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Come back Lotus Notes, all is forgiven!

** Warning: Functional rant! **

I've spent a significant part of the past few years swearing at Lotus Notes. So much in fact that this post may be slightly bias as I struggle on a daily basis with the absence of my old adversary. Oh how I would prefer to face my old foe each morning...

Instead I face the miserable and shallow facade of functionality that is Microsoft Outlook and Lync. Yuck!

Meetings are regular missed as the pathetic reminder slides into view in the bottom right corner - cunningly; and silently, disguising itself behind another window (must have been designed for the NSA!). Scheduling a meeting is nigh on an impossibility; if you don't get the time correct first time, start all over again. Viewing participants in a meeting? Clearly why would anyone want to.... Delegations are poorly communicated, attachments are obscured next to the subject... And so on...

I admit I don't know Outlook very well and am a long term Notes user. Hands up! However, it seems none of my new colleagues who have been suffering this barbyesque piece of plastic crap for some time enjoy it either. Many of them have abandoned the thick (dumb) client in favour of the less abrasive web-based version and next to no-one uses Lync - it's like shouting into the void! There's nobody here.... Partly because it spends most of the time trying to connect, partly because it's just shit! So shit I can feel the pulse in my neck swelling at the mere thought of it. Sametime on the other hand was the backbone of instant communication and critical to daily life. Now I have to walk across the office floor... damn it, it's not humane, it's barbaric, it's just so 1995!

I was looking forward to not facing Notes in the morning, I now realise the alternative is worse. That is except for teamrooms; no teamrooms in Outlook, yeay! For that we've moved to wikis which are much, much better (and no, it's not Sharepoint thankfully, it's Confluence).

You'd have thought the dominance that Outlook and Lync have would be justified to some degree, it's not. At the end of the day they're just another email and instant messaging client, and not particularly good ones at that. You can pick which ever one you're familiar with but that's about it as a differentiator. Personally I think I'll switch to Mutt and IRC.


  1. Nice overview. Never surprised at the comments of former Lotus Notes users who come to realise that what we take for granted as basic functionality is missing in the alternative.

  2. Mate, you can change the desktop alert, change the time for meetings, and Lync once it is coonected (must be a strange implementation there) is the dbs.
    I dream of being able to use Outlook and Lync instead of Notes with its ill-thoughout menu structure and inconsistent navigation methods.
    Most companies use Outlook, I just wish they would admit defeat instead of continuing with the flogging to make it a bit more like Outlook each time...

  3. Well I expect you can configure it and rearrange meetings etc. but it's not very intuitive and doesn't seem to do anything I couldn't do before. Bottom line is it's just another email/IM client combo and it's position as #1 is down to MS's monopoly on the desktop. Thankfully; and we should all be grateful for any competition in this area, this monopoly will gradually be eroded away as we move increasingly to a web-based, platform agnostic ecosystem - first IE, then the OS, then Office (which I suspect will be the hardest to kill).

    However, none of this is important... If you're dreaming of using Outlook then I think you need a holiday or at least a good break from IT... ;)

  4. I too switched from Notes 3 years ago and find Outlook email & calendar clunky, takes too long to load, regularly crashes my system, requiring me to regularly reboot, and searching in Outlook is just a pain. I know there are 3rd party tools that can fix some of these issues, but I just want it to do this basic stuff like it says on the tin.
    Back whenI was using Notes, It loaded in seconds, it was so reliable I don't actually recall it ever crashing on me, and I was more productive and searching was ultra fast and accurate.
    I would rate Outlook as a 3 and Notes as an 8-9 out of 10 in comparison.


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