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Still using Lotus Notes? It’s time to show your users - and your environment - a little Love. Announcing: HCL Domino Project Eleven

Mat Newman  September 15 2020 16:40:35
Figure 1: It Goes to ELEVEN  

For over 30 years, Lotus Notes has been powering business critical applications and enterprise collaboration in organisations all over the globe. From the Fortune 500 to the smallest of Small Businesses, Lotus Notes and Domino is tried, true, secure, and fautlessly reliable.

Maybe a little too reliable.

And that's the biggest problem with - what is now - HCL Notes and Domino.

This Stuff Just Works!

Domino isn't that squeaky wheel in your IT infrastructure. It doesn't fall over at the drop of a hat. it requires very little attention from your system administrators (if you even HAVE an IT person dedicated to Domino!), and if it does require a patch or upgrade to be installed; it is as simple as shutting it down, running an installer, and restarting the server. Usually that process is completed in less than 10 minutes. Because Domino just sits quietly in the corner it often doesn't receive the attention or recognition that it deserves.

Frequently I come across customers who get in contact with us with a query about Notes and Domino, and I am never surprised to hear that they are running an older version of the software. You have seen me post here and on social media about customers who have reinstated their licenses to get onto the latest version, where they are currently running versions as old as Release 5!

Over the years I have worked with literally thousands of customers around the world doing what I do best: Solving Problems, and making Happy Customers. Often this has involved simple things like recommending a minor configuration change, implementing a new feature in the software, or building an application that solves a business issue. Consistently, the most recurring situation I encounter when dealing with customers is that they are running an older version of our software, they have an issue or requirement, and that situation can be remedied with the most simple of solutions.

UPGRADE!


Enter: HCL Domino Project Eleven

Project Eleven is based on a very simple premise: If you are running a supported Operating System, and you have active Software Subscription and Support, HCL Software is providing full support for an upgrade of ANY previous release of Domino DIRECTLY to Version 11.01.

It doesn't matter if you are running 8, 9, or something even older. Hassle free. Simple. Easy upgrade. Direct to Version 11.01. No longer is there a complicated requirement to step through multiple sequential versions to get to the latest release.

In order to assist you through this process, HCL Software has enabled the HCL Technical Advisor Team and our Business Partner network with the knowledge and skills to help guide you through this process. We have also created a mini-site where you can access Webinars, Workshops, and technical resources to help in this process.

To make this process as simple as possible we are only stipulating two requirements:

1. That your server is running a currently supported Operating System, and
2. That you are actively licensed with Subscription and Support.

If you do not currently have an active Software Subscription, feel free to reach out to me and I will put you in contact with one of our local HCL Digital Solutions Product Specialists or Business Partner to help you out. We would love to discuss how the recent upgrades to Domino have dramatically enhanced capabilities and functionality, and how those improvements can help you reduce your Total Cost of Ownership and increase your Return On Investment. Our Technical Advisors will help you understand and plan for the upgrade - obligation free - even before you make any decision to reinstate your licences.

Project Eleven is just another way that HCL Software are reinventing and reinvigorating our software portfolio, and changing the way we engage with our Customers and Partners.

Remember to visit the Project Eleven mini-site if you are looking for more details.

Enjoy!

So much news from HCL Digital Solutions ... So little time - August 2020 edition

Mat Newman  August 24 2020 20:05:54
So Much News ... So little time  


Warning - This is a loooong post; because there is just SO much to share with you.

While most of the world remains in lockdown due to COVID-19, our development labs have remained busy over the past few months. HCL Software - Digital Solutions extensive teams of developers have been busy working on updates to our software portfolio, adding exciting new capabilities to our offerings that are designed to help you through this trying period. Here are just a few of the highlights:
  • HCL Nomad - A NEW way to access your existing Notes/Domino applications on any Mobile Phone or Tablet.
  • HCL Domino Volt - Solve business problems quickly without having to rely on your IT department. Unlimited applications, forever, with no additional charges per application.
  • HCL Sametime Meetings Trial - Cut costs, Own your data, Meet and Share with a simple click.
  • HCL Traveler for Microsoft Outlook - Another option for accessing your Domino Mail, Calendar, and Contacts.
  • HCL Safelinx - Secure access to your internal systems from anywhere, on any device.

Let's go into these in more detail.

HCL Nomad


Traditional Domino applications are critical to your business. But your users now need access to those applications and they don't have access to a computer running a Notes client. How do you get your users to access those applications?

The answer is right there in your hand.

Whether you are holding an iPhone or iPad, Android Phone or Tablet, HCL Nomad is literally a Notes client running on a mobile device!

Imagine all of those traditional Notes applications - Forms, Views, Formula Language, and even Lotusscript - running on a mobile device, with absolutely no changes to your databases. No additional development work is required to turn all of your existing Notes-based databases into mobile apps.

The biggest innovation that Nomad brings to your existing applications are features available on mobile devices like Geo-Location and built-in Cameras. Imagine being able to enhance your Safety Incident Reporting or Delivery Tracking databases - as an example - by adding a "Use Current Location" button, or a "Take Picture" field to an existing Form.

But what about security?

Like I mentioned earlier, Nomad is the mobile equivalent of a Notes client running on the desktop. Once you have installed the app from the Google Play or Apple App Store, you need a Notes ID to be able to configure Nomad and access your Domino servers and Databases.

The easiest way to give your users access to their Notes ID is to leverage the Domino ID Vault feature on your existing servers, or to enable that feature if you haven't already done so.

HCL Nomad is available now and is a free entitlement for all of our existing customers on active Subscription and Support.

HCL Domino Volt 1.0.1


When we launched Domino Volt in April this year our aim was to go "Back to the Future", to go back to the original objective of Lotus Notes which was to put simple, easy to use application development tools into the hands of users to enable them to quickly create apps that solve business issues. Over the years - what is now HCL Notes and Domino - has morphed into a full-stack application development environment that enables enterprises across the globe to create mission critical applications that run core business systems. While we continue to enhance those full-stack capabilities - and indeed even extending access to those applications to mobile devices with HCL Nomad - we recognised that all businesses still have situations where users need a tool, they need it quickly, and they don't necessarily need to engage a Business Analyst, a Project Manager, and a team of professional Application Developers to help them.

Typically, users get around this situation by creating forms using a word-processor, or track lists of information using a spreadsheet, but problems quickly arise when that user needs to share that document with someone else either inside, or outside their organisation.
  • Once the form is completed, where does the data go, how is it collated, and where is it stored?
  • Spreadsheet lists are great for tracking and analysing data, but what happens when more than one person needs to update the information simultaneously?
  • In both cases, how is the information shared and secured to ensure that only the appropriate people have access to it?
  • And finally, what if a review or approval is required of the information stored in the form or list?

The last two requirements are where users usually have to turn to their IT departments for assistance.

Domino Volt is HCL's solution to solve all of these business problems. Domino Volt falls firmly within the No-Code/Low-Code application development category.

How easy is it to create and modify Volt apps?


My friend and HCL Software Business Partner Karl-Henry Martinsson recently blogged about how easy it was to import a spreadsheet to create a Volt App, and when his (non-technical) wife asked him to add some fields, he showed her, and she modified it to suit her requirements. Really, there is no technical background required to create apps with Volt, if you know how to use a word-processor or spreadsheet, you can be a Volt developer in moments.

Domino Volt leverages the power, flexibility, reliability, and security of the underlying platform that HCl Domino is renowned for, but it takes a completely new approach. While HCL Nomad enables users to access traditional Domino applications on a mobile device the same way that they would using a full Notes client on the desktop, HCL Domino Volt is a completely browser based tool that puts the ability to quickly create forms and lists into the hands of your users.

Users can create Volt applications from scratch, import data from a spreadsheet, or even begin from an existing template. Templates are included out-of-the-box to help you get started with Domino Volt, and more are available online through our Volt Sandbox. The Volt Sandbox is a great place for your users to get started with Volt, and we have included many tutorials and lessons so that your users can get up to speed quickly on how to leverage more advanced functionality available within the system.

Volt also includes powerful Workflow capabilities so that your forms can be configured with workflow stages (eg: Draft -> Submit -> Review -> Complete), Roles to determine who should be notified of a workflow stage, and the actions they can take (eg: Submitter -> Manager Approve/Decline -> Finance Approve/Decline).

Volt can be extended to integrate with virtually any existing system and has been designed with extensibility in mind. Services in Volt can be configured to interact with your existing systems to Create, Read, Update, and Delete any information. As an example, one of your application developers might create a Service called "Get SAP Contact Information". They write the code that Volt uses to look up contact details from SAP based on an input (eg: a Name), and then return variables (Fields) which the service then supplies as output. A user (with no understanding of how to write this code) clicks on the "Name" field on their form, clicks on the "On Change" event, and chooses the "Get SAP Contact Information" service. They then choose the Service output variable, and map those to the Fields on their Form. The user publishes the Form, clicks in the "Name" field, types a name (which does a look-up from the "Get SAP Contact Information" service), choose the name from a list, and that contact's information is auto-magically inserted into the mapped fields.

For our existing Domino customers, Volt is a simple add-on to an existing Domino server - running at least Domino version 11.0.1. HCL have created a simple pricing structure for purchasing Domino Volt and existing customers can access Volt for as little as 10% of your last Notes Subscription and Support renewal rate.

For customers who are not currently licensed for Notes/Domino, we have also come up with a cost-effective per user/per month subscription based licence to enable you to easily deploy and leverage this powerful new capability.

And the BEST thing about Domino Volt: Once you have purchased a Volt licence there are no additional costs involved. You can create an unlimited number of applications, unlike online Low-Code platforms, there are no additional charges when you create a new app, and you can even create online forms that can be filled out and submitted by an unlimited number of external users.

HCL Domino Volt solves business problems quickly without having to rely on your IT department. Unlimited applications, forever, with no additional charges per application.

HCL Sametime Meetings 11.5 Trial


Being stuck in lockdown myself now for over 5 months, I have not had the opportunity to visit any of our customers or partners in person. Instead I have been leveraging the pre-release version of our upcoming HCL Sametime 11.5 meetings capability.

Sametime Meetings is intended to enhance your exiting on-premises collaboration environment by extending Voice, Video, and Screen-Sharing to your existing Notes/Domino, Connections, and Sametime Chat infrastructure. Sametime Meetings can also be implemented as a stand-alone meetings implementation hosted either on-premises, or on a private cloud.

I am already using an online meeting service, why would I be interested in Sametime Meetings?


Yes, there are a lot of online meeting services available. The main concerns that most business have about these services is how quickly costs can run out of control as more of your users create host accounts, and the level of security and privacy that the service offers.

You corporate data should belong to you, it should not be monitored by the provider, and it should be secure.

Enter Sametime Meetings.

Sametime Meetings can be installed either on-premises or on private cloud infrastructure. Sametime Meetings is cloud-native, which means it is easily deployed either on your own on-premises or private cloud Kubernetes infrastructure. It is designed to be robust, scalable, secure, and easy to install and maintain. HCL supplies Docker Container templates, which are deployed to your Kubernetes implementation, and configuration scripts enable you to quickly configure the system to connect to your existing Sametime Community server for chat, presence, and authentication purposes.

When combined with our existing HCL Sametime 11 persistent, multi-device, 1-1 and Group Chat, Sametime Meetings enables users to seamlessly transition from a chat conversation to a Voice/Video meeting with a single click.

Sametime Meetings will provide unlimited external guest access - if enabled - allowing you to extend your meetings to anyone outside of your organisation.

What is the Sametime Meetings 11.5 Trial?


Before we release the General Availability (GA) of Sametime 11.5 in December, 2020, HCL are offering Sametime Meetings on a trial basis for selected customers to deploy and use free-of-charge.

It is important to note that the Sametime Meetings Trial does not contain all of the functionality that will be available with the full GA release, however it is fully tested, certified, and supported by HCL Software.

You can leverage Sametime Meetings to quickly, easily, and securely connect to anyone inside (and even outside) of your organisation, and when the GA version is available in December you can continue to utilise Sametime Meetings after upgrading to the GA version using our special offer for existing customers.

Sametime Meetings 11.5 trial is now available from the HCL Software download portal, just get in touch with one of our friendly HCL Software Business Partners or HCL Product Specialists.


HCL Traveler for Microsoft Outlook


Every organisation has one of those people. Despite the fact that you've shown them how good Notes or Verse is, or that you've enabled all of the good stuff, or that they are integrated seamlessly into all of your corporate systems, that person just wants the basic functionality that Outlook provides. How do you give Outlook to them without throwing away your safe, reliable, scalable, easy to manage, and secure Domino environment?

Simple: HCL Traveler for Microsoft Outlook.

HCL Traveler - as part of our open client strategy - now provides seamless access to Domino Mail, Calendar, Contacts, To-Do's, Directory Lookup, and Free-Time scheduling; directly within the Microsoft Outlook client.

Now you do not have to 'throw away the baby with the bath-water', and get rid of Domino, just because someone in your organisation want's an alternative mail client.

It's simple to install and configure, and seamless to the rest of the users in your organisation. They won't even know that the sender of that message, or the person inviting them to a meeting, is using an alternative client to Notes or Verse.

HCL Traveler for Microsoft Outlook is a free entitlement for your existing Notes licences, and is available now on the HCL Software download portal.

HCL Safelinx


You now have a better understanding of some of the fantastic updates and new capabilities from HCL Digital Solutions, but you may be thinking:

Great, now how do I simply and securely provide my users with access to all of these applications?


HCL SafeLinx (formerly IBM Mobile Connect) provides remote users with secure web-based and client-based access to enterprise applications. Safelinx supports an extensive list of standard Internet Protocol (IP) and non-IP wireless bearer networks, server hardware and operating systems, and mobile security protocols. HCL SafeLinx enables remote users the flexibility to connect to the internal network from a range of devices, such as desktop, notebook, and mobile devices as well as operating systems.

With a Safelinx client installed on any mobile device or desktop operating system, users can directly access any application on your internal network utilising your choice of multiple robust authentication options (Radius, Secure ID, LDAP, Active Directory, Certificate) and Encryption (DES, Triple DES, RCS, AES, and FIPS 140-2certified).

Safelinx also includes powerful reverse-proxy and client-less VPN access through a browser on any device to browser based applications running behind your own firewall. Again, multiple authentication options are available to ensure security of access, including Two Factor Authentication (2FA), or Multi Factor Authentication (MFA). In addition, Safelinx allows Role or Group based access to enable you to configure which user can access individual internal applications.


As you can see from all of the above updates, we have certainly been very busy here at HCL Software.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like more information or a demonstration on any of the applications mentioned in this update.




The Alternate Reality, Episode 8: 10 year Anniversary of running Linux on my Desktop

Mat Newman  July 24 2020 18:25:09
Figure 1: Ubuntu Linux  

10 years ago today I made the switch to Linux as my primary OS, and I've never looked back.

Through 4 machines, I have imaged and restored the HDD to the new laptop (AND Edited/Resized partitions while doing so). I have never lost any data, seamlessly transferred between machines, and upgraded through 4 LTS releases without any hassles.

One of the things I love most about this platform (besides how stable it is, oh, and how flexible/customisable it is, oh, and how performant it is ... yeah there's lots to love 😉), is that I can choose when updates occur. And when those updates do happen it doesn't usually require a reboot - or excessive downtime - unless a major Kernel update occurs, which is not that frequently.

Have just rebooted my machine for the first time in 2 months, due to a kernel update. It took less than 20 seconds to restart. That's it. 20 seconds was my total down-time for a major system update, in addition to over a dozen installed apps having updates applied as well.

I am currently running Notes, Sametime, Safelinx, Domino Administrator (under WINE), WPS Office, 3 browsers (all with multiple Tabs/Windows), Terminal, Monitor, Wireshark, Remmina RDP, and a Domino server running in VMWare Workstation. My CPU is hovering around 10%, and I have 4.2 GB memory being utilised.

Compare that to the OS running on my corporate Thinkpad P53 beside me. It was down for 2 hours this morning while it downloaded and installed updates.

That machine is currently running Notes, Firefox, Powerpoint, and Safelinx. It too is hovering at around 10% CPU, BUT it's chewed up 8.7GB of Memory. #WTH? 8.7GB to run four apps?

Anyway ... back to the point of this post. 10 years ago today, a catastrophic BSOD completely borked my HDD. Windows Install couldn't recover the drive, and GParted couldn't recover the partition tables.

After a few moments contemplating a re-install, I thought to myself: "Bugger that, I'm done with Windows, why not try Linux?"

Having used Linux on servers at that point for a couple of years, and knowing how much faster and more reliable they were than Windows, I made the decision to install a Linux Desktop on my own machine.

My choice at the time was Ubuntu. It was simple to install straight off a bootable USB, and I had been playing with it anyway in a VM while testing some Notes apps to ensure compatibility with Linux.

So, a quick installation later, and another couple of hours restoring files from a backup I had taken the night before, I was up and running in my new system.

As I started poking under the hood of my new environment, I quickly came to appreciate just how flexible this system was. I want a Mac-style dock, "sudo apt-get install cairo-dock". Done. I want Windows to behave like this. Discovered Compiz. WOW! Rotating Screens, Multiple Desktops, special effects. The options seemed limitless. Wish I had a keyboard short-cut to ... Easy!

And the best thing - Performance!

The same machine only a day before had struggled at the thought of Notes, Office, and the 4 simultaneous VM's running to make a demo Domino/Connections/Sametime environment work. Linux hardly raised a sweat. THAT was what really impressed me.

Have I had any issues in the past 10 years? Sure ... there's been a couple of 'interesting' experiences. I'm sure a few of my friends here remember the Userblast presentation in 2012 that started late because I was still restoring my machine back to it's previous state when the session was supposed to start. 🤣😂  Scott Vrusho can testify to helping me diagnose and fix my Notes client after that session so that it worked with the system update. Turned out that the update removed a couple of libraries that were included in the Notes Depends file. After we removed them, everything worked fine.

A couple of minor hassles with device drivers, a couple of flaky app installs that caused issues with other apps, but nothing insurmountable. And once I discovered how to run apps in full debug mode, I quickly learned how to fix almost any issue myself, or at least to understand what was actually happening. That really is the beauty of Open Source.

Overall, I can say with confidence that my work-life has been greatly enhanced by the reliability, flexibility, and performance provided by working within a Linux Desktop.

Thanks Linux for 10 years of service.

I am looking forward to many more. 🤗💛

Happy 1st Birthday HCL Software

Mat Newman  July 1 2020 19:52:14
Happy Birthday HCL Software  

Happy 1st Birthday HCL Software

I cannot believe it was a year ago today - on the First of July, 2019 - that I walked into HCL’s office in Singapore with my friend and renowned guru Stephan Wissel (notessensei), as we became HCL Software’s first new employees in Asia Pacific.

I had been included in the transition from IBM to HCL Software as part of Project Sagan. Months earlier, I had been advised that I was “in-scope” and was part of the acquisition. Stephan had been hired by Jason Gary to run a new Development Lab in Manila, and he has since hired hundreds of new developers who work on HCL’s software applications.

For me, the first few weeks were incredibly daunting as I was almost single-handedly running the business in Asia Pacific while the reset of the team slowly came on board. We hired experts in the collaboration business, many of them my former colleagues from IBM. Like me, they all have years of experience in our brand, strong customer relationships, and were excited to continue their journey with our products.

EXCITED!

That’s one word for it 😀

Everyone - customers, partners, IBMers - had seen what HCL could do in the year prior with the incredible engagement that began with our world-wide Jams, and how those ideas literally went from Post-Its to Product in only a few months with the release of Domino 10.

With the acquisition by HCL, we all knew the products we know and love would receive the full attention they deserve, a breath of fresh air, and a commitment to innovation.

And WOW - has that happened.

Some of you joined us at our first HCL Software Factory Tour at our headquarters in Chelmsford, MA, USA. You heard from our leaders the commitment to the platform HCL was making. I will NEVER forget what Richard Jefts said during his introduction: "The shackles are off, it's all ours now, and we can do what we want!"

Just think about what has been achieved by our first Birthday. All new HCL branded versions of all of our software applications: Notes/Domino, Nomad, Verse, Sametime, Connections, Docs, Workflow, LEAP, SAP Connector, and Digital Experience. And all-new 1.0 launches of Domino Volt, and Safelinx (the product previously known as Lotus Mobile Connect). And that's just in the Digital Solutions portfolio. Our colleagues in Appscan, Bigfix, Commerce, and Unica have all experienced the same thing.

The response from our customers and partners has been nothing short of amazing. They can see our commitment to the platforms they know and love. The roadmap for our entire product portfolio has never been stronger. And it’s not just the products that have improved, the way we deal with our customers through our Customer Success Managers, and through Programmes such as Lab Advocacy, have completely changed the way we communicate and collaborate with our customers and partners.

And what has excited me even more are the customers that we didn’t even know we had who are re-investing in the platform. On Monday this week I received an enquiry from a customer who wanted to upgrade to the latest version of Notes/Domino, because they had seen all of the new features and functionality and wanted to take advantage of that. Their last licence purchase was in September 2004! (Now THAT is ROI!)

There is hardly a week that goes by that we have a situation like that, and when I talk to those customers the story is always the same. "We never paid any attention to it, because it sits in the corner and just runs. We never have any problems with it."

Yep. This stuff just works.

I am energised every day during meetings with our customers and partners as we discuss their business related issues, and how HCL Software can help them. I speak with our product managers, support, and developers all the time when faced with customer issues and I am never surprised when they respond: "Sure, we can do that." Nothing exemplifies that "can do" attitude more than last week, when a customer posted a question in a Facebook group, and within hours not only did that customer have the solution, it was fully documented on our web-site as a technote.

You have heard me say this many times over the past year: "I started with Lotus Notes Release 2, in 1992, and I have NEVER been as excited about our products as I am NOW!"

Happy 1st Birthday HCL Software.

And Thank You. (HUG) 🤗


How to Present in an online meeting like a CHAMPION

Mat Newman  May 14 2020 13:31:29
Have you ever attended an online meeting and heard the question from the presenter: "Can everyone see my screen?"

Today's very simple #TipOfTheDay: How to Present in an online meeting like a CHAMPION!



Enjoy!


30 Years of Notes-Domino

Mat Newman  November 27 2019 22:00:00
Figure 1: Notes Release 1  

30 Years ago today, a milestone in the Software industry was reached. Lotus Notes Release 1 Gold Build was compiled on the 27th of November, 1989. While the launch itself wasn't until a few days later on the 7th of December, it's still one of the dates I always consider Notes' Birthday.

Many people ask: What has made this venerable piece of software last 30 years?

Consider this:
  • Notes was a NoSQL database, before NoSQL raised to popularity,
  • Notes security model is virtually unsurpassed, and trusted by organisations all over the world that heavily rely on that fact,
  • Notes had PKI before PKI gained popularity as the security model utilised by the WWW,
  • Notes has kept up with emerging standards, and is able to integrate with virtually any system,
  • Notes Replication technology has provided organisations with distributed environments the ability to synchronise information, regardless of the number of locations, or the availability of high-bandwidth network connections,
  • The Notes Server - renamed Domino in 1996 - has proven itself to be highly reliable, resilient, and extremely scalable,
  • The architecture of Notes, with the separation of the Software and Data layer, means an upgrade of the software has virtually no impact on that underlying data the software accesses and manages, ie: No Data Migrations - EVER! (yes, looking at you, Exchange and Sharepoint Admins ... ),
  • Domino's ability - due to it's incredible architecture - to be Partitioned, Clustered, and even Containerised, has provided high fault tolerance and virtually Zero (0) downtime in most implementations,
  • An application built in Notes Release 1, will work with the latest upcoming release of Notes and Domino Version 11 (more  on that later!), providing amazing Return On Investment (ROI)!
  • Notes was Rapid Application Development (RAD), before RAD was even a thing.

And of course, one of my favourite things about Notes; many organisations purchased Notes for it's Applications capability, and got enterprise grade Mail, Calendaring, and Scheduling - Free Of Charge!

In honour of Notes' 30th Birthday, today I decided to show how amazing that ROI provided by the platform is, by creating an application in Notes Release 1, Accessing that same application in the upcoming Notes Version 11 release, and then modernising that app with just a couple of clicks. Of course, it wouldn't do to finish there - we'll then access that 30 year old Database on an iPad - WITH NO FURTHER DESIGN CHANGES NECESSARY - to demonstrate how even a 30 year old App can now be accessed on a Mobile device.

Here we go!

File -> New, choose a template, give it a file name, and OK
Figure 2; New Database  

As usual, the first thing one sees is the Database About document, describing what functionality and features the selected template provides. In this case I have used a Discussion Template, think any online forum ever created.
Figure 3; About Document  

Accessing the design to make modification to the application was simple, Design -> Forms/Views/etc
Figure 4; Design  

In this case, I am going to modify the default Main Topic form, to change it's colour and add a new field
Figure 5; Select Element  

The Main Topic form, before modifications
Figure 6; New Form  

Accessing the Form Properties
Figure 7; Form Properties  

Creating a new field, and setting it's type, and values
Figure 8; New Field  

Modifying Formulas, in this instance to dynamically compute the Title of the Form
Figure 9; Fields and Formulas  

Close the designer, so we can use the modified Form to create a new entry
Figure 10; No Data  

Compose -> Main Topic (Ahhhh ... NOW you know why that formula is @Command([Compose';"":"";"Main Topic"))
Figure 11; Compose  

Our Modified form, with the new Security field and some data entered.
Figure 12; Document  

Ok, so that was pretty simple, we created a database, modified a Form to add a new field, and then created a new Note (document!). So let's do the time warp, and demonstrate how that application we developed 30 years ago today (courtesy of our Way-Back machine) is still providing ROI 30 years later in the latest release of Notes, the upcoming Notes Version 11.

Let's Just check, shall we ... HCL Notes 11 - Check!
Figure 13; Notes 11  

Database About Document, since we've opened it for the first time on this client.
Figure 14; About  

Content Complete, No Changes required ... Hmmmm, does look a little dated though, doesn't it?
Figure 15; About  

How about we put a Version 11 fresh face on this 30 year old app, Workspace -> Application -> Replace Design
Figure 16; About  

Choose the brand new Version 11 Discussion Template
Figure 17; About  

Yes, of course we want to Update it!
Figure 18; About  

Voila! A brand new look and feel for our database, No Data Migration Required, and a 30 Year old Notes application ready for the modern world!
Figure 19; About  

And Now - How about we take that 30 year old database and access it on a Mobile device (in this case an iPad)


Of course - open in Nomad for iPad for the first time, and we get the about document
Figure 20; About  

Standard Notes Database layout translates directly to the iPad
Figure 21; Database  

And seamless Document rendering
Figure 21; Database  

(Hat Tip to Erik Schwalb for the Nomad Screen-Shots)

How cool is it that I was an iPad developer, decades before an iPad was even invented!


There are many things I love about Notes, and have done for the 27 years that I have been working with the application. As we approach a new era, and the fourth re-branding of the product:
  • 1989 - Lotus Notes Release 1
  • 2003 - IBM Lotus Notes Version 6
  • 2013 - IBM Notes Version 9
  • 2019 - HCL Notes Version 11

I can honestly say that I have never been as excited about the future of HCL Notes and Domino than I am right now.

Happy Birthday Notes, here's to another 30 years!

So what's your favourite Notes and Domino feature or memory over the past 30 years?

Would love to hear from you in the comments!

iPad Air 2 and iPadOS 13.1.2 - Cautionary Note

Mat Newman  October 14 2019 02:07:51
Figure 1: The New Notes 10.0.1    
Image courtesy of arsTechnica

I don't often write about Apple stuff, but an extremely unpleasant situation arose for me over the weekend that caused a significant amount of angst and an unnecessary amount of time trying to resolve.

It all began on Sunday morning when I woke to a nice little notice on my Apple iPad Air 2 that a new update had been automatically downloaded and installed and that I was now running iPadOS 13.1.2.

"Nice" - mused I, with a thoughtful smile - Now, what is iPadOS 13.1.2, and what new features does it hold for me?

Well, I couldn't find those details, because my iPad wouldn't connect to my WiFi.

Several prompts for my WiFi password had me bemused, as I have had the same complex password on my Hot-Spot for years.

And then I started receiving several prompts from Apps on my iPad that had background updates enabled, which also had passwords associated with them (the most obvious being my corporate and private email Apps).

Several attempts - at again - entering the correct password left me wondering what on earth was going on.

And then I discovered that every app on my device that required a password would instantly crash when I attempted to open them. Unfortunately, this also included the installed Safari and Chrome browsers.

Uh ... OH!

Very quickly searching for symptoms on the internet, I came across this article on the Apple forum, describing exactly the symptoms that I was suffering.

Some more research, and I suspected that the root cause of this issue had something to do with the iOS password manager.

The article I referenced above mentioned connecting to an open WiFi network, and then installing the iPadOS 13.2 beta could possibly resolve my issue.

So I configured my Phone as an open WiFi, and managed to successfully connect to that without a password.

All good so far.

Now, attempt to open either of the Browser Apps installed on my device to proceed to step 2, access the Apple Beta Site, and configure my iPad for the beta.

Nope!

Neither of my installed Browsers would start (instantly crashing!), and I could not access the App Store to download and install an alternative.

If you're wondering about that weird Social Media post I made yesterday, with a link to the Apple beta site - well, now you know. I managed to open a couple of Apps that have their own embedded browser, but unfortunately; I was able to access the Apple Beta sites, but when I got to the step that required me to download the Apple Settings configuration profile, it failed with a "File Not Recognised" error. Apparently Apps with embedded browsers don't recognise iOS configuration profile links. :-(

All of the above had taken several hours at this point, and I was feeling rather frustrated ... when a little bit of MAGIC occurred!

I received an update in my "Notification Centre" telling me that iPadOS 13.1.2 had been installed, and I should tap it to see what was new.

Feeling rather unhappy at this point, I did exactly that, and swiped through the few pages describing the new features. The MAGIC happened on the last of these screens, which included a button to "Find out More", which I dutifully tapped, and it opened Safari - much to my surprise - and took me to the Apple iOS 13.1.2 page (remember, attempting to access Safari to this point had resulted in an immediate crash!).

I IMMEDIATELY navigated to the Apple iPadOS beta page, registered, successfully downloaded the Settings Profile, and after a few minutes, was able to access the software updates and download the 13.2 Beta.

A little while later, my iPad restarted, and after entering a few passwords again, I was successfully up and running.

So, if you have an iPad Air 2, and have installed iPadOS 13.1.2 with the same problems that I encountered, I hope this little guide helps get you back up and running without a complete wipe and re-install of your device.








HCL Software Portal Launched for Customers and Partners

Mat Newman  July 2 2019 15:46:02
Figure 1: HCL Software Portal Features

Earlier today, HCL Software (the newly announced division of HCL Technologies) was launched in a press release formally announcing that HCL had completed the purchase of the IBM software announced late last year.

As part of this new entity, today HCL Software launched their new portal (Built on PORTAL and DOMINO!), which provides Customers and Partners a one-stop site where they can receive product information, learn about purchasing software, gain support, connect with partners, and get contact information relevant to their requirements.

One of the things I love about the Portal is the introduction video by Raj Iyer, VP of Product Management for HCL Software, where he outlines the guiding principles and values that HCL are utilising:

DELIGHT

Customer-driven roadmaps, transparent development, joint innovation

INTEGRATE

Rest APIs, 3rd party integration, partner-led product extensions

INNOVATION

Practical innovation powered by technologies like machine learning and analytics

CURRENCY

Market currency for platforms, languages and methodologies

MODERNIZATION

User experience, Hybrid on-premises/cloud offerings

CONSUMABILITY

Containerised deployment, lower TCO, simplify offerings

I especially like Raj's closing quote: "We at HCL truly believe the the best days of these products lie ahead of us, and with your support and commitment, we can translate that belief into reality."

We are absolutely ready to engage with you to help you better understand, utilise and help us plan the future of our portfolio.

Whether you are a Customer, or Partner, please sign up on our new Welcome Portal Page: http://bit.ly/mlnHCLw3  

Figure 2: HCL Software Portal Features

Thank you IBM. So Long, and thanks for all the fish

Mat Newman  June 30 2019 23:14:39
Figure 1:It's Been GREAT

I will never forget the most memorable moments that occurred at the conference formerly known as Lotusphere. 2 of them, especially, had a huge impact on my life and my career. On the morning of the 30th of January, 2013, I was approached by Jason Hatch, the then CTP leader for Asia Pacific (AP), with a proposition. He needed to replace Stephan Wissel in the ASEAN CTP role, since Stephan was being promoted to an AP role, and he wanted me to take over from him. I was highly honoured that he considered me a suitable replacement for such a legend in the Notes/Domino Technical community. Later that same evening I was approached separately by Brian Cheng the ASEAN ICS BUE (you remember him as one of the OGS Demo Gods), who asked me if I would like to be responsible for Sales of Notes/Domino for ASEAN. We had a laugh when I told him I had already been offered the CTP Leaders Role, and had quite a discussion on whether me joining IBM in either a Sales or Technical role could have a bigger impact in the region. Brian convinced me that I should lead the sales team, because he thought that injecting that team with a little bit of yellow would have a greater effect. In the end, it didn't matter, because I worked so closely with both the Sales and Technical team, sharing my passion, experience and enthusiasm for the products I loved working with so much.

So, after 18 years working as a Business Partner, and a couple of miss-steps due to internal processes, I officially joined IBM on the 29th of July, 2013. For the first time I was no longer a small-business person, I got to experience corporate life first hand, and immediately came to really understand and appreciate the power behind those three little letters on my Business Card. The week before, I had been handing over my largest customer in Australia, my first week at IBM I was introduced to some of the largest corporations in Asia. I wasn't really doing anything different, I spoke the same way, had the same conversations, but the power that "IBM" had in opening doors, and the credibility it gave me was truly awe-inspiring.

My mantra was simple: Solve Problems, and Make Happy Customers.

And we did. Within my first 3 years the team had doubled the paid install base for Notes/Domino in the region, and the business was booming. This, happily, caught the attention of the new World Wide Sales Leader, Sean Flynn, who told me (yes, literally told me, it wasn't a request, or an offer, it was an order!) that I would be joining the World-Wide team to help with the re-invigoration of the platform globally, with myself having a specific focus on AP, GCG, and Japan. Obviously, this was another offer (not that I had any choice) that I could not refuse!

I started in my WW role at the beginning of what would become referred to as "The Year of Yellow". Everyone knows how that turned out. We engaged with the community, our Customers, and Business Partners in a way that had not been seen for years. We engaged with them through the Jams, energised all with a new roadmap, and excited everyone with the release of Version 10. The excitement around what we were doing through our partnership with HCL thrilled the faithful, and made many sceptics rethink their attitude and strategy towards our fantastic products. So many customers not only decided to stick with us, many of them actually came back!

From a career perspective, being a member of the "inner circle" energised me in a way that I have never felt before. Being able to contribute to decisions being made regarding our products in areas that included Offering Management, Product Direction, and Marketing, was truly exhilarating, made me so very proud to be an IBMer, and personally satisfied to have some input into the future of the products that I know and care about so deeply. Thank you Glenn, Dawn, Andrew, Kim, Hissan, Kathryn, Luis, Marco, Marion, Mike, Uffe, Carol, Rado, and Alan for your passion, commitment, and enthusiasm. What an incredible team to be a member of!

Of course, the year (2018) was punctuated with a single announcement. HCL, our IP partner, made an offer to purchase the Collaboration Solutions brand from IBM. Initially, I was concerned due to my appreciation of the power that the IBM brand has with regard to customers (my early IBM experience), but this immediately changed to optimism for the long term future of our portfolio; given the investment HCL had made during the IP partnership, and all of the stories from my ex-colleagues regarding their lives "on the other side".

To be told earlier this year that I was "In Scope, and affected by the acquisition" gave me a huge sigh of relief.

A few days ago, I received my official separation letter from IBM, informing me that today, Sunday, the 30th June, will be my final day at IBM. So, after 5 years, 11 months, and 1 day, I will no longer be an IBMer. To be associated with an organisation that has such powerful brand recognition, offers so many opportunities, and is so open and inclusive in it's corporate culture, THAT is something that I will miss being a part of.

And now. So many of you within the community have already shared that they have also received the notification (as a Customer, business partner, or ISV) that tomorrow, the 1st of July, 2019, is a "whole new day"!

I am not going far (literally just down the block from the MBFC office in Singapore). Tomorrow I start in a new role - Director of HCL Digital Solutions, Asia Pacific - and will continue to work with the products I began using all the way back in 1992.

Along with so many others that you all respect, I continue to be part of the leadership team that has delivered on version 10, and will continue this vision far into the future.

I hope to catch up with you at the HCL Factory tour in Chelmsford, MA, USA, in a just a few short weeks. If not. All of my contact details are on this blog.

As so many have said before me in the last few weeks, parting is such sweet sorrow.

So long, IBM, and thanks for all the fish.

Sametime Limited Use Version 10 ... What’s the T ’sis?

Mat Newman  June 18 2019 22:13:17
Figure 1: Sametime 10 NOW

By now, you are sure to have heard the news. Sametime Limited Use Version 10, announced at the end of May, is available for download on passport advantage. Customers with current entitlements to Notes/iNotes/Verse can download this new version of Sametime and deploy it to their users.

I have seen a few questions posted on social media asking exactly what "Sametime Limited Use" is, what benefits it provides, and how they can implement it within their organisation.

Hopefully I can answer a few of these questions here, and help clear up the confusion about this latest Sametime version.

1. Why "Limited Release"?

Ok. This is a simple one.

Sametime 10 is NOT a full release of the Sametime product suite (hence "Limited Release"). Sametime is a complete product set that provides Chat/Presence, Voice/Video communications, and Meeting Capabilities. The intention, according to the current IBM/HCL teams working on the products, is to sync-up the product version numbers later this year with full releases of Notes/Domino/Sametime with the same version number, with the intention into the future to keep these in sync, similar to IBM's vision for the portfolio announced a few years ago.

Ensuring that the release numbers synchronise simplifies deployment, and makes it easier for customers to identify which versions of products that integrate tightly with one another should be deployed, and that the products feature-sets are compatible.

At it's core, Sametime Limited Use version 10 provides the core capabilities enabled within the Chat/Presence component of Sametime, and aligns with the basic Sametime entitlements provided as part of a Client Access Licence (CAL) previously referred to as "Sametime Entry".

"Sametime Entry" is the basic entitlement that allows administrators to deploy a basic Sametime infrastructure, with the added benefit that the Entry entitlement provided from Version 10 of a Notes CAL includes Mobile App Access, FREE, for the first time.

So the components of the Sametime Limited Use Version 10 solution are:
  • Sametime Community Server (Providing Chat and Presence Capabilities), and
  • Sametime Proxy Server (Providing Browser and Mobile access to the Community Server)

In addition, Sametime 10 Limited Use NOW includes multi-device, persistent chat. To enable this feature to function completely, there is an additional component required to ensure a server-side storage capability, so that devices that are not logged in to the server (the multiple-devices, combined with persistent chat capability) can pick up chat's that they missed while not logged in. To implement this new functionality an additional component is required to be installed - a Mongo database instance - to store the server-side chats.

So, if you have a Sametime Communicate, or Sametime Complete Version 9 environment, with their associated full entitlements, implementing the new Sametime 10 Community Server, Sametime 10 Proxy Server, and the new Mongo component, your existing Sametime 9 Communicate and Complete environments will ALSO benefit from these new capabilities.

Note: You do need to be on existing Subscription and Support to be able to download those updated components of Sametime.

2. How long will you need to maintain Mongo alongside Sametime to store server-side chat history?

It is the stated intention of IBM/HCL that the Mongo component will be replaced with version 11 (in a few short months) and that Domino itself will be the server-side history store moving forward.

It has also been stated that there will be a utility to migrate the data from Mongo to Domino at the time of release.

3. What is "Multi-device, Persistent Chat"?

You've used public Chat Apps, right? You've hear of - or even used - Whatsapp, Line, Viber, Wechat, Telegram, Facetime, Messenger, QQ, BBM, etc ... and etc ... and etc ...

All of those apps provide some form of "persistence", that is, the ability to receive messages whether connected to the network, or not. For example, when you do not have a network connection (either out of range, or actually following the instructions of your friendly air-crew and switching to Flight-Mode before take off), the moment you connect back to the network, your device starts retrieving the messages that were sent to you directly - or to a group you are a member of - since your last connection.

What many of these public apps lack is a multi-device capability.

You know the scenario. You get a new phone, you do the data transfer, and hopefully all of your recent Whatsapp messages (including those received since you started the transfer) appear on your new device; not your old one.

THAT is one of the issues solved with Sametime 10 Multi-Device, Persistent Chat.

You are no longer limited to using ONLY one device with that chat app at any one time.

You can start an individual (or Group) chat on your laptop, walk away from your desk, and the mobile device of your choice in your pocket buzzes with a notification of a reply to that chat. You reply to that message on your mobile device, pick up your coffee, go back to your desk, where you see a notification on your laptop (as well as another buzz in your pocket) that your post has been replied to.

That is Multi-device, Persistent Chat.

You are no longer tied to only one app, on one device at any one time, logged into a service. Any device that you use, Laptop, Tablet, Mobile (or multiple mobile) devices are all now capable of participating within a chat, and regardless of the device, as long as you connect to the server  - within your Administrators chosen chat history limits - those devices will ALL be up to date.

COOL, Right!

4. Why is this targeted initially as an "on-Premises" release?

Quite simply, many organisations operate in heavily regulated environments, and whether that relates to data privacy, data location or to put it bluntly, the ability to share information in an unregulated online forum, there is a desperate concern regarding the sharing of PI (Personally Identifiable - see this wired GDPR article, as an example) or confidential information via a public medium. My own current employer has very strict corporate guidelines regarding discussing confidential information via "Public Chat Apps'.

If you don't fully understand the vulnerability of information shared via "Public Chat Apps", read their terms of service. You know, the one's you just press/click "Accept" on, without reading, when a new version of the app is downloaded from the respective App Store. Actually read it next time. Then be concerned. No be afraid. Be very VERY afraid!

I have many, many customers who have been screaming for an on-premises alternative to Public chat apps for years. This release of Sametime enables those customers to safely and securely deploy a Chat app that fulfils the basic requirements of those that are publically available, that gives their employees the ability to securely and privately discuss company and customer information, within the bounds of their corporate "circle of trust".

5. Can my Administrators, and internal Auditors regulate, investigate and protect this information?

Absolutely!

One of the dangers of public chat apps is when an employee leaves an organisation and still has access to a Chat Group containing confidential or PI information. With Sametime 10, an Administrator can wipe that Apps information from the device (similar to controls available currently with Verse and Connections Mobile apps).

Additionally, with the introduction of server-side history, auditors and regulators have access to information for regulatory and compliance purposes that is simply not available with public chat services.

6. What "Features" are available with the different versions of Sametime?

This is a simple one, and easily cross-referenced with the latest Sametime roadmap update summaries.

Figure 2: Sametime capabilities:
Figure 1: Sametime 10 NOW

7. How do I deploy and install Sametime 10

All of the information required to install, configure and administer Sametime 10 has now been made available via this tech note. it includes download information on Passport Advantage, Pre-requisites and Administration links for version 10.

Hope this helps!

Enjoy Sametime 10!







Mat Newman

THE Notes (formerly IBM/Lotus Notes) Guy. Productivity Guru. Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. Former IBMer. HCLite. Views are my own.

#GetProductive #GetHCLNotes

Mat Newman




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