Lotus Notes/Domino isn’t something I’ve thought about much lately at all. I’ve not been working with it for the past few years (which I’ll comment on later in this post, because, reasons), however this week coming across a conversation on a popular social media platform got me thinking about a few things.
The post was asking for suggestions for an on-premises email solution that “isn’t Exchange”, and it didn’t take long before some comments about Lotus Notes crept in (image heavily edited, lots of other replies removed, I only left in the anti-Notes ones):
I found this interesting for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, these were technology people, and they didn’t know the difference between the Lotus Notes client and the Lotus Domino Server. How many “IT Professionals” (I hate that term so much) would have a hard time differentiating between Exchange and Outlook, even if they didn’t work with it regularly? I’d wager that most people would be able to make the Exchange/Outlook distinction, but Notes/Domino are always conflated – branding fail there, IBM.
Secondly and more interesting is that Domino server would probably be a great choice for the stated requirements. You can connect any email client up to it, it has great webmail (well it did last time I looked) and would give you the ability to have a nice non-Exchange option without having to resort to a lesser known brand name or product. “No one ever got fired for buying IBM” and all that, you’d think that support should be easy to obtain (which is not really the case here in New Zealand, although again a disclaimer should be issued that I’m a little out of touch here) compared to some of the lesser known and open source options. It also has a very good track record in terms of security, even if some people might say that’s “security through obscurity”. Of course I can’t comment on cost, because IBM’s licensing changed every few months when I was working with it, however based on the state of play when I last looked they were making progress in providing better licensing options so I’d wager that there’d be a competitive pricing option available now.
(Mini musing – it’d be very interesting to know which version of the Notes client people above had been exposed to.)
My point being that it’s interesting to see a good server product being automatically dismissed because of people’s conceptions about the client (which you’re not forced to use, except for admin, although even that can all be done on the web now).
A final internal musing was made was on how little I miss having anything to do with running an on-premises mail server. I understand that cloud hosted email isn’t for everyone, but these days I’m very thankful to take any opportunity reduce the amount of infrastructure that I’m responsible for.
I mentioned in the opening paragraph that I’m no longer working with Notes/Domino, and I’m really REALLY glad about that - which probably makes the rest of this post seem a little strange, so I feel compelled to offer an explanation of sorts. As a developer/company owner, working with the technology in this region (NZ) felt like an exercise in legacy support and very little else. Developers like shiny new things! Company owners like interesting opportunities! Notes/Domino in NZ did not have much of those things. However, I worked with the products for around 15 years, and I know its strengths as well as its weaknesses. The Domino Server is a pretty robust and reliable creature, and having compared notes (!) with a few Exchange Administrators (can you restore an individual mailbox in Exchange without having to restore the entire mail store yet? Serious question!) I’d probably be choosing Domino Server if I ever had to administer an on premises mail server again in my life (please no, please no, please no).
I also spent a few years working with ASP.NET/Visual Studio at the same time as doing some occasional Domino Development, and the time period in which that overlap occurred offered some very interesting comparisons in terms of innovations and changes introduced in each technology over said time period.
So yeah, I don’t miss Notes/Domino, but I can still acknowledge that it does some things very well, and I’d certainly never dismiss its server technology simply due to some pent up rage about the (non-mandatory to use) client software.
Tags: IBM, Notes, Domino
Nothing like seeing your customer’s username and password in the clear like this. Yes, it’s over HTTPS, but still.
12 HTML5 tricks for mobile could just have easily been called 12 HTML5 hacks for mobile, and indeed the author switches between tricks/hacks a couple of times in the text. Some of these look useful, others questionable (although I’m sure there’s going to be scenarios where they’re applicable).
I think that mobile sites need to own the fact that they’re a site and not a native app, and stop trying so hard to look like they are. Personally, I’ve never added a site to my home screen – I can see that it might be handy, but it’s just something I’ve never had to do.
Regardless, there’s some useful tips in there, especially the reminder that type=”number” doesn’t actually work as expected.
(Secret 13th tip - take it from Captain Picard that if you’re going to be doing a lot of mobile development then you should plan on owning a lot of devices)
My usage of Netflix so far has seemed to follow a pattern that’s well known amongst Netflix users – that is, that I spend more time browsing and trying to decide on what to watch on Netflix than actually watching anything.
I did get some help from the handy flowchart which was doing the rounds a while ago:
However it’s pretty clear that the flowchart isn’t something that’s going to be easy to keep up to date.
Enter abetterqueue.com. The site gives you a few simply options for filtering by genre/age/rating to help you find something that might tickle your fancy before you get to the couch. The rating data comes from Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer, so it’s a pretty well known source. You can add results to your list from the site and/or click to view the reviews.
Very simple, very handy.
From the “I hate Facebook” Desk comes the news that they’ve banned like-gating (the process of exchanging a “Like” for some free content – often seen with music artists). It’s probably about time, as it really is a sign of subverting the intent of a “Like”.
So in theory I support this.
However thinking about it, I really like action-gating (the suggested replacement) even less. With a “Like” it was easy to simply click the button and get what you want (and then undo the like later if you cared – I suspect most people don’t bother with that though), but with an action it’s going to feature more prominently on your wall even if just for a once off.
The real question is this – when will social media “experts” start naming Facebook’s changes as they do with Google’s? Google has had penguins and hummingbirds, when Facebook makes a change can we call it getting Zucked? These are the important questions we have to ask ourselves.
There’s currently a sum total of exactly 2 entries on my list of podcasts that I listen to religiously. Those are Risky Business, and Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project. The latter is very much unrelated to software development, however it’s often interesting for other (often unexpected) reasons.
The latest episode is titled The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection, and while they’re talking about the process of making physical things there is a lot of crossover into the world of software development.
I’d highly recommend listening/viewing the episode (and subscribing to the podcast if pop culture, movies and making stuff are your sort of thing), however one of the key points in the episode they make is that the difference between a good “maker” and an average one is “knowing when to use a loose tolerance and when to use a tight tolerance”. That is, knowing where you have to be really careful and pay attention to a component of your project, and where you can get away with less time/attention. They also discuss how “given enough time, anyone can make a violin”, by trial and error and stumbling through the process, however an excellent maker of violins will know which bits need particular care and attention in order to produce an excellent violin.
The comparison isn’t perfect, but there are a lot of similarities, and contains many points which I think developers will find themselves agreeing with. Anyone can write code, but good projects/sites/whatevers are created by people who know which pieces need to be done well, and which pieces are less important or are easy to change later if needed. There’s also a discussion (relating to time being the key ingredient) where they discuss how tools and techniques can save you time, but are only a part of the overall equation, which is also true of writing code.
Well worth a listen.
Speculation and rumour seem to go hand in hand with Apple hardware, however I didn’t expect Forbes to be so keen to get into the act. When I saw this article (before the edit below the title) it sounded like a confirmed thing: Apple To Abandon Headphone Jack? Beats Deal Suddenly Makes Sense
It certainly sounds like something Apple might do. From a personal perspective I hope they don’t – I have a lot of older devices, and I don’t really want to buy a pair of Beats headphones, however from a music lover’s perspective, maybe it’s time for the old 3mm stereo plug to be phased out? The article hints at an increase in quality which most of us won’t pick up – certainly not someone like me who’s spent many years attending or playing at gigs and lives with a constant ringing in my ears.
It feels like people are struggling to find a logical reason for the Beats acquisition, and I have to say that the answer may be staring them in the face:
The #1 paid app in the Google Playstore "Virus Shield" is a complete scam
Unfortunately for the buyers, Android Police has discovered that all the app does is change a red "X" graphic to a red "check" graphic. Literally. The 859kb app doesn't protect, secure, or scan anything. More work went into the Settings menu than the actual "security" portion of the app, and it appears that thousands of users have been scammed out of their money.
The first thing that came to mind was a comment about the differing approach of the Play store versus the Apple store, but the article covered that already:
This calls into question some concerns about the openness of the Play Store. Is a walled-garden approach where the app goes through a strict review process, similar to what currently takes place in Apple's App Store, a better model for smartphones? Or does the freedom that comes from Google's approach outweigh the negatives of a bad app creeping in every now and then?
Apple’s approach hasn’t always been perfect, but given that more and more technologically challenged people are buying these sorts of phones, there’s something of an obligation to have some protections in place against this sort of stuff.. isn’t there? Maybe I’m just jealous that I didn’t create “Virus Shield”..
Unsafe cookies leave WordPress accounts open to hijacking, 2-factor bypass – ouch.
Memo to anyone who logs in to a WordPress.com-hosted blog from a public Wi-Fi connection or other unsecured network: It's trivial for the script kiddie a few tables down to hijack your site even if it's protected by two-factor authentication.