My first ride of 2010

A new issue of the Bicycling magazine is here.  Great!  Just bloody great!  There’s a happy smiling male model atop an expensive road bike on the cover.  He’s wearing shorts and a short sleeved jersey.  While in Chicago it’s 20 degrees outside.  (That’s 6 below zero, for you in the rest of the world that’s outside of the United States.  )  And I haven’t been on a bike in 3 months.  Bloody hell!  Talk about teasing and temptation.

To add to the injury, last night, at a local bar, I bump into an IT Director from one of my clients and somehow our conversation turns to cycling.  The client turns out to be an avid cyclist and we talk about different rides and routes we like to take.  The good thing is I may have found a riding partner.  The bad thing — my whole body itches for the feel of spandex and a bike under me.

So today, on Saturday, the sun is shining bright, it’s about 30 degrees outside and almost no wind.  I’m going out for a ride!

But not much of a ride.  Come on, I was idle for 3 months.  There are still patches of snow and ice on the ground, so a mountain bike is the obvious choice.  A nice under layer of Under Armour clothing, padded bike pants, gloves and a tuque — I’m ready for my first ride of 2010.

I’m not gonna talk about the particulars of cold air penetrating to the depth of my being and beyond.  I won’t discuss the exhilaration of plowing through the snow and mud and being the first to leave tire tracks through dirt fields.  It was all great.  What matter is that I have my first set of miles logged for 2010.  And they were not ridden in my basement.  So eat that, Mr. IT Director on his way to China right now.  While you’re up there stuck inside of a plane, I was down here tearing through the snow, ice and mud.

Here’s to many more rides of 2010.

My blog is to be mentioned in ORMS Today

IBM Research is publishing a high-level paper on social media analytics in OR/MS Today.  It’s a bi-monthly publication for members of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

One of the sections is on sentiment detection and acting on it.   It is using the exchange I had with Sean Poulley on my blog as an example of blog posts that may require swift marketing action.

I’m told that the paper is supposed to appear in the February issue of the magazine.  I am extremely flattered to be mentioned, even if just as an illustration, in a paper for such learned organization.

How to solve Xbox360 losing network connection

If your Xbox 360 loses network/Xbox Live connection after about 30 – 40 minutes of playing, change its network settings to use a static IP address.

I noticed that my Xbox would sign me off XBox Live after about 30-40 minutes of me playing a game.  This wasn’t a problem while I was just playing games off my console.  But when I started playing against other Xbox Live members or streaming Netflix movie or streaming movies off my PC downstairs, losing the network connection after about 40 minutes started becoming a pain.

I searched around the web and found some people reporting the very same issue but no solution.

After spending some time trying different things, I suddenly realized that when the problem occurs, the IP address of my console gets reset from the dynamically assigned DHCP address of 192.168.0.x to some 169.x.x.x address.  I decided to give my console a static IP address and — magic!  The problem went away.  I can stay connected for hours.

I don’t know if there’s a firmware fix or something to make it work with a dynamic address.  At this point, it works and trying to make it work with a DHCP assigned address is just not worth the effort.

Lotusphere 2010 wrap up

All is well that ends well and Lotusphere 2010 was no exception concluding with the talk of Big Bang and colliding particles.  In a wrap up focusing on my impressions of the conference, it would be easy to focus on the negatives, but like I was reminded in one of the Business Partner roundtables, if you’re gonna say something negative, make sure you also say something positive.  So, I’ll skip the negative stuff.

This was the first Lotusphere in several years where I was able to attend sessions, a lot of them in fact and most from the development track.  Among the sessions I attended, there were none that talked about advanced tricks and techniques of @ Formulas or LotusScript.  I don’t think there were many of those in the entire conference.  Instead, there were plenty of sessions focused on the WebKit, widgets, mobile development for BlackBerry, REST APIs, LotusLive APIs, Java and the web technologies.  And even Brent Peters in his Application Development keynote said that while @ Functions and LotusScript applications will continue to be supported, the future is with other technologies.

I returned from Orlando inspired and excited like I haven’t been in years.  There was so much new to learn: new terms, new technologies.  I’m inspired to learn new things, which have a broad range of application beyond Lotus.

The message was clear to me: as a developer, you have to learn new things.  LotusScript isn’t going to cut it anymore.  So it is likely that my blog will soon start listing posts on new topics in new categories.  It’s just too bad that not all of this new stuff runs on a Mac.

Lotus must get customers to upgrade

As we’re going into 2010, Lotus is faced with numerous customers evaluating their email infrastructures.  While Lotus reports record-setting rates of upgrades to the latest version of Notes and Domino (8.5), large numbers of customers are still running older versions of the Lotus software, with some of them going as far back as release 5 desktops and mail templates.  Lotus knows that customers on versions earlier than 8.5 are more likely to migrate to a different mail solution (Exchange and Outlook) as compared to customers who went through the 8.5 upgrade. The R5 mail template wasn’t all that pretty when it came out 10 years ago.  It looks absolutely horrible when you compare it Outlook 2007 and the likes.  Lotus’ latest release of the Notes client 8.5 looks and feels so much like Outlook and offers so much functionality that it makes it hard to defend the migration argument and the associated costs.

What Lotus needs to think of now is how to encourage its customers to upgrade.  Over the course of 2009 a great deal of effort and money — sales activities, SWAT teams — was expended on defending Lotus at existing customers.  Often these very costly efforts were not successful and the battle was lost.  Perhaps the efforts were pointed in the wrong direction.  Offense is the best defense.  Instead of trying to convince customers to stays, Lotus should make staying so appealing that customers don’t even entertain the thought of leaving.  Instead of defending against Microsoft, Lotus should look at making the 8.5 upgrade financially appealing to the customers by offering deep discounts on license renewals under the condition that within 6 to 9 months every Domino server and every Notes client will be upgraded to 8.5.x.  The somewhat successful V2V (Version To Version) campaign conducted at the end of 2009 could’ve been more successful with a simple phone call to the CFO: “How much will you be spending on your license renewals with IBM this year? How would you like to spend 50% less?”

This might be a hard pill to swallow for the sales force.  The initial impression is that they would be losing 50% of their commission and making 50% of their quota.  To address the concern and to keep the sales teams motivated, IBM could apply the customer discount after the commission and the quota fulfillment have been calculated.  And to overcome all internal objections, IBM can treat this offer as a competitive upgrade price situation.

This practice is not unique.  It is widely practiced by consumer services companies in markets where there’s a lot of competition.  Cell phone carriers, TV cable or satellite providers and even some credit card companies routinely offer credits and discounts to long-time customers who are considering canceling their contract and taking their business to a competitor.

Before it’s too late, IBM, should figure out how to get the existing customers to upgrade to 8.5 and upgrade quickly.  Making it a financially appealing decision, is a good first step.

JMP106 “Kum Bah Yah” meets “Lets Kick Butt” : The Integration of IBM Lotus Notes and Domino with Microsoft Office, .NET, and IBM Lotus Symphony

Thank you everyone who took time to attend our JumpStart session at Lotusphere 2010.  After a bit of last minute sweating over crashing demos, we did it!  All demos worked perfectly.  All slides came together.  Our demonstrations of insert image, insert slide and Windows Explorer integration with Lotus Notes were received very enthusiastically with a great round of applause, the best applause we ‘ve ever had during a session.  And unusually for us, we even finished ahead of schedule, leaving plenty of time for Q&A.

Keep in mind, most of the slides here are just place holders to help us keep track of the demos.  The collection of demos is coming soon.  I’ll post it next week.

My Lotusphere 2010 session

This year’s Lotusphere Sunday is going to be a little less busy than usual for me.  I am co-presenting with John Head a JumpStart session JMP 106 – “Kum Bah Yah” Meets “Let’s Kick Butt”: The Integration of IBM Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino with Microsoft Office, .NET, and IBM Lotus Symphony.  Unlike the previous years, we are only presenting it one time at 4PM. There will be no repeat session. So, if you’re interested in learning all about the integration of Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5 with Microsoft Office, .NET technologies, OpenOffice.org, & Lotus Symphony. We’ll start with the basics and build up to mail merge, exporting to a spreadsheet, charting, presentations, and integration on the Web, don’t miss JMP 106 at 4PM in Swan 7 – 10.  As usual, the session will be made up of demos, demos and more demos, all of which, including the slides, we will make available for download from our blogs.

Hope to see you at the session tomorrow.

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