Oct. 24th DCLUG: Ytria and Teamstudio Admin/Dev Toolfest Doubleheader

09/20/2013

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DCLUG MeetupPlease join the DC Lotus User Group October 24th to welcome both Ytria and Teamstudio to Washington (well, Tysons Corner actually). Well known for their sanity preserving admin and developer tools prized by productive and heroic Lotus professionals for many years, both vendors will be in town for our first ever *morning* DCLUG event. In addition to showing off their latest wares in back to back sessions, they will stick around for a lunchtime "Stump the LUG" session where we invite you to share your own technical pain points with the entire group and to discuss how you can address them (perhaps with tools you didn't know you needed). 

For more information and to RSVP for this event, visit our Meetup page.

Mark Roden to Headline DCLUG Meeting March 20th, 2013

03/12/2013

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DCLUG MeetupI can't think of a better reason to break blog silence than to announce the opening of a new chapter for DCLUG. In case you've been living under a rock for the last year (or like in my case had a new baby), you might have missed the many great articles that our adopted son Mark has been writing over on his Xomino.com blog. Well, Mark is also fresh off his debut at Lotusphere, er, IBMConnect this past January, where he covered the topic of JQuery in XPages, and he is going to bring some of that experience to Washington DC later this month. And I should mention that Mark is actually local to DC (don't let the British accent fool you) and is working to organize more DCLUG events in the months ahead. If there is a topic you want covered, let him know!

For all details check out his blog post here.

DCLUG Reboot - Join Us April 18th for Lunch (and Apps!)

04/09/2012

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DCLUG MeetupIf you are in or near Washington DC next Wednesday (April 18th) around lunchtime, the DC Lotus User Group (aka DC Lotus Professionals) is teaming up with LotusUserGroup.org to host what amounts to a "lunch 'n' learn" session you might want to check out. I will actually be the featured speaker and will be putting my own spin on a session originally put together by Bruce Elgort and Niklas Heidloff at Lotusphere this past January called "Apps, Apps, and More Apps: Meet the Very Best Open Source Apps from OpenNTF".

For all the details of what, where, and when check out DC Lotus Professionals on Meetup.com. As this is the first DCLUG event in over a year, we will also be looking to bring on new members, including those with an interest in taking on leadership and organizing roles within the group. With both LotusUserGroup.org and IBM ramping up support for local user groups, this is a great time to get involved. Don't be shy!

IMPORTANT: You will need to register on our Meetup.com site in order to attend. Hope to see you there!

Is There Really a Shortage of Lotus Notes Developers? Take the Census!

05/11/2011

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Interesting year we're having, eh? Perhaps a bit more than the usual amount of consternation over the future of, well, everything Yellow. Amidst all the hubbub I thought I'd break blog silence to address one specific issue that it seems has been at least a contributing factor in IT decisions to move away from Notes as an application platform. I also set up a census/survey related to this question, but more on that below...

I was inspired to write this post after Lotus Developer and XPage Guru David Leedy last month sparked a vibrant conversation with his post Company might leave Notes App Dev (but not email) due to lack of developers about his former employer in Lebanon, PA. The issue at hand is the apparent shortage of Lotus Notes/Domino development talent and how that has caused this company to consider a complete shift away from Domino apps. That Lebanon is a relatively small market probably makes finding any kind of IT talent a bit harder than many places, but I've heard similar complaints from IT managers in big cities as well.

I don't know about you, but every time I hear someone cite a Lotus talent shortage for why it makes sense to move away from Domino (typically to Sharepoint /.NET), I struggle to reconcile that perception with the frequent complaints from fellow Lotus developers about the shortage of jobs. Clearly there is a disconnect somewhere, and I have an idea about its cause.  What I see here is a "vicious circle" meets "chicken and egg" problem, with a sizable pool of "hidden" Lotus talent sitting on the job search sidelines, too afraid (if they have a job) or too discouraged (whether they have a job or not, whether doing Lotus development or not) to post their resume/CV for potential (or current) employers to see. Employers in turn conclude there is a talent shortage and give up looking to instead pursue a new platform strategy.

It is worth noting that there is also a bit of a false equivalence when comparing the number of available Lotus Notes developers (and more so administrators) to the number focused on Sharepoint/.Net/ SQL/ IIS. Frankly, you need fewer bodies to maintain and develop for the Lotus platform (Feel free to offer specific examples or counter-examples in the comments). And considering how easy it can be to work remotely on Domino administrative and development tasks (even offline - thank you local replication!), Notes shops need not limit themselves to local talent.. Also, as was pointed out in the comments on David's post, you can grow your own developers by *training* them, and there is a ton of XPages training material out now. These points are. sadly, lost on many IT decision makers.

It's hard to dispute that Lotus Notes/Domino is struggling in the market when even IBM are actively downplaying the Lotus brand. It's very easy to rationalize an application platform shift in the current climate, but on this one point about a "talent shortage" I am extremely skeptical. Is there a genuine Lotus talent shortage?

I'd like to hear from you!

I would also like to invite you and any current or former Lotus Developer friends you know to respond to a brief Lotus Developer "Census" (i.e. survey) I set up to validate my "hidden talent" theory. The results of the survey will be shared publicly, but any personal contact info you choose to provide will be seen only by myself. I would encourage you to include your name and email though, as I am hoping this survey will prove a valuable recruiting tool going forward (especially for those of you who are unhappy or underutilized). Your contact information will also allow me to contact you to follow up on any interesting comments you may offer as part of your survey responses. I'm hoping this will be a learning experience for all of us. Thank you for responding and for helping spread the word.

Please Click Here to Take Part in the Lotus Developer Census

Thank You to Eric Mack and Our IBM Hosts for a Great DC Lotus Professional Meetup

11/20/2010

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As a follow up to last week's terrific DC Lotus Professionals meetup, I want to extend a few well deserved Thank Yous. The first goes out to our featured guest Eric Mack of GTD/eProductivity fame for imparting his invaluable insights and practical tips on increasing our personal productivity. The group was enjoying Eric's presentation and the accompanying conversation so much that we blew right through our 5PM end time because no one in the room felt like stopping. That should tell you something. I have to say that I have been inspired to take the next steps and start applying GTD principles to my daily routine using Eric's eProductivity Notes template. You'll probably see an up-tick in blogging here as that process unfolds. There are two other group members who already use the template and report great results, so I am especially looking forward to following their example.

The second thank you goes out to IBM for arranging to host our meetup in their brand new Washington DC offices. Maurice Cogdell and Jeanette Coury really came through for us in the face of a challenging timetable, especially considering IBM has only been in their new office for a couple weeks.. The conference and training room they have there is state of the art and very well designed. It is large enough to accommodate the much larger groups we hope to see attend future meetups, but has a coziness that works well with smaller crowds too.

I would also like to apologize to any folks out there who didn't see the meetup announcements in time to attend. As mentioned above it took some extra work to get our meeting location confirmed, so that meant a very short turnaround to promote the event. If you haven't already, please register on our Meetup site so you are always informed about upcoming plans.

And finally, Eric would like me to remind those who did attend last week that he is offering you a free eProductivity Reference Database with GTD Materials. If you haven't already made arrangements with Eric and want to avail of this offer feel free to contact him directly. Two lucky attendees also received a full Pro & Premier license of eProductivity in the drawing we held during the meetup.

We are now planning our next meetup for January and are looking for ideas on speakers and/or topics. I would encourage you to join our Meetup Group and use the site's idea features to make suggestions.

Simple Idea to make Grouped Tabs in Notes Client Really Shine

11/18/2010

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If you like the way the Windows 7 task bar works then you'll really like this idea to put some polish on a cool but not quite perfect feature of the Notes client. I'm talking about the option to group multiple windows from the same application under a single tab, as discussed recently by Bob Balfe in this blog post. Here's what you get now...

A picture named M2

...but if you want to make it better, go vote and add comments if you have additional thoughts:

Improve "Group documents from each application on a tab" usability

Keywords: Group documents from each application on a tab

DC Lotus Professionals Meetup Featuring GTD Guru Eric Mack - Nov 17th

11/09/2010

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DCLUG MeetupAnnouncing a new Meetup for DC Lotus Professionals (aka DCLUG)!

What: GTD Expert Eric Mack on Getting Things Done with Lotus Software

When: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 3:00 PM

Where: IBM Office
600 14th Street NW Room 356
Washington, DC 20005
Map

NOTE: You must RSVP by Monday morning, Nov 15th, because of IBM's building security requirements. Sorry for the short notice but our IBM hosts just relocated their offices.

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Join the conversation Wednesday, November 17th 3-5PM when well-known GTD expert Eric Mack will show us how we can use Lotus Software coupled with proven best practices to become more productive and get things done!

Most people think of Lotus Notes as an organizational tool. That’s the way it’s marketed and it’s often the way organizations deploy it – as a top down solution. Seldom do you hear about Notes being used for personal productivity or knowledge management. As a consequence, users see Notes as a company system and not “their” tool. Lotus knows when tools become personal, productivity increases, and when personal productivity increases so does the productivity of the workgroup and the organization.

All Attendees will receive a free eProductivity reference application with GTD and other resources.

There will also be a drawing for free software licenses and subscriptions - bring your business cards!

Eric Mack, MKM, is an expert in personal productivity and knowledge management. A Notes user since version 2, he is also the creator of the popular eProductivity application for Lotus Notes which brings the best practices of David Allen's "Getting Things Done", or GTD methodology, inside of Lotus Software.

We look forward to seeing you there!

RSVP to this Meetup

Join the Meetup Group

Whether or not you can attend next week's DC Lotus Professionals Meetup, I strongly encourage you to RSVP anyway and join the DC Lotus Professionals Meetup group so you can easily stay informed about future local Lotus events.


PlanetLotus Hack and the Danger of Private Clouds - Lessons from Ground Level

11/09/2010

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The narrowly averted collapse of PlanetLotus this past weekend helped crystalize my thinking on the whole issue of cloud computing, or rather the risks therein...

First of all, Yancy, thank you. Secondly, thank you again.

Thirdly, this strikes me as yet another example of the dangers of relying on the "cloud". Specifically, privately run clouds. Private entities have various motives for maintaining some service (online or otherwise), be it profit or altruism or simple enjoyment. The dangerous part comes when a specific service reaches a point where a significant community of people come to depend on it heavily, to the extent the very health of that community will be impacted by its demise. When something that important is held together by a single individual, we are bound to have problems.

We've seen this before, on a much grander scale and right here at ground level, but the idea is the same. A century ago many American cities were blessed with pretty good public transportation networks in the form of streetcars. These services were integral to the health and vibrancy of the urban communities they served. They were largely if not completely privately run. After WWII, as cars and suburbs diminished the ability of these companies to run their services profitably, they pretty much all disappeared before the communities that depended on them figured out what they had lost. The basic mistake these communities made was not to realize that *public* services cannot be trusted to private companies, at least not over the long term. Some manner of public subsidy is sometimes a required, and sensible, measure to ensure those essential services are maintained. This particular failure helped ensure decades of urban blight across many American cities that fractured those communities in too many ways to cover here.

How this lesson applies here or more generally to other, much bigger, private clouds (I'm talkin' to you Gmail, Facebook, Yahoo Groups, Flickr, et al.) is a question that obviously concerns me. It should probably concern everyone. Unless that is you don't care what happens to your stuff in 5, 10, or 50 years.

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