Well the opening session to me this year was a little bit underwhelming. Some of the Hannover stuff was cool, but that whole really nice early GUI has disappeared. Don’t get me wrong, it still looks nicer than the current client, but it wasn’t the radical departure that those early screenshots tried to show off. I guess it makes sense for training issues and such, but I was still a little disappointed.
Otherwise, the client rocks pretty hard. Adding Activity functionality, composite components, and more Sametime functionality was cool enough, but they even tweaked some things by adding some nice sidebars and the ability to have the preview pane on the side in email. Little things like that make a big difference. And the demos were live, and the client was FAST.
The biggest things for me however was the announcement of Sametime 7.5. The additions they have made and the GUI they have designed really make this thing a juggernaut. VOIP, Pictures of your buddies, poll questions, emoticons, location awareness, and the client running in Windows, Mac AND Linux. I have a picture that I will post once I upload all my stuff to flicker showing the live demo with all three OS versions next to each other on the screen, it looked seamless.
But even bigger was the partnership annoucements around Sametime. Sametime will now connect to Yahoo, AIM and Google Talk, so people on the Sametime platform will be able to have and talk to buddies on all three of those systems. How. Absolutely. Cool.
The other nice thing is that even though Workplace stuff was mentioned, I think they focused really heavily on Notes and Domino and its evolution. It’s comforting and also very cool to see where this product is continuing to head. Every year, this Lotusphere recharge valididates why I do this as a career.
Lastly, The keynote speaker was Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame. I love Jason, and he was good… but he’s no John Cleese, and who is really?