Monday, February 18, 2008


I hear a lot about the "new generation" being able to multitask far easier than past generations, primarily because they grow up doing it. I always used to have the TV or music on when I was doing homework, and I still have music on during the day when I am at work, but it tended to fade into the background when I focused on what I *should* have been doing.

Today I was looking at some code that I need to enhance and I had a podcast on (after last week's vacation, I am a little behind). I found I could only really concentrate on one or the other because the podcast was one where I might actually learn something (it wasn't just for entertainment).

So my question is, can young people now really focus on two tasks like that (working/studying and an informative podcast or TV show)? Or is the multitasking they are talking about studying and IMing friends? I can do that, by the way.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What I Got From Lotusphere 2008

As usual, there was a lot to see and do this year. But, as Gregg Eldred and others have said, the Lotusphere experience goes beyond the sessions, Product Showcase and receptions. It really is about the community: sitting at lunch with the people who develop the products, meeting people you have interacted with online, sharing knowledge to resolve that nagging problem. Maybe it’s because I am in a small shop, but knowing other Notes/Domino administrators and developers who I can bounce ideas off is really helpful. There may be communities around other software products, but it seems the bond is stronger within the Lotus community because “community” is what Lotus Notes has always been about.

So what did I take away from Lotusphere this year?

  • Developers need to learn Java or make friends with Java developers. That isn’t to say that LotusScript is going away – it isn’t – nor will it become a second-class citizen as an application development language – it won’t. It just means that taking full advantage of the Notes 8 client and the capabilities it can provide will require Java knowledge.

  • Widgets (and – maybe – Live Text) will go a LONG way toward making the Notes client the one application people live in all day. The thing I have yet to get a clear picture of is how they will function in a restrictive environment (eg. behind the firewall).

  • Designer 8.5 will transform how we develop Notes applications. Yes, there are some paradigm shifts and there may be some syntax issues (do we help Notes developers learn Eclipse terminology or change Eclipse to Notes/Domino terms?), but the tools and flexibility in the new Designer will be phenomenal. I should have spent more time looking at XPages but I think those will evolve into a powerful tool for client applications.

  • It will be interesting to see how Lotus Mashups and Bluehouse evolve over the next year. They looked pretty cool “on paper”.

  • SpeedGeeking is a must-see. It grew this year vs. last year and I expect it to grow more next year. It is a chance to hear knowledgeable presenters up close and personal as they shred their vocal cords. More importantly, you get a lot of tips on a variety of topics in a short period of time. It is well worth attending.

The last two years have seen IBM Lotus playing offense in a confident manner. There is a lot of positive energy around Notes/Domino 8 and the roadmap is clearer than it has ever been. To be sure, there are things that could be improved: make it easier to do advanced UI tricks (like using layers), control client and application appearance by merely editing CSS files, Symphony programming and integration (some improvements are coming). But overall, the future looks bright.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Why Is This?

It takes months to get into shape but only a couple of weeks to get out of it. I did my usual BodyPump class on Monday after missing two weeks (one at Lotusphere, one with the flu) and my legs have hurt all day today. I'm going again tomorrow because I know that although they will hurt, they will actually hurt less after I work them out again. It's really annoying though that it only takes two weeks to undo a lot of prior work.

Lotusphere Tips

This is probably better written BEFORE Lotusphere, but I am going to put it down while these things are fresh in my mind.

  • Register early and stay at the Swan or Dolphin. It is SO much easier to be able to get to your room quickly and easily, especially if you hang out with people later in the evening on the Boardwalk. If you can't or don't want to stay there, plan to pay for cab rides: the Disney transportation system is good but it will take 30-45 minutes to get from the Boardwalk or Swan/Dolphin back to one of the other resorts.

  • Plan your travel to arrive by Saturday night and leave Thursday night or Friday. That way you can attend the full day of JumpStarts and take in Gurupalooza, Meet the Developers and the Closing General Session. Look at the Closing Session like dessert: it doesn't add to your technical knowledge, but is a reward for all the energy you've expended earlier in the week. My first year, I missed the Thursday afternoon sessions because they weren't mentioned anywhere that I saw. Now you know.

  • Try to get in early enough on Saturday to get registered at the conference. Then you have time to review all the materials you get and make sure your agenda is set. Of course, using the Sessions database that Ben Langhinrichs puts together helps with that, but getting registered Saturday lets you transfer all that information to your pocket agenda.

  • Find shortcuts among the Swan, Dolphin and Yacht & Beach. This will come with experience and exploration. Go outside to get between them (go through the pool/beach area or out the end of the Dolphin past the dining hall), go out the main Swan doors and along the sidewalk to get over to the conference areas, and find alternate entrances (I can't give away ALL my secrets :D ).

These are just a few ideas in addition to the other tips you can find. Hope you can use them.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

What a Game!

I will admit that I thought the Patriots would blow past the Giants, but that it might take until the second half to do it. Even after the first quarter, I told my wife if the rest of the game went the same way, the Giants would win time of possession 40 minutes to 20 minutes but still lose 28-12. Boy, was I wrong!

It was a pretty entertaining game all throughout and Eli proved he could handle as much pressure as Brady and still perform. I didn't really care much who won, but I'm not unhappy to see the Pats go 18-1.

Oh, and I think my favorite commercials were the Tide-to-Go (talking stain) and the Bud Light fire breathing, with the Thriller-dancing lizards a close third.