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November 2011

Nov 29, 2011

Easy Opportunities to Get Involved

By Tami Deedrick

A few opportunities to make a contribution to the IBM community are currently available to you and I hope you’ll take advantage of them. Check out the list below and get involved!

Al Barsa Scholarship

David Gibbs has once again initiated an Al Barsa Memorial challenge. Gibbs has even more matching contributors on board this year—including, Jim Oberholtzer of Agile Technology Architects, Larry Bolhuis of Franken i, Pete Helgren of Value Added Software, Jerry Adams, Pete Massiello of iTech Solutions and John Earl of Townsend Security—making the potential to more than quadruple donations. Al Barsa was an IBM i advocate who died unexpectedly at the 2008 Spring COMMON Conference. The scholarship in his memory is used to further the education of other IBM i advocates. Gibbs is accepting donations until Dec. 16. See his blog entry for details.

Lotus Domino on i

Steve Pitcher has been advocating for Lotus Domino on IBM i and has amassed more than 225,000 signatures in his online survey/petition. A recent blog spelled out why you should care about this even if you’re not currently running Lotus on i. Take a moment to read his business case and join the movement.

Voice Your Opinion on IBM Products

Perhaps one of the best parts of is being able to read the reviews of other readers or product users. Perhaps you absolutely love your IBM products and want the world to know. Now you can on the IBM product review and rate website. It’s a pretty simple process so let your voice be heard.


Nominate a Champion

You’ve seen me write about this before but keep in mind that you can nominate the next round of IBM Champions. Visit the Champions website and help IBM identify the next great advocates to be honored. 


Nov 15, 2011

The Mobile Work Force Reality

By Mike Westholder

While I’d like to say I’m writing this post on an iPad from a beach in Aruba, I’m actually in a cubicle in an office building in Minneapolis. But that’s the promise of the mobile technology dream, isn’t it? A work force with access to up-to-the-minute data from a dashboard, remotely meeting with team members and making business-critical decisions—all from some exotic location.

The reality, however, is most of us just want the freedom to work in our hardly exotic homes in a pair of sweat pants with a dog sleeping at our feet. (Based on the frequent barking overheard on conference calls, though, those dogs rarely stay asleep.) Or, we want to be able to stay connected with our coworkers and projects while waiting for a connecting flight or at a conference center.

A new Cisco survey reinforces the notion that the days of the cubicle jockey are numbered. Nearly 70 percent of workers polled said working in an office is unnecessary, up 9 percent from 2010. And 3/5ths of college students described working remotely and flexible scheduling as a right.

While bad news for commercial real estate agents, the remote work force trend poses challenges for IT as well. It means providing secure, dependable access to data from a variety of devices with varying interfaces and capabilities. That’s no mean feat.

Fortunately, IT professionals can learn from their colleagues who are leading the charge. P&V Assurances in Belgium is one organization that sought to enable insurance agents to use non-controlled computers to access its mainframe. For RPG developers seeking to accommodate multiple devices, Aaron Bartell asks “To Mobile or Not to Mobile?”

So while the centralized workplace might go the way of the Newton PDA and the mobile pager, technology and IT know-how will keep us working together, wherever we might be.