Ben Langhinrichs

January, 2004
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Sat 31 Jan 2004, 03:51 PM
Ed mentioned this site which lets you track all of the countries I have visited.  I wish that I had visited all these countries, but all I can say is that I have sold software to customers in each.  I'd put the image here, but it would mess up my rather narrow blog.

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

Sat 31 Jan 2004, 02:44 PM
See IBM is too worried about Portal.  I like the way Andrew says this, and agree that IBM needs to let things happen a bit rather than pushing the customers.  This is especially true right now when IBM could gain a lot of market share by NOT being as pushy as Microsoft.

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

Thu 29 Jan 2004, 09:22 AM
On Ed Brill's personal weblog, there is a short post on SearchDomino's article on Comforting the Domino base, but the post is followed by a bunch of comments.  The tone of these is fairly negative, in my opinion, and seem somewhat non-reflective of what I have heard generally here at Lotusphere, at least this year.

Last year, a lot of the "Domino base" people came away from Lotusphere pretty worried.  While we have heard that "Notes is dead" a bunch of times before, it wasn't usually IBM saying it, and no matter what revisionist history IBM is now promoting, IBM was saying it quite clearly.  This changed over the course of the year, particularly in the past six months.  I feel like I was lucky and got a bit of a head start on the message when at the London developer conference a few months ago, and through following blogs and talking to a lot of "connected" people.  Nonetheless, I came to Lotusphere with a bit of trepidation, which was not allayed much by either the Business Development day opening session or the General Opening session - at least not at first.

Look folks, IBM used smoke and mirrors for some of the demos.  Try to act shocked.  They acted like some things were amazing that weren't.  So what demos don't do that.  The really important message, the critical message for most of the scared, which I almost missed through focusing on the picking apart of the details, was what most of the customers seem to take away from the sessions.  This can be expressed in two sentences:

1) Notes/Domino is NOT GOING AWAY!

2) IBM is ready to fight Microsoft to take over the messaging market

With these two ideas in mind, the smoke and mirrors take on a different spin.  Rather than feeling clever because I figured out  that the Notes in the rich client demo used an OLE trick which wouldn't work on Linux, I feel like a schmuck because I didn't catch the message.  IBM is willing to go to almost any lengths to show its commitment to Notes.  Why is that a bad thing again?

So how have the customers responded?  By going to Notes/Domino oriented sessions in droves.  Last year, there was a real hesitation.  If Notes/Domino were going away, should we waste time going to those sessions.  This year, my Notes/Web Coexistence session was packed.  Andrew's Admin client session was packed and is being repeated.  Scott Good's 25 tricks for LotusScript session was packed and overflowed.  Rocky's Extreme LotusScript session was packed.  Tom and Joe's excellent Java for the Domino Developer session was very full, even in the last session before the party for two lesser known (and very short) speakers.

Does all this mean portals and workplace are out the window?  Of course not.  Those sessions are not as well attended because you can't take anything back home to use today.  Still, I heard a lot of people who actually do think portals are a good idea, so long as IBM can tackle the difficult tasks of making them installable and affordable, and making them work on a less than gigantic resource footprint.  Can IBM do that?  Of course, but it is an evolution.

I may sound like I've sipped at the IBM koolaid, but I do genuinely believe, and think most people are starting to believe, that the evolution of Notes is a good thing.  Not always the evolution as IBM would have foreseen it, but the evolution as IBM's customers have driven IBM to see it.  Keep up the pressure, it is working.

Oh yes, and the willingness to fight Microsoft is very well received.  People are sick of being screwed by Microsoft's policies and welcome some feisty competition, because with any luck it will make both companies work harder to provide what customers genuinely want, not just what the marketing department says they want.

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

Thu 29 Jan 2004, 08:54 AM
For those who attended my session, thank you!  You were a wonderful audience.  The links below should get you to the most specific tips, with some information on how to use them.  I will post the slides here soon, but an only slightly different set are on the Lotusphere on-line site.  There are a number of additional coexistence tips I am working on and will post over the next few weeks, so be sure to come back and check our weblog occasionally to see what I've added.  In the not too distant future, I also plan to add a page dedicated to Notes/Web Coexistence, to make it easier for you to find things such as the rich text editors, weblog articles from others, etc. that I have collected.
  1. Keywords that go somewhere
  2. Anchors aweigh
  3. Foolish inconsistency (doclink symbols on web)
  4. Text popups on the web


For those who noticed the "lost tip", #3, it was about getting thin Notes-like borders on the web, and it turns out to be somewhat inconsistent between browsers, even between IE5.5 and IE6, so I am making sure I have the full story before re-posting.

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

Wed 28 Jan 2004, 06:16 PM
I went and sat in blogger's row at Tom Duff and Joe Litton's session, and has a great time.  The two were engaging and funny, the information was accessible, and Tom even threw a cup of water in his own face on purpose.  Wow!

Seriously, it was easily the best session I attended at Lotusphere this year, even including my own, and it was clear the audience (which fairly well filled a large Swan 10) was very into it.  More than just fun though, the entire presentation made it feel pretty easy to start with Java, and I bet there were many eyes opened and many people who will really go back and give it a try.

Good show, guys!  I'll certainly watch for whatever sessions either of you choose to do next year (and I'm fairly confident they'll let you do whatever you want after thus).  Bravo!

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

Wed 28 Jan 2004, 01:56 PM
Long before reality TV sank down to the nadir of poor taste and then pulled out a pneumatic drill and kept going down, before Peewee Herman was caught with more than just his hand in the not so proverbial popcorn, Peewee's Playhouse was one of those guilty pleasures on television.  Nobody would admit to watching it, but everyone knew all the references.  One of the many odd traditions on this show was word of the day (I am sure it had some more specific name, but then, I never watched it, right?).  If anybody happened to say the word of the day, lights would go off, bells would ring, and a great deal of mayhem would ensue.

The word of the day at Lotusphere this year seems to be "coexistence".  When I talk with business partners on the showcase floor and mention that I am working on coexistence these days (along with rich text), you can almost see the lights dim.  "That's great!" they say.  One even indicated he was glad I was not just "wasting my talents" on rich text.  Sheesh!  This is before I tell them what sort of coexistence, or what I mean by the term, but it doesn't seem to matter.  The magic word had been spoken.  This may explain the rather peculiar abundance of people at my Advanced Lotus Notes/Web Coexistence session, which went to two overflow rooms, I am told.  Oh well, I should have known - I wasn't so much loved as buzz-enabled.

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.