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IBM Connect 2013 Day 1

2013-01-30 06:01:28    |    Blog

I had a hung over that could kill an elephant when I woke up. Guess I shouldn't have had that last…ok…those last three beers. Still, I persevered and went to the gym for an hour, after drinking about a liter of water, that I used to wash down two Paracepts.

I thought my head was going to explode but after getting hydrated again, and the endorphins filled my body, I was fit for fight.

After a great breakfast it was time for the opening session. The show started with the band They Might Be Giants. I had completely forgotten about them. If you wonder who they are, they are the band that created the theme tune for Malcom in the Middle. In addition, they have a great version of “Istanbul Was Constantinople.” They did both during their set. According to them, 8 o'clock in the morning was the earliest show they had ever done.

Joseph Gordon-LevittEvery year there's a surprise guest speaker. Last year it was Michael J. Fox, and when I was here in 2007, it was Neil Armstrong! This year it was Hollywood's current heart throb number 1, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Now, “what would he be doing at an IBM conference?” I hear you all cry. I'll explain:

IBM Connect is about social business. This means using social tools like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, web sites, and IBM products of course, to generate user interaction. This will in turn, hopefully, generate business.

Turns out that not only does Gordon-Levitt star in movies like Dark Knight Rises, he also runs a company called Hit Record. This is where it gets interesting. I quote from their web page:

"We use the internet to collaborate with artists from all over the world who form a community around the art we make together.

Everyone is encouraged to be a part of the creative process. Video, Image, Audio, Text — all kinds of art — we call them RECords. By contributing your RECords to hitRECord, you are inviting our worldwide community of artists to remix your work.

Now, the point of hitRECord isn't to make money. A wise man once said "we don't make movies to make money; we make money to make other movies" — and that's why hitRECord is a for-profit company. If and when we're able to earn money from one of our hitRECord productions — books, live shows, vinyl records — we split the profits 50-50 with the artists who contributed."

He showed us a video, with Gary Oldman, that were created via this web page. You can read about the whole process here (I highly recommend it!).

Pretty cool, eh? Check out their web page to learn more. I'm fascinated. In short: Gordon-Levitt is charming, fun, engaging, smart and, let's face it: Incredibly handsome. None of us who saw the TV show Third Rock From the Sun are too surprised.

After his opening it was time for IBM to brag a bit about last year's results, and then show us what they are preparing for us in the coming years. IBM has never been less software specific during the opening session than what they were this year. You see, IBM is no longer pushing their technology or names of their products. They are pushing suites. They are focusing on the needs you have as a business, and then you and them choose the products from IBM that will suit your business and your goals.

If only IBM could get their different products to communicate with each other properly, maybe their dream about open and interchangeable solutions could become a reality. Not to mention make it easy to install them. We've spent almost two months now getting IBM Connection, IBM Sametime and Lotus Notes to communicate in the way we want them to. And the server setup for Sametime is like following the organisational chart of an international company with a mailbox at Bermuda.

The opening session was pretty boring, and the only thing that kept me awake at times was my twitter feed where certain people had severely fun and sarcastic comments about IBM's claims and slogans.

And the worst part is that when speaking with IBM employees, you learn they don't even use their own solutions. IBM Connections, which is the main product IBM is pushing for social business, is not integrated into the IBM organization in the way that they say other companies should do. At least Microsoft practice what they preach.

Oh, well. On to yesterday's sessions:

SHOW301: Becoming a Connections Developer: Lessons from the Field
We were treated to examples on how to develop solutions inside IBM Connections, and how to integrate external solutions via tools like Open Social. This was a very good session and I took notes for ideas I got for our own Connections installation.

BP102: Build Your Free Admin Toolkit
Chris Miller is the perfect speaker. Incredibly funny, engaging and very knowledgeable about what he's talking about. The session was about how you can make it much easier to administrate your Domino environment. IBM's own tools for this are… well, pretty much suck, but the Notes and Domino community are filled to the brim with people who are not only very clever, but also more than willing to share what they make for free!

He presented over 30 tools which will make and administrator's day so much easier.

The guy who administer our Domino servers and myself were really impressed, and can't wait to try these out. I knew about several of them, but there were some real eye openers for me in this session. And, boy was it fun!

AD201: What's New in Domino Application Development and Domino Designer Social Edition
Notes Social Edition is just another word for Notes 9.0 (note: It's no longer called Lotus). The new Designer looks very promising, and the fact that you can debug server side Javascript and Java in it takes it a few more steps towards what I was asking about last year.

I will install the beta of Notes 9 when I come home.

SHOW111: XPages: No Experience Needed
Both Kathy and Dave are great speakers, and I really liked the step by step approach. However, by this point I was dead tired and I'm really more of a learning-by-doing guy, so I will download their presentation when it's published and follow it on my own, because it was very good.

And I'm determined to learn Xpages now! So when I get home it's an upgrade to 8.5.3, 9.0 beta and the Xpages extension library!

After this session I barely had time to change before IBM held a welcome reception for us. We were then treated for dinner at a Brazillian place. I can't remember the last time I had barbecued meat that good. It practically melted off your tongue.

And when you're in good company it turned into a really nice evening. I didn't have a drop of alcohol, though. Still burned out after the night before…



Thanks for coming to the session! Just paste that into your evaluation, lol!

Posted by: Chris Miller Date: 2013-01-30 07:39:39


Ha ha! You're on, Chris!

Posted by: Hogne B. Pettersen Date: 2013-01-30 08:14:40

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