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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 [email protected] 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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