PACKT Publishing reached out to me recently to see if I'd be interested in reviewing their new book 'IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User's Guide.' Given my history with the product (and having answered no small number of questions about how it works), I was interested to take a look. (Disclosure: PACKT Publishing provided me with a complimentary electronic copy of the book for review purposes.)
I found the book to be a very thorough and well-organized look at how to use Sametime instant messaging and Web conference features, running from the basic embedded capabilities in Lotus Notes all the way through Sametime Advanced and Sametime Unified Telephony. For users new to using Sametime, or even those moving up to a "modern" version from Sametime 3.1 or its ilk, this would be an excellent "how-to" guide as well as a reference companion. While the concept of "instant messaging" is something most people are familiar with these days, Sametime is packed with enough features and capabilities that it's helpful to have a resource that walks through all of the capabilities, explains the preference settings, and highlights some of the more advanced (and less-than-obvious) features.
Authored by Marie Scott and Thomas Duff, who should be no strangers to those in the Lotus community, the book is very well laid out and walks through topics including using Sametime in Lotus Notes, setting up and using the Sametime Connect client (from setting up your the contact list up through transferring files and screenshots, and everything in between), scheduling and leading a Web conference, using chat rooms, broadcast communities and instant share in Sametime Advanced, and using Sametime Unified Telephony. The Appendices cover new features in Sametime 8.5 and 8.5.1, as well as using Sametime in other applications such as Lotus Connections or Microsoft products... and even contain a link to the Sametime song.
The books is structured in a way that covers the basics before moving on to more advanced features, something novices should appreciate, as they should the use of accompanying visuals, preference setting descriptions and index in the back.
Having been involved in books like this before, I know there is often more material that could be included than there is room for. That said, there are a few things that I wished had been called out - features that I used to get a lot of questions on or that I discovered even veteran Sametime users weren't aware of (and my apologies if I just missed it in the book). For example:
You can drag and drop a file into the chat area to initiate a file transfer, instead of using the paperclip icon
Clicking the "search directory" option when typing name will find that person even if they're not in your contact list (I've discovered colleagues who had been using Sametime 7.5 for over a year and still thought the only way to chat with someone was to first add them to their contact list.)
You have the option to have separate chat windows or a single tabbed chat window (and can start a chat with a new user directly from within the chat window).
Those are all minor points, though. To re-iterate what I said earlier, I'd highly recommend this book to anyone starting to deploy Sametime or upgrading to Sametime 8.x, and it's certainly a worthwhile reference to stick on the office shelf for new hires using Sametime for the first time. Well done, Marie and Tom!
Watson Analytics Beta Now Available
Thu, Dec 4th 2014 9:11p Adam Gartenberg Watson Analytics is now live in beta. If you haven't already signed up, there's no time like the present. ARMONK, N.Y. - 04 Dec 2014: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Watson Analytics, a breakthrough natural language-based cognitive service that can provide instant access to powerful predictive and visual analytic tools for businesses, is available in beta. See Vine(vine.co/v/Ov6uvi1m7lT) for a sneak peek now. IBM Watson Analytics automates the once time-consuming tasks such as data pr [read] Keywords: ibm
Go Inside Watson Analytics (Live Video Chat)
Mon, Dec 1st 2014 12:11p Adam Gartenberg If you'd like to learn more about Watson Analytics, head on over here at 12pm ET on December 4th for a live video chat with big data experts to learn more about what led to its development and how it's being used in the real world. Go Inside Watson Analytics December 4, 2014 | 12:00PM ET Are you ready to Go Inside Watson Analytics, IBMâs new tool that gives business users access to powerful analytics at their fingertips? Uncover the genesis and development of the new tool with I [read] Keywords: ibm
Recap: Insight 2014 Day 3 General Session
Thu, Oct 30th 2014 10:12a Adam Gartenberg I found the Day 3 general session of Insight 2014 to be quite interesting for a number of reasons. Captain Richard Phillip's first-hand account of his ordeal and rescue was fascinating, and Kevin Spacey's keynote was one of the more inspiring messages at a conference like this. On the business side, the challenges faced by Singapore in identifying illegal or dangerous activities in and around their ports was eye opening, and then of course there was the little matter of the landmark partners [read] Keywords: ibm
IBM and Twitter partner on data analytics
Wed, Oct 29th 2014 7:12p Adam Gartenberg Today's general session from Insight 2014 was interesting for a number of reasons (including an inspiring talk by Kevin Spacey), but I want to draw attention to an announcement made right in the middle of it: IBM's partnership with Twitter to integrate all tweets (sinceTwitter's inception) and full ongoing live stream into IBM's cloud-based analytics, customer engagement platforms and consulting services. From the Wall Street Journal article on the partnership: IBM will have access to [read] Keywords: ibm
When it comes to analytics, are you a spectator or a front runner?
Tue, Oct 28th 2014 3:12p Adam Gartenberg Last week IBM's Institute for Business Value released their latest analytics study. The important takeaway this time around: The need for speed. In 2014, several significant shifts occurred in the realm of big data â shifts business executives cannot afford to ignore. The most significant change: Velocity is now the value driver for big data. Enter the speed advantage. Our sixth annual analytics study revealed a small group embracing this shift for competitive advantage. These orga [read] Keywords: ibm
How to follow IBM Insight from home
Mon, Oct 27th 2014 9:19a Adam Gartenberg I'll be following the IBM Insight conference from afar this year, and if you didn't make it out to Las Vegas yourself, there are still plenty of ways to stay in the loop. First, head on over to the InsightGO site and register to watch the general sessions and keynotes via live stream (starting up soon - 8:15am PT/11:15am ET today). I'm particularly interested in hearing what Kevin Spacey has to say about how data and analysis is influencing "House of Cards." You can also keep up to date vi [read] Keywords: ibm
Watson Analytics in Action (demo)
Thu, Oct 9th 2014 3:11p Adam Gartenberg Do you want to see how easy it is to add data and see the resulting analysis from Watson Analytics? Here's a demo of how a fast food chain could analyze the impact of different marketing campaigns they tried out in test markets. [read] Keywords: ibm