Connect 2014...

Connect 2014 is now over - we've laid it to rest, and are toasting to its demise over various beverages. So. What happened and what is of interest - from a Notes/Domino point of view:

  • Biggest tangible thing is project 'Hawthorne' - the ability of an Outlook 2013 mail client to connect natively to  Domino server and get mail, calendar and contacts. The Outlook client will need a small outlook plug-in to deal with encrypted mail and something else, but hey - its still pretty damn sweet. 
    The drawback with this approach (as one beta customer told me in strict confidence) is that its only an Outlook client. Some of the more vehement Outlook supporters, when trying this out, basically said 'Oh. Yeah. Okay' and went back to their notes clients. So be careful how you pitch this internally.
    When will it be released? "When its ready" was the answer. No firm dates yet, but the team apparently remember all too well the disaster that was DAMO and don't want to repeat that particular nightmare. 
    I for one will happily wait for a while for this one, as when it lands, it has to work first time, every time. I'm sure if you begged enough, some kind and yet unnamed IBM person might get you on the beta program.
    I asked for this in 1999, and was taken outside and shot for it. It has came out of nowhere, so I suspect some HUGE customer leant on them very heavily for this.
    Good luck getting more information on this - not a lot of actual slide ware on this. Yet.
  • Some tool which helps Microsoft Exchange users migrate to IBM Cloud mail. They've actually built an Exchange to Notes migration tool from the ground up. It'll be interesting to see how that works out.
  • IBM Mail. See this article. Finally, a radical rethink as to what mail might be. Something that was kept out of the Opening General Session slides was that this will all be ran from the Domino server. Lots of work to do in this area, so again, don't hold your breath.
  • IBM Sametime is now rebranded as IBM Connections Chat or IBM Connections Conference. This announcement caused most confusion, as the slides were ambiguous and caused a lot of 'hair on fire' panic among the bigger customers. Which was amusing.
  • Lots and lots of talk of the new IBM cloud offerings based on their new cloud stuff. The big news in the cloud offerings was the announcement that you could finally run your applications on cloud hosted machines. Thank god.
  • xPages - you'll have to go elsewhere for any news on that stuff. But lots of bar chatter about a web based designer, whatever that is. Asking direct questions caused major panic among folks, so clearly its a fun topic

The way the OGS was handled basically ignored all Domino customers out there. They were aiming for Journalists (which they hit), CEO's (hit) and the new Kenexa HR folks (another hit). The web content management stuff was trotted out and polished (another hit), and the Sametime rebranding mentioned. 

The OGS itself was more like American Superbowl. Snippets of action between HUGE customer stories, which actually seemed more like Ad breaks. Rather distracting.

The show floor - the airless underground carpeted bunker - was awash with stands selling all and sundry, and was overran at periods with delegates. It was difficult to gauge the mood, as the stand that we originally were to get - at the bottom of the escalators (prime real estate) was then moved a few weeks ago to the back of the hall, beside the shop and a mysterious cupboard full of hoovers. Red-Hat, who's booth last year had over 500 delegates, clocked less than 90 hits of the entire week. I suspect some bottoms will need to be kicked before this is repeated for next year.

Yes. Next year. Connections 2015 has been announced, and starts on January 25th.

I did a 5 minute piece on Wireless Broadband at a Spark session, and I participated on the panel for a Blankety-Blank style game. Both of which were great fun and required very little preparation. 

Warren and Kitty Elsmore were a fantastic hit as professional LEGO artists, doing mini-figs of absolutely everyone.

Lastly, parties. If you dig deep enough you might see me in the pool at the Dolphin hotel, wearing black trousers and my FirM shirt. You should ignore these heavily photoshopped pictures - especially the bit with someone trying to wax my back with duct-tape. Or the bit where Greenpeace kept shoving me back in the water.

We're about to start the Thursday night traditional post-match analysis, downstairs at the Dolphin Bar. And a new event - the LASHES - where we burn an old Domino admin manual, preserve it in a glass, and then compete with Australians for it by drinking lots of .. well.. anything. But you already knew that.