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08:08:47 AM

Mike Rhodin gave a short talk, with some quick facts -- everything on last year's road map has been delivered, and 9% revenue growth for Lotus Software in 2007, then introduced Bob Costas.

Costas is no Neil Armstrong, which he wisely admits right up front. He is a well-liked figure from the world of sports broadcasting. He's funny, and he's doing a good job of trying to make his material relevant. In the context of the Patriot's amazing season, he's talking about how it is his job to separate the useful from the "arcane data and statistics" in the barrage of information that he is faced with. using the "old school tools of experience". There are hundreds of stats that can be cited about the Patriots, but the one he finds most meaningful is that on their way to 18-0, so far, they have already beaten 8 playoff teams, whereas Miami in their perfect 17-0 season only beat 3. That in the "steroid era" of baseball, more players hit 50 home runs in a season over a period of 7 years than had hit 50 home runs in a season in the entire previous history of Major League Baseball. The tie-back to Lotus, of course, is that Lotus' tools help you organize information, find and highlgiht what is relevant.

Rhodin is back now, throwing out statistics about the increasingly distributed and virtualized workforce, which is moving from a docuemnt-centric model of collaboration to a people-centric model. The next generation, he says, is what today's college students expect: community-centric collaboration.

Next, he is talking about the fact that most companies, by now, have squeezed out costs of inefficiency to the point of diminishing returns. Gains from here on have to come from innovation, not cutting overhead. This is something that I felt very strongly about with Notes as far back as 1993 -- that applications that automate back-end operations, which were very common, were simply not where the best ROI was going to be found. Applications that drive new business, and new ideas, are where you get the biggest bang for the bucks.

Best line so far: (paraphrase is the best I can do): some people are investing billions in search, and that's like driving while watching the rear-view mirror. The real value is in going beyond search, into discovery. This, though, seems to be leading him into re-hashing the contextual collaboration vision, which is now about a decade old. It's still the target.

A very interesting graphic just went up -- Lotus Connections on a BlackBerry. Interesting, but he didn't say anything specific about it.

Next is the announcement of "Atlantic", which seems to be a joint project with SAP. It's unclear to me what relationship this has with the SAP stuff that was announced last year, which Rocky and Bob had worked on. Ron Sebastien is demoing it (briefly) now, and what it looks like is that it is a composite application that builds on top of the previous work. That clearly makes a lot of sense.

As Allistair Rennie is introduced, it occurs to me that there's a question that I'm buring to know the answer to: Will this be one of those years where they announce next year's Lotusphere right here in the OGS, or will they wait for the closing session.

Jeff Eisen and Russ Holden have joined Allistair on stage. Jeff is announcing the public beta of Notes 8 fo rthe Mac, and he's announced Notes 8 for Ubuntu, and DWA for the iPhone. Russ is announcing improvements in CPU. i/o bandwidth, and mail storage size -- and this, of course, is on top of all the improvements in those areas since ND6. He's also claiming 45% faster startup time for DWA Light and saying that it is faster even than consumer webmail apps;

Ron is now showing the Widget Wizard, which can add Google gadgets, RSS feeds, and more, to the Notes sidebar. Widgets-by-example looks kind of like a new approach to bookmarks. Widgets can also be dragged to the sidebar from mail messages. Policies can control widget features. Selected text in the main window can be accessed by widgets via a right-click. All very cool, and way ahead of Outlook.

Of course, there's lots of buzz about DWA on the iPhone. My question, though, is what other devices will IBM support. The fact that the iPhone is limited to AT&T is a big obstacle for me and many others.

Russ is now introducing 8.5, and DAOS -- the new single-instanced object store for attachments. That's going to be very important for me, very soon. Russ also mentioned something about a new mail security appliance. That's something I hadn't even heard rumors of before. As an old anti-spam veteran, that's something I'll want to be finding out a lot more about. And he's also introducing Domino Designer 8.5, which he says brings Web 2.0 features to Domino -- and he's introducing Maureen who is showing the new Domino 8.5 Discussion template. Finally, something from IBM (other than DWA or the blog template) that has a UI that doesn't look like 1997.

New best line: "In case you didn't notice, this is the new Domino Designer based on Expeditor and Eclipse." Best applause line: "We now have a class browser."

Kevin Cavanaugh is next, to talk about Symphony. As bandwidth is a bit thight here, I'm going to save this up to my server. I'll try to post more later.

OK... we're back. Next was SameTime and unified communications. Lots of good stuff. Hard to believe SameTime has been around for 10 years now. Ron showed how SameTime presence can be used to cause your office phone to forward to your cell phone when you're not at your desk. Very neat, but I'm not really convinced that I would ever really want to be that accessible.

Next: Portal. I'm afraid I'll have to go find a tree to hug for a few minutes. Just kidding. Ron showed some cool stuff. Portlets within the Notes client. Total Forms, a browser-based forms design tool that looks quite cool, though it is of course pretty rudimentary -- just like all Web 2.0 forms systems I've seen.

Quickr 8.1: Personal file sharing, with RSS. I wonder if they have easy publishing from drafts in the personal space out into a team space -- a feature I first though would be useful about 10 years ago -- in the context of the personal journal and old TeamRoom template.

Connections: Mash-uppable home page. Very neat. Could even replace my Google home page. Atlas -- a tool for visualizing social connections. Looks like this is another one that escaped from Lotus Research -- which reminds me... I have to make some time on my schedule to drop into the research lab. Always a lot of really interesting stuff there, with appeal to both my academic and professional geekiness. Activities -- the biggest and potentially most significant of these recent escapees -- is now the topic. Integration of Activities continues to improve, but it's still not breaking out into general use the way I really think it should.

Lotus Mashups. Cool. New product. Standards-based. (What standards?) Works with portal, Notes, any web app. "Wired-up widgets". But why is it a separate product? How is it licensed?

Big announcement: Bluehouse, a SaaS solution framework for SMB, and Lotus Foundations and an appliance server solution for SMB. This is a serious competitor, finally, to MS Small Business Server. It is also going to be the subject of my question to Mike Rhodin at tonights blogger Q&A.

And the answer to the big question: they didn't announce the next Lotusphere. That's acutally what I expected. In the years when the Lotus community felt under siege, they announced the next Lotusphere in the OGS. In most other years, they held the announcement until the closing session. We're not under siege any more.

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Comments :v

1. Carl01/21/2008 10:38:43 AM

Nice job blogging the session. Is that Carl F. impostor there again this year?

2. Stu Downes01/22/2008 06:44:22 PM

Richard. Thanks for this. In the absense thus far of a webcast those that can't attend are relying on posts like these and I value your opinion and commentary! Thanks again, Stu

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