Monday, January 31, 2011

How to Change Your Notification Options for New Lotus Notes Mail in version 8.x


Don't worry, I'm not patronizing you (my readers), I just decided to re-document this for one of our internal users and thought you might want to be able to use it in your own user documentation.

WHAT IS THIS DOCUMENT ABOUT?
Some people who don't get a lot of mail, like to be notified when such an event occurs.

Notification can be;
  • via a sound
  • via a pop-up box
  • via the system tray (where the computer clock is)

The pop up box looks like this;


Other people, who like myself, get too much mail would rather not be notified. The aim of this document is to tell you how (and where) to turn these options on and off.


CHANGING YOUR SETTINGS
To change your settings from the Notes 8.x client;

  1. On the Menu, click File, then Preferences...
  2. On the left hand side, click on the little plus sign to the left of Mail to expand the options.
  3. Click on the option marked Sending and Receiving.
  4. In the middle section, under receiving, you can control your notifications.
  5. If you untick the box marked [_] Display a popup alert, you will stop those annoying (for some people) pop up boxes.
  6. If you don't like having your computer make a noise when mail is received, you might also want to disable the option above it - or browse to find a quieter noise.
  7. Click OK to save your changed preferences.


Thursday, January 06, 2011

Resolving the Lotus Notes 8.5.1 (and Higher) Attachment Issue

A long while ago, November 2009 actually, I posted about an Attachment Problem which was introduced in Lotus Notes 8.5.1. At the time, I pushed IBM for a solution and they eventually produced a half-solution (slightly better but no cigar).

Since then we've been living in pain.

Recently a commenter named "CIS" left a note on my original post to try putting AttachmentsUseCaption=0 in the notes.ini. It worked **THANKS** - you're my hero of the hour!

I decided to describe the problem and solution here in case others were in the same boat.

Here's how our attachments used to look prior to using the Lotus Notes 8.5.1 (and higher) clients.

At 8.5.1, the text under the attachments disappeared completely. This left me with a screen with two PDF files and no description. Not a good look for our extranet service.

We halted our Notes 8.5.1 rollout until IBM provided a fix but when they did, it wasn't a particularly elegant one.

Here's how it looked;

The attachment text (file names) stopped being under the icon and started being to the right of the icon. It might have been ok, if IBM didn't still keep invisible spacing under the icon.

It probably would have looked great if I could just left align the icons but it was not to be.

When the problem was still present in Lotus Notes 8.5.2, I decided to start upgrading our clients. I wasn't happy with the fix but at least we had descriptions for our attachments again.

A couple of days ago, following Cis' advice, I edited my NOTES.INI file;

C:\Program Files\IBM\Lotus\Notes\Notes.ini

The location may vary for you - especially if you're using the Multi-user install.

I opened the file in Notepad and added the line somewhere near the top.

AttachmentsUseCaption=0

Then I restarted the Notes client and detached and reattached a file.

The result looked like this. (File No 1.)


Yay!! We've since added the line to our policies, so all our clients will get it when they reboot.

Now all we have to do is detach and reattach everything we've done since November 2009 - Thanks IBM, at least now nobody can say they've got nothing to do.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Getting Real Business Value out of Cheap eBook Readers

Everybody wants an iPad but if we're really honest with ourselves, most of our reasons aren't exactly business reasons.

The iPad has a lot of great uses but it's amazing how often I see its business use limited to email and web browsing. If you've already got a work supplied mobile phone with these capabilities, blackberry for instance, then what is the business case for duplication?

Right now, the iPad is still a little pricey for mainstream business use but it's not a bad idea to start building your usage patterns with a cheaper device.

I recently picked up an eBook reader (from MiGEAR) for under $100. For comparison, the iPad costs about $700 here. The main advantage of the eBook reader over the blackberry is proper PDF file support.

The eBook reader I got didn't support DRM (although I've since downloaded and installed a patch which fixes this). I'm not bothered though because as a business tool, it doesn't need to support DRM.

I'm finding that it's very useful for saving all kinds of quick-reference data on. Sometimes in text format and sometimes as PDF. There are plenty of free PDF converters/printers available for download and the capability is now built-in to Lotus Symphony, Open Office and apparently, Office 2010.

Some of the great things you can store on your eBook reader for easy reference include;

  • Lists of important IP Addresses in our system
  • Contact Lists
  • Our Disaster Recovery Plan
  • Important Notes.INI settings information
  • Redbooks from IBM

When iPads (or their sucessors) eventually become standard issue at my workplace, I'll be ready but in the meantime, the eBook reader is getting me used to working "portably".

You might think that a reader is no good for taking notes on but the fact is that most of my notes, including this blog entry, are done on the blackberry while using public transport. I don't need a larger device to write, only to read.