Archive for the 'Sametime' Category

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Lotus Notes 8.5 Beta 2 on Ubuntu

Lotus Notes 8.5 Beta 2 on Ubuntu Just installed Lotus Notes 8.5 Beta 2 on my Ubuntu machine while holding a telephone conference. The Debian installer worked like a charm - I even did not have to uninstall the Beta 1. Rebooted. Done. First impression: Start up much faster. All bugs I have noticed in Beta 1 are gone now. Lotus Sametime plugin is now running properly while in Beta 1 the chat window did not open at all. One strange thing: there is no location awareness in this release, even in the preferences for Sametime there is no tab for "Geographic Location" settings. Can not see any reason why they removed it. Maybe the 8.5 client checks if my backend Sametime server has the right version and is location aware? Anyway. Notes 8.5 seems to be very robust. I even had no crashes in the first Beta release. Lets start working with it.

Google Talk with AOL IM Integration



Since I did some IM clean up a few years ago I only used Skype for chat and presence awarness in my private life. I killed MSN, AOL, Yahoo. In my business life my IM tool remains Lotus Sametime and is becoming more and more important with telephony integration.

Google Talk becomes more and more important since I started using Gmail years ago. Since a few days Gmail offers the option to sign in to your AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) account to chat with your AIM buddies from Gmail. I tried to remember my old password, signed in and voila: Some of my old contacts are back. So maybe I will be available in that network again. As we start to roll out the Lotus Sametime Gateway in our company I will be available there too.

BTW: AIM in Gmail is not a Google Talk and AIM federation; it’s the ability to sign in to your AIM messaging account from Gmail. Gmail uses Open AIM to provide this feature.

The Lotus Unified Communication Keynote

This morning I visited the UC2 keynote, the Lotus Unified Communication Team private Opening General Session 😉

I loved the things I heard yesterday about the unified communication strategy, and after this mornings session I am convinced to further invest our work in the Sametime platform.

So what did I learn today:
  • First: It´s Lotus Sametime 10th birthday! Wow, its a long time ago Lotus started to invest in this market - feel a little bit old remembering it is 10 years ago. Interesting information I did not know: First idea for a product name was BLIMP "Buddy List and Instant Messaging Platform"
  • I was very happy to hear the first announcement: Strategic partnership with Ericsson. This is important for us because we have several customers running Ericsson PBXs who wants to integrate with Notes and Sametime - including ourselves on some locations. Hope to see first results as soon as possible.
  • Several other agreements including OEM agreements with Cisco and Nortel.
  • Sametime Advanced will be released in Q1 with persistent chat rooms, chat room alerts, open chat rooms for multiple users
  • I love Sametime Unified Telephony! Very cool demo of managing, filtering or forwarding incoming calls depending in IM status or rules. "It does not matter what PBX you use". Interesting statement, can not believe it, we have to dive into it - and get our hands on this.
  • The IBM Metaverse meeting center was shown again as it was in the OGS. Yes, it is Second Life style. But my own Second Life avatar is hanging around in the IBM Pavillion since months. Nice to see, but no business value in there - for now.
I think UC2 / Sametime is a massiv opportunity in the next 12 months. I took some good news home today.

Sametime 8.0 Out In The Wild



Just realized Lotus Sametime 8.0 is out in the wild. At least it is available for some beta partner. Sametime 8.0 will add many features we waited for since IBM announced the Unified Communication strategy at Lotusphere in January.

So get the buzz about Sametime 8.0.

Vicious Cycle



One problem with Lotus Notes 8 and the Sametime Integration seems to be solved. Yesterday my geolocation settings appeared again. There is a simple user profile setting on the Sametime server side to enable geolocation support. Beta 3 did not check for that setting, the gold release does check it. So it was a matter of server administration, but there is still a question about licensing.

On Win32 this feature now works as designed. On Ubuntu it does not. Like in Notes 8 Beta 3 on Ubuntu entering the geolocation information throws an error messsage. "An has error occured. See error log for more details".

OK, lets check the log. In my Notes 8 / Eclipse client settings logging was disabled. So I checked the box "enable logging". And the message I got back is "An error has occured. See error log for more details".

stenablelogging

Location awarness – where is it gone?



Can you see it? No, you can´t see it because it is gone. Since Lotus Notes 8 is gold the location information displayed in the Sametime 7.5.1 plugin is gone.

I checked the ND8 forum and found one possible answer: Location information will only be displayed when working with a Lotus Sametime 7.5x server. So I went to my admin and asked him to upgrade asap. But the answer was: we are allready on Sametime 7.5.1.

Interesting enough: Because I entered the geolocation information while using Lotus Notes 8 beta 3 the gold release now changes my location as expected. And if I am at a new location a popup notifies me about a new location. Unfortunatly I can not enter the new location information, because this feature is disabled.

Today I came across this table in the Knowledgebase:



So this is not a technical problem. It´s a problem of licensing. But why?

Collaborate Now without Sametime 7.5.1 support?



Collaborate Now
is extremly usefull while working with IBM colleagues. I stopped using the Sametime access to IBM a few weeks ago while switching back and forth between Notes 8 beta, Sametime 7.5 stand alone install and my old Notes 7 installation. Now I realized: Collaborate Now does not work any more with my Notes 8 Beta 2 install which includes the Sametime 7.5.1 plugin. Accessing Collaborate Now through the web using the java client still works fine.

So is the Sametime 7.5.1 client blocked by the gateway?

Synchronous and asynchronous chat

A long time ago I reduced my set of instant messaging clients to Skype for external Buddies and Lotus Sametime for internal and IBM colleagues.

Today I found a feature in Lotus Sametime 7.5 I was not aware of. If you reply in a chat window after your buddy went offline, you will get this dialog box:



While I particulary like the Skype feature to continue your chat even if your buddy is offline (GTalk does provide that feature now too) and send the messages again in the background when your buddy comes online again, IBM decided to go the other way. Not really bad. So you can change from synchronoues to asynchronous communication by changing the protocol. It will take the chat transcript, put in a new email adressed to your buddy and you can add your reply into the email body:



Personaly I like more the Skype way to keep all messages in one context. Maybe an option to choose between both ways would be great.

Update: This feature only seems to work if you use Notes 8 with the embedded Sametime 7.5 plugin.

Heureka

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Cool Tools

Lotusphere Opening Session is over, the Eagle has landed. Time to review the announcements.

So it´s all about collaboration. It´s about connecting people and knowledge. Bringing together teams to work efficiently on projects. Help people becoming more productive, fighting the email flood and finding their ways throught the information djungel. Nothing realy new to the Lotus community. That is what this community has done for years. But now collaboration seems to be recognized by CEOs as the big challenge. And collaboration finds its way up from all these succesfull web 2.0 projects to the IBM product portfolio.

So what have we seen today?
  • Sametime 7.5 seems to be very successfull. IBM sold over 1 Million seats of Lotus Sametime. Many partners contribute plugins to the new Eclipse based clients. Furture Direction: With video chat support, tabbed chat, voice and telephony integration Lotus Sametime will become THE Unified Messaging tool for corporate usage.
  • Hannover is Lotus Notes 8 now. Public Beta will be available next month. Some partners like our company is part of the Managed Beta program. And what I can say: This Beta version is extremly robust and easy to work with. We saw some features I did not know about like ghosted calendar entries or the integrated PDF converter for documents.
  • Lotus Quickr is a Web 2.0 like collaborative content server. It looked like a mesh-up of Workplace Documents, QuickPlace and some Blog and Wiki solutions.
  • Lotus Quickr Personal Edition supports Document Management functionality within the Windows Explorer, Lotus Sametime Client and Lotus Notes 8 Client with MS Office integration. They said nothing about Open Office integration, but this should not be a big deal. Cool feature: Drag´n´Drop of documents between Quickr and Notes Mail plugin in the new Lotus Notes 8 client. And the best thing: It comes for free to all Lotus Notes users. Lotus Quickr will make the daily work with documents much more easier within the collaborative environment of Lotus Notes and Lotus Sametime. And it shares information with the standards like RSS and Atom support.
  • Lotus Quickr Standard Edition adds Teamspaces, Blogs and Wikis. And it comes with lots of templates. So you can start with a project management teamroom right away. The Standard Edition will be for free for owners of a Quickplace license. Interesting: Quickr apps will be available offline by NSF support. So it replicates. There is a Java based local store too and connectors to Filenet.
  • With Lotus Connections IBM finally makes the Activity server available. The call it the "First Ready-for-Business Social Software". And this is something I waited for since a long time. The activity centric appoach to collaboration was integrated in several products like the old Workplace Managed Client, and last years Lotusphere visitors could see very cool code in the labs running on top of a simple Tomcat server. IBM now delivers the Activity toolset including a bookmark server ĂĄ la del.icio.us, a powerfull profiling engine and social community support. Of course it integrates into Eclipse based Sametime client as well as in the new Lotus Notes 8 client. Last year they showed a Lotus Notes 6.x and higher integration for the Activity server, but today I have not heard anything about the support of older versions.
    Lotus Connections will be be available to Lotusphere Online users this afternoon. I am very curious how it works.
IBM promises to build cool tools. Why cool? Because cool tools will be pulled into organizations, you don´t have to push it. Just like Instant Messaging made its way to the corporate world, because it was cool and people wanted to use it. IBM speaks about "viral adoption". And from what I have seen, there is a good chance for things like Lotus Quickr and Lotus Connections to be adopted exactly this way. These solutions realy look cool.

Sametime + Plazes = Sameplaze!

Marco just sent me one small file called ebf.sameplaze. Put it into Lotus Sametime plugin directory, restarted Lotus Sametime, and voilĂĄ: Plazes integrated into the Lotus Sametime client:

ebf.plazer.client

It even gives you the ability to overwrite the location information from Lotus Sametime:

ebf.plazer.configuration

I had some trouble with the Plazer switching between locations with and without proxy settings. Plazer crashed every time. On the other hand location information provided by Lotus Sametime functionality was poor. So both together fits perfect for me.

Thanks, Marco.

IBM Lotus Sametime 7.5 Cumulative Fix Pack 1 available

This is a real IBM tongue twister: IBM Lotus Sametime 7.5 Cumulative Fix Pack 1. Here is the Fixlist.

Seems they fixed the 40 MB download when attending a voice enabled web conference. So now we are ready for production.

Sametime 7.5 client experience

Sametime supports pics

Since presence awarness is integrated in the Lotus Notes client I refused to use the stand-alone Sametime client. Today I installed the Sametime 7.5 beta 3 client (and by end of the week there should be a Beta 4) and I am rethinking my decision.

The stand-alone client lets me manage separate communities very easy, so I can connect directly to my IBM buddies. It pulls pictures and other person related information right from the Domino Directory and adds locations awarness. The UI is clear and much better than the old stand-alone clients.

As far as I learned I still have to enter location information manualy and this information is stored on the client side. But I hope the design team at IBM will learn from Plazes and add a automatic location detection in the final release.

Now I am looking forward to integrate our Asterisk PBX with Sametime 7.5 to connect to the PSTN like we do it with the old Sametime environment.

Lotus Sametime with Integrated Audio

Since we introduced Lotus Sametime Web Conferencing at XCOM a few years ago it became a frequently used tool today. With seven locations in Germany and customers everywhere Lotus Sametime helped us reducing travel costs and beeing very responsive when an instant meeting is necessary.

The second tool we use for real time collaboration is the Asterisk PBX infrastructure we built in the last year. We use virtual audio conference rooms provided by the Asterisk infrastructure. On some locations Asterisk connects to proprietary PBX like Alcatel or Ericcson systems, and on some locations we got rid of the proprietary and expensive solutions and started using Asterisk as the main PBX infrastructure.

Both Sametime and Asterisk ran in a separate environment and were not connected. We changed this now and connected both infrastructures. The linking pin is the TCSPI (Telephony Conferencing Service Provider Interface) framework IBM provides for integration of the PBX infrastructure into Lotus Sametime.

And here is what we have now:

SametimeAudioIntegration

Lotus Sametime connects now to most of the PBX via SIP protocol. We can initiate conference calls directly from a virtual meeting room in Lotus Sametime. Users can see who is speaking, the moderator can add new users by simply calling them right from the meeting room or adding them via the Sametime buddy list. Our PBX infrastructure remains like it is and we use our regular phones.

MeetingX

I think this is one of the best enhancement we could have for our real time collaboration infrastructure. It works pretty well, and we will upgrade this infrastructure to Lotus Sametime 7.5 as soon as possible.

I think customers have a strong interest in solutions that leverage the convergence of audio and computer-based collaboration tools. This might be a good offering we have in our portfolio - both as a software solution for our customers own infrastructure or as a service provided by us.

Sametime on Nokia 9300/9500

SAMETIME

Somehow the Sametime Client for the Nokia 9300 made it to me. But as many other testers I can not make it work on my device. It seems the client is missing something on the server side, but this is all what the log says:

SAMETIMELOG

So has anybody a documentation for that piece of software? I can not get it from IBM Lotus. What version of Sametime must be installed on the server? And when will IBM deliver an official release?