Friday, 27 April 2007

The Blogger comes in from the fecking Cold

Well having had him wind me up for some time over the state of my blog, inability of me to actually read his and then make sensible comments etc, it seems as though Mr Duffy has decided to come clean and reveal his true self. Anyway wander over there and say hello, please excuse his fecking language, lets face it even after the wind ups I keep going over there to see what he was going to say next!!!
So Padraig now that you have come clean post some Notes stuff, obvious we can't all post exactly what we are doing, what with corporate confidentiality and all that good stuff. But I try and build posts around the work that I do, for example I spent the latter half of last week building a pain in the arse MS Word report, extracting the info from Notes. Hence my last post.....
BTW As you point out, I do reside in the UK, in fact when you were at Windsor Castle you were only about 20 miles from my work!!! What did you think of Stratford??? Never been but it's one of those on my list of Historic places to do in the UK, along with StoneHenge and the Tower of London (actually walked past it on my way to the Lotusphere Comes to You event in London last year) among others.
Anyway back to the full-on techie stuff soon.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

MS Office and Lotus Notes

Well anyone who uses Lotus Notes will know, it's printing options suck and we are not talking minor suckiness here, we are talking Industrial Dyson on full power here. Ok maybe I am over stating the problem here, but there you go.
So Notes printing sucks, what are your options, well you can either purchase a printing add-on, at this point I will recommend Intelliprint, great printing but not as cheap as it used to be but still the best or at very least only option on the market, or you can try outputting your data into Word or Excel.
Now this is not exactly a 2 second task here I have spent a week building Excel Spreadsheet reports for some of our Sales Task Force, however the results can be brilliant and obviously take advantage of power of Word or Excel in terms of formatting and printout.
Now I could post loads of tips here and probably will do, however for now I want to post a few links to some of the articles that have got me started.

Breaking Par - 4 Part Article that contains loads of tips on MS Word Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; & one on Excel
Check out the MSDN Developer Site for Reference guides
Check out various blogs for hints and tips Jake Howlett and NSFTools spring to mind as great places to start, but many other bloggers will have posted tips that can be useful.

My First tip is going to be one that Jake touches upon in his post, create a list of variables that have the same names as those used in Excel or Word, build this into a script library and add it to your applications when you need it, it makes converting code from MSDN libraries a lot simpler when you don't have to convert all the variables they have, here are a few I have to start you off.

  • Const xlEdgeTop = 8
  • Const xlEdgeRight = 10
  • Const xlEdgeLeft = 7
  • Const xlEdgeBottom = 9
  • Const xlDiagonalUp = 6
  • Const xlDiagonalDown = 5
  • Const xlCenter = -4108
  • Const xlBottom = -4107
  • Const xlLeft = -4131
  • Const xlRight = -4152
  • Const xlTop = -4160
  • Const xlNone = -4142
  • Const xlAutomatic = -4105
  • Const xlContinuous = 1
  • Const xlThin = 2
  • Const xlMedium = -4138
  • Const xlLandscape = 2
Anyway that's enough for now, I have a Word report to build, time to practice what I preach.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Nothing to say today but this is important.

Time to get serious, please see the Alan Johnston link on the right.
I don't think that I can say anything about this that hasn't already been said by many other better people, but I have to add my voice to the masses.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007


Now that I have gone to the dark side and acquired an iPod, I am looking for various Podcasts to listen to. Obviously the Taking Notes podcast is already on my subscribe list, but can anyone else recommend any other technical podcasts that are worth listening too. In fact don't just limit it to technical ones, any others that cover Sci-Fi, Comedy, TV in general, Films etc.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Collaboration University 2007 - Follow Up

Good news it seems, my boss is happy to push for my colleague and I to both attend CU this year, likelyhood is that he will attend the Sametime Quickr event in July and I will attend Notes Domino in September. Things are certainly looking up!!!
Our Omnifind project is now moving into it's final phase as we are preparing to get the users to do some testing, I will post any useful information over the next few weeks, covering some of the gotchas that have caught us out along the way.
I have also added an RSS feed to the site, so those of you so inclined don't need to check each day.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Collaboration University 2007

Well after what was a great success last year with Collaboration University 2006 (I graduated from the London Class) Rob Novak and the team are really pushing things this year, with not 2 events as last year (London and Kansas), but 4 events covering Quickr & Sametime in July (Kansas & London) and Notes/Domino in September (again Kansas & London).
I really enjoyed the event last year and am already pushing for one of my colleagues to attend this year, however with the 2nd Notes/Domino event I can already see an option for me to attend the Notes/Domino event.
My only criticism from last year was that the event was actually held outside of central London and near Heathrow, whilst many attendees were staying in the Hotel this was not a problem, but as someone who had to commute for this, 3 days in the rush-hour was a bit of a pain, especially the journey back on day 1 that due to accidents and traffic jams, meant my 45 min drive took nearly 4 hrs. Anyway the events are going to be held at the Radisson Hotel opposite the British Museum which means that travelling to and from the event will be by train which, whilst possibly having it's own problems, to me is much more relaxing.
So go and register, although don't all go I do want a place!!!

Monday, 2 April 2007

Quickr and Snapps

Well if there a more exciting combination in the Lotus arena at this time then I haven't heard of it.
Quickplace has always been an application here that has never really found it's niche within this company, we have used it on a number of occasions to solve various issues, from giving access to external users to published files which we couldn't e-mail to them because their mail gateway would not allow files more than 1mg, to creating a basic website for one of the projects here. The problem is that each of these has never really shown off everything that Quickplace can do, and whilst it's a product that I know can be of great benefit to my employer, I never have the time to build applications to show off it's capabilities.
Now we have Quickr coming soon, a rebadged version of Quickplace that certainly promises much and I was already hoping that this new version, along with a new driving force internally within the company would give Quickplace/Quickr a real chance of getting a foothold in our application suite.
Now Snapps have stepped forward and announced a number of free templates that will be available for Quickr some point in Q2. Having met Rob Novak at Collaboration University last year and seen the work that he, Victor and the rest of the team have performed and the demos of their QWiki, the template for which, along with templates for QBlog and QDoc, have already been released (for free) for Quickplace, I am sure that these new templates are going to be showing off the best aspects of Quickr to anyone who cares to look.
Here's hoping that in a years time I am reporting back a resurgance in the interest in Quickr within my employer.

Good Customer Service

Well it doesn't happen very often, but when it does, I feel that one has to spread the word. As I mentioned on Thursday's blog, I have been trying out a demo of Ytria's suite of tools for Lotus Notes. This is not just a suite for Lotus Notes Developers, but Admin's can get a lot of use from some of the tools as well. Anyway having downloaded the suite, I had decided this was definately going to be worthwhile having, so raised the paperwork for a purchase. By some miracle this has been approved and should be being processed today, an impressive feat of acheivement for the approval process here I can tell you.
Anyway mid-morning I took a call from one of the Ytria sales team, calling me up having retrieved my details from the download form I filled in on their website. Now having experienced some hard sell with other companies I was already hardening myself to stop him mid-flow to explain that we were already sold on the product and were raising the paperwork to place an order. That's fine he said, I was actually phoning you to offer you a full 2 week trial of the product, the download only allows you to read the data, not change. He then suggested that he sends the codes anyway as that will hopefully tide us over until the order is fulfilled.
Now I know that this is not exactly un-heard of however it does give you a more positive feeling that this company will be easier to deal with in the future. Some companies I could name have been difficult to deal with, changing licensing deals etc. In one case we were informed that maintenance that we paid each year did not give us the right to upgrade to their latest product, I mean come on.
Anyway enough about the negative. I will post more on the product as I use it, however so far Ytria gets a thumbs up from me.