The year in review...

Wow. What a year. What did I do ?


  • Lotusphere 2007. I did a huge number of presentations (all are available via my presentations page - link on the right), including the infamous Worst Practices with Paul Mooney, Object Orientated Programming with Jens Augustini, Advanced OO in Lotuscript, and DevBlast - 30 LotusScript tips. Excellent stuff, though I only had time to actually see half of the opening session (How on earth are they going to beat Neil Armstrong this year?) and Ed and Julians session. This year - thank the LotusFear gods - I'm only doing two sessions. Granted, they're both repeated, and one is a jumpstart - so I have four hours of presenting on the Sunday - but at least I should be able to attend sessions...

  • Another EntwicklerCamp - Excellent fun, and highly recommended. Rudi does an amazing conference.

  • Scottish Notes User group. A really good event, organised by Graeme of Standard Life and Darren Adams of Lotus. A really good event in that lots of people who wouldnt normally trek down to London came along and made themselves known..

  • A UK User group event. Amazing stuff - Warren Elsmore and Kitty did themselves proud, organising this event over at ComputaCenter in Hatfield. Excellent in that 100 people turned up, and various side events - such as Matt White 's and Paul Mooneys 'Demonstrate everything' workshop was a success. Many thanks againto Kevin Cavenagh who keynoted on a whilstlestop tour of most european countries.

  • iLug . The Irish Notes User Group. Amazing. Paul and Eilleen worked their asses of for this, as did Warren, Matt (and to a lesser extent, me). Fantastic fun - a real highpoint of the summer. IBM dug deep into their pockets and sponsored the Cafe En-Seine (Cafe Insane) drinks reception - a huge success. This year, iLug will be a three day event from 4-6th of June - so check out iLug2008.org for registration when it opens. The price - as usual - is FREE.

  • This year, I did The View developer conferences again - in May in Boston (following an extremely interesting two day visit to Westford. Waren and I christened the bar at Chilli's in Westford - home of many a 'product shipping' party I suspect), and in December in Barcelona. It was my first time in Boston, and it culminated in an amazing 'throw the squidgy ball at Bills Head' game back in my suite... Again, I have to stress, the View conferences are ran like a military machine, and good value for money. Barcelona - well I have to go back there again - such a beautiful city. On a side note, HADSL are sponsoring a stand at next years View conferences, so I'll have my extremely patient business partners to keep me on track this time.

  • For the first time this year, I did a SoftSphere conference in Germany. This was held in one of the nicest hotels in Frankfurt, and I got to catch up with a large number of HADSL's german customers. A very nice event, and hopefully I'll be invited back. (This was the first event I used the MacBook Pro as a presentation machine, and it went well, thank god.)


  • Smaller events included the BlackBerry Connect with the experts event, which I presented at in Glasgow, and some Lotusphere comes to you events ran by
    Triangle.


  • Last but not least, Rob Novak kindly invited me down to see the Collaboration University event in London - something I'm very glad I did. A smaller event, but with some extraordinarily good speakers and fantastic content. This one is on my radar for next year, and I'd recommend you get it on yours..


  • (I kinda over-conferenced myself this year, so next year, I wont be doing quite the same number again..)


  • Productwise, the big news was Notes 8 being released in August. A hugely stable server release - both the Billbuchan.com and HADSL servers were upgraded to Domino 8 within hours of release (and have been stable ever since). The Notes 8 client has been installed, de-installed, and re-installed again on both windows and Linux. I'm not using the Standard (eclipse-based) client at the moment - but look forward to a 801 release in a few weeks time. As well as a Notes 8 client for the Mac, eventually...!

  • At the start of the year, as the technology early adopter within HADSL, I 'upgraded' from Windows XP to Vista. Well, someone had to do it. Early impressions were good, ignoring the User Access control stuff. Over time, the 'Wow' factor slowly deteriorated into a 'F*$£#!' factor. I really tried to love this ugly child of redmond, but in the end 'upgraded' back to Windows XP. Vista just doesnt deliver the stability and security that is demanded of a new operating system, and its 'designed by committee' User Access and DRM makes it a very very hard thing to like. In the end it decided to start copying my user files back to the same Volume as Vista (without telling me of course) and lost files. Vista - in all its overhyped glory - is just an O/S for the MS fanboys, I'm afraid. I have no doubt that much lipstick will be applied to this pig, but its not for me.


  • My ageing 'Blingmaster' Dell XPS Gen-2 laptop - the 10-pound monster that has done so much to increase my back pain - hit the three-year old mark. Performance wise, its still fast, but when you try and run more than one virtual machine - well the 2gb memory limit started to bite. So it was time to replace.. But to what. Would I go for a yet-faster PC based laptop running XP - more than six years old ? Or would I switch ?

    I switched to a MacBook Pro 15". Lovely machine. In the end I bought three Macs in two days, and re-equipped the family. Of course, Leopard came out at the end of this year, so for the small sum of £125, upgraded all three. Aside from a hard drive failure - prompting the MacStore in glasgow to competely swap out my machine - I've not been happier with these new machines. It was less painful switching to the Mac than it was switching to Vista. Some tips for other switchers out there:

    • Install Leopard. Just do it. Its wonderful. The 'Spaces' stuff is a lifesaver and time-machine is awesome.

    • Go to the control panel, keyboard and mouse, and enable 'double finger right click' and 'double finger scroll'. In no time at all, you'll wonder why other touchpad mice dont do this.

    • Install VMware fusion . I went with Parallels , which gives slightly better mac integration at the cost of performance and stability. Both Virtual environments have transporters which just take your existing machines and makes a virtual machine out of them. No mess, no fuss.

    • Buy iWork 08. Ignore Office for the Mac. Office for the Mac creates incompatible files with office 2003, and lets not even consider Office 2007. If you want OpenOffice for the Mac, I went with NeoOffice - which is both free and excellent.

    • Cord is the free Mac based MS Remote Desktop, which is nicer and more stable than the windows one. And ' Chicken of the VNC ' is the VNC client.

    • I"m running Notes 703 on the Mac which is 'okay'. 801 for the mac will take a while to come out, so I've ended up running one Notes Mac client and one Windows (Parallels based) client.

    • Skype for the Mac is excellent. No fuss and integrates with the webcams in the Macs. No thinking required. My family, spread across the US and Thailand, seem to live on it.



  • Lots of BlackBerry news this year. Cool handsets, and Wifi finally coming out (after a long long wait). I still live on my BlackBerry curve. I just cant bring myself to get an iPhone - yet. Why ? I live in rural scotland. The chances of actually getting edge, let alone 3g, are faint. The CrackBerry compresses and encrypts web traffic between itself and the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The iPhone pulls things down directly... So I still can surf on the slow GPRS network faster than the iPhone. And the Skype client for the BlackBerry ( iSkoot ) is fanstastic. Once we see official SDK's, 3g and perhaps a BlackBerry client for the iPhone, I'll re-evaluate. (I dont know if BlackBerry will do an iPhone client or not - I'm just speculating).

  • Lots of BlackBerry work this year, and lots of BlackBerry articles, I did a four-article series for LotusUserGroup on programming BlackBerry and Domino, which are being turned into a technical suppliment for The View. Cool stuff.

  • Work-wise, HADSl have went from strength to strength this year with lots of new customers, new features, etc. (In fact were' just finishing off a major release in the next wee while, so stay tuned for that.) This doesnt of course impact my normal consulting role, and I've had a year of ups and downs this year. The Ups definately was working for a brewery in the latter half of the year, doing some QuickR customisation and roll-outs. Working for a brewery is like putting a kid in a chocolate factory... Loved it. The guys there showed me things that I didnt know - which is always a good thing - and have some deeply impressive Notes and SAP integration solutions. Very cool.


  • IBM and Lotus ? I've been deeply impressed this year with just how much effort, time and Money is being spent on Lotus this year. And - gasp - the ' Clear your Desktop ' ads ? Actual Ads for Lotus Notes ? Excellent stuff. Another good year for Lotus under Mike Rhodins command. Kevin Cavenagh got promoted this year - again good news - and the Ed Brill and Alan Lepofsky roadshow shows no sign of stopping. Lotusphere2007 was over-subscribed - several hundred people just showed up on he day, and they ran out of BackPacks. The BP Showcase had to be redesigned three times to get all the stands in.

    Looking forward to Lotusphere 2008 - its even better. Back to the 'two opening general sessions' again, indicating attendance (actual delegates) is back over the 7,000 mark for the first time since 2001. (The main room at the Dolphin seats six to seven THOUSAND people). All the hotels are back in full usage again in terms of breakout rooms, and hotel rooms were in short supply. Wow.


  • We should have (I hope) an 801 release in the Lotusphere timeframe (god I hope they have DVD's to give away, else the network will be squashed!), and this is hugely important in a number of ways. A *lot* of client and server bugs will be gone, and a lot of very new cool domino features - such as note compression - will really help reduce actual disk space consumpion in a very real way. If your sitting on ND6 or ND7, and wonder why you should upgrade - this is the main reason (from my point of view). SANS and Backup time and space are NOT cheap, and this is an immediate cost saving. Next up is the 64-bit release on windows, meaning that the 32-bit windows program memory limitation of 2gb is gone. Excellent.


  • On a personal note, I hit 40 at Lotusphere 2007. Lots of things have changed - I've grown older, and lost the ridiculous beard that I had then. I use my clogs (that so many people will remember from Jelly Rolls) all the time. I've worked crazy hours this year trying to pack in all my commitments, and have decided to take my big fat foot off the gas pedal, and work smarter. Ignoring my family and and my frends for so much time just isnt smart.


  • Talking of friends, various random acts of kindness were executed this year. Volker organised a whip round to reward Paul Mooney with a Black MacBook, and Eileen with a new TV for their hard work organising iLug 2007. Eileens MS Charity walk to Peru filled up in a heartbeat as well. Ed Brill organised a new Laptop for Stan Rogers.

  • Various pub-sessions over the year convinced me that I was one lucky beggar. So many excellent people to spend time with. Paul Mooney, of course. Warren Elsmore and Kitty . Julian Rubichaux , Matt White , Ben Poole , Steve Castledine . Matt Buchanan , The S&N Crew, the Aberdeen Notes User group (drinking subcommittee). 'Uncle' Bob Balaban , Ed Brill , Alan Lepofsky , Kevin Cavenagh (whom I had to rescue at supper in New England), Dave 'The Paranoid', Lance Spellman , Rocky (of course!), Liz and Rob Novak , Victr and the rest of the Snapps crew. The View organisers - Allison and the rest of the cheeky girls. And who could forget Mary Beth , and her rendition of 'Sametime' in the Karaoke bar in Dublin. Mike Smith , Tim and Gabriella from Turtle. Jason Hook. The random Project Diamond survivors. The occasional abuse-o-gram from Betty Pod... (If I've forgotten to mention you in this list - sorry. Obviously you didnt buy me a drink.. ;-) )


  • JVS - or Micro-Ted - finally tied the knot this year to the beautiful (and amazingly tolerant) Debbie. A beautiful couple, a fantasic wedding and a really good night. Most of the Project Diamond crew appeared, in disbelief if nothing else. Jon's family - mad as ever, and finally met Debbies' father. The owner of various shotguns and large diggers, so a man to be respected and feared. But nice nevertheless. Tracey and Roy Holder , Coatsie and Suzie, Matt and Mrs Highland, Pants and Mrs Pants.. A really really nice weekend in Malmesbury..


  • I really have to thank my co-consiprators at HADSL - Roy, Richard, Tony and Jon - for another good year, and to thank them for their patience with me...


  • Things missing this year were a big bike trip - its still broken and I miss her - and of course the weight loss and getting fit. I did join a gym this year, but gave it up when I moved jobs. Shame. Perhaps if next year is less crazy. I'll start again. I also didnt visit Holland enough this year, and hope to remedy that by end of January. I have a big-blubba three debt to repay to Coatsie and John Mill at Yokohama 's in Eindhoven...



So its been an amazing year, and looks to be even better next year. So - raise a glass and Happy New year!