What’s A Conference Without A Dolphin Rotunda?

Those of you that understand the heading to this post know what I mean but for those that don’t.. through 20+ years of Orlando IBM conferences around ICS products, the general gathering place, the place where you’d sit and catch up with people walking by, the place where you could always go to find someone to talk to – was the Rotunda in the lobby of the Dolphin hotel.

This year at Think in Las Vegas there is no Dolphin hotel and no rotunda but I believe we still need a gathering place.  A single location where people can go, get a drink and meet up or catch someone walking by.  Having been to Vegas a lot (don’t ask) and InterConnect last March, I’m suggesting this place – Mizuya at the Mandalay Bay https://www.mandalaybay.com/en/restaurants/mizuya.html

It’s right outside the conference entrance so probably a <5 minute walk

It is basically a bar that opens at 11am and serves sushi all day

It has a live band in the evenings

It doesn’t have to be that place (I’m open to suggestions) but I think we need to put our stake in the ground and choose “A PLACE” so everyone knows where to go and where to find each other.

Anyone?

 

Champions Expertise – 2018 Technology

IBM Champion Expertise presentations are a new initiave we are starting this month whereby Champions can provide audio presentations on a particular topic.  This month is “2018 Futures and Technology” and here is my presentation on what I think is going to be big for 2018, containerisation vs virtualisation and where it goes next.  This presentation has audio and I tried to keep it short but feel free to double speed me if 14 mins is too long.

I mention in my presentation that I have a more detailed presentation on docker architecture on slideshare and if you want to see that it’s here.  I’d also be grateful for any feedback on the length, style or other aspects of the presentation and what you think of the Champions Expertise idea.

{blink}So THAT’S the future{blink}

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted here.  The end of last year was a juggle of many different pieces of work and learning new technologies but more on that later. I did however take my eye off the ICS (IBM Collaboration Solutions) ball waiting for the HCL deal to firm up and find out more what was going on.

As you may know from my previous post, at the end of October IBM entered a partnership with HCL whereby the latter took development ownership of all Domino products including Verse and Traveler as well as Sametime whilst IBM continued to own the license model, support and most importantly strategy.  As part of that announcement we were told of an upcoming series of workshops around the world called Domino Jam 2025  which were to determine the future path of both Domino and Sametime (so not just Domino and nothing to do with the year 2025!).

Last Friday I (along with about 50 other people) attended a London Domino Jam at IBM South Bank which was hosted by the senior development team at HCL (who transferred in from the same roles at IBM) and the product management team at IBM.  Up until a week or so ago I would say I was more curious and cautiously optimistic than excited.  I had been in coversation with someone in the development team at HCL who I have known from IBM days for 20 years and his introduction to HCL and his enthusiasm for the future sparked my own.  Let’s just say the HCL team seem to be people who have been long immersed in these products, believe in them and are now being let off the leash to develop for the future. During the day we were casually told that there would be new product releases guaranteed in 2018 including

Domino 10

Notes 10

Traveler 10

Verse (10?)

Sametime Instant Messaging 10

That was and is very encouraging news and IBM seemed bemused that several of us in the room kept asking for clarification and confirmation of a thing they thought we already knew.

As part of the Domino jam workshop we were split into groups and asked to brainstorm things like “your biggest pain points” and “what features would you like to see in the future” and then prioritise and present them.  These workshops are going on around the world right now (there’s one in Geneva I believe today) and you can register for them here https://www.ibm.com/collaboration/announcements/domino-jam2025.  In addition if you can’t attend in person IBM are hosting a Domino Jam Forum from Jan 16 – Jan 19 where you can provide your feedback directly online.  See this blog for more information https://www.ibm.com/blogs/collaboration-solutions/2018/01/11/announcing-domino2025-online-forum-january-16-18-2018/

the “#domino2025 Online Forum” will be active for fifty-five hours across the globe to gather your business and technical input and prioritization.” (I prefer “priorities” but I get what they mean :-).

If you are in any way invested in the future of ICS products either mail or instant messaging or conferencing then this is a serious effort to hear what you want and don’t want.  I can tell you there was some very honest and harsh feedback as well as some pretty extreme ideas thrown out by the teams last Friday and we were encouraged to do that.   I know for some of you it’s asking a lot but dig deep, find that kernel of optimism that’s still left, or just throw in your lot because it does no harm to do so and may do a lot of good.

This is an opportunity to help form the long term strategy and direction of products many of us love and believe in.  Take it.

Looking For A Few Champions

IBM Champion nominations are upon us and with only a week to go to get those in I wanted to send out a plea.  I would love to nominate you as a Champion.  Yes YOU. Unfortunately in most cases I don’t know enough about who you are and what you do.  It’s no good saying “well if I did enough she would know me” because that’s not how it works – very few of us do enough publicly to make others aware of what we do.  Being a Champion can be awarded against lots of criteria not just speaking at events or writing blogs.  Libby has kindly shared some here but anything that falls under advocating for ICS products or committing your own resources to the technical community counts.

As a Lifetime Champion I am fortunate that I don’t need to reapply but I thought if I tried to write up my own dummy nomination here for 2017 hopefully it will help you see some of the things you do as worthy of nomination.  This isn’t me boasting and I hope it doesn’t read as me being arrogant, I’m just trying to encourage by example and help people who may need it.

Why should you be an IBM Champion? *

Describe the contribution in the last year are you most proud of or you believe has had the biggest impact on the technical community, IBM or IBM’s customers. Share as much detail as possible, including the activity’s impact and any links.

Consider activities and accomplishments from the past year that rise above and beyond your job and support IBM products and solutions andthe greater technical community, including both internal and external activities.

The follow on question to this is asking me to list my top 5 activities so I would assume the first question wants just what you consider the most important activity listed followed by an opportunity to list 5 other things you would like considered / are proud of.

Here are a few things I could add under the suggested categories,  I know there’s a lot here, this is FAR more than you need to submit but I wanted to give as many examples as I could.

EVANGELISE AND ADVOCATE FOR IBM

  • Presenting to {named customer} on IBM’s strategy and the ICS roadmap to convince them they were on the right path
  • A tweet sharing IBM news or commenting on  IBM news that got X number of retweets (with link) or a blog or linkedin post that got X number of reads
  • Customer references for internal meetings or presentations I attended and contributed to that helped them deploy ICS products

HELP GROW AND NURTURE THE COMMUNITY

  • Examples of people who contacted me for support or assistance or just advice that I helped out (asking them if they would act as references)
  • The Nerd Girl work at Connect and the mentoring done since then.
  • Participation in multiple user groups

EXPAND REACH ACROSS THE IBM PORTFOLIO

  • My work this year learning and sharing on Docker to support the IBM Connections initative and now Domino
  • Work partnering with IBM security business partners
  • My GDPR work with customers that combines discussions of multiple IBM technologies IOT, blockchain, and Domino data

PROVIDE FEEDBACK ON IBM PRODUCTS AND DIRECTION

  • The IBM advisory panels I’ve been involved in along with references to our meetings
    The design feedback sessions I’ve been involved in with references to the IBM teams involved and the topics I fed back on
  • The “Jams” I’ve contributed to along with my contributions
  • PMRs that highlighted a significant problem in a product and enabled development to improve it

SHARE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE

  • My series of New Way To Learn sessions I did in May for IBM with links to the sessions and listing Alan Hamilton as a reference. Also listing my blog and slideshare where the sessions are shared
  • A list of my blogs I’ve written this year
  • The conferences I’ve spoken at such as Connect, InterConnect, Engage, MWLUG, AdminCamp and Social Connections along with the presentation content and again links to my slideshare

I really want to hear from people who haven’t been nominated or even people who want some support in being nominated. Please contact me if you want me to nominate you or connect with me on Skype (GabriellaDavis) if you just want to talk about it. Don’t feel you have to know me to reach out.

Also if nothing else, please please nominate yourself.  One trick I found worked for me was to ask a colleague to draft my self nomination and then I updated it.  That way I didn’t feel awkward writing things down and got to see what someone who works closely with me sees me do.

The Word For The Decade Is “Disruption”

“Disrupt” “Disruption” we hear those words in conference sessions offered with no context as if the very act of disrupting is by definition a good thing.  We see articles about start ups who promote their ability to disrupt the market as their primary differentiator and it has made its way into common usage which is why it’s stuck in my head and I have developed a twitch everytime I hear someone say it like it’s a magic answer to any and all questions.  However I’ve also been doing a lot of work this year in the IoT space and found myself talking about how IoT devices will completely change how businesses and processes work, in much the same way the arrival of the internet itself did.

So if I find the idea of IoT innovations changing customer relationship models, supply and production and delivery models, if I find all of that interesting, exciting and presenting huge opportunities, what’s my problem with “disruption”.

From the Oxford English Dictionary

Disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity, or process.

So yes.  The idea of disrupting established industries, rethinking the very core of how they work sounds on the surface to be just an extension of innovation.  Instead of innovating within industries, you disrupt their existing models to innovate outside of the parameters they are forced to work within.  Some of the most famous disrupters include obviously Uber and AirBnb but you could include media content sites such as Buzzfeed or even vaping products.  All of those things have brought huge benefits to their customers delivering services that are a closer precise fit to their needs.  However all of this was done by benefitting from the other aspect of disruption which is talked about a lot less

Disruptor companies often get to ignore existing regulations that exist for the industries they are disrupting.

That’s why Uber gets to be successful, because they avoided having to abide by the same rules as taxi companies, AirBnb avoided rules around hospitality and Vaping companies avoided rules around health regulations. They all take advantage of gaps in the law.  You may say “good for them. I love what they do” and it’s true many industries have not evolved cleanly, they have more and more outdated regulations and they no longer meet the needs of their customers.  However, by dancing through the gaps in the law the customers and employees remain exposed by the lack of protection those laws were put in place to enforce.

I may choose to book an Uber or an AirBnB , assuring myself I know of the risks I take in doing so and you may do the same but regulations are there to protect everyone, even people who don’t understand what they are giving up in using an unregulated service.

I realise this isn’t news to anyone. You all know this and have your own opinions but for me I had to think it through.  I believe in innovation, I believe in the importance of disrupting existing established and outdated working practices,  but I don’t support slicing through protections that are there for customers and employees in order to achieve a goal.  If regulations need changing, if services need to be different then disruption needs to happen by innovating within those existing parameters or campaigning to change them.

Our company has always worked to deliver innovative systems and rebuild / rethink existing processes and we continue to do that.  So where does this take me? I have more thoughts on that but maybe for another day.

Bending iBooks (Mis)Behaviour To My Will

For those of you that don’t know, I buy a lot of books.  Around 30 – 40 a month.   I used to buy exclusively physical books but I like to keep ones I enjoy to re-read and I am fast running out of house so now about 80% of my book purchases are digital.  Sometimes from the iBookstore and sometimes from Amazon.  I refuse to play the DRM game but that’s a story for another day.  I now have around 3500 books in iBooks that I read via that app on my iPad and phone. In 2011 (I think) Apple introduced “Collections” so I could group books together to make them easier to find.  Apparently Collections have a maximum limit but I’ve never reached it because beyond about 40 they simply aren’t useful to have to scroll through. Here are a few of mine, I have 25 or so more

FullSizeRender 3

The problem is two fold.  With 3500 books and only 40 collections that puts about 90 books per collection which is a lot to scroll through unless they are sorted within the collection.  You can manually sort but Apple has a tendency to randomly resort everything by “most recent” (which seems to be triggered by any kind of update) so you can spend your entire life trying to sort things together.  Take Ben Aaronovitch for instance, a writer a like and I have filed his books under Steampunk/Fantasy (they are “urban fantasy”) but when he publishes a new book every two years it appears at the top of the collection, because it’s the newest.  Meanwhile all his other books are dotted all over the place and what I want to see is what I’d see if I shelved them at home – all the books by one writer grouped together.  iBooks has no way for me to do that and make it stick.  I can view by author but that’s not the same thing as I can’t move around in that view.

So what I wanted was simply to be able to have all books by each writer grouped together to make them easy to find in each Collection.  It turns out the fix for me was to turn iBooks (mis) behaviour against it.  I discovered that adding a book to a Collection actually updates a timestamp within the epub which marks it as recent for sorting purposes.  Even if the collection you are moving a book into is the same one it’s already in so this is what I did

  1. Step 1 in the iBooks app on OSX or iOS search for a writer “Ben Aaronovitch”
  2. Select all books found
  3. On OSX right mouse click and choose “Add To Collection” and select the Collection you want the books in, even if it’s the Collection they are already in
  4. On iOS choose “move” and select the Collection you want the books in, even if it’s the Collection they are already in
  5. That’s it.  No matter where all my Ben Aaronovitch books were they will now be grouped together and sorted at the beginning of my Collection.  I can then go through and do the same to any other writers I want to group

The nice thing is that this is a quick and easy process that can be repeated anytime you buy or download a new book but a writer you’re collecting.

Or maybe it’s just me 🙂

Me vs Technology (spoiler: I win)

Yesterday Connections 6 shipped and although I was in meetings all day my goal for last night was to get everything downloaded and in place on a VM and have that VM built with a configured and hardened OS.  That was the plan.  I thought it might be fun to share my 4pm – 4am battle against technology and maybe it will help someone else.  It might also explain all the “other” work that tends to take up my time before I  ever get to the actual stuff I’m meant to be installing.

All my servers are hosted in a data centre and mostly I run ESXi boxes with multiple servers on them. I have 5 current ESXi boxes. So first things first, create a new virtual machine on a box with capacity so I can download the software.  All of this is done from a Windows VM on my Mac which connects to Turtle’s data centre

Vsphere lets me create the machine then gives me VMRC disconnected when I try and open a console.  After some checking I realise it’s the older ESXi boxes that are throwing that error for every VM and only since I upgraded to Windows 10.  If I can’t open a console on the VM I can’t do anything so I search the internet for various random advice which included

  • Disable anti virus
  • Remove Vsphere
  • Install latest Vsphere (which keeps being overwritten with an older one each time I connect to an older machine)
  • Uninstall VMware Converter (which I had forgotten was even there) – that required me booting into safe mode in my VM which only worked if I used msconfig to get it to restart in safe mode
  • Downgrade Windows
  • Create a new clean desktop VM to install Vsphere into

This is a bigger problem than just this install because I also can’t manage any of my servers on those boxes.  I rarely connect to them via the console so I don’t know how long it’s been like that but it can’t stay like that.

Several hours later.. still no luck. Vsphere lets me do everything to a virual machine except open a console.  I could use another ESXi box but I’m being stubborn at this point. I want to use this box

Then I find reference to VGC – Virtual Guest Console  https://labs.vmware.com/flings/vgc.  Created in VMWare labs in 2010 and still in “beta” it does one thing I need which is open a console.  So now I have VSphere where I can create and manage the instances and the VGC to open a console I’m ready to install and OS.

But which OS?  The host boxes have ISOs on them I already use but those are Windows 2012 R2 and RHEL 6.4.  I want either Windows 2016 or RHEL 7.1  Again I could use Windows 2012 but #stubborn.

I download Windows 2016 to my Mac and it’s over 5GB.  That’s going to take a few hours to upload to the datastore and I’m optimistically thinking I don’t have a few hours to waste.  So Plan B is that I take an existing RHEL 6.4 ISO and use that to install then upgrade it to 7.1 in place since you can now do that with Redhat if you’re moving from the latest 6.x to 7.x.  Top tip – it would have been quicker to upload Windows 2016.

I start building the new VM using RHEL 6.4 and eventually I get to the point where I can tell it to get all updates and off it goes.  It’s now 1am and it’s showing 19/1934 updates.  So.. I go to bed taking my iPad with me and leaving my laptop downstairs.  Once I’m in bed I can use Jump on the iPad to connect to my laptop which is on the same network and Terminus and the VPN on the iPad to open a putty session to the data centre.  The 6.4 updates finish and now I need to get it to 7.1  First thing I need to do is download 7.1 directly to that new VM which I can do easily because I installed a browser so I download the 3GB ISO directly to the VM which only takes 3 minutes and I’m ready to install.

Except not quite.  Redhat requires to you run their pre upgrade utility before doing an inplace upgrade.  In fact the upgrade won’t even run until you run pre-upgrade.  So I do that and as expected it fails a bunch of stuff that I don’t care about because this is a new machine and I’m not using anything yet so I’m not bothered if something stops working.  Except the upgrade still won’t run because it spots I failed the pre upgrade test.  That’s where “redhat-upgrade-tool -f” comes in.  Around 4am I left that running and got some sleep.

Incidentally this is a great document on upgrading but I think you may need a login to read it https://access.redhat.com/solutions/637583

At 7am I found it completed at RHEL 7.1 and then ran one more update to make sure everything was on the latest patches,  added the GUI and configured the firewall.

I’m NOW ready to download Connections 6