Orlando Here We Come…

Surprise and delight (yes honestly, I had no idea if I’d get on the agenda this year) but I’ll be speaking at IBM Connect in Orlando in January. ¬†When I heard about my session acceptances no-one else seemed to be posting about theirs so I wasn’t sure if there was some NDA I had missed.. apparently not and now the session preview tool is available with all the sessions and timings, I guess I’m good to share ūüôā

On Monday at 11.30 am in Lake Eola A I will be presenting on security with Mark Myers from LDC Via.

Our session will focus on the recent SSL vulnerabilities and how to create and deploy a SHA2 certificate (#1086)

Two years ago enabling your site with SSL was a simple affair, buy a certificate or create your own, install it, then just remember to renew it every couple of years. Then, suddenly security holes are being found in SSL virtually every month , popular browsers stop connecting to your site to protect themselves, and you’re continually being told your users data is at risk. In this session we will discuss how it all went wrong and can go wrong again, then go through each step of requesting, generating and deploying a 4096 SHA-2 certificate to use in a keyfile by Domino, IBM Connections, IBM Sametime and other WebSphere products. If you work with these IBM products and need to secure them with confidence this session will show you how!

On Tuesday at 5.15pm (eek!) in Lake Mizell AB

I’ll be presenting on how to Plan & Complete a Connections Upgrade, hopefully talking about Connections 5.5 if it’s shipped and out of NDA by then.

This is the last session of the day on Tuesday just before everyone leaves to go to Harry Potter @ Universal so I’m going to take a chance that some of you will be there and put together a great presentation for you (#1084)

So we have IBM Connections installed, but now it‚Äôs time to consider what and when to update. It could be a WebSphere fix or a DB2 fixpack, a new application, or database scheme. Some updates are for security, some for performance and some for new features. In this session we’ll discuss how you can decide when and what to upgrade, how to plan for and perform a safe upgrade, test when it‚Äôs complete and what things can trip you up along the way. All of this is based on lessons learned over hundreds of deployments.

Finally I’m really excited to say that IBM have invited us to do Spark Ideas again this year

– it’s always a fun and inspiring time when 8 or so brave volunteers get up on stage to tell us in 6 minutes about something that inspires them or changed them. ¬†I’ll do another blog following on from this explaining more but if you know Sparks, enjoy Sparks and will be at Connect drop either Amanda Bauman (@amandabauman) or I a line – as always we are looking for volunteer speakers¬†(and if you know you would like to talk but don’t know on what, I can even help you work¬†that out)

Sparks will be 2.30pm on Tuesday in Florida 4 – give your week a lift and come and see us or even join in. ¬†We’ve got ideas for a few surprises this year too (#1120)

I am writing my sessions now so if there’s anything you would like to ask me to cover (within my topics) please let me know and I’ll try and do that.

So Orlando here I¬†come (well “we” as my colleagues Mike Smith & Tim Davis will be there too).. we really look forward to seeing you there.


Conference Review 2015

Well it’s nearly the end of the year and my planning has started already for 2016 but I thought it would be nice to say thanks and give some feedback on the conferences I spoke at and attended in 2015. I apologise in advance if I miss out some organisers names – I don’t know all of them but my thanks always go to the entire organising teams.

My last conference this year was Social Connections in Stuttgart , I also spoke at their event in Boston in April. Due to my own prior commitments I literally had to fly in to Stuttgart, present and fly out again which was a great pity. ¬† It’s an interesting conference in which every session focuses on Connections and collaboration and not least because, at least in Stuttgart, the audience was much more executive and so less hard core technical than many of the user group events I go to. ¬†That’s no bad thing and it opens up scope for me to present on less technical and more strategic topics. ¬†It’s also very interesting to hear from those working on different ends of the deployment spectrum such as user adoption or cultural change.¬†Thanks for everyone involved including Christoph, Doug, Femke, Jan, Lars, Maria, Martin, Simon, Stuart & Wannes.

Social Connections would definitely be on my agenda for 2016.

In March 2015 I was at Engage in Ghent. ¬†Once more Theo puts on what I consider to be the best technical and networking event in Europe, possibly worldwide. ¬†The content is only a part of the Engage experience as there are multiple out of session events and opportunities and it puts the European audience in the centre. ¬†There are few IBM presented sessions other than the keynotes and I would say it’s a true community event. Thanks to Theo & Hilde for all their hard work every year.

Engage is March 23-24 in Eindhoven in 2016. I already have my travel booked.

ISBG is the Norwegian IBM User Group event that takes place in Larvik, Norway at the end of May each year. ¬†This was my 3rd year attending and I did three technical sessions all with the theme of integration and single sign on. ¬†The audience tolerate me speaking in English and (at least for my sessions) are primarily technical. ISBG have a great afternoon event on the first day in which we break into teams and have competing challenges including answering questions after visiting sponsors. ¬†The challenge has a theme and a story each year and the ISBG team puts a huge amount of effort into the story and the accompanying video (CSI 6 this year)¬†¬†– see here¬†for what an amazing job they do. ¬†In addition we are entertained at dinner by Rune Carlson one of the conference organisers and a professional, award winning , magician. ¬†It’s a beautiful location with an enthusiastic audience and lots of pure fun thanks to¬†everyone involved including Roger, Vanessa, Wensche and¬†Rolf.

If I get asked back I hope to be at ISBG 2016 in May

In August I attended MWLUG for the first time.  This is partly because it was held in Atlanta and I have several customers in the surrounding area but also because it draws an audience from around the US with a few hundred people attending.  This turned out to be a great decision, there was a very wide range of attendees and sessions, lots of friends and people I used to only see at Lotusphere were there, the hotel / location were great and the organisers put a lot of effort into providing activities outside of regular sessions and into the evenings. I came away feeling happy, excited to be doing what I do and invigorated Рin other words the feeling I am used to come away with in January.  Thanks Richard, Lisa and everyone on the MWLUG team

In 2016 MWLUG will be held in July (I think) in Austin, Texas which hopefully means we’ll be able to visit the IBM Design Labs as part of or before the event. ¬†I’ll definitely be submitting a session as it’s a great conference so¬†I hope to be there.

Finally I spoke at Icon UK in London in September. ¬†It’s great to have a UK based event and IBM supporting it by hosting it at their offices on South Bank. It’s a great location and everyone seemed to have a good time. ¬†I believe, but don’t know, that based on its success this year there are plans to repeat it in 2016 in September. If so I definitely plan to be there. ¬†Thanks to the Icon team including Tim, Steve and Victor.

Then there was IBM Connected in Orlando last January. ¬†I don’t think any of us knew what to expect with¬†the reconfigured conference that was held entirely at the Swan hotel. ¬†Definitely it was going to be smaller and more than a few regular faces were missing and missed. ¬†I think everyone agreed it was a successful event – sometimes all you need is the people and the place, the rest is just bonus and Orlando in January definitely had all of that. ¬†As a swan-song (no pun intended) to 20 years of Lotus Orlando it was bittersweet but turns out.. not such a swan-song after all. ¬†IBM Connect is once more in Orlando this January at the Hilton Convention Center (you can register for it here) and I’ll be both attending and speaking. ¬†Starting the year in Orlando in January as it was meant to be….

This year I was unable to attend AUSLUG/Inform in Australia. I hope to fix that next year if I can just price up flights I can afford when the location and dates are available.¬†Ideally I’d be interested in tying¬†that into¬†work or another event in that part of the world so we’ll see if anything comes up..:-)

That’s it so far ..¬†hopefully I’ll see you somewhere along the way. Now for a few weeks of no travel before the New Year starts. ¬†We’ve nearly made it through another year everyone.. high fives all around !

Turning The Optimism Up To 11

After last week’s great MWLUG conference (thank you Richard Moy, Lisa Duke & all the sponsors ) I realised how much I miss my community now there are fewer chances to meet in real life. I’m reminded it’s far too easy to think what’s the focus in my little personal bubble matches what everyone else is doing. My friends are not just my friends, they are the people who nudge me off track and kick my brain into thinking about new things it wants to learn and do.

The biggest gathering of all is always January in Orlando and although I had resigned myself earlier this year into saying goodbye for the last time (and literally did that) I realised I’m not ready to walk away whilst there’s still a strong community of people just as vocal and excited by technology (albeit very different technology) as when I first went in 1995. I saw it in Belgium in March, in Norway in May, in Atlanta last week and will see it again in London in a few weeks. So. Orlando.

I have no idea what the conference will be

I have no idea if my friends will be there

I have no idea if I’ll be speaking

But today I booked my flight, put a deposit on accommodation and sent in 4 abstracts which I’m excited about. I briefly went through the panic of “but how do I word this so IBM will pick it” before giving myself a slap to remember it’s not about what I’m meant to talk about, it’s about what I know, want to share and what I think people want to hear.

I may not be on stage – I don’t know if my subjects or even me are what are wanted this year – but I’ll be there, ready to hug my friends, share ideas, talk and laugh. I hope you will be too.

Submitting Abstracts For Connect 2016 And Some Interesting Discoveries

Yesterday the IBM Connect 2016 site updated with the call for abstracts, so today I’m submitting sessions because I don’t know 100% what form the conference will take but I want to¬†contribute as best I can to deliver the kind of event we all want to be at. ¬†They may not pick my session (alright sessions – I’m submitting a few choices) but I have topics I’m excited about and that I think people want to learn about so I went to submit.

First thing’s first, as with last year you have to create a speaker profile before you start with your background and a small bio but what I really found interesting was the submission form. There are no mentions of any specific tracks so when you submit a session you only get to choose from “Technical Breakout” or “Business Strategy Breakout”. ¬†What’s really exciting is the list of topics to choose from which I assume are alphabetical rather than importance order

Digital Experience
Meetings and Chat
Social Collaboration
Social Content

Look at that! Those topics may be broad but they are exactly the things I want to hear about (Email, Chat, Social Collaboration) and talk about. ¬†In previous years we’ve had a lot of other topics listed that I would say fell outside the core interest of people that attended Lotusphere of old. ¬†I’m not saying that’s bad but it’s certainly good¬†news that this conference is embracing the topics and technologies we’re all working with today and not just those IBM hope we will be working with tomorrow.

The categories that your session can fall into are short and sweet as well – personally I”m excited to see¬†sessions that fall under these headings


There are only a few weeks to submit as it closes on September 4th and I’ve heard noises about the short notice but I’m honestly not sure why. ¬†It’s not a surprise to anyone that Connect is running in January, that was announced months ago. It’s not surprise content, we are all working with these technologies. ¬†Submitting an abstract is simply a case of finding a topic that interests you, that you have a unique slant on and sending it in. ¬†My plan as always – be¬†enthusiastic, write a good abstract and hope for the best.

I’m not involved in any way with the content this year but I’ve seen enough abstracts over the years to offer some advice I think – YMMV but here is last year’s posting on how to write an abstract ūüôā

Good luck and click here to get started..

Have Your Say – What Would You Like To See As A 2016 Event?

There’s a community led effort underway to get some feedback on what people who traditionally would come to Lotusphere/Connect(ED) would most like to see in 2016. ¬†This is unauthorised by IBM but there are lots of options under discussion by them, by various user group leaders and other imaginative and enthusiastic people in our community. ¬†Basically no-one wants to let an annual global event go away. ¬† This has boiled down to a single question survey that is anonymous, requires no login and will take you about 10 seconds to complete.

Make your voice heard here

BP304: What We Wish We Had Known: Becoming an IBM Connections Administrator

This is my presentation with Paul Mooney on Connections administration. ¬†In it we attempted to cover all the key things about Connections administration we think you need to get started. ¬†I realise it’s a very heavily graphics based presentation and I will be uploading some speaker notes to go with it next week hopefully.

IBM Connect Wrap Up

Hello again.. well i’m still in the US but now fully recovered from Connect and the nasty bug that took me out and apparently used me as a carrier to take out 40% of the community. ¬†Last year I spent most of Connect down with flu so this year I thought ahead, got a flu jab and lasted until Weds night, right after the geek challenge before being wiped out by a stomach bug. ¬†Curse you random travel bugs preying on my lack of sleep and reduced immunity!!!

So how was my Connect? ¬†Truthfully I had braced myself for this year , I was concerned there would be a small pocket of techies roaming amongst HR bods and it would feel like we were visiting our own conference. ¬†There was definitely a touch of that, ¬†but mostly I was really pleased to see so many first time attendees in sessions and certainly the ones I was at and did were well attended. ¬†It was a very different Connect for me as well. ¬†Usually I am tied up doing presentations but manage to get to sessions too and meet with friends – this year it was wall to wall presentations , customer meetings and IBM meetings. ¬†I barely managed to get to the labs and to the showcase not at all. ¬†I didn’t even make the Social Cafe at the back of the showcase – one minute it was Sunday and everyone was setting up and next it was Thurs morning and it was all over. ¬†From a business sense it was great and I made a lot of contacts within IBM that may regret giving me their business cards, ¬†but I didn’t get to learn as much as I do usually and I have a long list of sessions to track down.

What about the news from IBM? I actually enjoyed the Opening General Session which was well paced and i’m used to there being little technical “how we did this” content. ¬†That’s not what the OGS is anymore and no I don’t expect to hear new features about Notes or Domino during it. ¬†Those are both mature established products, I want to know IBM is continuing to support and develop them yes but I don’t expect exciting news to come just from those products. ¬†Mail Next is interesting and reinforces support for Domino which is clearly the back end architecture. ¬†It’s good to see IBM attempting to innovate in the mail , calendaring, personal productivity space and using their best server to do that – overlaying what appears to be a slick web interface with some , I assume, J2EE application analytics. ¬†All I need to know about Mail Next is that it was in the Design , not Development, lab for us to see. ¬†It’s an evolving concept and I don’t need to know answers to the technical questions beyond “yes it’s Domino underneath” right now. We’ll see what happens and I hope there’s a design program to support its development throughout 2014.

Other than that there were some great technical sessions. There’s no doubt the combination of technologies available to us is getting more complex, not just within IBM, and so the technical skill required to select, design, install and support them is too. ¬†That led to some difficulty in writing sessions – mine with Chris Miller entitled “Simplifying The S’s: Single Sign-On, SPNEGO and SAML” took some creative thinking as well as some real concentration when attending them. ¬†In short if you come to Connect to learn, the lotusphere track presentations this year were at a higher technical level than ever before.

Other than that I saw a few friends this week, not as many as I’d like. ¬†The Dolphindor cards put together by Julian Robichaux, Kathy Brown, Chris Miller and myself were, I think, a big success. ¬†Check out our Facebook page for some hilarious photos – thanks to everyone to joined in, hope you had a good time. ¬†The Spark Ideas sessions were wonderful even if they did make me cry and hopefully Chris will be able to upload the videos to the Nerd Girls’ Vimeo channel so you can all see them. The Great Geek Challenge, possibly our last one, was a lot of fun and thanks to Carl for bringing the electrocution machine to make awarding the final big prize fair and to Kathy and Katie for running the room.

My final thank yous to the guys at LDC Mark Myers, Matt White, Julian Woodward to the goddess herself, Susan Bulloch, to Chris and Kathy and Carl and Paul and everyone who laughed with me and made me feel part of the community.

It was a good year. ¬†Possibly one of my best despite all the things, and people, I missed. ¬†I’m cautiously optimistic about 2015.

One Of Our Sparks Is Missing…

Stupidly amongst all my cutting / pasting last week to get the Sparks in place on the Nerd Girls blog I completely lost one of them. ¬†Apologies to Stuart McIntyre who spotted he’d been lost in the shuffle, I think you’ll agree his is one not to be missed. ¬†I’ve updated the Nerd Girl Blog as well

Is love enough? The passion to help children find a home for good (Stuart McIntyre)
Parents to two boys and two girls (currently 9-16 years old), home educators and business owners, surely life is chaotic enough already? Why would we want to throw open our doors to other children (and their birth parents), let alone those with possible addiction, behaviour or other issues? Hear why Stuart and his family entered the exhausting approval process, why way more than just love is required, how fostering is working so far and why it might just be something for your family to consider!