Monday, June 29, 2009

Comparing PHP vs. Asp.Net

Here is a pretty good comparison of PHP v. ASP.Net.

The hitchhikers guide to PHP

Friday, June 26, 2009

Technical Brief - Lotus Sametime Advanced

The technical brief described in our last post is now available. This brief compares and constrasts ST Advanced's persistent chat and broadcast capabilities with those found in Instant Team Sessions and Instant Queue Manager.

Read the brief here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sametime Advanced - Notes from the field

We've now completed a number of PoCs in which customers compared Sametime Advanced to the capabilities of Instant Team Sessions and/or Instant Queue Manager.

It appears at first glance that ST Advanced has a low buy-in, but the feedback from the field indicates a high total cost of ownership over time. ST Advanced requires a minimum of five separate servers (and more likely double that number, if you require redundancy). Which also means you need the technical competency to maintain and manage all those servers - Websphere, Websphere MQ, Websphere Event Broker, DB2 Enterprise server, DB2 Net Search Extender - over and above your Sametime and Domino server.

For all of that cost and complexity, what do you gain? The main reasons to deploy ST Advanced are persistent chat, broadcasting, and screen sharing.

Instant Team Sessions provides comparable persistent chat capabilities, while Instant Queue Manager matches most of ST Advanced's broadcast features (the two exceptions are broadcast alerts and polls). Instant Queue Manager actually offers a lot of important functionality not available in ST Advanced: Support for both internal and external users via the ST Connect client and/or ST Links; intelligent routing of requests to the relevant subject matter experts; automatic issue escalation to improve first-call resolution rate; automatic metric tracking for management reports (eg, wait time, time to resolution, etc); and much more.

The best part is that you don't need to deploy any extra hardware or learn and maintain any additional technical skill - all you need is your existing Sametime/Domino environment.

Customers who have done the cost/benefit analysis are invariably choosing Instant Team Sessions and/or Instant Queue Manager over ST Advanced.

We are preparing a technical brief to help you make your own cost/benefit analysis. We will post new of its availability to this space as soon as it is ready for publication.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

TwitCaps - watch the world of twitter

In researching some development platforms (PHP, Groovy, Grails, etc..) I stumbled on a Grails testimonial page. Since we also want to integrate PHP with mySQL, Grails looks very useful.

After reading a few testimonials at : I started clicking around and found a very nice little twitter app. It allows the real time display of photos as they pass through twitter.

It's like watching 100 new cell phone pictures every 20 seconds, from all over the world, with all sorts of content. The UI is clean, the app is fun, and it's interesting to watch snapshots of time across the world.

IM Queues in Different Languages

Many of our Queue Manager customers deploy internal help desk IM based queues in order to support their internal employees. These IM help desk queues allow employees to immediately locate an expert, typically in IT, to help resolve a problem (i.e. issue with phone, laptop, project, password, etc..).

Since many of our customers have global operations, we frequently see these IM queues supporting various geographic areas and languages.

The basic text resources of a queue are easily defined in our application - so it is easy to specify specific text responses. In order to completely support additional languages, we also provide a base resource xml file where all additional text resources may be specified for a queue.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How to run on Apache

Here's an interesting little article on running on Apache.

HP C1580 is giving me a headache

Generally, I love HP printers. However, my little photosmart C1580 has been a painful experience.

Let me count the ways:

HP is constantly downloading updates to the drivers and other stuff on my machine. In Vista, this is creating a situation where I'm asked constantly to grant access to the HP updating app.'s just a printer and I don't want to be notified on a daily/weekly basis that you have updated something. I just want to print reports, occasional emails, and other stuff.

The Photosmart seems to burn through color ink. When this happens, whenever I print, I receive a dialog box asking to print in black. After I OK this dialog, the printer also forces me to confirm that I will only print in black. This is taking place during every print job. Since 99% of what I print is black/white, this 2 pronged combination of prompts (that force a reply) is painful.

Recently, my little printer just stopped printing. It would flash some series of error lights (and never really throw an error message). After 30 minutes of browsing web sites, I found some articles on giving the printer a hard boot (I had other ideas involving a window). Here is one of those articles:

Earlier today, one of the ink cartridges ran out of ink. The small panel on the printer indicated that I must replace the cartridge, but did not provide the name of the color. Instead, it provided a small square with the color the cartridge to replace. I'm not color blind, however, the color didn't match any of installed cartridges. Just a name would have been very helpful.

In network mode, the printer is always grabbing a new IP address, and this breaks all installed printers configured on multiple machines. Sure, I understand DHCP, and I know the little fella needs an address, but it's painful to constantly reconfigure desktops just to 're find' the printer. I've now assigned a static IP address to the printer (whew)

I have always been a strong believer in HP - this printer has me rethinking that position.


Good wiki on ST Advanced

Here is a nice wiki on ST Advanced that we uncovered while working on a white paper to compare Sametime Advanced with Instant Team Sessions and Instant Queue Manager.

Many of our evaluators are requesting a paper that describes the differences between Sametime Advanced and the products from Instant. The core difference typically involves the infrastructure requirements to run each product and the maintenance costs associated with each deployment.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Instant Archive Viewing for Microsoft OCS 2007

More good news on our product line for Microsoft OCS R2. We have recently added a few new customers to our Microsoft focused lineup. The customer case studies are in the works, but both customers experienced extremely smooth evaluations (thanks Keith) and were a pleasure to work with.

Smooth installations, immediate customer support, and a rich feature set are proving to be very useful as our customers look at solutions to provide archiving, search and discovery, and end user searching for their Microsoft OCS 2007 installations.