Friday, October 31, 2008

Ready for our first Halloween

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That's right, today is Halloween and Alejandro is ready for his first Halloween. Now, he, of course, can't eat candy, but that doesn't mean that daddy can't be young again and go trick-or-treating. In fact, this is a great excuse, I think, to be able to eat candy and have my wife approve!

We just dressed the baby in his costume: a super mighty roaring Lion! Check out some of the pictures below.



Ale enjoying his new costume


He says he wants to eat some of the candy, but doesn't have any teeth :(


Baby pondering what kind of 'trickts' to pull on those who don't give him a treat!


Baby practicing his mighty "Roooooooooarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lotus Connections shortlisted for Irish Software Associaton Awards

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200810291436.jpgMy feed reader has been keeping me busy lately. Yesterday, I found out that Lotus Connections has been shortlisted for the Irish Software Association Awards. To quote Mike Roche, Chief Architect for the Dublin Software Lab:

Lotus Connections 2.0 has been shortlisted for the Technical Innovation Award by the Irish Software Association. The Dublin lab has also been shortlisted for the Collaboration award for ongoing work with academic and industry partners and joint research programs across Ireland and Europe.

The other candidates for the awards are listed here. The winners will be announced next week on November 7th. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Education materials for Lotus Connections

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Even though I may be starting to develop a love-hate relationship with feed readers.. I still love 'em! Case in point, yesterday I found out about some new training offerings for Lotus Connections.

Heath McCarthy casually stumbled upon these offerings and blogged about it internally. There are four courses available:

Course Type Course Name Audience
Instructor-Led Implementing Lotus Connections Domino / Connections Administrators
Instructor-Led Social Networking with Lotus Connections Workshop Social Network Administrators / LOB sponsors
Self-Paced (eLearning) Using Lotus Connections Administrators / End-Users
Self-Paced (eLearning)
Social Networking with Lotus Connections Workshop IT Administrators / LOB sponsors

I think the third course listed above would be really useful in helping you drive adoption. It serves as great introductory material that can be hosted either in your existing LMS (Learning Management System) or in your own intranet / portal.

For more information on the educational offerings for Lotus Connections, visit this page on

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I have a love-hate relationship with feed readers

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Feed readers are great. I've said it over and over again. But I'm beginning to develop a love-hate relationship with feed readers.

Great for mobile users

As you know by now, in this new job I get to travel to customers all over to discuss the business value of social software and best practices for social software adoption. And since I live in Puerto Rico, my flights are usually long, especially now that American Airlines has eliminated the hub in SJU.

With so much travel, what's one to do? Well, sometimes I use that time to catch up with what TiVo has recorded for me using TiVo Butler on my Mac. Often, though, I launch my feed reader and start digesting what's going on in the blogs and forums that I'm interested in or anything else that has been tagged with the topics that I'm interested in: "enterprise2.0", "web2.0", "social-computing", etc. The content that I find there ? More often than not, it's great content! Content that I want to comment on and discussions that I want to contribute back and questions that I know I can answer.

The Love turns to Love-Hate

This is where I get stuck. I would love to reply to discussion threads, blog entries and other stuff offline! Right now, I have to resort to marking the interesting items as Unread and hope that I remember to come back to it. While some forum technologies (like the forums used in developerWorks) already allow for offline replies to threads, this is not mainstream.

I know that each day we are moving closer to a pervasive online world. American Airlines is already piloting a product for in-flight internet. Still, this is still years away. A decade maybe.

Pervasiveness drives adoption

Based on my experience, one of the key factors for social software adoption is the ability to use those tools from anywhere. Lotus Connections , for example, does a good job at that because it can be used from Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, BlackBerry, Portal, Notes, Sametime, Windows Explorer, etc. You can even take the social task management component (Activities) and use it completely offline! And, of course, (like with 99% of blog engines), I can compose blog entries while offline.

The capability to reply to content offline would be huge and would contribute to social software adoption. I hope all Enterprise 2.0 vendors make an effort to provide and/or augment this capability in their products soon!

I'm sorry

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Friday, October 24, 2008

How To Load Users From a Spreadsheet

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2008-10-21_2252Seems like this week is all about TDI (Tivoli Directory Integrator). On Tuesday, I blogged about how to load photos from LDAP into Lotus Connections. Today, I want to show you how to load data from an existing spreadsheet into Lotus Connections. And, of course, with no coding whatsoever!

This post is also motivated by another question asked in the Lotus Connections Forum. In it, a customer explains how he was planning to export some data from an existing database into a CSV file and from there was wondering how to get the data into the system. I actually had recorded a video on how to do this and posted it internally (since it contained some sensitive data). That video is one of the most downloaded files that I have. Therefore, I decided to re-record the demo and post it here for you guys.

Ready? I've heard that pictures (or in this case, a video) speak louder than words, so go ahead and take a peek at this video.

Want to learn more about TDI? Check out the TDI Users page, which is what I first used when I wanted to learn more about TDI. Hope you found this valuable.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why I love Blogs... a video!

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Remember my "Why I love social software..." series? A similar series is currently underway inside the company. Other IBMers had already shared their story on Wikis and Social Bookmarking (Dogear). I was disappointed that someone had beaten me to the Dogear story, but to be fair, I fell in love with social software first via Blogs.

This video is the same story that I blogged about a year and a half ago: how one random blog post that I did let me to meet a new colleague and get my problem solved!!

Now there's a bit of a story to this. First, I discovered this internal series, because it suddenly showed up in my feed reader (because I was subscribed to everything 'connections'). When I saw the blog entry of someone's video, I posted a comment and mentioned how I had a similar series going. The IBMer who was hosting the series asked me to record a 1 minute story (audio only) and he would do the rest.

I was very thankful that he did not ask me to record the video. My video skills are, well, nowhere to be found. Without social software, I would've never been able to put something so cool like this together.

So, I recorded an MP3 using my Mac's GarageBand application, sent it to him and voilá. So with social software, I was able to expand my social network, and we were able to be more effective at our job and put our skills to use in what we are best to create some new collateral! You gotta love social software!!

Very cool, eh? What's your social software story ?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How To Load Existing Photos into Lotus Connections

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Recently, a friend asked a very interesting question in the Lotus Connections forum. In his question, he wondered if there was any way to load photos into Lotus Connections Profiles. More specifically, he wanted to know how to load existing photos stored in the LDAP (in the jpegPhoto attribute). Out of the box, you are given scripts to load photos from the file system, but not from the LDAP.

In my experience, about half of our customers already have photos for their employees in some kind of system. Perhaps in their LDAP... Or in their HR Badge System... Or in some other in-house application. Therefore, I often find myself helping our customers create a custom "script" that fits their needs.

In an effort to spread the "wealth", I thought this was a great opportunity to show you how powerful Tivoli Directory Integrator (TDI) really is and teach you how to use it to the max. TDI is an ETL tool, which lets you extract information from pretty much any data source, transform it (if needed), and load it into Lotus Connections. And best of all, you don't have to do any coding! Since TDI is included for free as part of your Lotus Connections, I believe this is one of the key added value features of Lotus Connections.

Anyway, now, perhaps you are thinking "I don't have any skills in TDI, how am I ever going to figure this out?" Don't worry, I'm including a video here. It shows you how to load photos from your LDAP and, best of all, this takes less than 5 minutes!

If you would like detailed instructions on how to do this, follow the steps in my answer in the forum.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Social Software Adoption Is Like Having A Baby

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Are you excited about social software ? You should be... Are you scared of how to deploy it internally in your organization ? I understand. I talk to customers on a daily basis and this is their #1 concern! While viral adoption will happen with a useful social software solution it still takes time. And then comes the question... what does adoption mean ? Is it that 50% of users are actively blogging? Or perhaps that 33% of users actively tag pages ? Or maybe that at least 75% of users keep their profile up-to-date? As an example, Technorati says there are over 6 million blogs. That's about a 10% adoption rate for blogs worldwide.

This all depends on you! You (and your organization) define what adoption means. Enterprise social software is "new", and you are not only worrying about your adoption of this "baby", but also about the adoption of this "baby" throughout your organization.

As a recent dad, I can identify. I was very nervous about becoming a dad and I wanted to make sure that I be the best dad ever. I decided to educate myself and learn from others. To do this, in part, I read more baby books than my wife! But I digress...

How can you educate yourself? How can you learn from others? How can you leverage what has worked and what hasn't ? Easy! Take a peek at this article . It describes some of the recommended practices by IBM when deploying social software inside of the enterprise.

Here are some of the highlights:

In setting expectations for the pilot, it is important to realise that not everyone needs to be an active contributor. Analysts have identified a pattern of 90:9:1 where 90% of users are lurkers/readers, 9% are active participants, and 1% are early adopters and evangelists.
Brainstorm with your advocates and early adopters in the pilot about the most appropriate use of the tools for your organization. What user scenarios make sense in your organizational culture? What kind of content and personality do you want to encourage?
...if you are piloting on a large scale, a more accurate approach called a social network analysis (SNA) will uncover advocates that you never knew existed. SNA is a set of methods that reveal connections among people important for information-sharing, decision-making, and innovation.
...don't rely solely on your advocates for publicity. Use a combination of viral (word-of- mouth) marketing with more traditional mass-marketing approaches. Advertise your new social networking environment using traditional methods such as e-mail announcements and a feature story on your intranet homepage.

Hope you like it!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Social Software as SaaS helps adoption!

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Ready to start with social software but don't want to wait to order servers, configure them, set them up, customize the environment, and add your theme/branding to it ? Perhaps you are not ready to learn about WebSphere ? Perhaps your IT department is overloaded resolving some other fires issues at this time.

That's ok. IBM Premier Business Partner Connectria has just announced their new offering. They are offering Lotus Connections as Software as a Service (SaaS). Along with their existing Lotus Hosting services, they can now host and operate your web 2.0 and social networking environment while giving you the peace of mind of a 24/7 monitored system. And yes, they can do both a pilot and production environment!

Let them worry about all the techie stuff and let's focus on the adoption strategy for your organization. To find out more, check out the IBM Lotus Connections Hosting page on the Connectria site.

By the way, in case you are wondering, yes, I have recently posted several entries on solutions created by business partners. In fact, if my math is right, in the past month, the Lotus Connections Solution Catalog has grown ~40%! I think it's a great testament that so many 3rd party vendors see the power and the value of Lotus Connections that they want to provide their solutions on top of the Lotus Connections Social Networking Platform!

And there a couple more solutions coming down the pipeline, but I can't talk about them yet. So stay tuned!

Update 10/16/2008 @ 10:26pm: I was just informed that another business partner is offering hosting solutions for Lotus Connections. In this case it's Prominic.NET and their solution was just added to the catalog. Or you can go directly to Prominic's site and view their services here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How to change the logout URL for Lotus Connections

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The other day, a customer asked me how to change the logout URL for Lotus Connections. They wanted to configure Lotus Connections so that when a user clicked on 'Log out' they would be redirected to the company's intranet home page.

I couldn't find any documentation out there, so I put on my hacker hat. After a couple of minutes (ok, maybe 30 minutes), I was able to figure it out. I decided to capture my changes and share it with you. You'll notice that while the process may look long, it's really only changing 1 line of code in 6 different files... so it's really easy!

Activities and Home page:

  1. Go to <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>\installedApps\<CELL_NAME>\Activities.ear\oawebui.war\WEB-INF\jsps\html_prototype\fragments\mainpage
  2. Save a backup of banner.jsp
  3. Open banner.jsp with your favorite text editor
  4. Look for the following lines:

    <form method="post" action="ibm_security_logout" name="logout" id="logoutForm" style="display: none;" >
    <input type="hidden" name="logoutExitPage" value="/service/html/mainpage">
    <input type="submit" name="logout" value="Logout">

  5. Change the logoutExitPage parameter as shown below:

    <form method="post" action="ibm_security_logout" name="logout" id="logoutForm" style="display: none;" >
    <input type="hidden" name="logoutExitPage" value="">
    <input type="submit" name="logout" value="Logout">

  6. Save the file
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 for the following file:
    • <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>\installedApps\<CELL_NAME>\Homepage.ear\dboard.war\web\jsp\pageheader.jspf (touch main.jsp afterwards to force recompilations of the JSP fragment)


  1. Go to <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>\installedApps\<CELL_NAME>\Blogs.ear\blogs.war\roller-ui
  2. Save a backup of logout-redirect.jsp
  3. Open logout-redirect.jsp with your favorite text editor
  4. Look for the following line:

    response.sendRedirect(request.getContextPath() + "/ibm_security_logout?logoutExitPage=" + "/");

  5. Change the logoutExitPage parameter as shown below:

    + "/ibm_security_logout?logoutExitPage=" + "");

  6. Save the file


  1. Go to <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>\installedApps\<CELL_NAME>\Communities.ear\tango.web.ui.war\WEB-INF\jsps\html\scenes\dashboard
  2. Save a backup of banner.jsp
  3. Open banner.jsp with your favorite text editor
  4. Look for the following line:

    logoutSection.innerHTML ='<html:link page="/service/html/logout"><fmt:message key="link.logout" /></html:link>';

  5. Change the page parameter as shown below:

    logoutSection.innerHTML ='<html:link page="/ibm_security_logout?logoutExitPage="><fmt:message key="link.logout" /></html:link>';

  6. Save the file


  1. Go to <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>\installedApps\<CELL_NAME>\Dogear.ear\dogear.webui.war\h3\jsp\main
  2. Save a backup of pageHeader.jspf
  3. Open pageHeader.jspf with your favorite text editor
  4. Look for the following line:

    logoutSection.innerHTML =<jscript:string><a title="<fmt:message key=""/>" href="<c:url value="/logout" />"><fmt:message key = ""/></a></jscript:string>;

  5. Change the value parameter as shown below:

    logoutSection.innerHTML =<jscript:string><a title="<fmt:message key=""/>" href="<c:url value="/ibm_security_logout?logoutExitPage= />"><fmt:message key = ""/></a></jscript:string>;

  6. Save the file
  7. Touch h3.jsp (to force recompilation of the JSP fragment)


  1. Go to <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>\installedApps\<CELL_NAME>\Profiles.ear\peoplepages.war\WEB-INF\jsps\ajax
  2. Save a backup of loginInfo.jspf
  3. Open loginInfo.jspf with your favorite text editor
  4. Look for the following line:

    <html:link page="/ibm_security_logout?logoutExitPage=/index.jsp" styleId="logoutLink">

  5. Change the logoutExitPage parameter as shown below:

    <html:link page="/ibm_security_logout?logoutExitPage=" styleId="logoutLink">

  6. Save the file

Hope this is useful to you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oh, SSL, why are you so hard ?

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This is a summary email that was sent to me by a colleague after fixing a SSL issue he was having in his deployment. I'm capturing it here so I can refer to it later, and in case it helps you as well.

This is a different certificate problem than the one you folks encountered back in May of this year. That one produced an "Internal Server Error" in the browser when attempting a redirected login and had a corresponding "GSK_ERROR_BAD_CERT(gsk rc = 414)" message in the log. That was a case of a new certificate that didn't have a trusted signer. This particular problem resulted from a certificate that had a trusted signer, but recently expired and produced different symptoms.


When passing from a logged-in user's Portal page to a Connections page (ie. Portal kicking off a new browser window to open, say, Activites using SSO), the notorious "Page can not be displayed" message appeared.

In the log, C:\IBM\HTTPServer\logs\error.log ,you see this error message:
"SSL0221E: SSL Handshake Failed, Invalid date."

In hindsight, this one's easy to figure out but it took an inexperienced person like me a while to track and confirm it. It means there is an expired certificate in use ... dates in a certificate are no longer valid.

Cause: Expired certificates

Using the key management utility (IKEYMAN), open the Key Database file C:\IBM\HTTPServer\bin\key.kdb and view the default Personal Certificate called "demoibm". It expired on June 26, 2008. Similarly when you look at Signer Certificates and open up "WebSphere Extracted Cert", you will find that also expired on June 25, 2008.


1.) Since the one and only certificate being used in the key database was now expired, it seemed to me that generating new certificates and continuing to manage an additional KDB was pointless, so I chose to use the already valid keys in this key database already in use by the web server:

C:\IBM\HTTPServer\Plugins\config\webserver1\plugin-key.kdb .

I redirected to that plugin-key.kdb by changing C:\IBM\HTTPServer\conf\httpd.conf as follows:

#Enable SSL for Lotus Connections
LoadModule ibm_ssl_module modules/
LoadModule rewrite_module modules/
#KeyFile "C:\IBM\HTTPServer\bin\key.kdb"<---- this was the old reference that I commented out
Keyfile "C:\IBM\HTTPServer\Plugins\config\webserver1\plugin-key.kdb"
SSLStashFile "C:\IBM\HTTPServer\Plugins\config\webserver1\plugin-key.sth"
<VirtualHost *:443>
SSLProxyEngine on
RewriteEngine on
# Keep website (/html) on http for perf
RewriteRule ^/dogear/html(.*)$1 [noescape,L,R]
#Put everything but login and api back to http
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/blogs/services/atom(.*)
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/blogs/roller-ui/
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/blogs/j_security_check
RewriteRule ^/blogs/(.*)$1 [noescape,L,R]

2.) Along with changing the HTTPD.CONF file, I did the certificate insertions into the signer certificates of the CMSKeyStore as described in the technote from that other GSK problem: GSK_ERROR_BAD_CERT error configuring SSL between Plug-in and Application Server V6.1 I simply exported all three "default_x" personal certificates then imported (added) them to the signer certificates of the CMSKeyStore. (Before executing the instructions in that technote, see the note below about disabling security so you can use the WAS Integrated Solutions Console.)

2a.) Important note: Because authentication does not work due to the expired certificate, you can not successfully log into the WAS Integrated Solutions Console until you manually disable security. To do that, modify this file C:\IBM\WebSphere\AppServer\profiles\AppSrv01\config\cells\connectionsNode01Cell\security.xml. Look for the following text at about the fifth or so line down and change "enabled" to be "false" as shown in blue below.

useLocalSecurityServer="true" useDomainQualifiedUserNames="false" enabled="false" cacheTimeout="600"

After saving and closing security.xml, you will need to restart the Connections server. Upon return, start the Integrated Solutions Console with the URL "" and just click the Log in button without entering user credentials.

3.) Upon completion of the work needed to be done in the Integrated Solutions Console, don't forget to go back and modify the security.xml and set "enabled=true" and restart the Connections server so security is properly invoked.

Final Note: Aside from the ISC admin console, directly logging into the Connections sever did not seem to work. Redirecting to it from a logged-in Portal page as described in the "Symptom" section above gets you to Connections authenticated via SSO. This behavior was observed even before the certificate expiration problem arose. Going through this exercise only restores it to it's pre-expiration condition which means you still can not directly login.

Lastly, I know much of this is in different pieces of the doc but I personally found the info in this posting in the Lotus Connections Forum to be useful as a newbie.

Friday, October 10, 2008

How to integrate Lotus Connections and Facebook in less than 1 minute

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200810101325.jpgAs a techie and developer, one of the things that I really appreciate about Lotus Connections, is its ease of use and how fast someone can extend it.

Case in point, a customer recently asked me to add a Facebook widget to the Lotus Connections Home page. I knew there were several Google Gadgets out there for Facebook. Therefore, I followed the instructions on how to run a Google Gadget as a widget in Lotus Connections and created my own Facebook iWidget. Total work effort? 10 minutes.

iWidgets are powerful

Now, because Lotus Connections widgets can be hosted anywhere, I uploaded the widget to my domain. Since the widget has already been "developed" and "deployed", all you have to do is add it to your Connections' Home Page. To use the widget in your Lotus Connections deployment, simply add this widget:

This process literally takes 1 minute and is documented here.

Re-use is such a beautiful thing

Why reinvent the wheel? Why code something that already exists? While other vendors may have an extensible home page where you can add widgets, they force you to code the widget from scratch! You don't have to! Lotus Connections gives you the power to deploy any of the ~45,000 Google Gadgets, that somebody already coded for you!

Let me summarize: 10-15 minutes to wrap a Google Gadget into an iWidget. 1 more minute to deploy that iWidget into the home page. Total effort: ~16 minutes. No coding. No Java. No JSPs. No APIs to learn.Simply 1 XML with 2 lines of code and 1 HTML with 1 line of code.

A true social networking home page is born

By deploying existing gadgets into the home page, you are creating a true social home page. One that provides not only the recent updates from someone's internal social network, but also one that provides the most recent updates for someone's external social network! Now imagine what that's going to do to your adoption rates!! That's right, they are going to skyrocket!

Is Facebook not your favorite external social provider? You don't have 15 minutes to create the iWidget wrapper for the Google Gadgets?

No worries! All you really need is 1 minute! I have wrapped the following Google Gadgets into iWidgets for Lotus Connections:

updated 13/Apr/2009: Other widgets you may be interested on:


Seeing is believing

Wait, what's that? You still don't believe me that it takes less than 1 minute? Let me show you!! Click here to see a full-screen demo!

What else would you like to see? Let me know and I can expand this Lotus Connections iWidget Catalog!

P.S. The devWorks article is a bit long, but the core of the article is this section. If you follow the instructions in that section, you can get your own Google Gadget up-and-running in 10-15 mins.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Congratulations to Mac Guidera!

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Today, I saw a lovely email from Heidi Votaw:

I want to formally announce the addition of Mac Guidera to our team. Mac is joining our team as a Product Manager for Lotus Connections.

200810091508.jpgFor those of you not familiar with Mac he joined IBM Software Service for Lotus (ISSL), in 2006 after having worked as an independent Business Partner focused on Lotus Domino Web application development. As a Senior IT Specialist within ISSL, he was responsible for designing and developing Domino, Forms, Sametime and Quickr specific solutions for customers worldwide. As Lotus Connections emerged in the field, he worked on many of the key projects for ISSL providing architecture and implementation guidance to customers and colleagues. At the same time he began hosting a weekly internal call, the Lotus Connections Switchboard, for the IBM Social Software Community, which provides answers on all things Connections related for specialists throughout IBM. Last year, Mac began working with the Lotus Greenhouse as their Technical Team Lead and helped bring in many of the Lotus technologies that are hosted there today (Lotus Connections being a cornerstone of that environment). He is also very active in the Lotus Community at large with his public facing blog and as a long time presenter at Lotus technology conferences and events.

I'm VERY excited about this change and can't think of a better person to be the Product Manager for Lotus Connections. Mac, congratulations and very well deserved!!!

I'm also very proud of this, because Mac couldn't have done this without me. Why? Well, as you can see in the screenshot below, I'm Mac's Executive Assistant. Therefore, if it wasn't because of the super awesome job that I do, Mac wouldn't be as super awesome as he is!


Mac, if you are reading this, when can you start travelling? I have several opportunities that I would like to get you involved in!

How to customize the login page for Lotus Connections

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I was at a recent customer site, where they wanted to provide a single login screen for all the Lotus Connections modules. Here's the steps that you need to take to customize the login screen.

First, let's review how a typical login page looks like:


And now, let's take a quick peek at how this looks in code:


The highlighted areas were the ones that I changed. Notice how the system relies on the <fmt:message> tag to translate the text into the different languages. If you are supporting a multi-lingual deployment, you'll have to take the extra step to add/modify the appropriate text in the .properties files.

Here's the location for the files you'll want to change:

  • <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>\installedApps\<CELL_NAME>\Activities.ear\oawebui.war\auth\login.jsp
  • <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>\installedApps\<CELL_NAME>\Blogs.ear\blogs.war\roller-ui\security\wslogin.jsp
  • <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>\installedApps\<CELL_NAME>\Communities.ear\tango.web.ui.war\WEB-INF\jsps\html\scenes\login\login.jsp
  • <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>\installedApps\<CELL_NAME>\Dogear.ear\dogear.webui.war\auth\login.jsp
  • <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>\installedApps\<CELL_NAME>\Homepage.ear\dboard.war\auth\login.jsp
  • <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>\installedApps\<CELL_NAME>\Profiles.ear\peoplepages.war\WEB-INF\jsps\html\scenes\login\login.jsp

Go crazy!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How to integrate Google and Dogear

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So here it is!!! I got some great feedback from users on my previous post which showed a demo of integrating Lotus Connections Dogear and Google search. If you want to get this running, follow this process:


  1. Use Firefox (you are already using it, right ?)
  2. Install the Greasemonkey plugin (if you haven't already)
  3. Restart Firefox
  4. Install my Dogear script
    1. IBMers: Click this link to download and install the script
    2. Non-IBMers:
      1. Right-click this link and save it to your machine.
      2. Open the file with your favorite text editor
      3. Look for the these lines and put in the value for your deployment
        var profiles = '';
        var dogear = '';
      4. Save the file
      5. Open Firefox
      6. Go to File -> Open File...
      7. Browse to the file and it should be installed
  5. Restart Firefox
  6. Go to Google and do a search, any search!

Note to Hackers: you'll notice that I'm not using Atom, instead simple HTML. If you can modify this to parse the Atom feed and render the appropriate HTML, you get bonus points!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How to enable first name search in Lotus Connections

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Here's a quick tip. By default, you may have noticed that when you do a search by name on Lotus Connections, you are expected to enter the full name. However, what if you want to search by just first name?

It's simple. All you have to do, is enable this in one of the configuration files. Follow this process to enable first name search in Lotus Connections:

  1. Go to <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>/config/cells/<CELLNAME>/LotusConnections-config
  2. Save a backup of profiles-config.xml
  3. Look for the search section (as seen below)
  4. Change the value of firstNameSearch from false to true
  5. Save the file
  6. Restart the Profiles system
<firstNameSearch enabled="true" />
<kanjiNameSearch enabled="true" default="false" />


Monday, October 6, 2008

Need your feedback: Lotus InfoCenters

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Lotus InfoCenter are going social!! Well, not completely (yet anyway...) No, the InfoCenters aren't becoming Wikis (yet anyway) [hint hint] .

The great folks over at the Information Development Center have asked for your input on how to improve the Lotus InfoCenters. To do this, they are going to leverage IdeaJam.

The great thing about this, in my opinion, was how Twitter enabled this collaboration. A couple of weeks ago, there were some tweets suggesting improvements to the Lotus Connections InfoCenter. Joyce Davis picked this "thread" up and suggested setting up a call with IBMers, customers, and business partners. Lo and behold Handly Cameron, Stuart McIntyre, Jon Mell, Mitch Cohen and myself got on the phone and provided our feedback to the documentation team.

As Mitch also reported, our ideas have been captured and posted in this IdeaSpace: Lotus Technical Information. Now it's up to you to agree or disagree with us. You can even submit your own ideas. The following is my favorite idea. If you agree, vote for it and make it a reality!

Hopefully, the InfoCenter teams from the other brands will follow suit!

Friday, October 3, 2008

What's better at searching: Google or Dogear? -- Who cares!

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That's right... who cares if Dogear is better than Google? Sorry Google, but it's true. Dogear has become my primary search engine. But I understand that some people may still be infatuated with Google. That's ok, I won't judge you.

Why? Because you can have both side-by-side! Yup, that's right, since Lotus Connections Dogear is built following the SOA principles you can consume, embed, and use those services from anywhere. And here's the latest example: You can now embed Dogear into Google and have search results side-by-side!

Imagine having the best of both worlds right at your fingertips! Imagine how much faster adoption will happen! Imagine being able to find expertise from Google! Imagine being able to chat with those experts right from Google! Imagine being able to call those experts right from Google! Should I go on?

Can you tell how excited I am? Total work effort? ~3-4 hours with baby interruptions, dinner, and the Vice-Presidential debate last night!. Now, because of the aforementioned baby interruptions, the code is not pretty and I don't want you all to judge me on my bad code design.

Instead, I'm going to delay posting the code (for a little while) and would really like to hear from you. Do you think this is valuable at all? I certainly think so, but maybe I just have Dogearitis.

You want to see a demo? Fine, click here to see a demo in full screen. (sorry, I still haven't been able to figure out how to resize Flash videos recorded with Jing... )

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How social software can improve the Healthcare Industry

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Through the power of Dogear, I found the following video which shows Bob Picciano, General Manager of Lotus, presenting the collaborative suite of Lotus solutions.

The presentation starts talking about information overload and how our collaboration software addresses that problem. Here's a brief summary:

  • 05:40 - Bob starts by showing Atlas for Lotus Connections and how it allows you to visualize your network and where information may be getting lost.
  • 07:00 - Bob mentions the importance of having mobile access to your connections and how Lotus Connections
  • 10:50 - Ron Sebastian starts with a demo of Lotus Connections
  • 12:55 - Ron demonstrates the power of Lotus Connections' SOA architecture. He shows how a Line of Business application has been built. It's a Healthcare application that happens to be built on WebSphere Portal.
  • 13:15 - See how you can feature certain Dr's blogs and continue to see the person card everywhere
  • 13:40 - See how you can easily search for providers / doctors based on their expertise (i.e. sports injury)
  • 14:00 - Start chatting in real-time with a nurse (even via VoIP if Instant Messaging is not enough)!
  • 14:45 - Find out more about your potential provider by looking at his blog, learning from their patients, even form a community with others
  • 16:15 - See how you can access all this information from your BlackBerry

Here's the video:

As a bonus, at 22:30 you see how Boeing used Lotus Mashups to assist during the Katrina disaster. You'll see how easy it is to create widgets which can also run on Lotus Connections.

I hope this demo helps you see how the possibilities are endless with social software!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The problems of the aging workforce and social software

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Several days ago, I had an exchange over email about how to pitch Lotus Connections to a customer in the Energy Industry. This is a summary of the ideas that Ted Stanton, Laurisa Rodriguez, and myself came up with.200809231254.jpg

What seems to be a common thread in the Energy Industry is that it's facing an Aging Workforce. This is something that I first ran into when I met a customer in this same industry in Rio de Janeiro a couple of months ago. In this case, the pain points for customers are that they fear they will be affected by brain drain. How do you capture this knowledge before it's gone? Well, with social software, of course!

I consider myself a seeker and a contributor. I am always looking for an expert on something and I like to share my content. Before I adopted social software, however, I found myself turned off by the Knowledge Management (KM) solutions that existed within my enterprise. We had way too many databases. I kept asking myself: "Where should I post my content?" "Where are users searching for content?" "Why don't I have access to some databases?" "Why doesn't any of the existing databases have keywords/categories appropriate for my content?", etc. I'm sure these frustrations are shared by others as well.

How does social software, in particular, Lotus Connections help? Let's look at its capabilities:

  • Profiles - Can be extremely valuable even if users don't manually populate information as much of the data can be pulled from existing enterprise data sources. The ability to integrate profile searches from email clients is something any age group likes.200809231255.jpg
  • Communities - Owners of Communities can invite and recommend communities to other employees. Forums are extremely powerful and communities can become the place where people ask questions to a larger audience. Everyday people ask me questions, I advise them to check the forum and if you don't get what you need, create a post.
  • Blogs - It only takes 1 person on a team to share information. If you have a 10 person team and 9 of them don't blog (over 50 crowd), that's OK. It only takes 1 person to take the best practices and lessened learned from the team and share them across the enterprise. This is kind of informal mentoring.
  • Dogear - No brainier. Everyone has bookmarks. There is relatively no difference between bookmarking locally in a browser or through Dogear. Need to show users how easy it is to get started. Adding a "Dogear This" button to all internal web pages and integrating Dogear search results with the existing enterprise search engine starts viral adoption. When people ask me for links, I tell them to go search Dogear first.
  • Activities - While this may be tough for baby boomers to adopt, the key is to find advocates of all ages. Once these advocates understand the technology and how to collaborate effectively with it, inevitably others will follow as they get added to subsequent activities.

Finally, any social software solution that follows the 10 principles of social software architecture must be easy to use. This simplicity reduces the time that it takes to learn how to use social software, it gets users on board more rapidly, and increases adoption. Lotus Connections, for example, was designed with usability in mind. It's really easy to use!