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Long Term Storage and Retention
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Time stamped encrypted archives
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Designing a REST API for eMail
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Running vert.x with the OpenNTF Domino API
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Workflow for beginners, Standards, Concepts and Confusion
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Inbox vs. Stream interaction pattern
Stephan H Wissel    

A recent Tweet exchange with Alan got me thinking on (inter)action pattern in the collaborative software we use. On one hand we have the incumbent eMail: time tested, loved, loathed and under (so the hype) thread from the new kid on the block: activity streams (a.k.a. river of news), in various technological implementations (from propriety, RSS, ATOM, JSON to activitystrea.ms). I'll compare the two from the perspective of work, where you need to get things done (pun intended). I will use email actions from Lotus Notes as example, available actions in your eMail software might vary. Similar I use IBM Connections 4 as stream example. Here you go:
Purpose eMail Social stream
What's new? Scan inbox, look for unread marks, switch to "unready only" mode Scan stream, memorise where you left off
Read details Click on item (with preview pane) or open it Click on item, then click "show all", "show more", click on right arrow (in Connections 4)
See conversation Click on triangle to expand or use show menu (when eMail open) Click on item, then click "show all", "show more", click on right arrow (in Connections 4)
Reply Click reply (with too many options ) Click comment
Tag a reply Send & File, Categorize Use # in the reply
Indicate that you concur/endorse an item Send a reply Click the like button
Mark as read Automatic when previewing or reading n/a
Associate with something File in folder(s), categorize (yep, that's like tagging, but not shared with others and in Notes since 1.0) Tag
Information not relevant Delete or remove from inbox (my favourite for "might be relevant some other time" since it still shows up in all documents and search) n/a (in Activities there is tune out, or remove watching a specific tag)
Read later Keep unread, file in folder(s) n/a
Associate with a project or a customer File in subfolder(s) of project/customer folder, use custom plug-in for meta data tagging is flat only, harder to find later
Followup action needed Flag for followup, copy into task n/a (the sharebox might remedy that in future)
Add to personal/team knowledge collection Copy into journal or discussion db (there's a plug-in for that) n/a, but you can use the Evernote browser plug-in
Scheduled action needed Copy into new calendar entry n/a
Let other people know Forward Reshare with @Name in the message
Look at specific information like a project, product, customer Open that folder, look at the categorized view, fulltext search Browse for the tag, fulltext search
Suggest filing/tagging destination Use the SwiftFile plug-in Look at other people's tags for the item
Suggest what else is interesting n/a Social analytics
It seems the interaction patterns for actions in the social space need to mature a bit. Interestingly e.g. Google reader has sorted the problem of read/unread for a stream of news (your RSS feeds) by tracking what entry you focus. Might that make sense for an activity stream (show unread only)?

Dec 13, 2012
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Recent Blog Posts

Long Term Storage and Retention
Thu, Aug 14th 2014 6:14a   Stephan H Wissel
Not just since Einstein time is relative. For a human brain anything above 3 seconds is long term. In IT this is a little more complex. Once a work artefact is completed, it runs through a legal vetting and it either goes to medium or long term storage. I'll explain the difference in a second. This logical flow manifests itself in multiple ways in concrete implementations: Journaling (both eMail and databases), archival, backups, write-once copies. Quite often all artifacts go to medium term [read] Keywords: domino ibm notes application archive database email office wiki xml

Time stamped encrypted archives
Wed, Aug 13th 2014 9:12a   Stephan H Wissel
Developers use Version Control, business users Document management and consultants ZIP files. From time to time I feel the need to safeguard a snapshot in time outside the machine I'm working with. Since "storage out of my control" isn't trustworthy, I encrypt data. This is the script I use: #!/bin/bash ############################################################################ # Saves the given directory (%1) in an SSL encrypted zip file (%2) within # the personalFiles folder. The name [read] Keywords: connections ibm linux network wiki

Designing a REST API for eMail
Sat, Aug 9th 2014 11:12a   Stephan H Wissel
Unencumbered by standards designed by committees I'm musing how a REST API would look like. A REST API consists of 3 parts: the URI (~ URL for browser access), the verb and the payload. Since I'm looking at browser only access, the structured data payload format clearly will be JSON with the prose payload delivered in MIME format. I will worry about calendar and social data later on. The verbs in REST are defined by the HTTP standard: , PUT, and DELETE. My base url would be http://localhost [read] Keywords: ibm email wiki

Running vert.x with the OpenNTF Domino API
Wed, Aug 6th 2014 1:11p   Stephan H Wissel
In the first part I got vert.x 3.0 running with my local Notes client. The mastered challenges there were 32 Bit Java for the Notes client and the usual adjustment for the path variables. The adoption of the OpenNTF Domino API required a few steps more: Set 2 evironment variables: DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/ibm/notes LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/ibm/notes Add the following parameter to your Java command line: -Dnotes.binary=/opt/ibm/notes -Duser.dir=/home/stw/lotus/notes/data -Djava.library.path=/opt/ib [read] Keywords: agent domino ibm lotus notes notes client applications eclipse java openntf

Workflow for beginners, Standards, Concepts and Confusion
Thu, Jul 24th 2014 10:12a   Stephan H Wissel
The nature of collaboration is the flow of information. So naturally I get asked about Workflows and its incarnation in IT systems a lot. Many of the question point to a fundamental confusion what Worflow is, and what it isn't. This entry will attempt to clarify concepts and terminology Wikipedia sums it up nicely: "A workflow consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, pro [read] Keywords: collaboration ibm applications email google openntf soa wiki

Warriors of Light
Sun, Jul 20th 2014 11:15a   Stephan H Wissel
Inspired by Paulo Coelho's manual for the Warrior of the Light: Warriors of Light We were born from the stars Descended from the heavens Armed with compassion Determined to end the suffering Subjected to the human condition Battling ignorance with wisdom Laying our lives for the liberation from illusion When you look in the mirror - remember! You are one of us. [read] Keywords:


Adventures with vert.x, 64Bit and the IBM Notes client
Thu, Jul 17th 2014 8:12a   Stephan H Wissel
The rising star of web servers currently is node.js, not at least due to the cambrian explosion in available packages with a clever package management system and the fact that "Any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript" (according to Jeff Atwood). When talking to IBM Domino or IBM Connections node.js allows for very elegant solutions using the REST APIs. However when talking to a IBM Notes client, it can't do much since an external program ne [read] Keywords: connections domino ibm lotus notes notes client application development eclipse google java javascript oracle python wiki ubuntu

Cycle where?
Sun, Jul 13th 2014 1:12p   Stephan H Wissel
I like to cycle, I do that often and from time to time I have fun with traffic participants. One of the interesting challenges are multi-lane crossings (note to my overseas readers: Singapore follows the British system of driving on the left, so cyclists are supposed to cycle on the left edge of the road - which makes me edgy in some situations. So for right driving countries, just flip the pictures) where the outer lane allows more than one direction. Like these: Road rules do require the [read] Keywords: google wiki

From XML to JSON and back
Fri, Jul 11th 2014 8:12p   Stephan H Wissel
In the beginning there was csv and the world of application neutral (almost) human readable data formats was good. Then unrest grew and the demand for more structure and contextual information grew. This gave birth to SGML (1986), adopted only by a few initiated. Only more than a decade later (1998) SGML's offspring XML took centre stage. With broad support for schemas, transformation and tooling the de facto standard for application neutral (almost) human readable data formats was established [read] Keywords: application java javascript server wiki xml xslt

The folly of root cause analysis
Wed, Jul 9th 2014 6:12a   Stephan H Wissel
IT support's dealing with management is a funny business. Whenever something goes wrong, support teams engage in "defensive blaming" and the elusive quest for a root cause. I've seen this quest (and blaming god and country along the way if it doesn't appear) taking priority over problem resolution and prevention. The twisted thought is: "If I'm not sure about the (single) root cause, I can't neither fix nor prevent it from happening again". Why is that a folly? It paralyses: If a pe [read] Keywords: application database google wiki

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