My Blackberry Enterprise Server Push Utility for the Lotus Notes Client, allows you to create Jobs for individual Channel, Message, and Browser Content Pushes, as well as allows you to delete Pushed Channel Icons from defined recipient devices.
Blogger, podcaster, writer, and geek Chris Toohey covers topics from application development to the latest must-have-gadgets.
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Products & Applications
The idea is simple. At the start of your day - upon completion of your first task - create an entry highlighting what you did and whether you feel it was an efficient or inefficient use of your time. Based on several requests, you can also select the priority, apply categories, or even align your time against a project.
For Lotus Notes Client v8.0 and above, you can use the Time Tracker Widget to make this process even easier!
My Configuration-based Rich Text Mail Merge and Emailing Utility, Zephyr allows you to create rich, data-driven emails to support automated workflow - all via Microsoft Word Mail Merge-like architecture. Dear <firstname> allows you to personalize each email message not only to the individual recipient, but also to the individual application workflow event!
xCopy is a simple configurable xCopy client for the Lotus Notes client. By creating and defining xCopy Profiles, you can batch process your file backup or remote upload jobs. With the addition of the xCopy sidebar widget, you can easily kick-off these jobs, and modify both the xCopy Profiles and xCopy itself.
Community & Resources
The Lotus Technical Information & Education community is comprised of IBM, business partner, and customer subject matter experts who use product wikis, published articles, white papers, community blogs and the latest in social media to build and share high quality technical content.
OpenNTF is devoted to enabling groups of individuals all over the world to collaborate on IBM Lotus Notes/Domino applications and release them as open source.
Share your deployment experiences and best practices in our wikis and help IBM to create scenarios for successful deployments. Contribute to the community by collaborating on shared content and leverage the shared knowledge from that community.
Welcome to dominoGuru.com!
Focused on being the go-to resource for the IBM Lotus Notes Domino developer, dominoGuru.com delivers introductory-level best practices and advanced development deep dives for the IT professional, book and gadget reviews, and technical weblog, and more!
I thought I'd take a few minutes to highlight and comment on several of the truly things you should know news items and upcoming events in the IBM Lotus Community lately.
May 10th, 2009: Nathan highlights the Bob Picciano vs. Lotus Online Community Bloggers conference call, which took place on Friday, May 8th, 2009. I had the privilege of not only attending the call but asking Bob the following question:
You'd mentioned that collaboration was the heart of the Smart Work initiative. Do you see certain products in the Lotus portfolio coming to the foreground? And conversely do you see some products falling to the background? Would we leverage more cloud services? Or are we looking at streamlining Domino? What's the break down as you see it to really drive this initiative home?
At least that's what Nathan quoted me saying, which sounds a lot smarter than anything that normally falls out of my mouth...
Bob fielded each question - including this one - like someone who actually gets it. This was my first interaction with the current General Manager of IBM Lotus, and the impression that I left with was that Bob is one of us.
A few things that you should absolutely take away from the call:
Mac as a client alternative is shaking people up to understand that there's no reason I couldn't have the same level of proficiency with a slick client like Ubuntu.
Nathan highlighted this one as well - the BYOOS attitude of the Lotus product portfolio really shines through with this statement. Lotus products are a cost-savings alternative to competitive collaborative technologies - in part - due to their non-dependancy on Operating Systems, Hardware, etc.
The other aspect of the applications is that it's not necessarily the traditional apps -- they can be apps that come through SaaS, web services, widgets and gadgets which are much less dependent on underlying technology, and as a consequence act as an enabler.
I'll step back here and bring up a topic that was just discussed on the latest episode of The 1352 Report. In this episode, the gang discusses potential marketing to the end user customer.
The thing that I have always found in these Lotus sucks arguments that arguably helped spawn (or at least contributed to) the Lotus Marketing discussion is this: the main reason people complain about Lotus Notes is that they perceive a better usage experience with a different technology. They know the other technology. They've seen what it can do. They've heard good things about it. Whatever the case, the driver isn't something personal against a given Lotus product (again, in most cases) but the want of the day-to-day customer to have a better experience and ultimately an easier work day.
Now, in that context, consider Bob's statement. Lotus products can be used to deliver enterprise level, real-business issue-addressing solutions via SaaS, cloud solutions, widget and gadgets as well as traditional web browser or fat client applications without pushing a given technology. Hell, the technology should be seamless and transparent in the usage experience.
Does this change how you're building your Lotus product-based applications?
There's so much more potential on what we can do today. We've got to get the word out.
This - to me - was the biggest take away from that call. IBM understands - like every yellowbleeder knows - that we are working with an absolutely amazing product portfolio. IBM - more importantly - understands that they need to make customers know that too. And IBM is really starting to push initiatives to make this a reality. I think they understand that their marketing may be missing their targets. They understand that there is a lot of talent outside of the IBM organization and are looking to leverage it with new strengthened community interactions. And while it's not something that can happy overnight, it is happening!
May 12th, 2009: OpenNTF, just this past week, announced their Steering Committee members and released their new online web presence.
OpenNTF's mission statement (if you will):
OpenNTF is devoted to enabling groups of individuals all over the world to collaborate on IBM Lotus Notes/Domino applications and release them as open source.
Browse the catalog to find the projects, components and controls you're looking for which have been made available under the Apache license (ALv2).
Get involved in OpenNTF by contributing code, discussing technical topics or submitting ideas for OpenNTF improvements.
In the midst of this re-launch, long-time OpenNTF contributor Declan Sciolla-Lynch published the following observation: Is OpenNTF In Danger Of Jumping The Shark. Interesting points and concerns that I'm certain are shared amongst contributors and users alike, but the thing that I want to point out here - which serves to drive my earlier point home - is that IBM is engaging the community. In this case, it was by through the OpenNTF Steering Committee members and those IBMers who commented on the post. Definitely a must-read for anyone who leverages the amazing contributions, thankfully contributes themselves, or is especially concerned about IBMs involvement in the Open Source Lotus Notes/Domino community initiative.
May 13th, 2009: And speaking of community initiatives, the Lotus Technical Information & Education Community Kickoff meeting is scheduled for May 26th, 2009.
Join us for the first monthly meeting of the Lotus Technical Information and Education community! Our community consists of IBMers, business partners and customers who contribute to or use technical information for Lotus & Websphere Portal products, as well as those who have worked with the Lotus Information Development Center to provide feedback to help improve our offerings.
In this kickoff meeting, you'll hear about our community building strategy, meet some of our advocates who've agreed to help drive contributions, and learn how you can participate in our community to help keep technical information accurate, comprehensive, easy to find and relevant.
If you have product expertise to share or have opinions on how Lotus technical content can be improved, please join us for this important kickoff meeting! If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the audio replay which will be posted following the meeting.
To accommodate schedules, we've setup two meetings:
- May 26th, 2009 @ 9:00AM - 10:00AM Eastern (-5:00 GMT)
- May 26th, 2009 @ 7:00PM - 8:00PM Eastern (-5:00 GMT)
We will be updating the Lotus Technical Information and Education Community (Greenhouse Login required) with more information on the meetings as we get closer to the date! If you're not on IBM Greenhouse (or are and haven't joined the the Lotus Technical Information and Education Community yet) there's still time to join before the call!
Those of you on Facebook can get more information via the following published events on the Lotus Technical Information and Education Facebook page:
While at a dinner party last weekend, a guy who spends his days implementing telephony systems started talking about this pretty slick little device that - for $20 USD for the entire year - allows you to make landline calls through your high speed internet connection. $20/year, and it's a gadget... I was intrigued to say the least.
The gadget - the magicJack - is a pager-sized device, complete with a USB male port and a telephone female port (see pictures below). The device allows you to connect a "landline" telephone into your computer, where it will utilize the software installed on initial setup of the device to communicate back to the magicJack VOIP service - all this allowing you to pick up your telephone, hear a dial tone, and call anyone in the US or Canada (US Virgin Islands, and a few other places too...) for $20 USD at the time of this publication.
I thought you - my fellow geeks and gadget aficionadi - would be interested in such a device and the accompanying service. So, I want thank the team over at magicJack for sending me a review unit, and I plan on doing a "first impressions", "two weeks in", and "28 days later" series of reviews (as you have the option of using the 30-day Free Trial).
Unboxing the magicJack
My son came in from grabbing the mail the other day and, seeing the package in his hands, I immediately knew what it was - I had received my magicJack! Surprisingly my wife was even more excited than me. See, she evicted Vonage from our home... as she would constantly run into distortion, dropped calls, and other pains with VOIP. The magicJack was the promise of a smaller phonebill, and the buzz was that this was the product that could deliver where Vonage had failed in our household.
The above slideshow will walk you through the unpackaging process. Excellent. Consumer. Packaging. No Driver CDs to misplace or papers that just add to the clutter. You had the folder-like cardboard cover with the protective styrofoam packaging, the device itself (which contains all of it's drivers), and a USB extension cable.
Installing the magicJack
I'd love to make this section long and drawn out, but this is what I have: As pictured, I plugged in the device to my laptop's USB port. After about one minute (probably less to be honest), it did what it needed to do (installed the drivers and softphone media directly from the device source), and I was done. Done meaning that I was able to open the magicJack console/smartphone application (see below), plug my landline phone into the back of the magicJack, and I got a dial tone. Yep, even with taking pictures, it took me about 10 minutes to go from packaging to making my first round of test calls.
This thing is really designed for the consumer, and while the console software might not scream sexy, it's certainly functional. I tend to judge a product - especially a consumer electronics product - by how many times my parents would call me - the family's resident geek - during the installation. So far, I can't imagine getting a call.
Using the magicJack
You get two "usage scenario" options with the magicJack - the obvious "plug your landline phone in here" option, and the possibly not-so-obvious softphone option. This option is nothing new to those of us using VOIP software clients like Skype, but it works wonderfully for podcasters (which I am) who want to be able to record landline calls on-the-cheap with high fidelity.
You can specify whether you want to use a handset or another audio source for your phonecalls simply by making the change in the Headset Options dialog. As shown, I've toggled the magicJack to use my podcasting/VOIP headset (a Plantronics DSP 400 I think.... doesn't say) and it just works. Again, simple, and perfect for a consumer.
Now, I said earlier that I judge a product based on how many calls I get from my parents... and here's the kicker - the first real magicJack to landline call I made was to my mother. I 1) needed to speak with her and 2) wanted to test out the voice quality. After spending an hour on the phone, I brought up the magicJack, and mentioned that I had been using it for the past hour. My parents are currently paying >$100 USD/monthly for their landline. I told her that for $39.95 (the cost of sign-up/activation + the first year of service), she'd be done for the year.
I think I know what I'm getting them for Christmas this year... but I'll be putting this thing through the paces over the next month - properly vetting the device and the service, before both giving it my "must have" seal and picking it up for my parents.
So far, so good. Few things that I didn't like:
- ...was the fact that I could enter both alphanumeric characters into the input field on the softphone... but those characters would not translate (like they do on most smartphones), but rather just strip them off. Making 1-800-IBM-HELP dial 1-800, which threw an error!
- The documentation states that you must plug the unit directly into the computer and not into a hub... and that can be confusing. The device pulls it's power through USB, so if you had a powered USB Hub you're fine. I know... but, as a consumer product, people might think they need to unplug their current peripherals in order to set this thing up.
- Faxing didn't work, but this is a VOIP thing. Would have rocked though.
- My wife won't give it back...
Expect a follow-up to this review in the next 2 weeks!
Thanks to Tim, I'm trying out Digsby - a multi-service app that is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Not only do I get (almost) all of my "online presence" accounts into a single client, but I get Digsby Widgets. This is an embed-and-play Flash-based IM solution that just works! Simple as that. No tweaks. No fighting with the technology to get it to do what I want. I like that.
So I put said widget on this site within about 2 minutes so that you, Constant Reader, can IM me should you feel so inclined without having to initially add me to your given Contact List. I await the anonymous "you suck, fattie!" with baited breath...
All kidding aside, if the "one [client] to [access] them all" and this widget weren't enough... the UI is UBER slick. Okay, I'll elaborate because I think that this is where the client stands apart from anything that I've seen in the past. Sure, when minimized most clients give UI Prompt notifications of various activity - we've all seen that before. What I think really differs the Digsby client from other clients I've used is, on IMs, you have the ability to immediately respond to said IM as they've included an input element in the Notification! Did I not tell you that this client has a brilliant UI?!
Me too Tim, me too...
I plan on putting this thing through the paces over the next few days. I'm going to try and test out the GTalk VOIP feature within this client sometime today with Tim when we work on getting another episode out to our 3 subscribers, and will report back my findings. From what I've seen so far, I'm ready to uninstall Gtalk/Gizmo/GAIM/....
Not too sure where I stand on this. I love Skype, and the Paypal integration sounds interesting... but I can't help but feel like I'm going to get hit in the VOIP wallet and my favorite way to communicate with people around the world will suffer.
Those interested, read more about the purchase here.
[ via engadget ]