Things I miss from Notes in Outlook + Desktop Search for Lotus Notes released

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I used Lotus Notes as email client for many years, starting with Notes R2 up to R6, and for the last 3 years I’ve been using Outlook 2003. Both have their pro’s and con’s. When I started using Outlook I loved the UI and the Office integration. But there are (at least) two things I miss from Notes:

1) The All view
This is the view where you see ALL your emails – recieved, sent, drafts. With this view you don’t really need your inbox, sent folder etc (though Notes have these too).
What I miss is for example when you email someone back and forth, you want to delete everything but the last email since you already keep the email history in each email. With Outlook you have to switch between the inbox and the sent folder. Of course you can’t bother to do so, so your sent folder gets full of thousands and thousands of useless emails that should have been deleted.
You can probably build this view yourself in Outlook, I did give it a quick try a year or two ago but failed. If you know how to do this please let me know…!

2) Full-text indexing
This is my all time favourite, Notes have had this ever since I started using it in R2 (at least I think so). Anyone who uses Google Desktop or Microsoft Windows Desktop Search (WDS) knows what I’m talking about. No more looking through folders and scroll thousands of emails in search for that email about that thing from that guy who’s name you can’t really remember…
The big difference is that Notes full text indexing works and is superfast. I don’t know what’s wrong with Google Desktop and Desktop Search but it just does not index all my email no matter how I rebuild indexes, reinstall and follow various other tips and tricks found on the net.
For exampel if I search for any email containing the word “logo” (of which I have many) Desktop Search just keeps telling me “Nothing found in All locations for query “logo”. While other searches seems to be working fine. It’s just unreliable which Notes full text search never was.

I haven’t looked that much at Office 2007 yet so maybe these things will be solved there (but somehow I doubt that). The thing about Office 2007 that I personally look forward to the most is the improved use of tasks in Outlook 2007, where tasks will show up on your daily calendar. If they just fix tasks in Windows Mobile Smartphone edition everything will be great 😉 (as blogged about elsewhere…)

Windows Desktop Search Add-in for Lotus Notes
Speaking of full text indexing I just saw that Microsoft released a Lotus Notes add-in for Desktop Search. It should work for Notes R5 and up but only seems to index selected Notes databases:

The Windows Desktop Search Add-in for Lotus Notes is a protocol handler that allows you to index the conent of Lotus Notes email, contacts, calendar items, and journal items stored on your computer.

Ps: Three blog posts in two days! This is a new record for me 🙂
I was going to write about my wife’s brand new Sony Ericsson Z610 which seems to be a great phone but we can’t figure out what some of the icons on the screen mean and the manual does not have a single page explaining what is going on on the screen(!) Also the external screen does not show when a new text/SMS message has arrived for more than a few seconds. After that you have to open the phone to check the internal screen to see if there were any messages while you were gone. Or maybe it’s just a setting but I cannot find it… Well, that will have to be in another post.

How to Create a Favicon in Visual Studio 2005 ASP.NET Web Project

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In Internet Explorer 7 the new tabs feature shows the sites icon, aka favicon.ico. (I know tabs has been around in Firefox and other browsers forever but I’ve been stuck with IE)

I’ve been lazy and haven’t created favicons for my sites, but after using IE7 for a few days I realized that they’re pretty great when you have many tabs open.
So I Googled a little and found out that the favicon.ico file cannot be just any image file, it has to be a 16×16 pixel .ico file (at least if you want it to work in IE, some other browsers support all kinds of images incl animated gifs) and that not that many imaging programs can create .ico files out of the box, but Visual Studio can.

The only problem is that in Visual Studio 2005 for a web project (ASP.NET) you cannot add an item that is of type icon 🙁

So after some testing and searching I discovered these two workarounds to create a favicon.ico for a web project:

1) Easiest: Use an existing .ico file and just add it to your project. Double-click it and the icon editor fires up.

2) Easy but not as easy: Create a Windows Application project. From here you can create an item of type icon.

If you got a better solution please let me know.

Just make sure your 16×16 pixel favicon.ico is in the root of your web app and it should work. You should also add a LINK tag in the HEAD section of your html: (but this doesn’t seem to be necessary)

<link rel=”SHORTCUT ICON” href=”favicon.ico”>

There is plenty of info available on Google on how to implement favicons, this is one good link.

I had to clear my IE7 history to get my favicon to show up and I did read about other people who also had to clear their caches etc.

Free copy of IBM Lotus Sametime for Dummies

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IBM currently offers a free copy of IBM Lotus Sametime for Dummies. You can also download it as a pdf.

How to access a locked down Notes database and one more thing

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I don’t do much Notes development these days but every now and then it happens. The last few days I’ve been spending some time with Notes doing a few modifications to a client’s system and came across these two problems:

The client emailed me two Notes database but forgot to uncheck “Enforce a consistent Access Control List”.

Back in the good old days, I’m talking Notes R4 and earlier, you used to have full access to any database that you accessed locally, i.e. a database that was stored or replicated to your local machine. I don’t know what the design reasons for this might have been, but one major drawback of course was that you couldn’t restrict what a user could and could not do as efficiently on a local replica as you could if the application resided on a server. Also Roles did not work locally. Anyway, this all changed in some R4 sub release when the Enforce a consistent ACL was introduced. But now you’ve got a problem whenever you as a developer need access to a database and you’re not in the ACL.

So usually there are two ways around this:
– If there is a manager group in the ACL, create this group in your local address book and add yourself.
– Ask the client to send you a new copy of the database where Enforce a consistent ACL is unchecked.

Today neither of these were an option and I was on a deadline so I Googled to see if there was a solution somewhere. At Ben Poole’s blog I found a third solution. Ben has written some code that uses the Notes API to uncheck Enforce a consistent ACL for you on a local database, no matter what your access rights are.
Simply download the code from Ben’s blog and copy and paste it to a button on a Notes form. Then call the removeEnforce function with the full path and filename of the database as argument.
For me the checkbox got unchecked but for some reason I still didn’t have full access to the ACL so I had to restart Notes and then it worked fine. According to Ben this script should do the trick for both Notes R5 and R6. Myself I used it in R7.

Ok, so with that done time for next problem: I was simply changing what default view should be opened to the user in a frameset (Notes client, no web). The old view worked fine but when I changed to the new one I got one of Notes many informative error messages: “Cannot execute the specified command.”
After doing some troubleshooting I found out that the problem was that I did a @Command([ViewCollapseAll]) in the views PostOpen event. So I searched Notes.net/LDD/Developerworks (I don’t even know what they call it anymore) and I found this thread that didn’t explain why but at least provided a work around. Adding @Command([OpenView];@ThisName) worked for me in Notes 7.0

@Command([OpenView]; @ThisName );
@Command([ViewCollapseAll])

@ThisName is new in R7 R6 [corrected] so to get this to work in previous versions you need to provide the view name as a common string (see the Notes.net thread).

Testing the new Kiss PC-Link 3.0

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Kiss have released PC Link 3.0 for Windows (previous version was 1.30) which I just installed and tried out for the first time. PC-Link is the piece of software that you can use to stream media files from your computer to your Kiss player/recorder. New features include Live Folders and Picture Scaling.

Live folders is adding a folder to PC-Link and whatever updates you do to that folder, ie adding and removing files, will be reflected on your Kiss DP-558 (or whatever player/recorder you have). In previous versions you had to manually update PC-Link whenever you made any changes to a folder.
The first time I tried to play some audio files from a Live Folder my DP-558 hung, but after power off/on it seems to work fine.

Picture Scaling as I understand it lets you choose what format your TV screen is – 4:3 or 16:9 – to scale your pictures to fit the screen. Funny thing is that on my 16:9 TV, when I choose the 16:9 setting it shows as a 4:3 picture and vice versa. When I try to change the setting while showing the picture on my TV screen PC-Link crashes on the PC and gives “an unhandled win32 exception” and when I restart it all settings including the files and folders I’ve added are gone.

Another new feature seem to be the New Folder button which I understand as creating a virtual folder which is only used for presentation in your Player/Recorder, where you can drag and drop folders and files without them actually being moved on your hard drive.

For some reason I couldn’t get an added .wmv video file to even show up on my player but other video formats seem to work fine, I tried vob and avi. And yes, wmv is added as an extension in the extension settings in PC-Link, another new feature which allows you to set what file extensions you wish to make visible to the player.

Be aware that the install program does not remove your old PC-Link 1.30. It removes the icons from the Start menu but does not actually uninstall it, the files are still left on your hard drive and in Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel.

Some previous features seem to have been removed in the new version, for example: sort button, the search wizard (to find media files on your computer), displaying what Kiss-players are connected (the Info tab is gone). The Move Up and Down buttons are also gone, but you can use drag and drop to change the order of files.

Another “funny” thing is that Kiss has implemented two different user interfaces for selecting files and directories. If you press the Add Files button you get your standard Windows XP “Choose a file” dialog where on the left hand side can select Desktop, My Documents, My Computer etc but if you press Add Live Folder you get a Windows 98 style dialog where you have to work your way thru C:\Documents and Settings\Max\My Documents to get to My Documents.

These are my findings after setting it up and testing it for about 10 minutes. As usual Kiss’ product documentation sucks. And as usual Kiss don’t seem to be doing a great job at testing their software before release. Maybe they should try what most other software companies do these days – public betas.

Flight Mode, Kiss Firmware Update and a House

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Qtek 8500 Flight Mode
I just found out that my Qtek 8500 phone actually does seem to have Flight Mode (contrary to my previous post).
On the Home Screen simply navigate to the Operator and Time bar and click it. This takes you to the Comm Manager where option 1 allows you to turn off the Phone. Do I feel stupid… but happy!

Kiss DP-558 Firmware 1.1.7
After checking the Hi-Jack forum for pitfalls I upgraded my Kiss DP-558 to the new 1.1.7 firmware the other day. Seems to be working fine, I have not found any improvements or bugs. Of course the (too) superfast Fast Forward is not fixed yet 🙁

A House!
We bought a house yesterday! Of course it cost too much money and after living in apartments my whole adult life something tells me this is the beginning of a new era of constant fixing things on the house. We’re not moving in until February 2007 so I have time to adjust to that thought…
Now, anybody interested in buying an apartment?