Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lotus iNotes on the Nintendo Wii

There have been a few people talking about the new Lotus iNotes Ultralite and specifically how well it works on the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. Less comment has been made about the fact that iNotes Ultralite works very well in a browser on a PC. What I haven't seen mentioned so far was if iNotes Ultralite works on a Nintendo Wii. So I thought I would give it a go.

First I type in the URL and see if the Wii version of Opera will be able to handle it.

Not surprisingly iNotes brings up a dialog saying that it is not certified to use this browser. But offers a link to use Ultralite mode.

And it works perfectly. It looks pretty stunning on my 40 inch Sony LCD TV.

As you see, here is my Inbox.

Even complicated emails (this is a calender invite) all render perfectly, Obviously IBM will most likely not be certifying iNotes for the Wii any time soon, but so far I have yet to find any functionality that works on the iPhone that doesn't work on the Wii. So if you want to check your email between rounds of Mario Kart Wii you now have an excellent solution.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Double Click attachments in Lotus Notes

Receiving attachments via email is a bit of a two edged sword. On the one hand it is quite an easy way to get stuff, but on the other hand you don't necessarily know if the attachment contains wondrous information which will transform your life or viruses and other malware which will destroy your computer.

In order to help users, when they double clicked on an attachment Lotus Notes would bring up a dialog box warning the user of the possible perils and offering some alternatives including "viewing" the attachment to check that it was safe before launching it. But these days most computers and particularly those ones that are used for business have Anti Virus software installed to watch your back. In which case if you add AttachmentActionDefault=1 to your notes.ini file then double clicking an attachment will launch it in the native application with no dialog box.

More details are here:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

F5 Refresh in Lotus Notes 8.5

There are some debates about IT products which are far more like religious arguments rather than technical discussions because there really are no right or wrong answers, just opinions.

Obvious examples are the two button "PC Mouse" vs. the single button "Mac Mouse", coding using "Multi Threading" vs "Multi Process" techniques, using images in GIF, JPG or PNG format or perhaps the ultimate in cosmetic comparisons, the Black Thinkpad vs the White Macbook

One such debate has revolved around what key should be used to refresh a view or page or in the case of a mail client, check for new mail. As with most things in the PC Software world, there has never been a standard for such things. Each developer does what they think best. However, over time "De facto" standards sometimes emerge. In the case of the refresh key, it became the key F9 since this was what was used by Lotus 123, the dominant application at the beginning of the PC age. As 123 was gradually overtaken by Microsoft Excel it also used F9 for refreshing. Lotus Notes has followed this convention and has used F9 for refresh for nearly 20 years.

However, in more recent years Microsoft started using the F5 key for refresh in some (but by no means all) applications, most notably Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer. Confusingly Microsoft Outlook 2003 uses F5 to refresh the view but F9 to check for new mail.

So what to do with Lotus Notes? Clearly it wouldn't be fair on our current customers to change the behaviour of F9, but on the other hand many new Lotus Notes users expect refresh to be F5 because of their experience with Microsoft Windows. So in version 8.5 of Lotus Notes either F5 or F9 can be used to refresh a view and check for new mail. It also means that F5 can be used in Symphony Presentations to start a slide show. A very pragmatic solution I think.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Honda Whites

I had the pleasure of visiting a Lotus Notes customer today and briefing them on what is coming up in the forthcoming Notes/Domino 8.5 as well as Quickr, Sametime and Connections. That isn't particularly unusual, I spend a lot of my time ensuring that our customers are aware of upcoming features in new versions of our software and indeed our new collaborative and social offerings.

But what I really enjoy is finding out about our customers. They are all unique and vary from International Airlines to 5 people Internet start ups, film makers to police forces, Universities to chocolate makers. Today I was at a manufacturing plant of a well known worldwide car maker based in Swindon. The main thing that struck me was that all the employees were wearing identical white uniforms.

This would not normally be worthy of comment. Many manufacturing sites mandate that their staff wear protective uniforms. What was unusual here was that everyone from engineers, secretary's to Senior Management all wear the same white uniforms. So in my meeting today all the IT staff were wearing the same white uniform with their name on the left and the company name on the right. It made it very easy to be able to identify the IBMers from the Customers :-)

It was really interesting to walk down a corridor and see some folks who were clearly very hands on in the manufacturing process wearing the same clothes as some executive carrying a laptop and a briefcase. Apparently the uniform is referred to as Honda Whites. And before you think that this uniformity stifles individually I can tell you that the folks I met were full of character, and also one of the guys name badge read "Gadget". "Funny name" I said. "It's my nic name" he replied. "I like Gadgets".