Okay, probably a bit late, but better late than never (and ‘never’ was an option). Ed Brill somehow managed twenty or so posts during Lotusphere, and managed to take part in a boat race, and suffered a nasty verbal attack from a blogger who is less important that he’d like to believe he is (more on that later).

Personally I was worn out after live-blogging the Opening General Session – the announcements came so fast there was scarcely time to note all the details and take it all in. However, the following three days provided some opportunities to gather more details. I’ll just quickly mention the Lotusphere grand night out to Universal Islands of Adventure where we achieved the impossible… four major rides in two hours. Imagine doing that during the day in a school holiday. Four major rides in eight hours would be a more realistic expectation. Those rides were the Incredible Hulk (0 to 40 mph in two seconds), Spider-man (that was the best by far), Jurassic Park River Adventure (steep drop, wet jeans), and the thankfully over-quite-quickly Dueling Dragons (the mere memory turns my stomach). And the experience wouldn’t be complete without myself and a colleague threatening to kill another colleague for insisting we went on the second two rides after eating.

Anyway, back to Lotusphere. If I had to pick some highlights it would be the following:

  • Russ Holden’s presentation on Domino 8.0.1 and ‘Next’, now known as 8.5. As Chief Architect Russ deserves the plaudits for the continued improvements (database compression, space saving on file attachments, native Active Directory authentication, to name but a few) while maintaining a consistent upgrade-able architecture. Yes, an architecture that has a roadmap and doesn’t require rip and replace migrations for every upgrade. Microsoft Exchange customers take note.
  • Quickr 8.1 – fantastic update to an already fantastic product. Anybody who believes SharePoint Services to be the pinnacle of collaboration needs to broaden their horizons very soon.
  • Sametime futures – near futures in fact. Some of the guys from Sametime Product Management and development showed some things that will hopefully ship this year… an Ajax web client, local client proxy, on-the-fly translation, an ad-hoc meeting place. All this in addition to Sametime Advanced (expected within a couple of months).
  • Connections 2 – awesome. If the new home page and the improvements to Community pages weren’t enough, the next version of Activities will blow you away. Loads of new options to make management of an Activity more flexible, and best of all, customised forms (boy, do we have some great Ajax skills in the development team). I was sitting next to a customer from the UK, and he was bowled over (as was I). Watch out for this mid-year.

I mentioned that Ed Brill suffered a verbal attack from a blogger… Dan Lyons is a writer from Forbes who also masquerades as Fake Steve Jobs. Normally I find the blog amusing, if not a little foul-mouthed, knowing that the author actually works for a serious business publication. For some reason Mr Lyons found it necessary to launch a tirade against Lotusphere and Ed in particular. He called Ed a “marketing f***wit” and referred to other people who work for Lotus as “retards”. So suddenly this went from amusing to insulting. Lyons went on to write:

“What really saddens me, however, is the idea that somewhere out in some forlorn sad corner of the world someone is actually following this live blog and actually cares what Lotus announces and maybe even wishes he could be there in Orlando to experience the rock concert excitement in person. To those people I say this: I will pray for your souls.”

Given that Lotus is in the clear second place position in the messaging and collaboration market, leads the market for real-time collaboration and enterprise portals, has over 46,000 customer companies using Notes / Domino worldwide, and gained market share during 2006 (source: IDC and Gartner Dataquest), I would say that many businesses do care about what Lotus announce. Mr Lyons however demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge about the Lotus portfolio, and as he is a journalist I would suggest he does some research before publishing such as article in the future… even if it is done under a pseudonym distancing himself from his employer.

Furthermore, Ed runs a blog which attracts thousands of hits per day. He doesn’t have to pretend to be someone else to get that attention, because what he writes has value to the people who read his content. Consider that Mr Lyons. You can insult the Lotus brand, and anyone with any sense will see it as ill-informed crap. The Microsoft fan-boys will find it amusing and join in, but that’s to be expected. Now go and get a life, rather than hanging on the coat tails of someone who probably wouldn’t give you twenty seconds of attention.

And by the way, the real Steve Jobs loves Notes 8.5 for the Mac.