Explaining My Drive & File Sync and how it affects versioning

My Drive was introduced to replace the previous sync options of IBM Connections. It offered some additional features like being able to sync not only files but also complete folders. Great! But working with My Drive also often causes a lot of confusion which might need some explaining….

Continue reading Explaining My Drive & File Sync and how it affects versioning

IBM Connections 4 gold nugget: Drag and drop file management

Like everyone else I’ve been excited to find out all the little and big new features IBM Connections 4 has to offer and even though I’ve been Beta testing it for months I’m still finding new little gold nuggets of functionality each day. One that I came across while looking at Luis Benitezvideo of new features in IBM Connections 4 is the drag and drop in the files section of the browser to upload new files or versions (at approximately at 2:50). I love it!

It makes it so much easier to upload files as you don’t have to first click a button and navigate to the file location anymore. On drop of the file or files (yes multiple works too!) it will automatically prompt you for tags and sharing options. Giving you the option to share it immediately with individuals or communities. Even better is that it also recognizes files that are already uploaded in your files section, prompting you to save the new version either as a version or with a rename.

This same functionality was already available through the Windows desktop plugin and the Lotus files plug-in that also allows drag & drop and automatic recognition of new versions but lets face it not everyone wants to install plugins and add-ins and sometimes it’s simply not even an option (try installing the Windows desktop plugin on your Mac!). With this you don’t have to, simply open your ‘My Files’ section and drag&drop your file or files in. It works like a charm!

And it turns out this doesn’t just works on Greenhouse or your on premises install of IBM Connections 4 but on Smartcloud as well (thanks to Erik Vos who alerted me to this!). This nifty little functionality is absolutely one of my favorite new functionalities of IBM Connections. What is yours?


Recent Contacts – blessing in disguise or admin headache?

In Lotus Notes version 8 the Recent Contacts functionality was added. Users love it but for administrators it can be a bit of headache.

The problem is that it adds all recipient and sender addresses to the Recent Contacts list. Not just external contacts but also internal contacts; those that are in the central organizations Directory (NAB). Now for years I’ve been hammering my users NOT to add those internal contacts to their personal address book (PAB). Why? Well because deletions, renames and changes to the person documents in the central NAB are not automatically updated into their PAB as well. Causing the risk of addressing outdated addresses.
Anyone that did add names from the NAB into their PAB was fittingly chastised for doing so and got the “I told you so!” response when problems arose.

Not anymore…. Because with the addition of the Recent Contacts users don’t have to do anything anymore to get those internal contacts into their PAB. The Recent Contacts is part of the PAB and as soon as you address or receive a message the sender / recipient addresses are automatically added to the list. Causing a major headache for the administrator when he has to do a rename or remove a name from the NAB.

There are some options in the Preferences – Contacts section for the Recent Contacts functionality that influence what is put into it but nothing to exclude names from the NAB or any other central directory (secondary address books, Directory Assistance….).

Another problem is the totally nontransparent way in which Lotus Notes seems to resolve addressing. I’ve been doing some tests with different scenario’s and different settings and I’m still not sure I understand all the nooks and crannies that it has. Documentation on how it all works is scarce, especially when you throw things like secondary address books, directory Assistance and off-line laptop configurations into the mix.

So how to limit the downfall?
For now the best option seems to be to set the  “Recipient name lookup” option in the location document of the client to “Exhaustively check all addressbooks” and the “Mail addressing” option to “Local then Server”. This won’t eliminate the problem of having wrong addresses in your Recent Contacts list but will make sure the system throws an error indicating it is finding more then one match and giving the user the opportunity to select the correct address.

Secondly it is worth while explaining to users what the Recent contact list is and how they can clean it up.
Luckily the new 8.5.2 version allows users to right click names in their Type ahead list and select ‘Delete’ right in the list to clean up wrong addresses but this still is far from ideal.

I’m not alone in being frustrated with this new functionality. Check out these suggestions on IdeaJam (idea1, idea2, idea3), Darren Duke’s blog and a Wiki on the Recent Contacts functionality for more information and let’s hope IBM comes up with some solution to make this function more admin-friendly soon.

Little gem of 8.5.2

I love exploring the new features the new Lotus Notes 8.5.2 client offers, especially the small and quirky ones that you overlook so easy. One of them, I find particularly nice. The option to save mail messages to uniform mail standard files (*.eml) that include formatting and attachments and saves to the file system or hard drive.

Why do we need this? Well, you’ll be surprised how many people needed this. Customers for instance that work with non-Lotus Digital Filing, Archiving and or Document Management systems. Before they would often have to have either a middleware product or add-on to be able to input Lotus Notes messages directly into their other systems. Or worse; save the message to a word or a txt file before adding it as a file. This meant a lot of extra work and costs so they will definitely welcome this new option.

To use it simply open the message and from the [File]  menu select [Save as…], select the location where to store it and select the .eml extension.
Open the view or folder that contains the mail message(s), select the message(s) you want to save to .eml and drag them to a folder on your hard diks/file system (e.g. using Windows explorer for instance). Each selected message will be saved as an individual file.

It works great! There is just one thing I find inconsistent….

Why isn’t there a [File] – [Save as…]  option in the view as well?!?

Thanks to Vincent Schuurman for blogging about the Drag&Drop option

Additional Update:

One more thing to keep in mind is that in the in the [User Preferences] – [Basic Notes Client Configuration] – [Additional Options] there is a setting that needs to be activated for this to work. Otherwise drag&drop will only create links, not .eml files.