A high level Mac switcher

It is with great satisfaction to notice that we now can add the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt to the growing number of switchers. His blog post around the issue have of course got some attention at computer news magazines such as Swedish MacWorld. And yes, in the comments of his blog posts you can read the standard variety of comments where many seem to be filled with old prejudices about the Mac and who should have one. And Bild himselfs says:

Att säga att jag inte ångrar det steget är månadens stora understatement. Min enda kritik av mig själv är varför jag väntade så länge att ta steget

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First impressions of Documentum Digital Asset Manager 6.5

Before going on my planned sick-leave I played around with DAM 6.5 for a while. I will try to summarize a few reflections I have on this brand new release.

Good things
The interface have got yet another refresh but rather small modifications that I guess I won’t even notice in a couple of weeks. The biggest change is that some functions have got modal windows meaning that when you click on properties you no longer see the big full screen page but instead a new browser window that allows you to see where you where when you clicked. A great improvement I think. The import/export/check-in process also has small modal windows with a nice looking update progress bar.

A thing that I just love is the new clusters/facets features which appears when performing a search. Your results can then be drilldowned based on user, topic, date and so forth. Will improve findability hugely. We had these installed in D6 SP0 but they did not work then and seem to be connected more closely to ECI Services back then.

In general the interface is prettier and looks more distinct and modern. The icons have been slightly improved as well.
Another small improvement is that attributes which have both value assistance (dropdowns) but also allows entering of an own value now have the correct width.

I guess it is not really connected to this upgrade but I finally manage to find how one creates Presets (rules) for specific folders and users which was great. Look at the three structure in DA – not in the menu.

Bad things
The left tree structure has been cleaned up with clearer icons and the update is based on AJAX (or should see bad below). This works fine in Documentum Administrator 6.5 but for some reason they seemed to have missed something in compiling DAM because there is small refresh anyway when you click on a folder. Our partner suggest that they simply have inherited from the wrong WDK-class.

Another interesting thing is that some features that are highly marketed at EMC World are turned off by default in the configuration files. Those include Deep Export and OLE-linking support (resolving links in Office documents and imports associated files if desired). That is rather strange I think since those are really handy features. The OLE-linking can also be toggled on/off in Preferences. The effect of that is that there was no folder export available at all which is fairly strange. We also had some issues with getting import of more than two folders working.

We also have a an irritating issue around thumbnails. It seems that those can not be created for PDF-files at all which also means no storyboarding. When reading through the release notes this is noted as a known bug and it seems that despite our bug report from earlier this year nothing has been done to fix it. From a usability standpoint that is not so good.

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EMC Documentum CenterStage

If you haven’t done it already I recommend a look at the site for the beta of EMC Documentum’s new web client called CenterStage. This modern Web 2.0 client has earlier been called both Magellan and IntelliSpace but EMC now seem to have settled on the name CenterStage. It is kind of funny because I associate CenterStage with a TV application for Mac OS X which is found at the CenterStage Project site. Anyway it is interesting to see how the interfaces and feature looks for the free CenterStage Essentials (included in any Content Server license) and the paid version called CenterStage Pro. I have long waited to for a good application that both can do ”Facebook for the Enterprise” while still having all the features of an advanced and full-fledged Enterprise Content Management platform. This seem to be a big step towards that. The key thing is to be able to collaborate both around content (documents etc) but also around people, groups and projects. Although there are good collaboration platforms out there such as Clearspace which has some basic integration with Documentum it is still creating a lot of duplicate information in separate ”stove-pipes”. I want the content objects found in the Clearspace platform stored in Documentum but this is not the case today. What we are looking at is being able to search Documentum content from Clearspace for the immediate future.

Again, back to Centerstage I believe it will provide a lot of organisations with a client that will be a lot more intuitive and useful out of the box than we have ever seen from Documentum before. This is thanks to an ambitions usability project run by Gideon Ansell in the Documentum User experience group. However, after having had a looked at the project release matrix found in the beta community it looks like the beta of CenterStage essentials will not have enough features to be the flexible collaboration client I need. Those features will be added later on this year. We just have to wait for the full CenterStage Pro version I think. I also hope that the few missing pieces like a full fledged personal profile, expert location and integration with external presence/Instant Messaging systems will be on the schedule for the next update of it.

This week I will be able to play with the Documentum 6.5 release for the first time since it is being installed by our Documentum partners at work. I especially look forward to see the new Digital Asset Manager (DAM) 6.5 client and TaskSpace 6.5. I also hope that I can get some further information about what release of the embedded FAST InStream Search engine is used in this release.

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I will be a speaker at Momentum 08 in Prague

This weekend I got a nice surprise in an email from EMC which confirmed that my speaking proposal had been accepted. So now I guess I will be going to Momentum 08 Prague as a speaker! It feels great and I look forward to it a lot. Unfortunately it is in the middle of a very important week at work but I got confirmation from my commanding officer today that I can at least fly down for the day to give the speech and possibly also check out the other sessions that day. My sessions is entitled ”Active Knowledge Management using Documentum D6” and will be focusing on how we use Documentum as a foundation to work proactively to support end users in finding, organizing and utilizing their information in a military HQ. Fortunately it looks like we are going to do another major step in taking our platform forward and that will not only include a very early upgrade to D6.5 but I will also get my data-deduplication feature 🙂 It sure will be an interestung autumn.

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Interesting details about Documentum licensing

Today I learned some interesting things about the names and licensing of Documentum products. MediaWorkSpace which was previously announced as included in the DAM license will now require its own license. A little bit strange since it is merely handling image files so far. The Magellan essentials license however will be included in each Content Server license which is good. The full Magellan client (which for a while was called IntelliSpace) will be a separate license when it will become available. I also learned that there are no longer any licenses for Reporting Services developer which limits the number of Crystal Reports designer tools in your system. Instead there are is a CPU license for Reporting Services allowing as many designers as you like in your system. Furthermore I learned that what is labeled Business Process Management includes both Documentum Process Builder and Forms Builder but only used one at the time on one machine. Forms Builder can be bought as a separate license. We had intended to get Forms User licenses but we chose to for some TaskSpace clients instead where Forms User is included. At EMC World we also learned that the Process Engine DocApp is required to run BAM in Documentum D6.5

Grateful for any clarifications or corrections if someone have found out something else.

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Got my new Mini Cooper Clubman D today

Mini Cooper D Clubman Nightfire Red
It has been ready for a couple of days but believe it or not but I had so much to at work that I could not squeeze in the time to go to Uppsala to get it. However, today I finally decided that it could not wait any more so I raced to Uppsala in my Mini Cooper S for the last time and enjoyed the big engine as much as I could 😉 When I got to Novation (the name of the car dealer) my sales person was taking it out of the garage just as I rolled in. It looked wonderfully red in the sunshine and I immediately felt it was a good decision. The new car is certified as an environmental car by the Swedish Road Administration (Vägverket) and consumes around half of the fuel per 10 km compared to my old car. It also has cool features such as brake-regeneration of electric power and an ”enviromental” stop feature which makes the engine stop (while everything else is running) when you put the gear stick into neutral. A small touch on the clutch (koppling) makes the engine start again. Highly useful in Stockholm’s rush-hour. The car also has a new iPod interface which is a real improvement over the old one. This one speaks Swedish and allows you to navigate just as you do on the iPod and show the title of the current song in the display. So my car is essentially an iPod accessory 🙂

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EMC World 2008 Reflections

This was a great conference I think which does not mean that things can’t be improved but let me come to that later on. I like the fact that the conference is very technical because it gives me a way to find out what can be done with this large toolbox that Documentum is. I found most more business-oriented presentations to superficial and the key point of all of them is usually reduced to: save money, do things faster, do things more efficiently and sell more stuff. All of which is pretty self-evident. I think it is great to have the ability to meet the product managers and ask those tricky questions that you have collected during the year. EMC also seem to be a fairly open company so roadmaps are frequently presented and discussion.

So how do I feel about Documentum now then. To sum it up: Finally, they understand the importance of sleek, nice and usable user interfaces. I have heard many saying that Documentum is a great platform but with rather crappy user interfaces. Now that is definately going away. It was so great to see the new Magellan interface which actually addresses many of the real capabilities that modern so called Knowledge Workers need. The MediaWorkSpace application which soon will have DAM capabilities is even cooler. A lot of the design is also inspired from a great company in Cupertino, California called Apple. MediaWorkSpace almost feel like a server-based version of iPhoto sometimes. Everything is getting service oriented which is just great for the integration efforts we all have. WebTop/DAM is also getting a visual overhaul which makes them on par with what you can see in Alfresco for instance. TaskSpace is getting even cooler in 6.5 and the configuration of the interface can almost be called easy now. So Documentum is definately looking better than ever now.

What can be improved then (and here I agree with Word of Pie a lot):
– Strengthen the Documentum (CMA) community by having all of us wear the yellow tag so we know who we can talk to about these things because the 6000 storage nerds does not seem to be interested at all in software.
– Move all the sessions into one area with a soft hang-out area in between.
– Previous year they apparently had something called ”Meet the speakers” and that seem like a great event.
– I would like to have more focus in the sessions on particular products so you can plan for getting updates on all the ones you are using. I would for instance have liked a designated one about the DAM client. Combined them if necessary but state explicitly which products that are covered.
– More plugs for my laptop powercord. After all this is an IT-conference I really like to take notes on my computer. Even with double batteries for my PowerBook it is hard to last from 8.30 am to 6.15 pm.
– Bigger screens. Some rooms are huge and it is real hard to read the presentations from the back.
– Why not record at least the CMA sessions on video. After all EMC is all about digital content and it could be a nice show case of the rich media capabilities.
– Case studies are better than overview sessions. Always to hear more concrete experiences from customers.

Next year it is in Orlando. Maybe I am giving a speech then 🙂

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Other EMC World 2008 references

I love air conditioning systems but they once again seem to have given me cold so I am sneezing and coughing all the time and use aspirin (Alvedon in Swedish) to get along. It is a bit sad since I just love being here at the conference.

Another reflection is that conferences like this involves a lot of walking. These three days I have been walking around 5 km a day at least. Actually more than I walk a normal work day 🙂

Met Laurence from Word of Pie the other day and he has been writing excellent notes from other sessions that I recommend reading:

EMC World 2008: ECM Shared Services in the real world
Random thoughs and Keynote
EMC World 2008: Documentum Performance, Scalability, and Sizing – Part 2
EMC World 2008: Introduction to EMC’s Next-Generation Knowledge Worker Client
EMC World 2008: Web 2.0 and Interactive Content Management
EMC World 2008: Documentum Foundation Services (DFS) – Best Practices and Real World Examples
EMC World 2008: Social Computing Meets R&D
Thoughts on EMC World 2008 and the ECM Professional
EMC World 2008: Best Practices for Designing and Deploying an Enterprise Document Capture Solution
EMC World 2008: Documentum Architecture Deep Dive

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EMC World 2008: What is new with content transformations

Presented by Tim Shaw at EMC World 2008 in Las Vegas

Document Transformation Services (DTS) can transform
– MS Word, Excel, PPT, Project, VIsio to PDF and HTML
– PostScript (PS) to PDF
– WordPerfect to PDF and HTML

Advanced Document Transformation Services (ADTS)
– Additional formats, CAD, MSG EMC Mail, PDF/A, PDF/X output
– Merge, split, watermarks, overlays, bookmarks, hyperlinks, thumbnailing and storyboarding

Media Transformation Services (MTS)
– Transforming and analyzing graphics/illustrations, animations,
– Storyboarding of PDF and PPT
– Integration with streaming sevr
– Intelligenct presenation support
– XMP metadata round-tripping
– Today moves metadata between files in the transformation process

Audio/video Transformation Services (AVTS)
– Thumbnail
– Storyboad
– Transformation of all common video and audion
– Support for very lagre file architecture through Avalon

XML Transformation Services
– Transform XML to PDF, HTML, Compile HTML
– Support for DITA, DITAMAP, DocBook
– Provide PDF and HTML outputs for those
– Automatic pick of correct rendition for each channel

Note that renditions are below the object in the model….ACLs are on the object level but you can create new objects for each rendition and link them to the original.

Fully extensible through SDK and Java API
Admin features for CTS is available in DA

Transformations occur automatically on:
– Content import
-.Content versioning
– Life cycle state changes
– Workflow activities

It can also be triggered on demand through a transformation wizard

Automating Transformation
Invoked automatically based on format and documentum type
TIFF -> EPS
FAX -> PDF

Transformation parameters
You can hide certain paramenters
Convert to PDF
– Create to three different profiles with different selections available
Examples of settings:
– Read-only
– Allow printing
– Allow cut&paste in pdf
– Optimize for web
– Downsample

Chaining transformations so you can have parallell transformation running or having serial transformations in several steps.

Deployment Options – Architecture
One-to-many: One CTS working on several repositiories
Many-to-one: Multipole CTS working one repository
Many-to-one Tuned: Decide which components run on which server

New in 6.0
– Improved transformation UI
– Queue management
– Usage diagnostics, reporting and usage tracking (set of data we put in a table that can be pulled to a diagnostics tool – could be used in Reporting Services but nothing done so far) Choose whether or not to archive or purge the information in that table.

– Profile Editior (which creates XML-docs that can be moved between systems)

CTS Activities for BPM
– Automatic transformations from CTS

XML transformation services
– Support for any XML Transform Scenario
– DITA and DocBook support

NEW IN 6.5

Enhanced Architecture
– Real time no content sevrer queue
To provide real-time response to a transformation request
All TS available with realtime requests
Contentent may or may not be in a repository
Results can be returned to the client or place in repository
Request status available for feedback to client apps
Admin can configure when to override real-time requests with asynchronous mode
A new DFS Appserver with round-robin load-balancer, decide which nodes will support real-time
Ambition to make the load balancing algorithms pluggable.

– WS Accessibility (transform requests, profile management)
– More format support (EMCmail format, Flash video support)

– Distributed Environment Support
Content in a BOCS environment is handled. Can have CTS in branch office and then move renditions back to the central repository

– Intelligent handling of requests with content on BOC
– XML Transformations (support for export of different graphics resolution based on output channell, additional output formats in DITA Q

CTS 7

In-place transformations – large video
Flex-based UI
Link Resolution Management (OLE-support)
More format support
– Speech-to-text
– Creative Suite III, IV
– Improved CAD, including better 3D support
More Web Services
– Reporting and Admin capabilities
– Monitoring of requests
– Tape Ingest ingegration

Moving to support Photoshop and Illustrator support primarliy, possibly also InDesign-formats through Indesign Server. However, the previously open Indesign format has now gone proprietary. Working with Adobe and others to replace Adobe Graphics Server which apparently is going away.

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