<CharlieDigital/> Programming, Politics, and uhh…pineapples

3Jul/08Off

More Lotus Notes Suckage

Posted by Charles Chen

A colleague emailed me today regarding some information I had sent him previously.  Apparently, Lotus deleted all of his data which wasn't archived.  Why?  Who knows.

Anyways, I suggested that he simply ignore the company email system and use a GMail account.  To this, he replied:

If I could I would NEVER use Lotus email. WHAT A nightmare!!!

Emphasis his.  So please, if you're an IT administrator or a CTO, don't punish your minions by subjecting them to Lotus Notes (unless, you know, you're into that sort of thing).

Filed under: Lotus Notes, Rants 1 Comment
15Apr/08Off

On The Suckage Of Lotus Notes (6.5)

Posted by Charles Chen

Lotus Notes continues to suck as much as ever.  Every day, I wake to find more suckage.

For example, today, when a coworker forwarded a meeting invitation to me, instead of allowing me to accept it in my calendar and schedule the event, it came across as a regular e-mail with no option to accept the meeting invitation which was attached.

Furthermore, there's this little gem:

Uhhh...thank you Lotus Notes for informing me that the meeting occurs in a different time zone.  It would be nice if you could tell me which time zone. You know, since I can't automatically schedule the event, it would be nice if you could just tell me what time zone it's in so I can manually schedule it.  Furthermore, see that little outline around the globe and arrow?  This would lead one to believe that clicking on it does something like maybe map the actual time...but nope, nothing happens (the same with the text).  LotusNotes = Productivity--

Meanwhile, Amazon Prime is the polar opposite of suckage.  I ordered two books yesterday and used the default Prime "free" 2nd day shipping option.  To my surprise, they've arrived on my doorstep less than 24 hours later.  If that isn't awesome, then I don't know what is.

Filed under: Lotus Notes, Rants 1 Comment
28Mar/08Off

SharePoint: The Second Coming Of Lotus Notes?

Posted by Charles Chen

As I was pondering the suckage of Lotus Notes, I came across an interesting little piece on a CMS Watch Report titled: "SharePoint Has Become the New Lotus Notes":

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is repeating history as it mimics the allure and pitfalls of Lotus Notes, according to research released by CMS Watch, an independent analyst firm that evaluates content technologies.

SharePoint exploits traditionally underserved collaboration needs for information workers laboring within Office tools, and fulfills a common desire to easily create disposable workspaces, CMS Watch found.

Like Notes in a previous decade, IT often embraces SharePoint as a simple answer to myriad business information problems. But the platform can morph into a technical and operational morass, as repositories proliferate, and IT comes to recognize that various custom applications require highly specialized expertise to keep running properly.

...

The SharePoint Report 2008 concludes by advising customers to establish clear boundaries on SharePoint services, to keep it from becoming their new Notes – the platform that everyone loved, but then loved to avoid.

While SharePoint does indeed have it's weaknesses (total lack of any integration with ASP.NET AJAX in the SharePoint implementation itself -- guess we'll just have to wait for 4.0, web services support is still kind of weak) and oddities (CAML?), it's nowhere near the steaming pile that is Lotus Notes.

On a serious note, I do kind of see the point in that last paragraph there.  SharePoint often gets evangelized as some silver bullet for collaboration ("Oh look, workspaces! Workflows! Tasks lists!") but I've never been in an organization that's used SharePoint in a way that was actually of any aid to productivity or collaboration; people just don't seem to want to log onto a corporate SharePoint portal unless they have to.

That's not to say that the platform doesn't have its useful bits, but the real gem in SharePoint is its integration with Office applications as a platform for "seamless" sharing of documents and I think the idea of offering that to a much larger audience (via Office Live Workspaces) is long overdue from Microsoft.  Until recently, there were few integrated solutions for small businesses, students, and other non-business groups for the very simple act of sharing Office documents aside from using e-mail.

Even when I joined Zorch Software, I would do a facepalm regularly when I got an email with a document attached with a "v15" suffix.  I'd save it in the same folder as the previous 14 "versions" that I received.  The irony.  The problem is that most of SharePoint just isn't that useful.  Even in a tech minded organization like Zorch Software, you just can't break some people out of old habits; to many, collaboration is synonymous with e-mail.  There is a whole generation that doesn't get wikis and doesn't want to learn wiki markup.

Well, in any case, I'm still not over the fact that I'm being forced to use Lotus against my will and I'm still bitter over the fact that it's been so hard to get people to embrace our Trac wiki and embrace the ticket system for tracking issues.

27Mar/08Off

Lotus Notes: It Sucks…Hard

Posted by Charles Chen

As part of the transition from FCG to CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation), we are also switching our mail system from Outlook/Exchange to Lotus Notes/Domino/Whatever.

There can only be one immediate reaction up on switching from Outlook 2007 to Notes 6.5:

WTF?? AHHHHH!!11 MY EYES!! GIVE ME BACK MY OUTLOOK!

Surely, this application which looks like it crawled out of the late 90's cannot be the primary enterprise messaging system for a large, publicly traded company, can it?  Maybe it's a clever ruse to get people to stop using email and actually interact with one another by ecouraging calls instead of email...maybe. I can't believe IBM actually sells this product and I can only imagine the painful life endured by the Notes sales team and all of the mockery they must live with.  If my parents worked on the Notes team in development or sales, I'd ask to be disavowed for their crime of bringing such a shitty piece of software into existence.

I think I'm going to start my own trail of why Lotus sucks posts, but Lotus Notes Hater already has a headstart on me.

The truly absurd thing that I've learned is that there are actually standalone programs that have been written to clean up crashed instances of Notes!  No kidding, I got the following email from a company wide distribution list:

If Lotus Notes crashes, you don't have to restart your PC anymore! Just run ZapNotes and allow it to clean up what Notes left behind so you can restart Lotus Notes. ZapNotes works on Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP

Lotus Notes Hater comments:

Cassetica charges US$1,500 for NotesMedic Pro and US$2,500 for the enterprise level of NotesMedic. The fact that a company makes money from a product that shouldn't even exist makes us ask, "Why haven't the owners of Lotus Notes put Cassetica out of business by incorporating the feature of NotesMedic directly into Lotus Notes?"

NotesMedic is not the only product out there. There is also ZapNotes. And KillNotes. There are at least three products that have no reason to exist.

Awesome!  Now I'm really gonna look forward to using Notes!

I also got to chat with some of my teammates in Vietnam just to see how they felt about it.  Who knows, maybe their Asian sensibilities would lead them to be more polite and less judgemental.  Maybe their allegiance to their employer would cause them to accept Lotus as their fate and use it dutifully.

Mumble mumble says:
Did you guys install Lotus yet?
Vietnamese Guy says:
Yes
Mumble mumble says:
What do you think?
Vietnamese Guy says:
Slow
Vietnamese Guy says:
very slow
Vietnamese Guy says:
urgly

So there you have it, even the Vietnamese hate it.

Filed under: Lotus Notes, Rants 8 Comments