IBM technical support have made available some tools they use for analysing and fixing recurring client issues. Over the years we have generated our own agents to be used for support but it’s great to see ones supplied and supported by IBM:
iFidelity – Make Sure Your Email Always Makes A Good impression
Great product that ensures that if you send mail sent between different email systems it keeps its formatting. In other words your email is not mangled by the transition and the recipient gets the best impression! To see more go to http://www.geniisoft.com/showcase.nsf/iFidelity
CoexLinks – Letting Domino And Outlook Coexist
Very useful product that lets Domino coexist with other mailboxes. Its easy to set up and can be configured to send NDL files, Notes URL’s or HTTP URL’s to non-Notes mailboxes. To see more go to http://www.geniisoft.com/showcase.nsf/CoexLinks
Symphony – A Free Enterprise-Quality Productivity Suite
Need to free up IT budget? Then consider IBM Symphony suite which can handle daily word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation tasks with a clear and intuitive UI – and its completely free with no need for costly licences. Symphony supports Open Document Format (ODF) and is built for mixed environments, so it can work with other product formats you may already have. To hear more about what Symphony can do – and what it can save you – go to http://www-01.ibm.com/software/lotus/products/symphony/
ExtraFax – Faxing From Your Domino Network
We like the ExtraFax server for combining email and fax functions. ExtraFax is a 100% native Domino faxing solution that integrates seamlessly with Notes Mail and database applications, enabling users to send and receive faxes, text and multimedia messages directly from their Lotus Notes client. Easy to use and to learn. For more info about ExtraFax visit http://www.extracomm.com/
Connecting Quickr to the iPhone, iTouch and iPad
SNAPPS has introduced SnappFiles – its a free app available on the Apple App Store that delivers secure access to and collaboration on corporate documents stored in IBM Quickr or Filenet P8 ECM systems. for more info go to http://snappfiles.snapps.com
WorkplaceControl For Notes – Centralised Admin
Migrating to another server? Consolidating your servers? Switching to a new version of the Notes client? Adding, changing or removing icons? WorkplaceControl can really help. Its an excellent tool for centrally implementing migrations and consolidations. WorkplaceControl can also do easy audits of your workstations. We really like this tool. To see more about it go to http://www.workplacecontrol.com/
TouchGraph Google Browser
“See” websites as Google sees them with this intriguing and fascinating tool at http://www.touchgraph.com/TGGoogleBrowser.html
Free BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express For Domino
RIM have a free BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express For Domino available for you to download. With BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express connected to IBM Lotus Domino, people using a BlackBerry smartphone will be able to wirelessly synchronize email/calendar/contacts/notes/tasks, manage email folders and search email on the mail server remotely, book meetings and appointments, accept meeting requests, check availability and forward calendar attachments, set an out-of-office reply, access files stored on the company network and use mobile applications to access business systems behind the firewall. You can see more about BES Express athttp://us.blackberry.com/apps-software/business/server/express/
Please let us know if you encounter any dead links – just email firstname.lastname@example.org
And some useful info….
IBM Documentation Database
Track down all those release notes and help databases for Connections, Notes, Designer, Domino, Sametime or Quickr released in the last few years. You can read the files online, or download them: http://www.notes.net/doc
IBM Notes & Domino Library
A great source of info about Notes and Domino – its all here: articles, tutorials, demos, webcasts, tech info, brochures, datasheets.
Simple Security Advice
Ever wanted to help someone with basic advice to keep their PC secure against zombification, viruses and all that? Well the UK Government has now publishedhttp://www.itsafe.gov.uk It provides the essentials in clear and simple language for non-techies.
UK Monitoring Guidelines
The UK Government has published guidelines for businesses who want to monitor their employees. You can find them on the UK Information Commissioner’s website here – http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk
The Story of Notes & Domino
Excellent site outlines the story of Notes & Domino – the laughter, the tears, the non-hierarchical replication…
Great Lotus Notes Reference Sheet From IBM
A very handy user guide to Lotus 8 from IBM:
Useful Tips For Corporate IM Use
When using IM….
- They may be “online” but are they free to talk?
- Start each contact with a greeting or a polite enquiry.
- Remember that the recipient might not be alone so be careful about sending sensitive or personal messages.
- It is instant, you cannot call it back – so you need to think before typing.
- Beware – lack of other “conversational signals” means that carelessly composed messages can appear haughty, blunt or angry.
- Use normal type and proper sentences & spelling – and AVOID SHOUTING.
- If you started the contact then make it clear when the chat is over.
- If you ever present using your PC make sure your IM is switched off!
Online Meeting Tips & Tricks…
1. Review purpose & agenda
Review the meeting purpose & agenda once people have joined and you’ve formally opened the meeting. This is just as important for an online meeting as for a face-to-face meeting.
You might want to include the meeting purpose as part of the intro slide which you have showing as people are joining, and to have the agenda as the first foil to which you turn to start the meeting.
Note that a roll call is not necessary for an online meeting; see the Participant List.
2. Ensure maximum participation
The addition of visuals via online meetings technology does not reduce the need for encouraging and managing phone participation for maximum effectiveness.
a. Ensure that everyone can hear you.
The requirement is the same as for a regular conference call … don’t forget the remote attendees. Poll and acknowledge remote participants. The most courteous and helpful process is to ask remote participants, group by group, for their comments when a new topic is brought up.
b. Introduce everyone. If someone joins after that, acknowledge his/her presence.
c. Remind people to speak one at a time and not to overlap each other.
d. Have every speaker identify themselves. “This is Gerry again,” “That was Sandy.”
e. If someone needs to leave early, please announce their departure before they leave.
This gives everyone, especially the people on the phone, an opportunity to raise issues or questions for that person before he or she goes.
f. Ask people to try not to make noises near the phone.
Those noises will be heard instead of the person who is speaking. Encourage people to use the mute button if they are typing or a colleague stops in to chat.
g. Announce the end of the meeting before you hang up the phone, don’t just disconnect.
3. Avoid the “presenter’s pointing pitfall”
Remember that remote attendees can’t see you. Pointing & gesturing at your slides either on the computer screen or as projected on the wall of a meeting room won’t help the remote attendees. Use specific references; don’t say (while pointing), “You can see right down here …”.
If you’re presenting using the whiteboard, highlight key points as you come to them with an arrow or a box.
Your mouse pointer cannot be reliably seen by remote attendees under all conditions.
4. Remember the refresh time for new screens
Remember that transmitting a new screen to remote attendees will take a second or two. Don’t keep asking if people can see the new slide.. if they can’t, they’ll let you know. Check once or twice during large meetings; people are often more reluctant to speak up in a large meeting.
Refresh times may be quite different for different attendees, depending on how quickly their connection is working at the time. This is independent of whether you are dial- or LAN-connected.
Meetings may be held successfully with some or all participants dial-connected, including the meeting moderator.
5. Keep an eye on the time
Keep an eye on the time. Remember that it’s very easy for remote attendees to “walk out” if they have other things to do.
Ensure an orderly close to your online meeting by starting to sum up with 5 minutes to go.
Remember that the online meeting will end at the time you specified. Meetings cannot be extended after the meeting has started. It is advisable to book your online meeting to go 15 minutes past the time you have told the attendees that the meeting will end.
If necessary, tell your attendees what you are doing; book another meeting to start immediately; and tell them how to attend.
Tips On Scams, Spam and Security
To see more info about current viruses go to http://www.viruslist.com
It is vital that your colleagues are involved in the constant struggle with email threats. As an example here are some useful guidelines for email use from an end-users point of view:-
- Watch out for emails from unfamiliar names that tell you to click and go to a web site. The site might actually be waiting to do harm to your machine.
- Viruses and worms travel in many ways, and exist for just about every operating system. Don’t open unsolicited attachments, even if it looks like it’s from a friend of yours – if you’re not sure then contact them before opening. The “From” field in your email might actually be a lie.
- Using your employer’s mail system for personal mail may have unforeseen ramifications. Ideally keep all of the really personal stuff for your private email account at home.
- Beware heartwrenching stories, health warnings, “business offers,” and so on. They might actually be hoaxes. Before you forward them to anyone, make sure they’re legitimate: try the Urban Legends Combat Kit at http://netsquirrel.com/combatkit/ and HoaxBusters at http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org/.
- Beware virus warnings that don’t come from the antivirus companies. They might be hoaxes too. Check Vmyths (http://www.vmyths.com/) before forwarding these on to your friends.
- Don’t purchase services or products from a spammer. When one spammer manages to make money it encourages the lot of them.
Spam Reduction – Best Practice Tips
There are many products available to manage spam, plus some very useful features in Notes. But we thought it might be the right time to also discuss some of the ways that organisations can reduce spam through some simple guidelines…….
Conduct A Spam Survey
Knowing how much of a problem spam is for your users will help you gauge how aggressive a stance to take on stamping it out. Probably the best way to find out how spam impacts your users is to conduct a survey. You could combine a survey with an information campaign: inform users about what spam is and how to avoid it while finding out whether it is a problem for them or not.
Education Is Key
A key step is educating Users about how to avoid giving their addresses to potential spam sources. This will help reduce the amount of spam that comes through your systems. Some key points for your users would be:-
Never respond to spam. People that send spam are looking for a response. Advise your users of this and what the costs of spam are. Chances are, they are aware of it and dislike it as much as you do – but make sure that they know never to purchase anything from an unsolicited e-mail. A key reason that spam is a problem is that people continue to respond to it; if there were no buyers there would be no sellers. Make sure that your users are not adding to the problem by responding to the e-mail at all. This includes the “opt out” links that are often just used to verify whether or not a valid address has been found.
Ensure that everyone understands that many unsolicited e-mail offers are hoaxes or confidence tricks. Some examples to note are the “Nigerian bank transfer” scam, and the “Timmy is trapped in the well” hoax.
Explain that if an offer or e-mail seems too good to be true, it’s probably spam. And many “cries for help” or “secret recipes” are just scams to try and create e-mail chaos and generate more spam.
Avoid Address Harvesting
Spammers can subscribe to any usenet group – and they can harvest what they find. After downloading posts from a usenet group, their news-bots look for email@example.com patterns in posted message content and headers. When an e-mail address pattern is found they store it for use in bulk mailing. The best defence against spammer news-bots is to simply provide human-recognizable alterations to the address that make it more difficult for the news-bot to recognize any e-mail address pattern.
Listserv harvesting Spammers develop programs that subscribe to list servers as any other user can, but they never send to the subscribed list. Instead they capture other list subscriber’s e-mail addresses over time. The best defence against Listserv harvesting is to simply provide human-recognizable alterations to the sending and reply address to make them more difficult for an automated list-bot to recognize any e-mail address pattern.
- Advise your users to avoid having their e-mail addresses harvested by employing the following techniques: Have a personal or “junk” account from a free provider that is used specifically for newsgroup or commercial Web site interaction.
- Do not post their address on newsgroups or public Web discussions.
- Avoid publishing their e-mail address in public “people finder” directories or Instant Messaging directories.
- Avoid using standard e-mail addresses for domain name registration contacts; instead, create accounts specifically to manage registration contact.
- Have users avoid using “e-invite” or “postcard” services with their organizational e-mail address: these services often sell or solicit to the e-mail addresses that they gather.
- Make sure that users know to read the privacy statements on Web sites that they provide information to.
If you are posting to a newsgroup or to a Web discussion board where you suspect that your address may be gathered, consider “munging”. Address munging involves changing your real e-mail address in a way that will make it unavailable for harvesting. Normally this involves adding a “NOSPAM” or some other text string that other people will know to remove before sending mail to that address. Harvesting programs are often not smart enough to distinguish between a munged address and a real address.
An example of such an e-mail address is john.example@NOSPAMibm.com.
Inform Your Users About Spam Avoidance
So its crucial to inform your users The more users know about the cause of their addresses being picked up by spammers, the greater the chance that they can avoid getting on the list. Here is an example of a spam information message for your organisation:-
The Information Systems department is interested in reducing the amount of unsolicited commercial e-mail (aka spam) delivered to our organization. We would also like to find out whether spam is a concern for you, as this will help us determine the best approach to take when configuring our systems to reject spam.
How to Avoid Spam
The best way for us not to receive spam is to prevent our e-mail addresses from being gathered by those that send spam. Here are some ways that you can help:
- Never respond in any way to unsolicited commercial e-mail. Responding can make your address a target for more spam – this includes any “opt out” links which are often used just to verify that yours is a valid address.
- Avoid giving out your e-mail address on Web sites or discussions. Consider using a personal e-mail address or a free e-mail address for non-work-related correspondence.
- Disregard chain letters or other spam that encourages you to send messages to others.
- If you send mail to several external users, consider putting the addresses in the “bcc” field so that all of the addresses are not visible.
If you are careful and avoid having your address get on the spam lists you can avoid having spam delivered to our organisation.
Sincerely, Your Domino Administrator
Introduce A Mail Policy
In addition to briefing your users about spam consider having a mail policy that covers the sending of spam. While you are working very hard to stop spam from arriving, it’s good to make sure that none of your users is an unregulated source of this type of mail. Make sure that users know what the rules are with e-mail and what constitutes productive use of e-mail in your environment.
In some environments, inboxes are cluttered with jokes and other non-work related e-mail. If jokes are important to your organization, consider creating a discussion database for these types of messages; it can help to reduce the clutter. If users want to be notified, you can use an agent that sends a daily summary of the new items that are in the database.