Ben Langhinrichs

February, 2009
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Thu 26 Feb 2009, 08:36 AM
Imagine that this fax system came with the greatest organization scheme, easy to file and sort and search, compatibility with all sorts of phone and voice systems - but the faxes were so fuzzy that important information was lost, the formatting and fonts and layout were altered in weird ways, and the general impression given to the fax recipients was that your fax machine was a piece of crap.  Would you put up with it?  Would you celebrate enhancements to the organizational system that ignored the fax quality itself?  I doubt it.

Yet much the way IBM has improved the email container so dramatically in Notes 8/8.5 without improving the email content, Gmail also seems completely focused on the email container, as shown in this post on their blog.  As Alan Lepofsky mentioned, and I repeated in this post, Gmail lacks the simple ability to create a table or paste in an image, features available in Lotus Notes (not known as the best email in the world, I hasten to add) since the early to mid 1990's.  As I have also noted elsewhere, Gmail completely ignores some CSS that is handled well by virtually every other email system (including both minor points such as images for bullet points as well as major points such as positional elements).  

But don't mind the content, the container is getting better all the time.  Fuzzy faxes anyone?

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Wed 25 Feb 2009, 10:20 AM
In my earlier post, I was a bit snarky about a new, free (did I mention freeutility that Robert Ibsen Voith has posted to fix a couple of rich text issues.  I refer to these sorts of utilities as fixlets, as they fix specific issues or problems.  Free fixlets are a wonderful thing, and I don't want to discourage their development or use in any way.  Of course, I have the second of three kids in private colleges, so I will continue to attempt to crush all competition in the pursuit of the almighty buck, but I will strive to do so in a kind, supportive way.  Please do share your fixlets with the world.  I even have a couple of my own that should come out of the EntwicklerCamp, and I will offer them for free as well.

Long may fixlets live and prosper to the betterment of our greater Lotus Notes/Domino community.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Wed 25 Feb 2009, 08:32 AM
I was interested to see Robert Ibsen Voith posted a free tool to do a couple of things that our Midas Rich Text LSX already does.  Robert has previously dabbled in competing with Midas for image manipulation, and I imagine he has had and will have some success as a cheaper, or in this case free, substitute.  It got me thinking about free competition, something I have dealt with before with the Exchange Connector competing with CoexLinks, for example.  It doesn't much bother me, and if this saves somebody a bit of cash in these stretched times, more power to them.

Before you run out and choose this over Midas, I would mention the following items to think about:
  • Midas has a bit more history and experience with these functions.  Fixing server hints was in Version 1.00 (released in July 1997), while fixing hide-when formulas was in Version 1.50 (released in March 2001).
  • Midas has been licensed to over one and a half million clients in 47 countrues, and has been tested and honed under fire by some of the largest, smallest and most demanding companies on the planet for over a decade.
  • Midas does not require reliance on the Notes C++ API, which has reported bugs and memory leaks when it comes to rich text handling.
  • Midas is available on multiple operating systems for versions R5 to ND8.5.
  • Midas does not require adjusting environment variables or installing any DLLs but its own.
  • Midas will handle doclinks that are in the rich text (such as those created by LotusScript) and not just ones in the $Links.  It will also handle the popup hint and other issues not addressed in the free tool.
  • These are but two of the well over 150 functions handled by Midas.
  • Robert doesn't have the irrepressible Mike Midas to illustrate the hide-when problem, as in Carrying Concealed (case file) back in 2004.
  • Midas does not have to include warnings such as "A word of warning; While the DLL has been reported to be stable, some problems may still exist, and thus you should always make a backup of your database in question before  attempting to use this DLL."



Nonetheless, it is encouraging to see others working with rich text.  Free is free, after all, and that is something many can afford right now..

Update: this may have come off as overly obnoxious.  I am glad that Robert and others are creating tools to help the community, and I know they are not really a threat, but my instinctive capitalistic nature makes me leap at the chance to promote my own product.  I apologize if I came off too harshly, or seemed to discourage tool development.  I am sure there are those for whom these tools will be perfect, and they probably are not in the market for Midas for a one off solution of this kind anyway.  So, full steam ahead on the tool development (although I can't promise I won't be slightly obnoxious in defense of "my turf")

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Tue 24 Feb 2009, 10:25 AM
One of my demos for my session Ignore the "No Trespassing!" Sign at EntwicklerCamp this Monday involves using xPages in the Notes client in Notes 8.5.0, although not exactly as you might expect.  I certainly hope I can pull this off, as it is a cool demo.  If you can't be there, I might be convinced to share the demo later, but why not be there and see it in person?

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Fri 20 Feb 2009, 11:19 AM
The speakers at this year's EntwicklerCamp (in Gelsenkirchen, Germany starting March 2) are very impressive.  Andrew Pollack, Rocky Oliver, Daniel Nashed, Maureen Leland, Steve Leland, Ulrich Krause, Rudi Knegt and on and on and on.

As I mentioned before, I will be doing two sessions.  I hope to see you there.  I might even be convinced to show you a quick iFidelity demo (but is that a threat or an offer?).

Ignoring the "No Trespassing!" Sign
In this session, we will explore some of the regions of development that are theoretically off-limits.  From @formulas to XPages, how to use design elements in ways they weren't intended to be used, how to build API applications that ignore their stated limits, and how to otherwise squeeze into questionable areas that may give you powers you didn't think you would have.

The Long-Ignored LSX Toolkit
After several long years, will IBM finally release a new version of the LSX Toolkit?  Whether or not they do, the tool remains a value and often ignored API option.  In the session, we will build a small LSX, talk about the various (new or old) features, and discuss what makes the LSX such a powerful and enduring tool that even years of neglect have not lessened its value.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Fri 20 Feb 2009, 09:05 AM
Based on a comment I made to Nathan previously, I added this idea:


Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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