Article draft of to THE VIEW

Just shot of an e-mail with a draft of my next article for THE VIEW. The working title is “Into the blackbox – a tour of the Sametime Business Card system” and will discuss and describe the business card system, a.k.a. UserInfo, of Sametime and how to configure, mix and match blackboxes and how to write your own blackbox implementations. The article is a little less development focused than I’m used to but I still managed to sneak in some Java code… 😉

No word yet on when it’s gonna be out but I’m guessing the March/April 2008 issue.

Sametime widget – would you like to have it?

I was looking through idea jam the other day and saw an idea in the Sametime category and a comment to the idea from Carl Tyler. The idea was to provide an easier way to let users upload their own picture to the Sametime directory (see Make it easy to add Images of People). I thought that it wouldn’t be too difficult so I started coding and I have the Sametime client part ready. I envision a menu item that launch the below dialog box which allows the user to select a picture from the hard drive, have it automatically resized, previewed and then uploaded to the server.

Using a servlet, I also plan to supply, on the Sametime server the picture is inserted into the Domino Directory or the database you use as source for your blackbox. A LDAP implementation should be easily possible as well. This would allow you to have users change their own picture and let you easily get nice business card data for your colleagues.

Before finishing the project I would like to hear if this was something you would consider using.

Patch for lost messages in Sametime 7.5.1 tabbed chat interface

As previously mentioned (Sametime 7.5.1 tabbed interface is loosing messages!) I upgraded to Sametime Connect 7.5.1 and began loosing chat messages when using the new tabbed chat interface. I was kindly informed by Hans-Peter Kuessner from of two IBM patches for the issue. I contacted Lotus Support and requested the hotfixes and promptly received them. I have provisioned the hotfix to my users using the automatisk provisioning built into Sametime 7.5. The automatic update of user Connect clients has worked like a charm and the patch has solved the issue. Nice!

Below is a screenshot of the dialog shown to users after the patch has been automatically installed and a screenshot of the “Manage plug-ins” dialog after the feature patch has been installed.

Only feature I could see the need for would be some way to see which users have installed the patch and who haven’t. Of cause users do not have the option of not installing the patch but still it would be nice to know how many of the users have been updated. Some might be connecting from home where they might not have access to the update site. I haven’t checked the log so strictly speaking I don’t know if it’s there but somehow I doubt it.

A bit disappointed with Sametime 7.5.1 screen capture annotations

As previously mentioned I upgraded to Sametime 7.5.1 yesterday to follow along but also because of the update to the screen capture utility which I use a lot. Although the new functionality is nice it falls short of actually replacing manually using SnagIt! that I otherwise use for screen capture. I know that SnagIt! does a lot more, but when I need to capture some part of my screen and send it off I almost always need to highlight or annotate it in some way before sending it off. That being said I like the ability to automatically send the screen capture to chat partner(s) from the annotation window.

I would think that the basic required annotation tools would be:

  • Ability to draw basic geometric shapes (circle, square, line) apart from freehand
  • Ability to use different colors based on color picker
  • Ability to add text
  • Ability to add arrows
  • Ability to adjust line thinkness

I guess that the above can be consider a feature request… 🙂

Upgraded to Sametime 7.5.1

I upgraded to Sametime Connect 7.5.1 this morning to test it out and to take advantage of the new features. I’m especially looking forward to screen capture annotations – the new tabbed chat interface will also be nice.

The upgrade process itself went smoothly, but unfortunately there was an issue which makes it a no-go for us for the time being. The sametime.ini file was replaced and since we have made customizations to that an out-of-the-box installation is a problem for us. Whether modifying the sametime.ini is supported at all I do not know but it doesn’t change the fact that sametime.ini was replaced… 😦

Another issue is that the UI has been slightly modified. Apart from the general color scheme and that the “Primary Contacts” miniApp has been added per default at least one menu item has been moved. The one I’m looking at is the action for managing plug-ins which used to be at “File -> Manage Updates -> Configure…” but in Sametime 7.5.1 is at “Tools -> Plug-Ins -> Manage Plug-Ins…”.

This isn’t too bad – I actually prefer the new location. The problem is that my next/newest article for THE VIEW just went off to the press and the article contains numerous screen shots – some of the functionality for managing plug-ins. I smell an Sametime 7.5.1 errata coming up… 🙂