On Saturday, Typhoon Ketsana hit the Philippines, causing the worst flooding in more than 40 years in the capital city Manila and other areas of the northern Philippines. As my readers know, I had the delightful opportunity to visit Manila two years ago to deliver the Beyond Planning Conference. During my stay in the Philippines, I got to know many people and to see first hand the beauty and challenges in this nation. I Skyped my friend, Pastor David Sumrall, of the Cathedral of Praise (COP), and asked how he was doing. he reported that they got 15 inches of rain in just a few hours.Today, 80% of Manila is under water and more rain is on the way. As I have written before, I've grown attached to the people of Manila. As I have written before on this blog, the people I met are resilient and have a strong sense of community and service, even in the midst of trials and storms.  My prayers are with the people of the Philippines and the COP community and those affected by this Typhoon. I'm sure that as things stabilize, Pastor Sumrall and his staff will organize opportunities to minister to those in need and I pray, too, that this will be a time of great testimony as people experience God's love through the service others in the name of Christ.

In the past, having no direct or personal connection to places such as this I would say a prayer and be about my business -- not for lack or concern or compassion, but for lack of connection. Now, with a personal connection to the people of the Philippines, this is more personal, I ask you to consider including them in your prayers and with your financial support. (I believe the Red Cross will take your donations to help survivors.)

Each of us face storms of many kinds and these can test our faith.

I know that God is in charge and our faith remains unshaken even though the storms rage around us -- Life is precious.

How's your faith?

Nonmagnetic digital storage at 10 bytes per second

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
Four years ago, almost to the day, I made a blog post about a mystery item in the Digital Sandbox. A short while later, I revealed the mystery item. Here's a new mystery item from my Digital Sandbox.

20090923 - Paper Tape Reader Punch - Front.jpgI always wanted to own the Heathkit H-10 Paper Tape Punch./Reader but when I built my first computer, a Heathkit H-8 Microcomputer with a whopping 64K of RAM, audio cassettes were popular for low-cost for data storage and I had to choose whether to build something cool - Paper Tape - or something state-of-the-art - Cassette tape. I chose the latter and was thankful every time it only took me 20 minutes to boot from cassette rather than hours booting from paper tape.

Of course, if I had chosen paper tape, I could still read my data, whereas I doubt of I can still read any of those old cassettes.

Today, I came across an old paper tape punch/reader mechanism that has been sitting in my computer museum for almost 20 years. (It's probably twice as old as that.) I don't remember where it came from of what computer I would have salvaged it from. My best guess is that it may have come from a Teletype terminal similar to a Model 35ASR, but I really do not know.

Continue Reading "Nonmagnetic digital storage at 10 bytes per second" »

Lotus Knows Everywhere

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
I'm seeing signs of the Lotus knows campaign in all of the unusual places.

Fast Company magazine:

Work Smarter with Lotus Software? You bet.

Lotus knows.

#LotusKnows Today - Free eProductivity Software

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
The Lotus Knows campaign kicked off today. Congratulations to the Lotus Marketing Team for a great start. Apparently, there are sightings all over, including in the Wall street Journal and the Boston Globe print editions with more media coverage promised.


Here's a link to the Lotus Knows web site and to the Lotus Knows Twitter Fountain, hosted by Chris Blatnick. Here's a link to our Lotus Knows video entry with comments from myself and David Allen.


Rock Your Work with Lotus and eProductivity - for free

To join the celebration, I've decided to give away a free eProductivity license today -- that's a $399 value. Here's all you need to know:

Continue Reading "#LotusKnows Today - Free eProductivity Software" »

Rock your work with Lotus

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Lotus doesn't know about this video.

[ YouTube Link ]

Lotus recently held a contest and asked people to create videos about how they're using Lotus products in creative ways. With everything I have going on at ICA and eProductivity, I made the choice to put "create Lotus Knows video" on the back burner. I knew this meant I would miss the deadline to enter the contest. That's OK.

Here's my video. It's a little rough around the edges, but it was fun to create. I certainly can't take credit alone for this video. I had help and encouragement from a talented group of people who helped me turn some of my unpolished ideas into the final video you see.  Hat tip to Brian, Tanny, Ryan, and Bruce.  (Yes, Michael, it was created on a Mac.)

It was a fun and creative exercise to put this together. I welcome your comments and feedback.

Lotus Knows the Mack family uses Notes

Monday, September 7th, 2009
And they are blogging.

Many years ago, my very good friend, Tanny O'Haley, helped me create several web sites, based on Steve Castledine's DominoBlog template. DominoBlog is so good that IBM made it a part of the standard Domino templates. Unfortunately, many of the coolest features were rinsed away during the blue wash which is why I decided to stick with the classic. My friend, Greg Fisk, did the graphic work and Tanny worked tirelessly to help me create and launch several Domino-based web sites, including: ICA, eProductivity, EricMackOnLine, NotesOnProductivty, InSide.eProductivity, and a few others, that you will learn about, soon.

One of the non work-related sites that Tanny generously created for me was a blog for our family and homeschool. That was over 5 years ago, and several projects got moved in front of launching the blog site, so the database sat empty. Over the years, many of the family posts that would have made it into the family site ended up getting posted to my personal blog. This week, Amy and Wendy helped me migrate content and populate the site and test the new MackAcademy blog and this evening the site went live. My wife and younger daughters are also excited about the idea of having a blog to post to, so it truly is a family event.

We still have some work to do to fix a few broken links and missing images but the site is up and Amy and Wendy are the new web masters. It's a great way to teach them more about Notes and Domino (which they have been using since age 3, anyway) and give them exposure to social network tools.

I look forward to seeing where they take the site.

A big thanks to Tanny and Steve, for their help and support over the years as I routinely called with a question or feature request or tiny "improvement idea" that would take hours to implement. I could not have done this without their help. Thanks, guys.
Ann Veneman, the head of the United Nations' children's fund, UNICEF, took time to answer questions for the media recently. Among the many important questions she chose to answer was one about the migration from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange:

Do you believe spending $5.8 million on email migration from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange is justified given UNICEF is funded entirely from voluntary contributions? What was the business case for your move from Lotus Notes to MS Exchange? How will it help UNICEF?

The vast majority of UNICEF's staff are scattered around the world in country offices, managing programmes that target the urgent needs of children. Global communications that are efficient and effective are essential to this work, and decisions about them are not taken lightly. UNICEF decided to migrate to Microsoft Exchange/Outlook after an assessment of its specific organisational needs and priorities. The assessment revealed that migration will deliver an email and communication environment that better meets these needs with considerable cost-savings, and the ultimate beneficiaries will be children in need. UNICEF is one of several UN agencies taking this step.

So, it looks like UNICEF and perhaps other UN organizations are trying to get greater value from the investment they have already made in their messaging and collaboration technology. Microsoft must have a very compelling value proposition for UNICEF to decide to invest close to six million dollars to rip and replace their existing infrastructure. I recently blogged my thoughts on how UNICEF can get greater value from their existing investment in Lotus Notes.

Reuters: UNICEF chief answers your questions, September 5, 2009

Until recently, the worst email inbox I've ever seen was a client that has 7,000 emails in his inbox. A few months ago, a customer shared that he had over 17,000 emails in his inbox. Ouch!  He went on to tell me that he went to a GTD seminar and felt convicted to go back and process his inbox to zero. He said it took over a month but that he had gotten to zero and planned to stay there.

ManDrowingInBox115.jpgIt's been over a month since I last did a full weekly review. I took a 6 weeks off of work to complete my Master's degree in Information and Knowledge Management and then two additional weeks to spend some time with my family.

During this time, I blogged only occasionally and I intentionally ignored most emails, doing only an occasional emergency scan of my inbox in order to delegate time-critical items to my team.

20090901-EricMackFullInbox4023Emails.jpgToday, I returned to the office to an overflowing inbox - over 4,000 emails and a small stack of paper to process.


At least it's all in one place, ready for me to process.

The good thing is that I know how to process my inbox quickly and I have excellent tools to do it. I guess it's time for me to start eating my own dog food again.

I wonder how long it will take before my friend Luis finds this blog entry in his RSS feed and try to get me to declare email bankruptcy or give up email altogether? (Sorry, Luis, it  ain't gonna happen. When used properly, e-mail is far too valuable and powerful as a communication tool to get rid of. And, I like to have everything in one place, ready to process.)

I think I now qualify to be the new eProductivity poster-child. Since I have a number of meetings coming up I can't take too much time off to process this all at once. I plan to set aside an extra hour or so each day to process my inbox to empty.

What's the worst email inbox you have ever seen?