IBM Connect 2016 - IS1406 #UserBLAST

Mat Newman  July 20 2016 16:55:05
UserBLAST 2016 is the latest in a series of presentations I've put together to help users understand and appreciate some of the best (and sometimes hidden) features of the IBM software that I love working with so much.

This year I had taken some direction from the inspirational Paul Mooney, who had advised that to truly qualify as a "BLAST" a session needed to have as many tips included within the allotted time, such that attendees would leave the room feeling like they had just "drunk from a fire-hose of information" with their heads spinning from the experience.

With that in mind, I put together a huge deck brimming full of ideas which allowed less than 30 seconds per slide for explanation in order to get through it all. This of course, resulted in "#UserBLAST2016" and - I hope - finally qualifies as a true "BLAST". I've had a lot of fun with it, not only being able to present this at IBM Connect, but also #Inform (AusLUG) in Australia, #Engage in Europe and a number of Business Partner lead events here in South East Asia. It was even more fun delivering it in Sydney for #Inform back in March, because the organisers told me that my allowed time was only 30 minutes instead of 50 ... only moments before the session started! Of course, I was completely out of breath at the end of that session and If you've ever heard an Australian calling a horse-race, you would understand why ;-)

Here's the Abstract:
It's time for your annual injection of Energy, Enthusiasm and Education! Join the man in #Yellow as he BLASTS his way through his top tips on Desktop, Browser, Mobile and even Cloudy aspects of the IBM Collaboration Solutions portfolio. Learn how to best utilise Notes/Domino, Connections, Traveler/Verse and Sametime to ensure effective communication and collaboration both inside and outside of your organisation. Everything a User needs to know about the "cool" stuff from IBM, Don't miss #UserBLAST!

Here's the Session:

As always, I'll be monitoring my social network streams for questions or gripes about Notes, so that I can prepare another bucket load of tips for #UserBLAST2017.  In the meantime, if you have any questions, please ask!

I'm always happy to help a Notes user.


Shared or Group Calendars in IBM Notes

Mat Newman  June 8 2016 18:43:29
The topic of Shared or Group Calendars has come up a lot recently during discussions with Customers.  The main requirement is a calendar which can have multiple people assigned to managing the Calendar content, in addition to this Calendar having full Calendaring and Scheduling (C&S) functionality for things like sending meeting invitations to Internal or External recipients, receiving replies, sending update notifications, reschedules, repeats, etc.  In other words, a "Generic" Calendar that doesn't belong to a specific person, and can be managed by any number of people.

The other requirement was to make this Calendar visible when accessed by users out of the office on their mobile device. In a future blog, I'll share how to add this newly created calendar to anyone's IBM Traveler/Verse Mobile calendar who needs to see the calendar when they're mobile.

This functionality isn't difficult to create (of course! it's Notes!), but I couldn't find the steps for it anywhere for the customers to follow, hence ... here it is.

In our demonstration below, the calendar will simply have the title "The Group Calendar".

The Steps: an Overview
  1. Create a Mail-In Database document to control the Database (calendar) profile,
  2. Create the Database,
  3. Change the "Owner" of the Database in the Profile,
  4. Change the "Launch" option for the database,
  5. Add users through the Calendar Profile "Access and Delegation" who will be able to Read/Edit the Calendar Content.

It's as simple as that. Now for the Details.

1. Create a Mail-In Database document to control the Database (calendar) profile:

The Mail-In Database document is required for two reasons:
  • It enables the Domino Server to understand that your Shared Calendar has it's own Internal and External (if required) address for the purposes of C&S routing,
  • The "Name" used in the Mail-In database document can be assigned as the Calendar Profile "owner" in the database, hence Meeting Invitations, etc, that are created by the calendar will come from this "Name", ie: "The Group Calendar" mentioned earlier

Your calendar can have any name you require, for example if you are creating a calendar for your Marketing department, you might call it "Marketing Calendar", IT: "IT Calendar", etc...

The huge tip here is that the "Name" assigned in the Mail-In Database document must be in canonical (ie: Notes) format, otherwise you will not be able to choose this name later when assigning it as the "Owner" of the database.

To create the Mail-In Database configuration document:
  • Navigate to the "Mail In Databases and Resources" view in your Domino Directory,
  • Choose "Add Mail In Database" (note: you may require Administrator access to add this type of record),
  • Complete the fields to configure the Mail In Database,
  • Save and Close.

Figure 1: The Mail In Database and Resources view from the Domino Directory
Figure 1: The Mail In Database and Resources view from the Domino Directory

Figure 2: The Mail In Database document with all fields completed
Figure 2: The Mail In Database document with all fields completed

The key fields in the Mail In Database document are the Name, whether it has an internet address assigned, and then the Domino mail routing information that will enable the database to receive Email/C&S notices.
Mail-in Name The Group Calenda/yourorganisation
Description (Optional) Why this record exists
Internet Address Required if you want to send or receive C&S information with users outside of your corganisation
Internet Message Storage No Preference Determines if message conversion will be done by the server
Encrypt Incoming Mail No No recommended in this instance
Mail Server Settings
Domain YourDomain The Notes Domain within which this database resides
Server yourserver/yourorganisation The "Home" mail server which will be used to host this database
File name: mail\thefilename.nsf The actual Database File Name

Once you have completed the fields in the Mail In Database document, Save and Close the record.

2. Create the Database:

Now it's time to create the database itself.
  • On your Keyboard, [Ctrl]+[N], or from the menu in IBM Notes or IBM Domino Adminstrator [File] -> [Application] -> [New],
  • Complete the Database choices in the New Database dialog box,
  • Choose OK

Figure 3: The New Application dialog, with all options completed
Figure 3: The New Application dialog, with all fields completed

Server Your server/yourorganisation This should match the Server used in step 1
Title The Group Calendar This is the descriptive name for this shared calendar, it will be visible to anyone browsing applications on the server, and in Domino features such as the "Application Catalog"
File Name mail\thefilename.nsf The actual location of the database on the (Server), Note: This should match the location specified in the Mail In Database record created earlier
Template server can be LOCAL or SERVER Both the local Notes software and the Domino server host the "Mail" template
Template Mail (R9) The Mail Template will be used for this database since it contains all the required C&S Functionality

3. Change the "Owner" of the Database in the Profile:

Upon opening the Database for the first time, the creator will be prompted to change the "owner" value in the "Mail File Preferences"

Figure 4: Prompt to change the owner
Figure 4: Prompt to change the owner

To complete this step:
  • From the Database "Action Bar", choose [More] -> [Preferences],
  • Next to the "Owner" field choose [Change],
  • Choose [Yes] to confirm the Owner Name Change,
  • Browse through your Domino Directory to locate the Mail In Database name created at Step.1.
  • Choose [OK] to confirm the Name,
  • Choose [OK] to modify the Mail File Preferences

Figure 5: Accessing the Database Preferences
Figure 5: Accessing the Database Preferences

Figure 6: Changing the Owner
Figure 6: Changing the Owner

Figure 7: Confirm - "Owner Name Change'
Figure 7: Confirm - 'Owner Name Change'

Figure 8: Select the 'Mail In Database' created earlier at step 1 as the new owner
Figure 8: Select the 'Mail In Database' created earlier at step 1 as the new owner

4. Change the "Launch" option for the Database:

This one is pretty simple. You've created the database for the purpose of Shared Calandering, right? So it only makes sense that when the database is opened (whether from a Notes open dialog, or by accessing it using one of the many Notes calendar features available) that the Database should open automatically to the Calendar view, rather than the Mail view.

The process for changing the database to open to the Calendar, rather than the Mail view is really simple:
  • Access the Database Properties, [File] -> [Application] -> [Properties] ( or [Alt]+[Enter] on your Keyboard),
  • Switch to the "Launch" Tab,
  • Change the Notes Launch options from "MailFS" (the default) to "CalendarFS"
  • Close the Database Properties dialog
  • Close the Database

When re-opened, the database should now open directly into the "Calendar" view, as shown in Figure 11.

Figure 9: Accessing the Database Properties
Figure 9: Accessing the Database Properties

Figure 10: Changing the 'Launch' option from Mail (MailFS) to Calendar (CalendarFS)
Figure 10: Changing the 'Launch' option from Mail (MailFS) to Calendar (CalendarFS)

Figure 11: The newly configured Shared Calendar database, opening directly to the Calendar View
Figure 11: The newly configured Shared Calendar database, opening directly to the Calendar View

5. Add users through the Calendar Profile "Access and Delegation" who will be able to Read/Edit the Calendar Content:

Finally, managing access to the new shared calendar is pretty straight forward, and can be done without modifying the Database Access Control List (ACL), simply by changing the delegation options within the Database Profile to include the users or groups who will have the ability to Manage the calendar content, or to simply Read the content of the shared Calendar.

To Add or Remove people from the Calendar's "Access and Delegation" list, follow these steps:
  • From the Database "Action Bar", choose [More] -> [Preferences]  (see Figure 5: Accessing the Database Preferences, above),
  • Go to the Access and Delegation Tab of the Database Preferences,
  • Next to "Delegate access to these people or groups:", Choose the [Add...] button
  • In the "Add People/Groups" dialog, Choose an Individual or group who you are assigning access, choose whether they will be able to create/manage or only read the Calendar,
  • Choose Ok
  • Choose Ok to close the Calendar Preferences

Figure 12: The Database 'Access and Delegation' dialog
Figure 12: The Database 'Access and Delegation' dialog

Figure 13: Adding a User or Group to the Calendar access profile
Figure 13: Adding a User or Group to the Calendar access profile

And that's IT!

You now have a Database configured as a shared calendar, which can be accessed by anyone who is added to the Calendar Delegation Profile, and which can send an receive Calendar Invitations and Notices with full IBM Notes C&S functionality.

In the next blog, I'll show you how to set up this calendar as an overlay in your own Notes client, and how you can then access the shared calendar when on a mobile device with IBM Traveler/Verse mobile.


Those wonderful serendipitous moments

Mat Newman  December 22 2015 00:58:11
Tonight, as I settled down to my evening of collating all things "work" for the day, I experienced one of those wonderful moments that a traveller rarely gets to experience, but will resonate as a "moment" for one's entire life.

While working, I picked up on the "twang" of the accent emanating from the couple at the table beside me ... it was familiar, and yet, a world away.

After listening to their banter for an enjoyable few minutes, I interjected; "excuse me, are you folks from Cheshire?"

Cheshire is a county in England, and has a distinctive accent that is typical of most regions (or even villages) throughout the British Isles ...

Apparently, not only were the couple from the county that my wife had grown up in, they were from the village that she prefers to call home!

Interesting, because "Trav" and "Jan" were originally from England, but now live in the Caribbean (an entirely different conversation there Francie!) and spend their lives drifting from one exotic dive location to the next.

For the next few hours, we gleefully engaged in stories of our favourite places back in bonny ol' England, the "Bears Paw", the "Helter Skelter" and the "Devonshire Bakery" located on the high street.

It was truly a wonderful evening, where travellers shared tips, locations and "must-do's".

Quite simply, it reminded me that the world is, indeed, such a small place

I hope you enjoy many moments like the one I shared with our "drifters" tonight. The world truly is an amazing place, full of wonderful people. And if one removes the blinkers for just a single moment, it becomes even better.

Why does this matter? because in just a few short weeks, I will be catching up with friends and colleagues from around the world, whom all share similar interests and the experiences that I do. The important thing is to recognise that we, in our own little bubble, are not the only one's who want to change the planet.

I cant wait to see you in January at IBM Connect!

It is, after all, less than 40 days away!

IBM Connect 2016 - Special Event Confirmation

Mat Newman  October 19 2015 20:04:38
Overnight the Special Event location for IBM Connect 2016 was announced ... and YES! It's at one of my favourite locations:

Figure 1: Harry Potter

Universal Orlando® Special Event

Get ready for one of the most incredible parties IBM Connect has ever thrown—an unforgettable celebration at Universal’s Islands of Adventure® theme park. We’ve reserved The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - Hogsmeade™ just for you!
Enjoy unlimited access to incredible rides and attractions including the Dragon Challenge™ coasters and the groundbreaking Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™. It’s an evening of thrills and excitement—and it’s all yours!
Admittance is included with your purchase of a full conference pass. Guest tickets will be available for registered attendees to purchase at the conference registration desk.

HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s15)
Universal elements and all related indicia TM & © 2015 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

Link to the announcement (including pricing for additional guests) HERE:

For those of you who love rides, the Dragon rollercoasters are two of the best I've ever been on, and the Harry Potter 3D ride is just amazing.  Looking forward to visiting again :-D

IBM Connect 2016 - Summary Conference Agenda Published - where is the "Special Event"

Mat Newman  August 18 2015 20:01:54
Figure 1: IBM Connect 2016 background

Folks have been a little busy over on the IBM Connect 2016 web-site, you may have noticed that the summary agenda has been published.

I'm very happy about the re-introduction of a highlight of the conference from years past on the second-last night, the "Special Event". Although it has yet to be officially announced, there is sure to be plenty of speculation about the location of that event. More details will be announced soon, but I'm really looking forward to it!

See you in Orlando!

What’s your great idea? Why not share it at Lotusph ... Connect ... ConnectED ... IBM Connect 2016

Mat Newman  August 11 2015 18:43:45
Figure 1: IBM Connect 2016 Banner

Every year in late January, for over 20 years, something amazing has happened in Orlando, Florida, USA.  It's been the annual gathering of the Lotusphere, Connect, ConnectEd community coming together from all over the world to share their ideas, experiences, expertise and best practices. And yes, a whole lotta FUN!

Earlier today, calls for abstracts for IBM Connect 2016 opened, in summary:

IBM Connect 2016 Call for Speakers!

Tell us your story.

Are you ahead of your peers in reimagining how you work? Are you responding rapidly to customer needs in creative, meaningful ways? Are you spending less time behind the scenes and more time out front, leading your future? We want to hear about it.
Now is your chance to be a speaker at Connect 2016, the premier global conference for social business and the digital experience. Attendees will gain practical advice and strategic insights based on proven best practices.
We invite you to submit your proposal in one or more of the following topics:
  • Digital Experience
  • Email
  • Meetings and Chat
  • Social Collaboration
  • Social Content

You may have noticed the lack of "Tracks" at present. The content team is working hard to ensure that the sessions will be targeted, and grouped together according to the interests of the attendees.  More to come soon!

In the meantime, there is a clear timeline this year and an earlier call for abstracts, which means that the agenda that so many find important in justifying their attendance will be available earlier than in previous years.

Timeline for submissions
  • Call for Speakers Closes: September 4, 2015
  • Speakers Notified: Mid-October 2015
  • Presentations Due: December 21, 2015

So go ahead, jump in, submit that idea, HERE and I'll see you in Orlando (albeit at a new venue) in just a few months time :-)

Looking for free training materials, guides and labs?

Mat Newman  July 28 2015 19:02:40
Figure 1: a Book

I get asked a lot about free training resources for the IBM Collaboration Solutions portfolio. Over on IBM's Greenhouse demonstration site there is a fantastic collection of resources for Users, Administrators and Developers that you can download for free ... yes ... FREE!

If you already have a Greenhouse account, all you need to do is sign in. If you don't already have an account, there's a simple sign-up process and then you get access to the entire site, where you can trial all of IBM's Collaboration Solutions (iNotes, Connections, Sametime, Traveler) free of charge.

Here's a snippet from the site:

Education - Available Workshops


  • Here's an RSS feed for all of the IBM Collaboration Solutions online self-paced workshops.
  • Looking to enroll in a self-paced workshop? Visit the Enroll link for the workshop.
  • Looking for workshop materials?  Visit the Materials link for the workshop.
  • Looking for workshop support?  Visit the Support link at the bottom of this page.
 Note:  You should Follow the folders listed below so that you receive updates if the files are updated or new ones are added!

 Category  Title
Application Development  IBM Connections Cloud Application Development (Q4 2014)
 Social Business Application Development (2014)
Digital Experience

 IBM Forms V8 & IBM Forms Experience Builder
 IBM Web Content Manager 8.5
 IBM WebSphere Portal V8.5: Digital Experience platform
Social Collaboration  IBM Connections 5.0
 IBM Connections 5.0 Customization
Social Communication
 IBM Sametime 9: Communications for the Social Business
Social Mail  IBM Notes and Domino 9.0
 IBM XPages 9.0

 So, as you can see, there's a great collection of resources available. And did I mention it's FREE!

LINK HERE (!/wiki/Wb180e2074fa8_4f84_aa3b_ee006786065a/page/Available%20Workshops)


The Alternate Reality, Episode 7: Our 5 year Mission

Mat Newman  July 27 2015 17:42:39
The past couple of days have seen a little milestone pass: 5 years working with the "Alternate Reality" that I first wrote about back in 2010.

FIGURE 1: My Desktop Today

Figure 1: The Alternate Reality - 5 Years on

This started as an experiment to determine whether it was truly possible to move completely away from the "Standard" Microsoft Operating System and Document Editors used by so many in corporate life.  For me, the whole experience has been liberating, enlightening, and extremely fun.

Liberating, from the point of view that I've been able to experience a whole range of applications that don't require Windows as their operating system.  Need some software? Open the Software Centre, do a search for your requirements, click, and there it is.

Initially I was sceptical about the possible quality of the software available from the open-source community.  What I have learned is that not only are open source solutions for many applications comparable in capabilities to their commercial counterparts, the quality of the applications, the level of functionality, and most importantly their stability is something that no longer surprises me.

Enlightening. Most certainly. When I began, my experience with Linux extended to basic server installations capable of supporting a Domino server infrastructure. Working with Linux as my personal platform - along with a personal tendency to "pull things apart" to see how they work - has dramatically increased my understanding, knowledge of and respect for Linux as a platform.  I no longer have any hesitation recommending it to customers as a server platform for their Applications, nor as a true alternative on the desktop.  Customers in this region are extremely cost-sensitive, and I now know a few of them who are rolling out Linux on desktop to take better advantage of lower-speced hardware and to reduce their licensing costs.

Fun! How can an operating system be fun? Those who work on Mac know how useful multiple workspaces are for organising and switching focus between applications. The ability to completely customise the interface beyond just a visual theme that changes colours and icon sizes is awesome. Want a Mac-style launcher, just go to the Software Centre. Want window icons to do different things, or be in a different location, just change a preference. Want multiple locations visible in your file manager, just press F3. The flexibility to have an interface do what you want, and the ability to modify the way almost everything works to fulfil your own personal preferences is just wonderful.

Of course, things aren't always perfect. I do find myself messing about with printer settings to get them to work properly, and there are sometimes issues with external monitors, and while those issues aren't limited to just Linux it can be frustrating when things don't "just work". Overall though, each new version of Ubuntu for the past couple of years has addressed hardware compatibility issues to the point that the instances where something doesn't work is extremely rare. When I first started with Ubuntu 10.04 I was constantly hacking configuration files to get things running properly. The past couple of versions I find myself rarely having to do that.

Thankfully the single application that I use the most does "just work" on Linux, as you can see from figure 1, IBM Notes on a Linux desktop with Connections Files, Updates and Activities, Sametime Chat, Meetings and Unified Telephony works just perfectly.

And that's why I started "testing" an alternate reality 5 years ago ... and I haven't looked back.

Thank you Iris, Lotus and IBM ... 20 Years ...

Mat Newman  July 3 2015 22:45:07
That first moment - back in 1992, when I imported my first 1-2-3 spreadsheet into a Notes database and created a form and some views - I knew I was working with something special.

As I mentioned a couple of years ago, my journey with IBM software - and in particular Lotus Notes - has been one for me that has been both personally and professionally fulfilling.

This year is particularly poignant. Today, I celebrate 20 years as an IT professional.

20 years ago today - as a young guy with a passion for IT - I started my own business. And the first cash I earned was consulting for (what was then) Lotus Notes.

The past 2 years have seen that early enthusiasm for IBM/Lotus software evolve.  Yes, July has become significant for me from an IBM perspective as:
  • July 1995 is the month IBM bought Lotus, and
  • July 2013 is the month I officially became an IBMer.

So 20 years ago Lotus became part of IBM, and 2 years ago, so did I ;-)

There now are too many places, too many faces, too many events and too many fantastic memories during that 20 year journey for me to single out specific names and moments.

You know who you are. You know what we did and what it meant. And I thank you for the great time we had together.

Thank you Iris/Lotus/IBM ... and YOU! Here's to another 20 years!


Inform 2015 (brought to you by AusLUG) - what I’m looking forward to

Mat Newman  June 9 2015 12:44:19
Figure 1: AusLUG keynote from 2012 featuring Ed Brill

In case you've missed all the announcements, this week is INFORM2015 (brought to you by the wonderful people at AusLUG).

As with past events, I'm really looking forward to 2 days packed full of fantastic sessions conducted by speakers from around the globe. High on my list of must-not-miss sessions is the keynote on Thursday morning to be delivered by two legends of the IBM ESS (nee: ICS, nee:Lotus) community in Ed Brill (Vice President, Social Business Cloud Services, IBM Office of the CIO, responsible for driving IBM's social business transformation) and Jack Welch (IBM's Global Director, Social Collaboration Sales, which includes IBM Notes & Domino and the SmartCloud for Social Business suite of solutions).  I'm really looking forward to hearing how IBM is transforming it's business through the use of (it's OWN) technology, and the future direction for IBM's Collaboration Suite of applications.

I've been lucky enough to have two sessions accepted for this event, #AdminBlast: where I'm going to share as many Administrator tips in the allotted time as I possibly can (many thanks to Paul Mooney and Gabriella Davis for graciously allowing me to use some of their content!), and #UserBLAST: Yes, my favourite topic - sharing the love for all the good stuff that users can do with IBM's collaboration solutions portfolio.

You can download the entire INFORM agenda HERE:

Of course, the other major highlight of this event includes the networking and social (do not miss #InformBeers! aspects of the conference, where there will be loads of opportunity to catch up with some old friends - and new - from around the #YellowVerse. Many life-long friendships have been forged at events such as #Inform, where some amazing people come together through a common interest to Meet, Share, Learn.

Figure 2: AusLUG 2013 Social Event & Speed-Geeking

There will be (HUG)'s. Lots of (HUG)'s.

I look forward to seeing you there!  


Mat Newman

THE Lotus Notes Guy. Productivity Guru. Social Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. IBMer. Views are my own.

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