Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Getting Started with IBM Connections Sametime Cloud (Chat) - PART 2

In my last post, I went through the initial setup of Sametime (from Creating a user to getting to a logon in the cloud). I promised that I'd be back with information on getting Sametime (IBM Chat) working on other devices and away from the web browser. 

So, after a slightly longer than expected break (holiday), I'm back. 

Last time, we got to the point where you could access Sametime in the Connections Cloud. As part of this, you should have ended up with;


  • A login name (email address)
  • A password
  • A connections location

Your connections location will probably be a URL something like this.

https://apps.ap.collabserv.com/

This is a good URL worth understanding and remembering.

The .ap. bit refers to Asia Pacific, which is the most correct option for Australia at the moment. Yours may be .na. (North America) or .eu. Europe


Getting the Relevant EXE Files
Once logged onto IBM Connections Cloud, it's very easy to get the installation files for a local version of IBM Chat (Sametime).

To get to the Install files, click on Apps and then on Downloads and Setup.
There's a section in there called Chat and a link to "View Chat Options".
Clicking this will open a new window containing the relevant links.



Three Types of Chat Client
There are three major types of Chat Client - and all of them have their little idiosyncrasies. 
  1. Stand-Alone Chat
    This runs in your system tray and in my opinion, it's the best option for most people. If you choose this client, then it will pop over anything when there's a message. Of course, not being integrated with Notes means that your notes mails won't be "presence-aware" but since the chat app itself is - and it's usually hovering nearby, it's not a major concern.  In particular, this chat client is good if you often close Notes (to use Webmail instead) or if you find yourself switching Notes IDs often.

    If I'm working from home, I will usually work on both my home PC and my remote work PC. When I'm focussed on my home PC any chats which break on the remote PC won't be seen if I have a screen in front.  That's where having the chat running on my home PC as a standalone client works well.
  2. Embedded in the Notes Client
    This is the option that most people are familiar with. If you're running a recent version of Notes, then you'll already have an embedded sametime client. If configured correctly, it will usually work with the connections cloud but I'd still recommend downloading and installing the latest embedded client as it contains a few "extras".
  3. Mobile Chat
    The mobile client is used on Apple iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows tablets and phones. It's not downloaded from the "Downloads and Setup" section of connections but from the app stores for your particular device. 

Note that while it's certainly possible to have both the Notes Client AND the standalone version of Sametime on the one machine, they can't both be connected at the same time, so it's counterproductive.  Only install one sametime client per machine


Installation
Installing the Stand-Alone and Embedded Clients are simply a matter of downloading the EXE, then closing Notes and running it as Administrator, Agree to the licence and click next a few times followed by Finish.

The server should be your apps.ap.collabserv.com address and your user name and password are the same as for connections.  You should be prompted at some point for your location and this is worth filling in. The other important thing is to save your chats.  If you don't save your chats then you'll lose context when you move between devices.  I found this out the hard way. 

If you've accidentally chosen not to save your chats, you can change it later, simply click the cog icon in the sametime chat window and choose Preferences.  Then click on Chat History and change it to Automatically Save Chats. 



Where are all my contacts?
Probably the most frequently asked question about Sametime today is "where are all my contacts".  In the past, we could just add the "All staff" group to Sametime and it would pull in everybody but that doesn't work if you're not running a hybrid setup -- because your notes groups aren't accessible to sametime in the cloud. 

You just need to add people as you need them for the time being. On the plus side though, once you've added them on one cloud-enabled device, they show up on others. 


Switching Between Clients
It's a bit of a joke nowdays that IBM changed the name from "Sametime" to IBM Chat because you can't actually be in two clients at the "same time".  This is really annoying and Google talk can do it .... .  All whining aside though, there's some settings that you really need to look at;

Shut down Sametime in the Cloud
The next time you logon to IBM Connections cloud, sametime will connect and will pass control to the browser. This will drop you out of your embedded or standalone client. Sign out of IBM Chat on the cloud system and deselect the "Automatically Sign me in" box.  You can now re-sign in to your embedded or standalone client without worrying that everytime you visit IBM Connections cloud, you'll be signed out. 

I've noticed that there's a google chrome extension to do that.  I don't know what that's for but you won't need it. Just sign out. 

Apple iOS and Android Clients
The iOS and Android clients for sametime are called IBM Connections Chat. You can find them in the Apple iTunes store or the Google Play Store.  They're easy to install and once installed, you just need your user name, password and IBM connections cloud server. 

The same notes as above apply to them, you should save your chats and set up your location.  You should also be aware that whenever you sign into them, you will be signed out of your other sametime accounts... and you will appear with a mobile device icon next to your status. 

Next Time: With all the sametime stuff out of the way, hopefully Next time, I can start talking about using IBM Connections Cloud to get work done.