|Latest 7 Posts
| Thoughts on the Microsoft Surface Book 4|
Mon, Jun 19th 2017 8
| How to Split SharePoint Document Libraries to Simplify Synching|
Sun, Apr 30th 2017 10
| Using SharePoint with OneDrive as a File Server (for Ex-Domino Admins and Traditionalists)|
Mon, Apr 24th 2017 11
| Migrating Mail from IBM Notes and Verse to Microsoft Outlook on Office 365 - Part 2|
Tue, Apr 4th 2017 13
| Migrating Mail from IBM Notes and Verse to Microsoft Outlook on Office 365 - Part 1|
Fri, Mar 31st 2017 6
| How to Set up Rooms Properly in Office 365 - Part 2 (Extending Booking Time)|
Tue, Mar 21st 2017 4
| How to use PowerShell to Change the Email Address of Office 365 Groups|
Fri, Mar 10th 2017 12
| How to Create an Auto-Response Mail Message in Lotus Notes 8.5.3+|
Wed, Feb 22nd 2012 63
| How to Use Microsoft Outlook with Your IBM Verse (in the cloud) Mail|
Sun, Oct 9th 2016 46
| How to set IBM Verse as your Default Email Client|
Thu, Jun 9th 2016 27
| How to Create a Good Email Signature and Use it in IBM Verse|
Mon, Apr 18th 2016 26
| How to do Bullets and Numbering in IBM Notes|
Tue, Feb 4th 2014 23
| Restarting Agent Manager on Domino 9.0.1 may crash your server....|
Wed, Feb 18th 2015 22
| Fixing Word 2016 Crashes when Opening Older Documents with Macros on Windows 7|
Tue, Nov 15th 2016 21
| Good Resources for Support with IBM Connections and Verse 2: Official Channel Web Sites|
Tue, Aug 2nd 2016 19
| How to Embed Video into your IBM Connections Wiki|
Wed, May 11th 2016 17
| A Walkthrough the Google Apps for Work Setup Process|
Tue, Feb 16th 2016 16
||New Year, New Directions
2017 marks the beginning of a massive shift in technology at work. We’re re-branding, we’re moving office and we're changing our technology from IBM to Microsoft. It's going to be a wild ride and I hope that you’ll stay with the blog as I delve into the new world and try to figure out what works and what doesn't.
I've been on Notes/Domino since version 3.0 and I haven't used outlook at all, apart from a week in 1995 when I decided that I hated it (plus of course, the regular interactions with outlook die-hards where I've had to fix their computers). My personal favourite mail client is Gmail though I've been forcing myself to use Google’s inbox for the past three years. Of course I've used a lot of other web based mail systems over the years.
IBM ConnectionsLast year our company made the leap to IBM Verse and Connections. It was a disaster. IBM connections is a very powerful and capable product marred by a terrible and inconsistent interface. The choices that IBM have made regarding security are very protective but unfortunately affect usability to such a degree that we were unable to use even the most rudimentary collaborative features. It didn't help that we got a new management team who are determined to “get rid of IBM and replace it with Microsoft”.
IBM VerseVerse is where we really hit the wall. On the surface, it feels like a great new way to work but because we already had an archiving solution in place, we didn't opt for IBMs one. For various reasons, we experienced a very high bounce rate and frequently got bounce reports from mail that actually made it through. We also discovered that we couldn't find mail that was more than a few months old. Additionally, we discovered that our address book groups were not being updated and in many cases were missing altogether. This created a lot of addressing issues. Finally, we discovered that if a user leaves the company and you remove their email address, it also deletes their mail, Permanently. IBM’s support teams can’t recover it. For a company like ours who are used to being able to restore from backup months and even years down the track, the loss of an overnight restore is a pretty big deal.
We spent a lot of time with IBMs technical support team who were excellent and did their best with a product that wasn't performing well. Unfortunately the support teams were also struggling with the English language and communication was difficult at the best of times.
IBM DominoOur domino environment is extensive and it really was really the star of last year. We threaded bootstrap and FontAwesome throughout our sites and demonstrated that there is a lot of life left in the system. The facelifts we did on our systems left them barely recognisable and indistinguishable from modern apps. I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing if there is anything that Microsoft has that can match it for versatility. That's going to be a really interesting journey.
IBMUnfortunately for Domino, I can't blame my company for its failings. That's entirely on IBM. They've spent the last decade downplaying Domino and trying to replace it with various things (websphere, workplace, connections and verse). They had a brilliant product but they've done so much irreparable damage to it with their mismanagement that I don't think it can recover.
I think that one of the most telling examples of this was during a meeting with the IBM sales team where we were investigating a migration to bluemix in the hope of better utilising our domino services. We asked about “domino in the cloud” only to be told that there was no option for this - and that there was little likelihood of one in the future due to a lack of interest in Domino. I exchanged glances with my team at that point and we collectively acknowledged this as the point where IBMs softlayer and bluemix services had failed to offer us any significant advantages over AWS or Microsoft Azure.
I'm sad to be leaving the IBM world, though I'm sure that we’ll be retaining our Domino servers for a while yet. We can't do too many changes at once and we still need to find and learn appropriate replacement technologies.
Whatever we do, 2017 looks to be a very challenging and interesting year.
Jan 08, 2017
| Recent Blog Posts
Thoughts on the Microsoft Surface Book 4|
Mon, Jun 19th 2017 9:40p Gavin Bollard
I've spent the last couple of months on Microsoft's Surface Book 4 (i7) and I've had enough time to form an opinion. I generally hate laptops but I've found the Surface Book to be fast enough and easy enough to do the majority of my work on. The touchscreen is very responsive and I love being able to detach the tablet from the base - though admittedly, I rarely have a good business reason to do it. We ordered around 45 of the devices all at once. One was DOA and another had batteries in th
How to Split SharePoint Document Libraries to Simplify Synching|
Sun, Apr 30th 2017 10:54p Gavin Bollard
In my last post, I talked about how you need to split your SharePoint document libraries into smaller chunks in order to synch them. In this post, I'm going to assume that you made the same mistake that I made and put too many documents into the one document library. In my case, I have an IT Team SharePoint site which holds all of our IT documents. It makes sense to keep all our IT documents together. For the most part, the site doesn't need to be synched anywhere because it's mostly a stora
Using SharePoint with OneDrive as a File Server (for Ex-Domino Admins and Traditionalists)|
Mon, Apr 24th 2017 6:33a Gavin Bollard
Over the past few months, I've been looking at a whole range of options to do with file storage on the basis that Microsoft's OneDrive simply doesn't do what we need. The whole time of course, I've been unable to shake the feeling that Microsoft should be offering something that already covers this space. After all, file sharing is one of the major "tentpoles" in most Windows networks. As it turns out, SharePoint is the answer to this - and it works well if it's playing nicely with OneD
Migrating Mail from IBM Notes and Verse to Microsoft Outlook on Office 365 - Part 2|
Tue, Apr 4th 2017 6:14a Gavin Bollard
Last time on Real World Computing, I talked about migrating mail from IBM Notes and Verse to Microsoft Office 365. Now it's time for Part 2. Mail RoutingWe did routing in two parts. Initially we had MX records for both IBM and Microsoft with Microsoft having the higher number (which means lower priority). After the cutover date we switched the priorities so that Microsoft Office 365 had the higher priority. One of the cool things about Microsoft’s setup is that they give you two domains, o
Migrating Mail from IBM Notes and Verse to Microsoft Outlook on Office 365 - Part 1|
Fri, Mar 31st 2017 11:05p Gavin Bollard
It was always just a matter of time. Eventually we were going to have to make the jump from IBM to Microsoft. It's not that IBMs software isn't good. It's very good. It's simply that IBM is the Beta to Microsoft's VHS. Technically the IBM product line is far superior but on the surface, IBMs poor UI will never match the incredible pull of Microsoft's polished Office 365 offerings. We're just finishing a mail migration from IBM Notes/Verse to Microsoft Outlook, which we did entirely in-ho
How to Set up Rooms Properly in Office 365 - Part 2 (Extending Booking Time)|
Tue, Mar 21st 2017 4:01p Gavin Bollard
Following on from Part 1 where I talked about how to get rooms to show up in the room list, here's the next step where we extend the booking time from the default of 180 days. Why is there a limit?In most circumstances, a limit makes perfect sense. It stops employees from booking meeting rooms for years in advance and then leaving the company. In our case, it's actually fairly common to book the meeting schedule up to about 18 months into the future - so the 180 day (6 month) limit is quite r
How to use PowerShell to Change the Email Address of Office 365 Groups|
Fri, Mar 10th 2017 9:34p Gavin Bollard
One of the odd things about Office 365 is how much you have to resort to PowerShell to get things done. That's currently the case with the Office365 Groups, a recently introduced type of group that works particularly well across all of the Office365 applications. I've been setting a few things up with Office365 groups lately and I've had two instances where I needed to do some renames. Once was when the people who asked for the group changed their mind about the name and the other was when
How to Set up Rooms Properly in Office 365|
Tue, Feb 21st 2017 7:53a Gavin Bollard
You'd think that setting rooms up in Office 365 would be a simple matter of going to the Office 365 Admin console, expanding Resources, clicking on Rooms and Equipment and then using the Add Button This works but it doesn't do everything. If you want your rooms to appear in the Room List (and to show available times), you'll have to use PowerShell to put them there. Finding AnswersSo... I spent a while trying to find the answers without a whole lot of luck. I think that coming from the No
Solving Some Azure Active Directory User Synchronisation Issues on Office 365 |
Sat, Feb 18th 2017 10:46p Gavin Bollard
We started moving over to Office 365 quite a while before we decided to ditch Notes mail and move to Outlook. It was also my plan to get rid of our internal active directory server and rely solely on the cloud for authentication. As it turned out, management wanted to keep the AD server a little longer, so we've had to synchronise our onsite accounts with the Office 365 ones. The synchronisation processes immediately created duplicates (and sometimes triplicates) of users. The journey to re
OneDrive to Rule them all ... or perhaps not.|
Mon, Feb 6th 2017 12:02p Gavin Bollard
Microsoft OneDrive is great! It's easy to use too and has some really great integration into Office 2016 - which means that when you go to save or open files, instead of displaying a file dialog, it renders the folder names right into the panel. Sadly the sharepoint integration in Office 2016 is still dialog-based. On the surface, it looks like a great files storage solution but as it turns out, just like Tolkien's OneRing, beneath that shiny surface, OneDrive is mostly evil. At work, we'