Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Frustration, thy name is Lotus Notes


ben :: uconn - storrs :: april 25, 2009

EDITED TO ADD: You post one little blog entry, venting frustration, and tweet that link…*grin*  I’m feeling so much love from the Lotusphere portion of the Twitterverse today that it’s actually a little overwhelming.  I’ve gotten so many links, screengrabs, emails with offers, that I am, to be repetitive, a little overwhelmed.  You guys all rock!  I can’t thank you all enough.

There’s definitely a learning curve with Notes that I wasn’t expecting (single license related? mac related? just plain old notes?). I’m not in IT, but I do pick up computer stuff rather quickly, so it was SUCH a blow to my ego when I found myself consistently frustrated by the software. Which, of course, brings on The CRANKY!!!!!

Just so it’s clear - I do *love* Notes/eProductivity on the PC at work, but I have simple needs there.  And I have a glowing, mushy blog post in the works about my experiences with Notes/eProductivity on the PC side.  I’m not all gloom and doom about Notes.  Honest.

I’m quickly swinging from love to complete and utter annoyance with Lotus Notes.

Quick recap: I met Eric Mack at the GTD Summit while he was doing demos of his Notes-based software, eProductivity.  I decided, on the spot, that eProductivity was the software based GTD solution I was looking for.  BUT. The big thing was that I would have to switch to Notes.  I’m not a big fan of Microsoft products in general, so moving from Outlook to Notes on the work PC wasn’t going to be that big a deal.  The big obstacle, the subject of tonight’s entry, is the fun, or lack thereof, I am having with moving my life to Notes on the Mac.

I’ve got Notes and eProductivity cranking at work.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much it rocks my socks.  Seriously.  That is one bad-ass combination of design and ease of use. You can SEE the amount of thought that went into making the software the power tool that it is. I have to say, I haven’t really seen any software - ANY - designed quite so well.

I’m trying to make the switch from Apple Mail / OmniFocus to Notes / eProductivity at home… at first, I thought the major issue would be getting used to not being able to sync my to-do lists between the iPhone and my MacBook Pro.  OmniFocus just wasn’t getting it done for me anymore and I do need something new - my home life is a complete disaster because I don’t trust my interim system.  (In all fairness to the Omni Group, if I hadn’t used OmniFocus, there would have been NO WAY I’d have been able to graduate with a 3.85 GPA (high honors!) while working a full time job and taking classes.)  I decided that Evernote (whose Ron Toledo I also met at the GTD Summit, and was responsible for selling me on their software (look at me being all name-droppy!!!)) would probably work for an inbox and I could just process that from the web interface or just email myself my to-do items.  Whatever.  I never really synced OmniFocus between the two as much as I thought I would have anyway, so that became a minor issue.

The issue that I’m having is being a single license user.  It’s only managed to be compounded because I’m on a Mac.

My first issue: move 4 gmail accounts and three domain-based email accounts to Notes. I have two out of the three domains working. I’ve struck out BIG TIME on the gmail accounts.  Gmail does not support Notes and I’ve been to several of the gazillion google search results, but I’m still not having any luck with it.  I’m impatient at times, and I don’t always like to read the user manual, but seriously, setting up a FREAKING POP3 EMAIL ADDRESS shouldn’t be this hard.  I can do it in my sleep with any other email client.

My second issue: I have no idea which one of the two email accounts I’m in.  At least in Apple Mail, I can see all my inboxes separately.  I can also choose which email account I’m sending from.  Right now, I don’t have any confidence in my email. Am I sending from the right account? Which account did this come from?  This is not a good thing.  Honestly, I haven’t spent that much time looking at this because it’s kind of a moot point if I can’t get access to the email accounts that really matter via Notes.  But, again, it shouldn’t be that hard to figure it out.  It’s only email.  It shouldn’t require some sort of advanced degree.

My third issue: tech support. I’d like to make a public apology to Delbert at IBM. (Yes, I’m pretty sure that’s his name.)  Poor guy called to check on my Notes experience. Whew! Did he get an earful!!  At work, I’m IT.  At home, I’m IT.  I don’t have a system administrator.  Plus, I’m not running Domino.  It does me no good to get a tech note that says, “If this problem persists, contact your sysadmin.”  OR “Check your Domino server settings.”  OR anything that refuses to accept that a person on a Mac might be using your software.

IBM, I get that you’re focused on the big business / enterprise users.  That’s where all the money is.  My little single user license is like $100.  I get it.  I’m not important in the big picture. Fine. And Mac users… I KNOW Mac users don’t count for squat in the land of Big Blue (although I’m hearing rumors of iPhone compatibility… that might be nice. IF I can ever get up and running.).  My thought is this—if you’re not built to support single users, who don’t have tech support to fall back on, don’t offer the software.  If you’re not built to support Mac users, don’t offer the software.

I feel all alone in the Lotusphere and that makes me cranky.

I do have Parallels on the Wintel Mac, but it’s really only there so I can run Quickbooks’ Accountant Edition without having to boot into XP.  (Talk about barriers to entry.  If I didn’t *need* the advanced features of the CPA edition, I’d just run crappy, vanilla QB Pro, which IS available for the Mac.)  If I could solve my problems by just installing it onto the XP disk image whoozy, I’d still have issues with getting it on the old, non-Wintel Mac.  (The idea, which had been planted in my head, was that I could network the two Macs via a Domino something or other. This sounded like a good idea since I’ve started working on the desktop more, but if I can’t make it work as a stand-alone, do you really think I’d be stupid enough to add an extra level of complexity? You, in the Peanut Gallery, I see you! Stop nodding!)

I don’t know where to turn to get help.  The help I do find, as I have said, is mostly useless.  I’m tired of not finding the help I need online. 

I’m tired of fighting with Notes.  I don’t like that.  I don’t like that at all. It’s a huge testament to my absolute adoration of eProductivity that I’m even still bothering to get Notes to work on the Mac in the limited amount of time I have to mess with it.

How do you fix this? How do you make me happy? Realistically? I don’t have a freaking clue. Not a single one. To switch the focus to the single license user isn’t going to be easy.  Not when you’re focused on business / enterprise applications.  Are there enough of us to justify the costs of admitting we exist and helping us out? I think there is, actually.  What about Mac support? My guess is there has to be at least ONE person somewhere on the Notes team that knows Macs enough so that you can have them support us.

Talk to me! Help a girl out!


I am not ready to give up, but I’m quickly losing hope that I can make this work.

Leave a comment or email me: tamara [dot] nelson [at] gmail [dot] com

Posted by Matty on 05/13 at 09:34 PM

Friday, May 08, 2009



pony and viz :: dewey beach, de :: may 2, 2009

OK… before I get into the good stuff, I got an email asking what the deal with the pony is. It started as a joke among friends a long time ago, and then I actually purchased a pony and he’s been a part of the Vermont crew ever since.  Or, as I like to call us, two poles, a ukie, and a viz. (Yes, I know it’s really only one pole, but *sigh*.)  PONY! has been all over New England, fooled around with a cardboard corpse (long story), and has now seen Delaware.

Oy. Delaware.

The only thing I can say that is appropriate for this, my most public of blogs, is what happened in Delaware has to stay in Delaware.  (Hence, Dela-vegas.)  There was a lot of adult beverages, a ton of misbehaving, and bonding.  Viz and I have been friends with Derek since college and we’ve slowly been getting to know the other three members of Instrument over the past year.  We have actually started to cross the line from fans to staff. (“Don’t forget, you represent us! Behave yourselves!”) Between the two of us, we have almost *cough* 20 *cough* years of marketing/advertising experience and we’re passionate about helping the guys out. If we succeed, every time you google “Instrument” you will get “Instrument (the band)” instead.  At least, that’s the idea.

gratuitous plug: BUY THEIR EP FROM CD BABY!

Anyways, where was I? Oh, right.  Delaware.  You know you’ve really become a member of the band when the act after them has to make a point of saying, “I don’t got no merch girls!”  Since it was so far from home, we all spent the night at a hotel.  It was great to have quality hang-out time.  (Normally, after the local shows, we all rush back to our lives.  Couldn’t do that last weekend.)  We definitely had some interesting conversations, discovered that white pickup truck guy does NOT want to be our friend on Facebook, and learned just how many people can fit through a hotel balcony sliding door. (Six. Kinda.)

I’ve been on insane road trips before, but this trip has been declared the gold standard against which all other road trips shall be judged. It’s been a week since Viz and I headed to our crashing spot in New Jersey en route to DE, and we’re STILL laughing and trying to figure out what exactly happened. Yup. Good times.

2nd gratuitous plug: BUY THEIR EP FROM CD BABY!

There’s a crap-ton of stuff I do need to get to and I’m hoping that tomorrow I can actually get to some of the important stuff. Key word: HOPING.  (Remember how I said we’re kind of the band’s staff? Yeah. I’ve got a major project with a serious deadline for them which is getting in the way of other stuff… I think it’s time we talked about my salary.  *grin*)

Posted by Matty on 05/08 at 09:50 PM
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