My 3rd Taproot project

A few days ago I received an email from another Account Director at Taproot asking if I would be interested in working on another project.  This is yet another advanced website project for Gift of Adoption.  Of course, I said yes.  Now waiting to talk to the Account Director about particulars of the project.

As a side note, this will be my first true (significant) web development undertaking using my Macbook.  Looking forward to discovering available tools and what I can do on this platform.  Hope I won’t be missing Microsoft Visual Studio and Visual Web Developer.

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New opportunity – moving from Exchange to Lotus Notes

It is not often that I get to talk to companies looking to move from Exchange to Lotus Notes.  Every such conversation is a special treat to me.  So when I had one this week, I felt that I should mention it.

A partner of ours engaged me in a conversation with their client.  The client is an IBM shop (a bunch of AS/400s) when it comes to the back office.  They use or rather used to use Microsoft Exchange for their email.  Apparently, 2 weeks ago they got hit by a Windows virus that effectively shut down their email.  The virus affected them so bad that their email has been down for 2 weeks.  As the result, the words “Microsoft” and “server” are some of the dirtiest words known to the president of the company.  

We are now talking about deploying Lotus Domino and Lotus Notes on a couple of iSeries boxes.  The powers to be made the decision to switch without ever seeing a Lotus Notes client.  I walked them through a demo of Lotus Notes 8.5.  We mainly looked at email, calendar and contacts.  The initial reaction: this does everything we want, it looks good and it works well.  The biggest selling point — if they ever get hit by another virus, the iSeries and Lotus Domino will remain unaffected. 

Right now we are working on sizing the hardware and estimating the effort involved in moving 1000 users from Outlook to Lotus Notes in fastest possible way.  Can’t wait to start this project.

Why do they advertise ERs on billboards?

This falls into the category of things that baffle me…  Driving along I-355 in Chicago I noticed a large billboard advertising some local hospital.  The gist of the ad was that there is no waiting in their ER.  Now, this was maybe 3 hours ago but I already forgot the name of the hospital.  And what value does that billboard provide?  If I’m heading to a hospital’s ER, it is because I’m either hurt real bad or I’m in the back of an ambulance.  In either case, I’m heading to the closest damn hospital.

What is the biggest difference between an ambulance and a taxi? You can’t tell the ambulance where to take you.  It’s going to the hospital it services.

And if I’m heading to a hospital any other way, I’m going to the closest hospital I know and not to the hospital I have to Google the directions to, hoping to remember the name of that one place that promised no waiting in their ER.

So, dear hospital, the one that advertises on I-355 whatever your name may be, please save your money and try to direct your advertising budget towards things that really matter to your patients, things like making sure that saving lives does not cost an arm and a leg in the end.

Attachment editing in Evernote

This is so cool…

If you are a premium user of Evernote, you can attach any type of files to a Note.  The nice part is that if you open the attachment in whatever application for editing, make changes and save the file, it saves it right back into Evernote.  So you have round-trip editing of attachments with no silly prompts to confuse the end-user.  Way cool! 

Tip – Quickly get to a folder in Lotus Notes

After all this years of using Lotus Notes as my mail client, I have finally discovered that the View/Folders pane supports type-ahead.

All you need to do, click on a view or a folder to select it.  You have to make sure that focus stays in the View/Folders pane.  If you’re already inside of your Inbox, click on the Inbox again.  Then just start typing the name of the folder you’re looking for.  The highlight will be automatically positioned to the first matching folder.  Thank you, UI designers for adding this feature.

I don’t know what versions it is applicable to.  Works for me on 8.5.  What a great feature.  If you’re like me and have folders nested several levels deep, it is much easier to just type the name as opposed to clicking through all the plus sign icons to expand parent folders.

Gotcha: the behavior of the View/Folders pane gets a bit funny when you’re drilling down into folders nested 3 or more levels deep.  In my case, the pane just goes all grey and take a while to come back.  Could be a built-in limitation or a quirk of a Mac.

Tip — Be careful what you put into your signature if your local mail file is set to pull down partial documents

If you are using a local HTML file for your signature, Notes 8.5 has a new feature where it will store the signature inside of your mail file. This is a great new feature. I cheered when Notes 8.5 informed me of what it was about to do. Running Notes on a Mac and on Windows, maintaining an HTML signature file was quite a pain — you can never have the same path to the file.

Last week I decided to enhance my signature with a graphic, courtesy of John Head, announcing PSC’s win of the 2009 IBM Lotus award. It took me a while to put the 2 and 2 together, but suddenly, when working with my local replica copy, I couldn’t reply or create any new emails. Everything would come back with an error ‘Document command is not available’. Finally I remembered that my replication settings for mail are configured to receive partial documents from server. Apparently, adding that graphic to my signature made my Mail Preferences document larger than 40K. The signature in the preferences of my local file ended up being truncated and that broke things.

So if you are pulling down partial documents in your mail file, be careful what you put into your signature.

Premium Evernote

I finally took the plunge and paid $45 for my 1 year premium subscription service for Evernote.  Gotta love how simple and easy the whole process was.  I paid online, synchronized my client and immediately it knew to give me premium features: more space (500 MB each month) and ability to attach any type of files.  

I’m yet to figure out what to do with 500 MB of space per month.  As a free user, I was never able to come even close to the 40 allowed MB.  Even being able to attach files won’t get me anywhere close to 500 MB.

I love being able to attach any type of file to a note.  This comes very handy for client-related stuff: relevant emails, status reports, meeting minutes — everything ends up in Evernote tagged with a client’s name.  A couple of clicks and when I’m sitting down with a client, everything related to them is in front of me and easily searchable.  I just wish it would make like Lotus Notes and index the body of attachments.

All in all, great job, Evernote.  Can’t wait to see what new features will be added in the next version.