Ben Langhinrichs

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November, 2013
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Tue 19 Nov 2013, 09:13 AM




A number of people have expressed an interest in the Yellow Bubbles project, but who will be the first to burst? Will it be you?!? If people hurry, it would make a great stocking stuffer. (Especially if loaded on a lovely new tablet or mobile device of one's choice.) See Yellow Bubbles: Stories of the Lotus community by YOU for more on the project.

Below are answers to the frequently asked questions. (Okay, each has been asked just one.)

Question 1: How do I submit what I have written. I can use anything from a Notes document in a blank database to an email or a file in .doc/.docx/.txt/.rtf/.odt format. Send any of them to me at .

Question 2: Can we include pictures? You are free to include images, but if you caught a flash of Bill Buchan's privates while he sauntered about in the kilt, keep it to yourself.

Question 3: Are IBMers allowed to participate? Sure. The more the merrier.

One more thing. If any of you are BFFs and really want to write stories that go together, who am I to complain. I can put all the Turtles in the same shell, for example.

Copyright © 2013 Genii Software Ltd.

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Fri 15 Nov 2013, 04:18 PM
Going to put this out earlier because it is a Friday, so I plan to finish up soon.

I made some good progress today. Went into the SharePoint-community.net discussions and searched for CSV, which is my highest priority for understanding. Found only a few posts, but somebody else seemed to be asking the same thing. Replied asking if he ever got an answer, and a very knowledgable user answer me shortly after that, pointing me at the Import-CSV Cmdlet (a new vocabulary word for me), and also a link describing how to upload files into SharePoint using a script. With those two clues in hand, I was able to find some other resources about importing CSV into SQL Server (the database behind SharePoint).

I also found did some research on SharePoint site templates. Not useful today, but might be a possible direction if I decide to export some design along with the data. I already have the code to created the zipped collections, and the .cab/.wps files might allow me to get the data into SharePoint in something more constructive than a Listing site. No plans yet to try to get all the design over, but the data types and such would be useful. Maybe on Monday I'll have enough time to create a document library and try importing into that.

Overall, I am pleased by the documentation and the supportive community, but a little wary about SQL Server. I think I last used SQL in the 1980s, and my memories of those days are blurred by decades of child rearing and composite data records (a dangerous and volatile mix).


Copyright © 2013 Genii Software Ltd.

Thu 14 Nov 2013, 08:20 PM
Not a lot of progress today, but good places to start. Started up my own "site" with Microsoft for Office 365 and SharePoint last night, so I went back and it was all there and functioning. Impressed at how easy that was.  Maybe I am just a bit leery of large corporations and websites after Partnerworld. Anyway, a pleasant surprise, but only if I can figure out what to do.

Played around a little, then when and sought Tom Duff's advice on where/how/why to get started. Both he and Joe Litton chimed in and recommended http://sharepoint-community.net.

I must say, I got a laugh from the pseudo-CAPTCHA on the community's sign up. Past that, it is a bit of a blur trying to get a sense of where to look first. Oh well, I'll keep at it and let you know how it goes. 


Copyright © 2013 Genii Software Ltd.

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Thu 14 Nov 2013, 09:18 AM



In a comment on my last post, Christian Tillmanns suggested that writing a whole book was too much, but one chapter would be doable, and Paul Mooney chimed in that a history of the Lotus community would be fun. What if anybody in the Yellowverse who was interested tell your story/stories about what the Lotus community has meant to you. No particular rules, tell the good, bad or ugly. Anything that would be fun for the rest of us to share. I would then publish them on Smashwords for free (and on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for the minimum, $0.99, if people think that is a good idea). Because each is a small, individual project, there can be as many or few as people like, and they can show up whenever they show up. They can be a couple of pages or twenty pages or five hundred pages. Doesn't much matter. Bytes don't weigh much. By the way, I use the term "Lotus community" on purpose. I know it isn't attached to the products anymore, but neither are many of you. The community grew under the name Lotus, so I think it fits.

Obviously, from the very start, there is no money in it. The only goal is capturing some of what the Lotus community has meant to us over the years. No pressure, no need to sweat deadlines. I would be editor, because somebody has to read the damn things and find typos and such, as well as make sure the formatting is ready for publishing. Any tiny trickle of money that came in would go to the coffee fund to make sure I was awake enough to keep doing this stuff.

Anybody interested? 

Copyright © 2013 Genii Software Ltd.

Wed 13 Nov 2013, 03:33 PM
I've decided it is time to learn something about SharePoint. Whether that means, "Know they enemy" or "Abandon Help, all ye who enter here" or "Follow my bliss" will remain to be seen. At the moment, I just want to figure out what it is. I should note, I know a fair amount about SharePoint from a distance, just not as a hands-on user.

Looking at the system requirements, I do not want to set up my own SharePoint server just yet. Looking about, I can see lots of talk about SharePoint Online. My wife says my head is in the clouds anyway, so I'll try that.

I could sign up for SharePoint Online for $60 a year. I can handle that price. But I want to be able to develop with it, so instead, I signed up for an Office 265 developer site which includes SharePoint. Free for the first 30 days, so I can see whether I want to go down that route.

If you don't hear from me, tell my next of kin that the Borg has assimilated me.

Copyright © 2013 Genii Software Ltd.

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Wed 13 Nov 2013, 11:50 AM
With apologies to those in the community who are shorter than I am (most of you), and whom I have teased about it on occasion (a select few of you), I must admit that there are advantages to being short.

At least if you are an ebook.

There was a time when most sources of information about technology were long. (1990s and early 2000s, I'm looking at you.) Lotus and other tech companies produced books with information about their products, and there were many independent books published as well. Most were in print. I have many pounds worth if books from that era, including Lotus Notes 4.6 Unleashed! (I even had a couple of chapters in that) and the Lotus Notes and Domino 6 Programming Bible, for example. There are still massive tomes being produced, but fewer people are buying them.

Why? Because we are busy, impatient and mobile. I carried my print copy of Mastering XPages on a trip one time, and it was a huge mistake. Never again. Now, I carry a digital copy, but it is a royal pain in the ass to dig through it in digital form. So instead, I search for blog articles. They are the right length, but already there are ones that are dated because they were for 8.5.2, not 9.0, and it isn't very easy to tell.

What people want, whether they are buying or downloading for free, are short dissertations on how to accomplish a specific task or a few related tasks, or short essays on the whys and wherefors of taking a certain approach.. They might even want a little audio or video demonstration built in to their short book. Instead of a monster tome to search through, they want links to other related tasks so they can go and consume those when and if they are needed.

All of which works well in a short ebook. The content can be concise rather than exhaustive, and it can contain audio and video clips (at least on your iPad/iPhone, Kindle Fire and some Android devices). It can contain links to other content that might be necessary, but that doesn't need to clutter the experience. Not a ton of words, no need to project a sense of covering everything, these short ebooks can be provided either free or fee-based on a company's website or through on-line bookstores. (Of course, there is still plenty of need and demand for full length books in both print and digital form, but I'm busy making a point here.)

So there, I've admitted that there are advantages to being short. (Now, balding may be a different story.)

Copyright © 2013 Genii Software Ltd.

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