Breakout Technology Award

In the Business Development Day Opening General Session this morning we got the unbelievably great news that we won the Breakout Technology Award for Lotusphere 2009 with IdeaJam. To say we are pleased is a massive understatement, hopefully it bodes well for a really successful week in Florida.

On top of all the catching up with friends, great technology and meeting new people it’s been a pretty good few days so far 🙂

Setting up the stand

I’ve been over here for a couple of days now and am properly acclimatised, I highly recommend turning up a couple of days early, it lets you chill out before the craziness that is Lotusphere. We’ve done all of the pre and pre-pre parties and everyone is here. Sessions are starting today, but we’re busy setting up the stand, it’s looking pretty cool if I do say so myself. The 24″ iMac really makes a big difference.

At 10 o’clock we’re off to the BDD Opening session where we’ll find out the winners of the breakout technology award. And then this afternoon we’re doing a couple of presentations to the judges of the Best in Show award and the CTO Award. So it’s going to be an exciting day, as is the rest of the week. Come on by stand #227 and say Hi to Bruce, Gayle, Kitty, Mark or myself 🙂

Where I'll be over the next ten days or so

I fly off to Florida tomorrow so thought I’d leave up my general plans for the next week or so. Of course I’ll be online on Twitter and BrightKite (mattwhite on both of them if you’re not already a friend).

Also don’t forget that a group of us will be live blogging the OGS and the LotusphereLive photo stream.

Friday 7pm onwards: PLFNEBGT09, Raglan Road
Saturday 2pm BALD, Big River Brewery
Saturday 6pm onwards: The Turtle Party, ESPN Zone
Sunday: 6pm Welcome Reception at the beach
Monday: 8am OGS Live Blogging
Monday: 10am Pedestal #227 in the Product Showcase
Monday: 1pm Dolphin IV/V Presenting XPages Session (BP105)
Monday: 2pm-8pm Pedestal #227 in the Product Showcase
Tuesday: 9am-4pm Pedestal #227 in the Product Showcase
Tuesday: 4.15pm DL IV/V Presenting Domino Web Development Session (BP109)
Wednesday: 9am-11am Pedestal #227 in the Product Showcase
Wednesday: 11.15am SW Mockingbird Presenting XPages Session (BP105R)
Wednesday: 1pm-6pm Pedestal #227 in the Product Showcase
Thursday: 8.30am SW 1&2 Presenting Domino Web Development Session (BP109R)
Thursday: 11am SW 5&6 On stage at Gurupalooza
Thursday: 5pm Bloggers Open Minigolf
Thursday: 11pm Die quietly somewhere in a corner 😉

If you see me wandering the corridors then stop me and say Hi 🙂

iTunes wants to charge me more for something that costs less?

They want how much?

Last week at MacWorld Apple finally announced that the vast majority of the music on iTunes would be DRM free and that prices on a lot of back catalogue tunes would actually go down. I guess this is in response to Amazon’s MP3 store which is cheaper and also DRM free. All good news so far. I thought I might upgrade my existing music to the new 256kb DRM free format so imagine my surprise when I went to the iTunes store to find that to “upgrade” my music collection I have to pay more now that each song or album actually costs less. Not sure how that works, but you can be sure I shan’t be “upgrading”!

Live Blogging from Lotusphere

Lotusphere is almost upon us, and not having enough to do already I’ll be involved in a couple of “Live Blogging” efforts over the week.

During the Opening General Session (OGS), Declan Lynch, Stuart McIntyre, Paul Mooney, The Turtle and myself will be live blogging in a joint effort. You’ll be able to go to any of our blogs and watch us spout a load of nonsense for the entire two hour session with photos, opinions and general rambling. I think you’ll be able to join in on the live blog with live commenting. So if you’re in the OGS, chime in with you’re opinions and if you’re not then you’ll at least be able to get a flavour of what’s going on. Just come back to my blog from about 07:30 Eastern Time (that’s 12:30 for the UK folks) next Monday the 19th of January to join in.

Also during the week there’s another group of us (Warren Elsmore, Stuart McIntyre, Paul Mooney, Bill Buchan, Tom Duff and myself) that will be posting photos to Flickr in a more “live” way than normal, ie as we take the photo we’ll post it to Flickr rather than waiting until the end of the day or even the end of the whole week. So you’ll be able to watch those going up, there’s already a couple of photos on the stream and more will be added as we travel to Florida, go to the parties, sessions and right throughout the week.

Don't forget the PLFNEBGT09

Well the build up for Lotusphere is well and truly underway, sessions are being practiced, booth prep is almost done and we’re getting to the point of thinking about the parties.

Ah the parties, one of the most important elements of the Lotusphere week.

Declan has posted about the Pre Lotusphere Early Bird Get Together ’09 For the last few ‘pheres a few of us have taken to arriving a day or two early to make the most of the week. So on Friday night (that’ll be the 16th) there will be a group of us at Raglan Road from 7pm or so. Normally if the weather’s anywhere near decent then we’ll be sat outside at the front of the “pub”. Even if this is your first Lotusphere feel free to come along, it’s just a small group of people catching up and relaxing after the day’s travelling.

For those who don't think IdeaJam is being watched

Every so often we hear from people that they don’t think that the public IdeaJam site is having any effect with Lotus. There are definitely issues with feedback, but every so often we get a gem like this…

IdeaJam is watched

So keep on logging your ideas, comments and votes. The people making the decisions are definitely watching.

Review of the Year – 2008

Well what a year it’s been. As usual, the blog pretty much revolves around my professional life, but as time goes on the line between work and play gets ever more blurred. A lot of my best friends are people I am working with, have worked with in the past or are part of the Lotus community. The internet has really revolutionised that side of my life

2008 has been a year of change and continuous work, but in a good way. Until May I was still contracting, which in conjunction with the IdeaJam development work meant I was really doing insane hours. By May I was pretty much exhausted and decided that I should give “proper” consulting a go. It is without doubt the best decision I have made since leaving my “permie” life back in 2000. Life is so much more fun now, I get to choose when and, to a large extent, where I work. Coding has never been such fun! There is no way I could have taken the leap without the support of lots of friends who have been kind enough to pass work my way. Gradually I am building up a nice collection of clients. Financially things are a lot tougher than contracting but I am really going to try and hang onto this lifestyle as long as I possibly can.

At the same time as finishing the contract, preparation for ILUG started in earnest. It was such good fun to be more involved this year with the bigger venue, more attendees and all of the work that entailed. I happened to be looking in Flickr at all of the ILUG 2008 photos yesterday, there’s over 600 pictures up there that record a really great few days back in June. It was also the first time I’ve done any public speaking since back in university days, terrifying but bizarrely good fun. It was that experience along with UKLUG later in the year that persuaded me to make more of an effort with the speaking in 2009.

Talking of which, UKLUG continues to grow and improve. It has a lot of the same spirt as ILUG, thanks to largely the same people being involved in the organisation (not forgetting the incredible Turtles). The big difference is that Warren and Kitty do a whole lot more of the work. The next UKLUG should be bigger and better again, with planning already under way. The various Skype chats never shut down and continue to add to the incriminating evidence against each of us involved. 🙂

The rest of the year has really disappeared into various different projects for clients doing some really cool techie stuff and some blasts from the past. I hadn’t done any “proper” Notes client work for probably ten years but found it surprisingly good fun to do some again. But as ever most of my work revolves around web development, web services and reams of Javascript. Of course IdeaJam has been the constant throughout the year. We’re gradually building a product to be really proud of. Out on the public site you see the pretty front end bits that Bruce is so good at designing, but I would estimate that more than half of our time is spent working on the back end to make the application easy to install, look after and support. 2009 certainly looks like it’s going to be an exciting year on the *Jam front.

Setting aside the work element of life which seemed all consuming at various points throughout the year. I did manage to get some travelling in this year with trips to Florida (of course), New York, Dublin (with stops in Edinburgh and Belfast along the way), Amsterdam and Belgium. Not as much as I would like but something has to give in the battle between life and work.

And that is really the theme of the year. I suspect that a lot of people would find my year intolerable; where’s the relaxation? The mythical “work/life” balance? This is, from my point of view anyway, the joy of being a developer, I can spend most of my time doing something I love and make a living with it. Long may it continue.

I hope you, dear reader had as good a 2008 as you could hope and that 2009 brings nothing but good health and happiness.

</2008> <2009>

It's painless moving to XPages

Over the last month or so we’ve been spending a lot of time doing testing of the new version of IdeaJam so that the XPages plays well with “Classic” (as we’ve taken to calling it). Today we got to the point where we applied the latest beta template against a copy of the IdeaJam production database. Shock of shocks, everything worked exactly as designed. It’s getting to the point where even we can’t tell the difference between the classic and the new versions (which is what we were aiming for). So we get all of the benefits of XPages and very little of the pain from the user’s point of view of things changing because there’s a new technology under the hood.

IdeaJam “Classic” is a good Domino web application (if I do say so myself), but to work on the design of it requires any developers that help us to have a serious amount of experience with Domino web development (I’m talking like 5 years plus). But with our XPages version there really is none of that history required, all the new design elements can be worked on by a developer with the same experience as me, or indeed any other XPages developer, 3 months. It means that we can go from having to worry about all of the Domino “hacks” to make things work, to concentrating on the important stuff… developing a kick-ass application for our customers.

So this is the XPages version of IdeaJam:
and this is the classic version:

So now our copy of production is at the point where we can go to the database launch properties and flick between launch a navigator and an XPage when the user goes to the home URL, and that is all that needs to be done to switch between classic and the XPage version.

Obviously from our point of view there’s a lot of work behind the scenes going on, but for our customers, switching to XPages couldn’t be easier.

Merry Christmas

Well I’m off to Suffolk for Christmas Day and Boxing Day to spend some time with the family.

I’d just like to wish you, dear reader, a very happy and peaceful Christmas. Now what are you doing reading this, go and get some egg nog, champagne or whatever your favourite tipple is.