Time to move on.....

,,,, to a couple of new challenges. Monday 22nd August will see me depart from IBM. My business home for the past 17 years 7 months and 12 days. I started working for Lotus Development UK Limited for a chap called Graham Jons (he's still in IBM somewhere) in the spreadsheet and database support team. Back in the days when we had a UK call centre for Lotus support and we still wrote software like Lotus 1-2-3, Improv, Approach, AmiPro and Freelance Graphics. I remember once whilst on the Approach hotline talking to an old chap about database joins, but he just wasn't getting it. So I asked him if he had thought of getting some training as it's not easy to explain over the phone. He told me that he had been on a training course, at which point I hit the mute button and suggest that he ask for a refund. The manager that was ear-wigging from the cubicle behind me almost fell off her chair. I un-muted and then went on to explain all about joins and we had another happy customer who's database worked again.

I could go on for ages with support line stories, but that's for another time.

I'm going to join GSX (www.gsx.com) a business partner from Switzerland, although I will be working from home in the UK. My role will be Technical Services Manager and I'm really looking forward to the new challenges this new role will bring.

The other new challenge in our lives at the moment is adopting two children who were placed with us earlier this month. So learning to live with two new people in the house, leaving IBM and starting a new job has made August a very interesting month and one I will never forget.

If I've worked with you or met you during my time at Lotus / IBM, then I would like to say a huge "thank you" for making my time there so enjoyable.

A trip to Manchester for UKLUG

Sunday morning started with an early run up the M40/M6 to Manchester for the set up of UKLUG (United Kingdom Lotus User Group). I say early because 8am is not a time I normally witness most Sundays, well for now anyway. I was surprised at the amount of Red Kites that I saw all looking for prey along the M40 corridor from High Wycombe up to Banbury. They are close to the endangered list so it was good to count about 50 of them up the motorway. Arriving in Manchester I made my way to the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) and found some of the team in full swing preparing the various rooms with sound/projection/lights, all the normal stuff that needs doing for a conference like this. I got to work setting up the wifi access points and running 25m ethernet cables in the ceiling space to the 2 access points we had. This is seemed to work fine so we moved on to taking a few pictures around the place while the rest of set up was happening. The bag stuffers were in full swing collecting all the bits of marketing material for each of the conference bags. It takes quite a while to put 20 bits of 'stuff' into 250 bags.

With the set up done in a really good amount of time we all set off for our hotels by about 6pm. The speaker dinner event was happening later that evening with a canal boat tour on the Manchester ship canal. It was a great evening and quite a few drinks were consumed.

Monday morning came around and we were there early to await the arrival of the guests. Everything was as smooth as silk, apart from the wifi that I set up. It turns out that Netgear in it's infinite wisdom would only allow 50 DHCP addresses to be assigned through it's tiny little wifi router. Grrrrrr. Luckily one of the sponsors had a Linksys router that would allow us 220 addresses so we set that up instead and cut down the lease time to about 3 minutes. Luckily for me, Warren Elsmore and Chris Miller helped me sort this out and work out what the best time was. We are also looking at ways to make this work in a much more stable way in future.

Tuesday was fun and we managed to attend sessions and get everything sorted for the XPages taster morning before everyone came in. The wifi needed rebooting again mid-morning so we really know that it's something we have to fix before the next event.

The closing session was the usual prize-fest from the sponsors, and as usual, those who didn't stay until the end didn't get their prizes.

All in all it was an outstanding event. Great attendees, awesome sponsors and a fantastic venue. The only thing that makes all this work is the volunteers who run it and the speakers who spend coutnless hours distilling their knowledge into consumable chunks in the form of presentations. I for one am very grateful to Kitty and Warren for organising it and to the speakers who turn up, unpaid, to impart their wisdom.

Elguji are at it again.

So Bruce, Gayle and Matt at Elguji have taken another idea and managed to shoehorn it into the JAM format. IQJam is a great looking tool that will allow you to create a question and answer forum. As is synonymous with IdeaJam the community can vote on the questions and the person who asked can mark the question answered. Add to all this that Bruce has decided to openly publish iqjam.net for the benefit of the Lotus community, just like they have with ideajam.net. Another XPages application from the Elguji stud that looks to be as good as the rest of the stable. It will only run on a Domino 8.5.1 server so we have a little while to wait to try it for ourselves. I'm sure the wait will be worth it.

It's very rewarding for me to be involved with Elguji and see them working with the new technologies Lotus is creating. Watching the products go from ideas to alpha testing, beta testing and then on release to the market is extremely interesting. I can't wait to see this product and try it out for myself.

More space available in December workshop

GREAT NEWS We have just been given access to a bigger classroom in IBM Hursley so we can take more people in for the XPages class 9-11 December.

Please email hurtec at uk.ibm.com to register. We are still trying to cover as many companies/business partners as possible so please don't register if someone from your company has already been.

For quotes on what the course is like please see Mick Moignard's Blog.

New Laptops

So I am blessed with more new technology that I can shake a stick at right now. Whilst in Hong Kong I bought an Asus Eee PC 1000H with 2Gb RAM and 160GB HDD. I love this little laptop as it's sooooooo protable and great for traveling. The power supply is also tiny, the battery lasts for about 6 hours, which is almost a whole day. The wireless and bluetooth work really well and the SD-card reader in the side is a really useful bonus. The 10" wide-screen lcd is really crisp and bright and very easy to view. The best bit is that it runs Windows or Linux (Ubuntu is my preference) and I have installed Ubuntu as soon as I got the laptop.

SPECIFICATIONS: 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, 2GB DDR2 RAM, 160GB hard disk, Intel GMA 950 graphics, 10in 1,024 x 600 TFT, 802.11bg+draft-N, 10/100 Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, 1.3mp webcam, 3 x USB, VGA, MMC/SD (SDHC) card reader, Windows XP Home, 266 x 191 x 45mm, 1.45kg

The other laptop that is on the horizon is a Lenovo W500 which is a monster fast laptop which will have two drives, 1x160Gb and 1x200Gb (sata), and 4Gb Ram, 15.4" widescreen and Intel Core Duo cpu. Due for delivery tomorrow morning, I will be working from home waiting for it. Further user coment to follow.

XPages Workshop, re-run already planned.

So if you can't make the first set of dates we have a smaller number of places available for a re-run of this workshop in December. Dates: Tuesday 9th - Thursday 11th December 2008 Location: Hursley Technical Exploration Centre Registration: Please email hurtec@uk.ibm.com to resgister. Cost: Free

We will send you a confirmation by email when we have accepted your registration.

XPages Workshop update

I have had to move the dates forward by one day and extend this workshop to be three days. There is just too much to do to get it all done in two days. Dates are 25-27 November 2008

Location is IBM Innovation Centre, Hursley

Cost is FREE

Registration will be from the IIC events pages When this goes live (sometime next week), those of you who have already expressed an interest to me will be considered pre-registered but will still need to enter your details on the IIC website. If you don't enter your details you will not be able to attend. (Sorry)

Class numbers will be limited to 24, so I suggest you register early.

The Domino XPages cometh

Well I'm back from my holiday/vacation and I have a stack load of work to do, but to add to the grief I have to go to Dublin on Wednesday night for a 2 day training course on Domino XPages. I wholly intend to run this in IBM Hursley for Business Partners soon. So keep watching for more info on that. Here is a description of what Domino XPages are from the IBM developerWorks Wiki on IBM Lotus Domino web Application Development.

An XPage is a new design element based on JavaServer Faces (JSF) technology that lets developers create Web 2.0 enabled pages for use in Web browser applications running on Domino 8.5. XPages remove the barrier of Web programming in Domino by providing advanced page design capabilities and complete control of the generated markup. They also allow access to any kind of data and provide an easy method for localizing applications. XPages includes the following features:

* AJAX enabled (for example, partial page refresh, type ahead capability, and so on) * Advanced Web control library (tabbed panel, and so on) * Full support for styling by using CSS * Fully extensible by using custom controls (composite controls or Java-based controls) or JSF extensions * Support for multiple clients (Web, rich client, and so on) * JavaScript scripting language support for client-side and server-side action * Pre-built simple actions provided for most common cases * Direct access to Java libraries on the server

So I think it's finally been fixed.

It's not taken me long, only about 18 months, to get this blog fixed but I think I have managed it now. I had to get the site admin from my webhosting company to disable some security setting to make WordPress work properly. It's done now so there is no use crying about how long it took me to ask the right question of the support folks.

So you can expect the amount of posts to gently slide up in the coming weeks.

ttfn

End of one era and the dawn of a new chapter

So today is the last official day working for the IBM Innovation Centre (IIC) in Hursley, UK. It's been a great three years here and I'm looking forward to moving into my new role. So whilst my job will change tomorrow, I'll still be around the IIC training my successor for a month or so. So my new role will be working for the Lotus Business Partner Technical Enablement team in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). That's quite a big area and it's quite a big team that I'm joining. Both of us will be taking part in loads of conference calls as we don't know about travel budgets for this year yet. The main focus of the role is to help partners get up to speed with "NEW" Lotus technologies and getting them onto the beta programmes and out the door with skills when the product becomes GA.

If you are an IBM Business Partner and want to get involved in beta programmes with Lotus products then please let me know and I'll be able to help you find out what is available and what you can get involved in.

Please drop an email to tim_clark at uk dot ibm dot com

Lent day 3

Still no confectionary and/or junk between meals. Yipeee. Still the same weight though. Boooooo!Drinking lots of water instead of snacking. I'm sure it's going to help soon, but at the moment is just makes me wee like a race horse. ;o)

New car arrived yesterday. Pics on webshots. http://community.webshots.com/user/tcsoft Also went to the gym to sweat a few pounds off before dinner.

Rugby tomorrow is in Wandsworth against BEC Old Boys so that should be a laugh. I don't know what possition they might want me to play, but I hope it's blind side flanker.

Working from home today on writing up a project. Very dull but needs to be done.

I'm still waiting to see if the job I have been waiting for gets approved, but I heard something good on this today so it seems to be moving along at last. I'm so ready for a new challenge at the moment. The current job seems to be dull and dragging a bit. Still it pays the mortgage. "I wonder if we'll see the interest rate cut that was announced yesterday by the Bank of England? I bet not."

D-Day for the Mazda 6

Over the past year I have had numerous problems/niggles with my company car, one Mazda 6 diesel sport.

4 Xeon headlights
1 Front wheel bearing
1 Front wheel bearing flange
1 Clutch
1 Flywheel
1 Gearbox

The last 5 being replaced in the space of one month. This is in adition to the regular servicing of the vehicle.

So I finally lost the plot and told the fleet managers here to have the car back as I had lost all faith in it and don't feel safe in it anymore. It has resutled in a long drawn out dialogue between the lease company, the fleet managers, the garage and me.

So the final outcome is that my compnay have asked for an independant safety inspection of the car, which is supposed to be happening today.

I'll keep you posted as to what happens. 

Sleepless in Frimley + Lotusphere Postmortem

So last night I had a sleepless night worrying about this trip I'm going on in 9 days time. Urgh, starting to feel it now.


Had a very productive meeting yesterday with the rest of the Lotusphere 2007 - Solution Develops Sanctuary team. We have a postmortem meeting to discuss what happened and what we want/need to change for next year. If you visited the lab and didn't leave us your comments, but want to tell us what you thought of the lab, then please send me an email.

tim _ clark at uk dot ibm dot com. (I'm sure you can work that out.) ;o) 

I HATE FOG

It is not the fog I hate, but the stupid people who think that because they can only see 500 yards, everyone must have their fog lights on.

Highway code Rule 211: You MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced (see Rule 201) as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights. You MUST switch them off when visibility improves.
Law RVLR regs 25 & 27

So a message for all you doppy folks who will still have you fog lights on three days from now and even though it's sunny and clear. PLEASE TURN THEM OFF. Especially the driver of the LandRover Discovery who I had to follow through slow moving traffic for 8 miles once I left the motorway.