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Doug's Mailbag: Plucking the Lotus

Readers share their experiences with IBM's software:

I recently downloaded IBM's Lotus Symphony and I tried to use it. Having been a Lotus 123 (on DOS and early Windows) and WordPerfect (also on DOS and early Windows) fan, I was disappointed to see the current state of Lotus products. has more functionality. And funny enough I could not export a CSV file to Lotus 123 format. We needed to import some information into Domino and it had to be in Lotus 123 format. After I failed to find the old format in Symphony, I uninstalled it. It also seemed to have a bigger footprint on my hard drive than OpenOffice. Having gone from Exchange 5.5 to Lotus Notes 7 (a political move) and then back to Exchange again, I am not a fan of Big Blue. And now my company has moved e-mail to the cloud and are encouraging us to use Google Docs, which I do like. As long as you don't want to do anything advanced in Google Docs, you are okay. 

I have been a user of Lotus Notes for the past five years. Prior to that most of my messaging experience was with Outlook/Exchange. Lotus Notes 8.x has improved quite a few things, but basically it seems that they are just now catching up with Outlook 2003's mailbox interface. I am not a Lotus Notes fan at all, but the new interface is much improved compared to their prior interface -- however, Exchnage would be my e-mail of choice for many reasons.

Basically, when I use or buy software, I do so to make my home or office life more efficient. If there is a more efficient way to do something at a reasonable cost (even if a higher cost), I do what I can to take that route without overspending. If the benefits outweigh the higher cost then it's worth the additional cost (and vice-versa). In this case, I believe the benefits of Outlook are enough to make it worth the procurement in most, if not all, environments.

Lotus Symphony, was not only hard to use, but it was a DOS-based program with a Windows front end!

With 640k you could load any large spreadsheets or databases. Also most users weren't able to multi-task. Lotus also made a report generator call "HAL" that did not work very well!

Did you ever hear of a program by Borland call "Reflex?"

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).  

Posted by Doug Barney on 02/04/2011 at 1:18 PM


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