on premises, if ever.
I am willing to give it a try, but I am still waiting for the beta access, I registered for in November. Therefore I can’t say anything about it.
My last attempt to follow a webcast was unsuccessful. I waited hours for it to start and then suddenly it was over. Must have blinked. The replay link a few days later was dead.
Looks like Verse does not want to have anything to do with me. Probably I should take the hint.


Notes X

Will IBM announce Notes 10 next week? I don’t know, but I think it would be about time.
Since Ed’s departure to mobile, I feel a bit cut off. Nobody within IBM is really satisfying my need for news. The only thing I heard, is a new project about connecting MS Outlook, which is a good thing, that will save a ton of money for companies who suddenly find themself in the hands of some Outlook fan boys/girls. But that’s about it.
Now what? Whenever the number „X“ comes into play, we expect something eyewatering (or naughty). OSX was something almost completely new, the Citation „X“ is the flagship of Cessna (and Cessna employees will look extremely annoyed if you say „X“, it’s „ten“, got that?).
What could be the big step forward, to make Notes even in the eye of the general public THE thing to have?
First, an absolute must for the normal user is the ability to have several mail accounts, preferably in one view. Shouldn’t be that big of a deal. And for the security freaks we throw in policies controlling that stuff for good measure.
Second, making little applications should become easier again. Otherwise it will be Excel as the number one management tool for the forseeable future. I am still convinced (I am probably a slow learner), that Notes is the best management tool, as long as they let me do my apps. Third party solutions always have tons of features, that are not relevant to the problem. On the other hand, only 80 percent of the problem is solved, leaving me with the remaining 20 percent, which generate normally 80 percent of the effort.
Third, putting files in a Notes document as attachment, should be a thing of the past. That is probably the hardest part, but as long as files can be stored as XML, they could be imported and „kinda“ rendered as Notes documents. Now wouldn’t that be nice? Since there is an ODF standard, that might even be possible without reinventing everything. I doubt that anybody could implement Microsoft’s „standard“ without getting suicidal, but who knows.
It is great, that you still can use a Notes 2 application in Notes 9 and IBM does a hell of a job here, to make it happen, but one day, it’s just time to put an end to it and move on. I think it’s about time. Lotus Expeditor is way behind eclipse and I fear that it’s a dead end. It was a good idea, but Expeditor could not keep up with the rest and Eclipse itself has more and more problems to keep afloat. IBM has to cut the link between Eclipse and Notes sooner or later. IBM gave the open source community the IDE of choice for many years, but nobody can expect IBM to finance it endlessly. The idea of open source is, to develop its own momentum. If it doesn’t, it slows down and will eventually stop. That’s just the way it is. On the other hand, IBM can not expect, that Eclipse is developed in a way, that supports Expeditor.
But another question pops up. Is there still the need for a Notes client? Why not go web entirely? As long as I can not have wireless connections everywhere (even in that stupid tunnel after Bern), I probably want a client that works offline. But that problem has been solved before. HTML 5 is pretty strong. Now why not just ditch that old-fashioned client and concentrate on web? The problem could be, that we suddenly would have to deal with WebSphere. Although one heck of a good product, but probably not the first choice for an SMB. Buuuuuut, Quickr has gone that direction, Sametime too, why not Notes? Worse could happen. As long as there is some kind of migration path, it would not be the end of the world. Frankly, I would rather have a Connections Mail server based on Domino and easy to develop XPages applications, which work with a Connections installation, than continuing the beaten path which eventually is leads into oblivion, because as of today (that’s now, next week probably have changed my mind) Notes is sold as email with a twist. But that twist is not going to change a lot of minds anymore. Apparently IBM had success getting old customers back onto Notes, for whatever reason. Often only because the promised easy migration to SharePoint failed (and here we have to fight hard, not to look smug. That would be very unprofessional). That proves, that IBM is not abandoning Notes, but I am pretty sure, that some IBMer are also fed up with the old Notes and would rather start something new and leaving some ballast behind. After 25 years of backwards compatibility, that would be ok with me. And if it is still called Notes, I can pretend, that’s my old friend, but that only works if I (and that’s just me) get more of the daily general management stuff and not just some new email feature. Otherwise I can live quite happily with Apple Mail. That thing does what I need. It has its quirks, but so does Notes.
Oh and yes, there is all that cloud stuff. I am really thinking about moving to SmartCloud, but the on premises solutions will always have their market. More today than ever, because nobody likes the feeling, that some guys in trench coats and dark glasses are looking over your shoulder. It’s a matter of principle. Some will say, what the heck, the price to keep my own installation is too high and what does the NSA want with my CRM data anyway, others will pay for having better control over their stuff (or just the feeling). That’s ok. And there are those who had Notes for decades and use it to the max. They need something that replaces it without too much cost. And here comes the question that nobody today is ready or willing to answer. Can we live just with XPages? Can LS and Formula Language be abandoned? They are already on the move to the sideline and one day, there will be a Domino server without it. I personally am looking forward to it.
But since IBM and I never agree, next week will bring a lot of surprises. Either good or bad. Let’s see.

I need feedback! Do you know how to explain social business?

I don’t. Whenever I am asked, what Connections is made for, I get in to trouble. I know what it does and I know pretty much how I can use it, but explaining that, is rather difficult. Lot’s of „imagine“, „well“, „ah“ will be included the next 15 minutes of a roller coaster ride around the different elements of Connections, with a bit of Notes thrown in … you can see I make a complete mess of it. While the mess get’s bigger I am still talking, desperately trying to get less messy, with the obvious result. I just have bored the listener to death. Interestingly it looks that others have the same problem. Nobody I have met was able to explain it to me in a simple way.
Whenever I explain something with success, I paint a mental picture.
Having recently read the book of Kelly Johnson, somebody you all know, I am sure, I think I can now explain, what social business software does to people.

Apart from being one of the best aircraft designer of all time, Kelly Johnson was also a genius in organisation and project management (he wouldn’t have made a mess of the Obamacare website). Fortunately he had an employer, Lockheed, who saw this and let him have his way.
Now that picture:
Lockheed Skunk Works was known for its ability to get extremely complex airplanes in the air within time and budget. Many times even below budget and well before deadline. Something many project managers are struggling with. How did they do it? First, they were all in one building. Every engineer was working as close as possible to the project he was assigned to. Which means, that they had their plotting boards literally below the wing of the airplane they were working on. Everybody was working so close together, that a formal hierarchy was something on paper, but not lived. The informal hierarchy was much more important. Decisions were often taken right on the spot, not in endless meetings, and with input from everybody. Kelly Johnson himself wanted almost absolute control about the project and would only report to the top management.
Kelly Johnson also treated his employees in that way. If you worked for him, you got the absolute control about your part of the project, but if you disappointed him, somebody else would take your job. But not in a sense of hire and fire, and that is in response to what I have discussed with Grant Osborne on Palmi Lord’s blog. Kelly was well aware, that Lockheed owned its employees some sort of job security. Just as a side note.
In aviation paperwork is important. Everything has to be documented. The 747 probably can’t carry its own documentation. Kelly Johnson wanted only the absolute minimum and no redundancy, but thoroughly. He never accepted a standard report longer than 20 pages. Everything that already had been reported or somehow written down, was referenced, but not copied.
Kelly Johnson cut down the time for the whole project by encouraging collaboration and communication, eliminating endless meetings and useless reporting and paperwork being sent around.
Now isn’t that exactly what social software does? By pulling down formal hierarchy and encouraging people to bring in their own ideas? Cutting down lost time in endless meetings by using ad hoc web meetings and discussion portals? Replacing endless one-to-many reporting done by eMail by a self-serving documentation in one place that is always up to date? Finding expertise everywhere, even on the shop floor? Getting people engaged in project, which also means, that they feel more responsibility.
All that in a fashion that makes access easy and less time-consuming.
Social Business Software encourages many of Kelly’s 14 management rules, which still are true today, although a bit modified if you don’t work with the Government or in aviation.
What do you think, is that a picture that works?

Oh my … are you big!

Yesterday I went to a Swisscom shop, just to touch and feel the Lumina 920 and the iPhone 5 and I ended up getting Swisscom TV, but this is besides the point.

My verdict after just taking it in the hand? The Lumina is to big for my hands. It just does not fit. I don’t want to press a huge thing like that on the ear. I believe I would end up with a blue tooth head set. My wife thought the same. I don’t think, that the Lumina will be the big hit with women.
Vowe said it is very robust. Can’t comment on that, I don’t think Swisscom would like it, if I dropped it several times in the shop, but it does not feel robust. It feels plastic.
I can’t comment on the functions and stuff, because my in depth test was interupted by a very nice sales woman, that just wanted to ask me a question … good approach. Now we have the free Swisscom TV service and got a hundred francs off the price for the two wireless routers we need for the connection. Our TV is worth less. Now we can finally throw out the satellite dish.
As for the iPhone 5 … couldn’t test it, it’s sold out. But I had the iPad mini in my hands. While it is also very big for just one hand, I would not use it like a phone. Pretty good toy, if you ask me. I think I want have … or the iPad forth gen … or the mini? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

But since we are on it. Vowe and others are always talking about the cameras. I think my iPhone 4 camera is crap. I couln’t even take a sharp picture of my little daughter during the last ice skating test. The one in the iPad 2 isn’t very good either. Some My-First-Camera for kids are better.
I am pretty sure, that they allready thought about it, but Nikon should really do it. The CoolPix Phone. That’s something I would rather buy. At least in that case, I would have a decent camera with a mediocre phone and not a mediocre phone with a joke for a camera. I still like the iPhone for it’s other features, though.

Does anybody know if the NDA for the beta members for IBM Notes 9 is lifted? I really would like to talk about it.

Red Pill Development … what a name …

You certainly think I am going to rip apart that name now, but on the contrary. I think it is pretty good. Here is why:

My first thought was: „Oh my goodness“ and then my marketing brain kicked in. „You idiot“, it said, „have you forgotten everything you learned“. Because I immediately start to think about it, it is a good name. Might it be good or bad at first sight, it sticks. It is really one of the best choices I have seen in a long time.
Choosing a name for your company is never easy. Informica for example, together with the ant works well with Italians. They get it on first sight. German speaking people … oh bugger. I had quite a few variations until now. But the ant works. We get at least high marks for that.
Notes911 wasn’t a bad name, too, but that works only in North America. Here we think about a Porsche 911 and in North America 911 makes you think about an emergency. Do we want that, if we want to sell high quality IT infrastructure? Probably not. But it sounded good and it also stuck on first sight, therefore it worked.
What I don’t like and think seldom works, are fantasy names, which don’t trigger a picture or history in the brains of most of us. There are examples out there, that are in everybody’s mind, but that would be despite the name, but most of them I just can’t remember even after ten times reading them.

Too many „blablabla it service“ or any variation of it out there.

What I don’t believe in either, are three letter abbreviations. They are often confusing.
Imagine an IBM sales visits a farmer and for him IBM means „Ideal Breeding Material“.
Yes, IBM is a bad example, because everybody knows it, but where I live around the corner is an electrical company called IBM. That has already led to confusions. Everybody thought I was ranting about IBM, but I was ranting about IBM.
Three letter abreviations or acronyms are just out. Forget it. They have all been used at least 10 times.
If possible, I don’t even use them in normal speech, because I am so often confused between IT, accounting, controlling and aviation. The later is very good at acronyms and if you ever talk to a bunch of aviation professionals, you might end up with a laughing audience. While you are talking about Virtual Machine Configuration (VMC), they’d rather be flying in VMC (Visual meteorologic conditions).
Red Pill Development – I wouldn’t use RDP, too many police departments with the same name – does not trigger any stupid or otherwise bad picture in my brain. Blue Pill would have, green, too, yellow not, pink … yes, would have. Even after thinking a lot about it, still no bad picture. And with the intention to modernise Notes applications worldwide, the  message works, too. But that’s just my view and since marketing is a very, very precise science (at least a tiny little bit more than astrology), try to prove me wrong.

What have Lotus Notes 8.5.4 and Super Cars in common?

Nothing. But you clicked on the link, I got plus one read.

But since are already here, you might just want to read on.
This week two things that I thought would never happen, did happen.
A few weeks ago, after watching Top Gear (BBC, not the US Version, which is not even half as funny), I mentioned to my wife, that it is fun to see expensive sports cars „tested“ by middle aged tv presenters with a British sense of humour and that will be the closest I will get to these cars. Well, I am seldom wrong (don’t ask anyone). Beginning of this week I got an email of a friend who works for (sorry, no cheap adverts here) and asked, if I would be interested in an invitation for a drivers training. Since I am always ready to improve my driving for free, I said yes. It turned out, two days before the event, they were still trying to find people to attend and here I was, ready to help others in a desperate situation. What I did not know, what kind of cars we would get for the training, and – second surprise – while I was at the event, I got an email for the new code drop of Notes 8.5.4. What makes this different to last the last code drops? This time I did get the code … with a bit of help from Peter Janzen. The last three times my cries for help were largely ignored.
Now back to that „drivers training“. When I arrived at the aerodrome of Buochs, I was rather impressed. In the neat row of cars, waiting to be abused by me, were things like Jaguar XKRS, Porsche Carrera S, Maserati Gran Tourismo and Gran Cabrio, Ferrari California, Lamborghini Spyder, Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera and the McLaren MP4. Calling this a drivers training is a cover up for giving some boys and girls the opportunity to fool around with those toys on a runway, racing around pylons with a whooping 130 km per hour and hoping that somebody might write a check on the spot (for our younger readers, checks are a form of payment used in the dark ages – except in the US, where the banks somehow missed the rise of the information technology).
After a refreshing short introduction by the head of the department that hosted the event, we got down to business. We were late to start because he got lost, due to his navigation system. If he had read the invitation, which came from his department, mind you, he would have realised, that finding the Buochs aerodrome is about as easy, as the exit in a Port-A-Loo. No need for a stinky sat-nav.
In short, the day consisted of driving fast cars. What amazed me, was how easy it is. These cars a full of electronics for self preservation. They will not let you do things they don’t like. The wheels never spin, you can’t drift, nothing … as long as you don’t turn those gadgets off, which we were not allowed anyway. That brings me to a difference between those cars and Notes 8.5.4. But IBM might slap me on the fingers, if I write about it, therefore I must let you in the dark.

Now you certainly would like to know, what was the best toy of the day? The PC 9’s and PC 12’s taking of and landing on the other runway, because Buochs is also the home of Pilatus Aircraft. If you want my opinion on the cars, I would not buy anyone. In the afternoon the whole thing started to become boring or I probably just ran out of adrenalin. Most of it I used sitting in the passengers seat until I got the chance to scare my co-driver. But if I must; the McLaren comes first and the Ferrari California comes last. The Superlegera is too hard but still great, the Lambo Spyder a lot of fun, the Porsche is fun, the Maseratis have bad seats and the Jag is … well, alright. But still, I’d rather be flying.

Notes is too good for them.

The following story came up in a resent discussion about migration projects from Notes to Outlook. Somebody in the of the C-level was extremely pleased to have Outlook, because now he can do tasks … oh, how we laughed. We found it extremely funny that somebody with a higher education and high up in management, has not realised in 12 years of using Notes that it can do tasks, even for other users (if I saw that right, something you can’t do with Outlook). A few days later I was in another group of people and everybody was bitching about the number of emails they receive. Funny stories were told and I came up with my story about the tasks. Nobody laughed. Then somebody asked: „What are tasks“? Nobody ever saw them. Not even in Outlook.
The reason? Lack of training.
I find it extremely frustrating that companies do not invest in training anymore. Rather buy a new toy, than learning the old one properly. The stupidity of the situation is amazing.
We know that the marketing war against Notes is based on FUD (which was an invention of IBM and Microsoft excelled in it). But there is another element. If companies would train their staff properly – and here I am especially thinking about the C-level – Notes would not be thrown out so easily.

Why do companies not invest in training? Because it costs and you can not calculate the payback period (and because SAP doesn’t have a button for it). That’s not really true, but it is difficult, because you can not see easily how people become more productive in using features they did not know before. You never get the costs of a migration to Exchange back either, but that is beside the point. They get a shiny new toy and that is more important. User knowledge isn’t nice to look at and it is lost, when people leave … unless you did it right before and used Teamrooms, discussion applications and other basic knowledge management. But that would require training. Boring stuff like about how to use tasks. Not fancy stuff about the latest sales technique.

One of the main reasons to migrate seems to be going mainstream. That is the perfect recipe for being a mediocre company. Not because of the tool, but the whole attitude.
Notes is too good for them.