Ben Langhinrichs

May, 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.


Wed 27 May 2009, 03:52 PM
These two questions usually comes up fairly quickly, especially with smart Notes-savvy consultants:

1) What is the point of iFidelity when most email is just plain text, without tables and sections and graphics and doclinks?

2) My clients are all moving to Notes/Domino 8.5, so won't that fix most of these rendering issues?

Both are good questions.  I'll pose one back: what do most management people like to use with their email that is improved in Notes 8.5?

The answer is, formatted signature blocks, which can be created in rich text in Notes 8.5.  I get a lot of emails from higher-ups at IBM and many other organizations, and virtually every one has a signature block.  There is often a logo, an email address, a phone number, etc.  Most of these people care a lot about appearance and professionalism.  So, since I am President of Genii Software, I'll fill in for these ladies and gentleman in the following example:

Let's assume that I would like a slick, professional signature block that reflects my status.  (Incidentally, you may not care about these things, but would the CEO or your boss?)  I use Notes 8.5, so I add my signature and say it should go on every outgoing message (although this example would work just as well if I inserted with the action instead.  Now, what would be the difference if I used iFidelity for Lotus Notes or just plain vanilla MIME rendering?  The difference may or may not matter to you, but it will likely matter to your boss.   And remember, this is just a one word answer.


Here is my email in Notes which answers the question "Could iFidelity help a one word message look professional?"  Note the rich text signature block below the one word message.

HTML signature in Internet Explorer


Here is my email as received in Outlook 2003 mailbox WITHOUT iFidelity rendering

HTML signature in Internet Explorer


Here is my email as received in Outlook 2003 mailbox WITH iFidelity rendering

HTML signature in Internet Explorer


Here is my email as received in another Notes 8.5 mailbox WITHOUT iFidelity rendering

HTML signature in Internet Explorer


Here is my email as received in another Notes 8.5 mailbox WITH iFidelity rendering

HTML signature in Internet Explorer

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Tue 26 May 2009, 11:11 AM
How much will iFidelity cost?


This is the first post that really constitutes an announcement.  The pricing for iFidelity has been determined, and we are doing it a bit differently that we have for previous products.  After feedback from both beta testers and various potential customers and resellers, we are focusing on a per user pricing structure that mirrors, to some extent, the IBM CEO pricing.  With this structure, you can pay a set price per user and install iFidelity anywhere you like in your organization, on as many clients or servers.  In order to make this practical, you must license all Lotus Notes/Domino users.  This makes bundling iFidelity with Notes/Domino very simple, as there is a simple incremental price added on to the Notes/Domino cost per user.  In some companies, there may be a need for a different configuration with only some users covered, in which case a per server pricing is also available.  Client use including inbound rendering will not be part of this server-based iFidelity.

Unlike other Genii Software products, there is no cost for the first year of maintenance/upgrades.  The renewal price will be 25% of the original price, but will not be due until the first anniversary.

The actual prices, which are always subject to change, but likely not to change much:

CEO bundled pricing (per user, includes server and client use - must include all users):

Per userPrice (US dollars) *Price (Euros) *Price (GBP) *Part Number
1-100 (single price)$1400 flat rate€1050 flat rate£950 flat rateIFIDCEOB
101-400$14 per user€10.50 per user£9.5 per userIFIDCEOR1
401-2000$11 per user€8.25 per user£7.5 per userIFIDCEOR2
2001-5000$8 per user€6 per user£5.5 per userIFIDCEOR3
5001-10000$6 per user€4.5 per user£4 per userIFIDCEOR4
10000+$4 per user€3 per user£2.70 per userIFIDCEOR5
Educational/Non-profit discountsCall for quoteCall for quoteCall for quoteIFIDCEO-DISC


Production server pricing (no clients included):

Server licensesPrice (US dollars) *Price (Euros) *Price (GBP) *Part Number
1-8 servers$8000€6000£5500IFIDSRV
Over 8 serversCall for quoteCall for quoteCall for quote

* Maintenance and free upgrades are included for the first year.  A maintenance and upgrades renewal fee of 25% of the original license fee will be charged annually, starting with the first anniversary.

To illustrate these prices in real company terms, I have listed the CEO pricing for some different sized companies, along with the renewal cost and the annual per user cost if you average over three years of use (initial price plus two renewals divided by three):

1) 50 person company would be $1400 the first year, $350 each year after that ($14.00 avg. annual cost per user)
2) 300 person company would be $4200 the first year, $1050 each year after that ($7.00 avg. annual cost per user)
3) 500 person company would be $5500 the first year, $1375 each year after that ($5.50 avg. annual cost per user)
4) 1500 person company would be $16000 the first year, $4000 each year after that ($5.33 avg. annual cost per user)
5) 8000 person company would be $40000 the first year, $10000 each year after that ($2.50 avg. annual cost per user)
6) 60000 person company would be $240000 the first year, $60000 each year after that ($2.00 avg. annual cost per user)
7) Two gateway servers for outbound rendering would be $16000 the first year, $4000 each year after that ($4000 avg. annual cost per server)

So, for a mid-size 500 person company, you spend under six dollars a year per user to get cleaner, more reliable, more professional email going out, and cleaner, more reliable, more professional email coming in.

Better email.  Better communication.  Better impressions.  (Not a lot of money)

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Tue 26 May 2009, 09:12 AM
Do people remember search engines before Google?  While useful, the number of results and the lack of well designed algorithms meant that you would wind up manually stepping through a lot of muck trying to find a useful result.  Google transformed the search engine into something far more useful by getting a lot smarter at determining what you were likely to want to see.

What brought this to mind today was another sour experience with Kontera.  These "in-text" advertisements are popping up in more places, purporting to be "smart links" but feeling more like "stupid links".  For example, I went to Niklas Waller's post on TinyMCE, and saw various links.  When mousing over them, I would have laughed if it were not so painful.  The contextual advertisement for "WYSIWYG editors" is shown below and has to do with book editors, the advertisement for "AJAX" had to do with the cleanser, and the advertisement for "browsers" had to do with Internet Explorer.


Kontera's ads

What did these add to the experience?  Nothing.  The first two were not relevant, and only managed to muddy up the experience of the original post.  The third was at least relevant, but given that I was using Firefox 3 to view the link, it still added nothing useful.  Someday, Kontera, or somebody else, may figure out how to do enough analysis of the surrounding post to give useful results, but right now it is just a blight on the web content.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Mon 25 May 2009, 09:42 PM
On Friday, I was mystified to find that the test Domino 8.5 server on my laptop was ging an error when trying to load HTTP.  The error was:

HTTP Server: Error - Unable to Bind port 80, port may be in use or user needs net_privaddr privilege

and it seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.  Fortunately, I got a clue when I googled and saw this post, reporting the same problem.  I don't have Skype on this machine, but when I checked, AVG had been updated to 8.5.  It took a bit of poking around, but I found the setting I need to change to eliminate the problem with AVG 8.5.  In the hope that this will save somebody else from pulling their hair out (like we need more balding Notes gurus!), here is the key to fixing the problem:

In AVG 8,5, under Tools - Advanced Settings, expand the Web Shield section, click on Web Protection, and remove 80 from the list of Ports to be scanned.


Advanced AVG settings

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Fri 22 May 2009, 10:20 AM
How stable and reliable is Genii Software?


While this is an easier question to answer than the last, it is difficult for me to say because it feels immodest.  Genii Software has been around since 1994, and a business partner with IBM since 1995.  Our first product, the @YourCommand Toolkit, came out in 1995, followed in 1997 by our best known product, the Midas Rich Text LSX, which has been licensed to over one and a half million users (the much maligned "seat count" that IBM and Microsoft love to both boast about and disparage).  Since then, we have brought out the other Midas products (of which the Midas Rich Text C++ API remains), CoexEdit and CoexLinks.  

In terms of stability, we support these products across a great span of Notes/Domino versions, thus ensuring that customer needs can be met no matter where they have landed in the Notes/Domino world.  All our current products are supported from R5 to ND8.5, and most would work with R4 if a customer came along who needed it.  We may be small, but have outlasted many larger companies and have an infrastructure that allows for growth or constriction without threat to the company.  It is perhaps indicative of our stability that the vast majority of our sales come through word-of-mouth, and yet we have grown virtually every year since we started.  Customers know us, tell others about us, and come back to see what new products we might have to offer.

Reliability is a harder thing to measure.  I am aware of customers who rave about us, and a few who rave at us.  It is perhaps a better measure that with the number of licensed users we have, with customers in 7 of the Fortune 10 companies, for example, with customers in 47 countries using our products in almost that many languages, we get very few support calls, and most are resolved within a matter of hours.  Occasionally serious issues develop, which happens with all software partly due to the ever-changing landscape of accessory hardware and software products installed along with Notes/Domino and partly due to the ever-changing Notes/Domino products themselves and partly due to actual defects.  When that happens, we work hard to be prompt and courteous in our resolution of the issues.  When the support load seemed to be increasing, and more of it was needed in Europe and Asia, we contracted with The Turtle Partnership to provide most of our support, as they are larger and have more flexibility in terms of resources.

Still, the best way to be sure is to ask around.  It should not be hard to find people at IBM or in the general Notes/Domino community who will vouch for our stability and reliability.  Those recommendations mean far more to us than a glossy brochure filled with empty promises.  I am sure that if you have an old Lotusphere bag around, you can still find those brochures and promises from a number of companies who were formed after Genii Software and who have now disappeared into the mists of time.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Thu 21 May 2009, 08:43 AM
A customer last night asked about CoexLinks and iFidelity and wanted to know how they differ.  There is between the products, in the sense that iFidelity can do everything CoexLinks can do, but it can also do much more and has a much wider audience.  In a very simplistic sense, CoexLinks is for people who choose NOT to use Notes mail, while iFidelity is for people who DO choose to use Notes mail, as well as for those who do not.

But here is a very simple visual difference.  Assume that you want to send a table of doclinks, using the standard Edit - Copy As - Table, creating an email and sending it.  Functionally, both CoexLinks and iFidelity will make the links work properly outside of Notes (and have all the extra features such as NDL attachments, customized web URL links, etc.), but iFidelity handles the appearance as well as the functionality:


In Notes 8.0.1, the original email:


Original message in Lotus Notes client


In Outlook, the email as received after being handle by CoexLinks


Email converted by CoexLinks and shown in Outlook


In Gmail, the email as received after being handle by CoexLinks


Email converted by CoexLinks and shown in Gmail


In Outlook, the email as received after being handle by iFidelity


Email converted by iFidelity and shown in Outlook


In GMail, the email as received after being handle by iFidelity


Email converted by iFidelity and shown in Gmail

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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