Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

By Date: November 2013

Evolution of the Self

We all are are somebody, some body more than others, but at least we want to be somebody. Interestingly build into us it the opposite wish: disappear, be nobody. We are masters to disguise that wish: 3 hours in the movies, when it sucked you in, where were you? Working on something exiting, getting into the flow , where where you? Your self disappeared! But it doesn't stop there
Evolution of the self
There is a third level of self: the Everybody self. The Rotarians would call it Service above self. Lama Marut calls it the Everybody self. When you, deep in meditation, break down the barriers of Maya you will realise, we are all stardust, children of the sun, all one, all the same. When you enter this mindset there is no difference between you and everyone else. Service to others becomes service to oneself, you become egoistically striving from everybody's happiness since you are everybody. Musing over this though with an unprepared mind is like staring at the sun when leaving a long tunnel. So head over to the geeks and prepare yourself and lobby to get the next generation prepared too.

Posted by on 29 November 2013 | Comments (0) | categories: After hours

eLearning - are we there yet?

having two teenagers in two of Singapore's top schools, friends providing eLearning solutions and interesting conversations led me to a lot of interactions with schools, teachers and other educators. The education space is getting more and more attention from technology companies and passionate educators: Even if some activities fail the trend is obvious: Tech is taking over. Not so fast!
Speaking to teachers I can sense as much excitement as angst. After all teachers are most impacted by the changing landscape of education. Online education brings globalisation to their work: from being a monopoly (this is your Sec2 math teacher) they jump with little notice to global competition, where they need to match the best (recorded) teaching lessons on the planet. Recordings come with a pause and a rewind button, teachers not so much. The teachers role is changing rapidly:
The Education Evolution.jpg
To make this transition successful, more focus needs to given to empower the dedicated educators to adopt the new roles. I'm certain, if done right, their job satisfaction will grow, students will like school more than they do now and the skills for the next generation can emerge. LKY knows this, he reminded us: What worked {for Singapore} for the last 30 years, will not work in the future.

Posted by on 10 November 2013 | Comments (3) | categories: eLearning

Driving Embedded Experiences Adoption

With the introduction of Connections Mail and IBM Notes 9.0 a brand new productivity feature was made available in eMail: Embedded Experiences (EE). They are defined by the Open Social Foundation and can also be found in IBM Connections or Atlassian's Confluence Wiki.
The use case for embedded experiences in eMail is simple:
" Any application that sends a notification message to your attention and/or action can reduce the time and clicks required for processing by taking advantage of an embedded experience"
Ryan described in detail how to switch on the processing of embedded experiences and the Wiki tells how how to use XPages to send them. The trouble with this: you need to touch every single application that sends out a notification. You might not have time, budget or source code access to them.
So are EE a nice idea, but confined to some niche applications?
Not at all! When peeking under the hood, you can see, that an EE enabled eMail has a HTML and a JSON Mime part. If a client doesn't understand EE (like mobile clients or any other eMail than IBM Notes), then the HTML message is rendered. Important here: even with Notes you must have a HTML part, a plain text message won't do. Using a "when new mail arrives" agent, you can turn an incoming message into an EE.
As long as the target system supports one of the authentications the Account API provides (Basic HTTP, JEE Form, SAML, Spengo, OS Credential, Siteminder, LTPA) this will work. This is Notes client only, for Connections or iNotes you are limited to SAML.
First thought was to use a "Before mail arrives" agent to make sure, that the mail gets delivered fully converted. However such an agent runs in the router context and might be a performance killer - the when new mail arrives option seems a suitable compromise. The approach works with signed eMails too, since signing covers the eMail body, but not headers and mime separators (you can't sign the header since each routing hop adds information there).
As an example I used a plain text eMail, that sends a notification with a number of field/values separated by colon and containing only one URL. For your use cases, you will need to adopt the code (or wait for a future blog, just saying). Since my original message only contained text/plain I had to add text/html and application/json mime parts.

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Posted by on 03 November 2013 | Comments (3) | categories: IBM Notes XPages