Friday, February 27, 2009

IPhone = Lotus Notes

I my have been drawn to this phone because this wonderful user interface is so similar to the "concentration game" tiles we have been using with Lotus Notes for DECADES.

Photo taken with an LG Vu!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Free the iPhone

I've had an iPhone for less than a week.  Sure it is very cool in many respects, but there is a big butt! Actually, there are a number of big butts, things about which an astute user might be upset.

There are the missing things, like Bluetooth for something other than a stupid earpiece. How about files and such. And MMS - we really need multimedia messaging - it will save the world and get us out of this recession.

And the dumb things that aren't there - like a clipboard. But of course there are good things. The UI, of course. And it works well as a phone. And many other things we expect a phone to do, it does well - play music, calculator, take pictures (this is really not that good), SMS texting, etc., you know, phone things. It is a great phone for those.

Then there are the crazy apps. The vast majority are crappy things - toys for wasting time. I am not a gamer, so I have not evailuated those capabilities (not do I care to). The minority of apps are somewhat useful, or gee-whiz information that is amazing to have so conveniently in your pocket.

I like it, and it can stay. 

The Big Issue

There is something outside of my drivel that is a topic of contention - the freedom for an application developer to create something for the iPhone platform. It seems that Apple is trying very hard to stifle this. If you tried to create a new Mail client, for instance, forget it, Apple won't let you distribute it.

This is wrong. It's un-American. Remember? Freedom? We used to value it. We cannot let corporations or governments dictate our actions like this. We don't have to take this without a fight. Think about it.

Being locked to iTunes is simply silly. Tethering users to a moronic user interface, designed to sell them more stuff is insulting. So it should be obvious that I will be avoiding Apple's proprietary setup. Having a closed system so that something works reliably is OK, but having it so you can control consumer behavior is unacceptable. 

The "Jailbreaking" community seems to have a lot of junk out there too, just like the Apple apps store. I think the only way for Apple to make this ethically right is to reconcile with Jailbreakers and mainstream the process of freeing the platform. From what I've heard, this is another point of view I have taken where I am on the losing side.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Launching Directly into Lotus Notes Applications

Launching Lotus Notes directly into an application is dangerous to workstation stability. To qualify this statement, launches with versions up to 6.5.x were always unstable. I am an ex-Notes developer and a little behind. I am just getting into 8.5.1, but I am not going to retest this behavior until 8.5.1 is completely rolled out (and the need arises).

There are a number of ways to do launches directly - .lnk files, shortcuts into a document, the Notes://ServerName/Directory/DatabaseName.nsf format embedded in HTML. All of these work. Sometimes. For a while. If everything works out OK. But they will consistently fail and cause Notes to crash. 

It would be great for a Notes guru, who somehow still cared about version 6.5, etc., to come along and tell me I am wrong. I welcome that. If anybody has had good experiences with Notes launches, let me know.

A little history: we use the Lotus Notes email platform because of it's ability to handle many terabytes of mail. It has aways been the most scalable and secure mail product. I have worked with Notes as an application platform since version 3 (1993), and it has always been one of my favorites. We put a moratorium on new Notes apps several years back. I was fortunate to have been assigned to creating our SharePoint environment, starting in 2005. 

Along the way, there have been several attempts at links like this, and they have always failed. Also keep in mind that we work in a fairly well controlled environment - standardized desktop and server setups, etc., and it still always fails. I am not anxious to try this again with Notes 8x, but I guess that will be necessary at some point.