Jan 30, 2009

Motivating minds (The Economist Jan 24th - 30th, 2008)

A recent study on why people procrastinate produced some interesting results, specifically (emphasis added by me):

...those who were presented with concrete tasks and information responded more promptly than those who were asked to think in an abstract way.

I suppose this all makes intuitive sense but applying these principals in our work is, well, usually left till later on.

Did You Know 3.0?

You decide.

Jan 22, 2009

Network World: Notes Traveler iPhone Support

Good news for iPhone and Windows Mobile users who also use Notes Mail. John Fontana at Network World scooped this on Monday

IBM/Lotus for the first time will provide users of the iPhone -- and other mobile devices that support ActiveSync -- with real-time access to their e-mail, calendars and contacts.

...and now the Press Release is out.

In related news, which some might think this is old news (as old as two weeks ago), the recently released Notes/Domino 8.5 came with a revamped iNotes interface. If you haven't seen the new iNotes 8.5 interface, with it's Lite and Ultralite versions, you might want to take another look. iNotes provides near functional parity with the Notes 8.5 desktop mail client. A few things are missing and they still need to enhance their widget support (only the web-page widget is supported today) but the AJAX-based interface is modern, fast, and very clean. iNotes Ultralite is perfect for mobile devices and dovetails very nicely with this announcement for ActiveSync support. IBM also announced at Lotusphere 2009 that it was planning Samtime support on the iPhone as well (due later this year). Soon Mac users with iPhones can work with their Notes/Domino mail in the same comfort as BlackBerry users.

Lotus Notes/iPhone users to get their wish: real-time e-mail access

Jan 19, 2009

Aliens at the ‘Sphere

A visit from Beldar Conehead and 3 Blue Men started off the morning events at the Lotusphere 2009 Opening General Session. Then down to business, or at least the business of IBM Lotus. The big news items include:

  • RIM support of most things Lotus, including, Connections, Quickr, Symphony (Docs for now), and XPages.
  • The new iNotes interface is very Web 2.0-y and didn’t look like a browser app.
  • Bluehouse has a new name: LotusLive. The first of the product/feature bundles, Engage, includes SaaS-based comms and collaboration applications.
  • Sametime integrated telephony is handy allowing group calls (with video), switching phones mid-conversation, availability detection based on calendar entries and user created rules, and supports different working modes.
  • XPages are cool, although no deep demos of them.
  • “Atlantic” is planned for released as Alloy in March (or thereabouts).
  • Mashups are getting easier to use and understand.

Oh, gosh, and a whole bunch more. I have to say the one thing that stuck out for me was the iNotes interface. It didn’t get much airplay in the OGS so I’m planning to explore more in the showroom this week (and soon at my own job). There were plenty of demos but attendees really only got a whiff of new functionality areas. The deep dives are being saved for the 3 other “mini-keynotes” being held throughout the week. I will report more as events unfold.

Jan 18, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane - Jan 17

As I jet across the lower half of the US I’m studying the slide decks from the Lotussphere 09 (LS09) Analyst pre-briefs (yes, more than one) that were held late this week. There’s quite a bit of content in the presentations, so LS09 attendees be prepared for an information-packed OGS. No need for spoiler alerts, I’m not giving up anything until IBM says it’s OK (that would be Monday January 19th).

My studying is going to include building matrices of products and offerings. I tend to do that the Sunday of LS - it gets mind mind into some sort of data mapping (after all I started out as an application programmer), gap finding (gapware), and gauging my (and maybe Lotus’) level of confusion/understanding. I also need to go to the Internet and brush up on a few things before I go into briefings. Lastly, I’ll probably hold a few strategic talks with a few trusted cohorts to compare our pre-game notes and thoughts. Such is the life of a research analyst.

The big news leading up to LS09 IBM’s announcement on Thursday to acquire Outblaze, Ltd., a SaaS-based messaging and collaboration provider. This announcement leads the build-up to Monday’s events. Outblaze’s messaging services are slated to fill the glaring messaging gap in IBM Lotus’ Bluehouse strategy. Something that apparently I wasn’t alone in noticing. This is grand news for Bluehouse although I’m curious in finding out how it all plays out with the rest of IBM’s messaging solutions - Notes/Domino, Lotus Notes Hosted Messaging Services, and some other stuff that I can’t talk about yet. IBM’s press release states that:

Enterprise clients will be able to use IBM as a single provider for all their messaging needs, whether on-premise or online, serving a range of user needs from occasional to full-time. Small business customers will get a 
simple-to-acquire, integrated set of collaboration services that allow 
them to easily work with their network of customers and partners. 
Partners such as telecommunications operators and Internet service 
providers will be able to package and sell collaborative services to 
their clients under their own brands.

An interesting and broad proposition, something Outblaze is likely to provide. I still have questions that you can be sure I’ll ask this week.

Now the decision is what productivity editors do I use? Office? Symphony? iWork?

Jan 6, 2009

Macworld 2009: iWork '09 Includes iWork.com, Costs $79 + Subscription

I've recently taken a trip into Appleland and have to say I'm liking it. This is something I'm going to explore (although it'll cost me some):

The suite is clearly intended to take on Microsoft SharePoint and Google Docs, but approaches online document management somewhat differently. Rather than editing and organizing documents only through a web interface, Apple has integrated the online aspect into the familiar native iLife apps as well.

You mean like the Office integration with SharePoint? This is very similar to Microsoft's Live Mesh solution.

Interesting new trend times. Leveraging cloud-based syncing services for collaboration. It all sounds so familiar. Like a sort of Notes back-to-the-future world where data replication was the goodness to combat network bottlenecks and analog modems. Now it's used to keep all our devices current (and us informed) as we move through the different modalities of the day. Great for info junkies.

Macworld 2009: iWork '09 Includes iWork.com, Costs $79 + Subscription:

In related news: IBM Lotus announced the release of Notes 8.5 with a full Mac client and the (still free) Symphony editors. Hopefully Apple's announcement hasn't cast too much of a shadow on IBM's collaboration and productivity editors come to the Mac picnic.

"2009 is going to be a bloodbath"

Clay Shirky makes his media forecast and predictions for 2009 in a recent Guardian interview. His thoughts are likely to (or should) give media producers pause as he calls 2009 a "bloodbath" for traditional media delivery. "Radical action" and industry "clarity" driven by tight economic times and"mass democratization" of the web stand behind the assault.

As always Mr. Shirky taps into trends with aplomb and wit, such as his forecast on the future of magazines:

The great advantage magazines have is glossy pictures. It's better to read on paper than on the web but it's much better to look at pictures on paper than on the net. Brides magazine is going to be the last one standing.

I'll add to his forecast on TV, its appeal and the white-knuckled DRM-driven "content is everything" business model, and point out that web-based delivery of video media will continue to emerge as smart content producers realize the benefits of a world wide web-based distribution channel. It'll be a kind of Gods and Monsters blood bath with Hollywood the creator of its own nightmare.

I've harped on these issues before in this blog, and will likely continue, so I apologize in advance. In a blind frenzy to reduce production costs and avoid labor unions the studios have inadvertently fostered a burgeoning movie industry outside of Hollywood, to it's own detriment. The producers counted on the distribution coming back to the Pacific shores overlooking that web-based distribution models eliminate the middle-man leveling a playing field that only existed in the posh Wilshire office suites and the patio at the Ivy. There are tons of production opportunities here, as long as you play the game in the new digital world and not in the physical realm of film canisters, tape cassettes, and DVD boxes.

As my friend exclaimed the other day when he set up and tried out his new HD Tivo with Netflix On Demand, "this is the death of broadcast TV." Now if we can ever get over that DRM content sovereignty thing that makes streaming video content so patchwork these days.

Digital guru Clay Shirky's media forecast and predictions for 2009 | Media | The Guardian: