Being tech support for the fam…

I like helping my family whenever I can. Two weekends ago I set up the wireless network at my aunt’s and last weekend my dad had a problem with a software he installed.
He needed the Vademecum application to do some research on prescription drugs (dad is an Endocrinologist and draws comics on his free time)
The Vademecum application is a Java based desktop application and for some reason, after Dad installed it, it didn’t work. Dad’s desktop has Windows Vista. We also had another problem, Dad is based in Spain while I’m in Toronto.

I tried back and forth via email to see what was going on, but explaining over email can be exhausting…

Dad ended up sending me this :-p out of his frustration finding the Windows Explorer.

The caption reads “This is what comes out when I press the flag key and the key e on my keyword. Where is the explorer?”. Dad sent me a screen shot with Vista’s windows explorer and a explorer :)…

I finally came across the TeamViewer application. This app is free, not like GoToMyPC which costs about 29.99 a month, and allows you to share the desktop if both parties have the TeamViewer client…

I hope that helps you too in case you’re being tech support of the fam 🙂

Have a great weekend!!!

Lotus Connections vs Sharepoint, what’s your take?

This post is not fully technical and I’m afraid I might be just adding noise to the net, but I couldn’t keep quiet, as a developer I should give *my* developer’s point of view.

When SP first saw the light I must confess it wasn’t my pick for CMS, it needed a sql server box and SQL Server needed an expensive license. I turned to free easier to put together PHP based CMS/portal systems like mambo, phpnuke et-cetera.

Time changed my point of view. I used Sharepoint mainly as a collaborative tool and intranet on two companies I worked for, and used it only as an end user. The ability to manage content, add documents to a project, keep the knowledge base associated to source control made me change my mind a little bit about this tool.

Knowing now more about web parts and seeing the proliferation of code camps, documentation, codeplex projects and how easy it is to implement workflows in Sharepoint now make me doubt about Lotus Connections quite a bit.

1. I’ve used Lotus Notes for email client and find it to be extremely unintuitive. Most people would say we use an old version, but I liked Outlook XP better!!!
2. I’ve used Outlook for email client for a while and although I have tried Thunderbird and other email clients, I keep going back to Outlook.
3. When I lose network connection my Lotus Notes becomes irresponsive to the point of having to shut it off, even if it’s a small network hiccup. It has never happened with Outlook.
4. Domino was a pretty big dinosaur back in 2000 when I first started programming intranets. I would say it still is.
5. Sharepoint is now free if you pair it with sql server express.
6. Most decision makers I know say that relying on open source projects to enhance or tailor a tool is a mistake. I would say exactly the opposite, but it also depends on what open source project you choose. Look at NHibernate and Hibernate? NUnit, JUnit, log4net, Apache (I hope Mono were a serious take)
8. They would also argue that customizing a tool further can imply high costs when a new license is purchase and sometimes it is impossible to obtain a new license due to the great deal of costumization. I would say that applies more to IBM like products, imho.
7. Some decision makers bet on Lotus Notes mainly because migrating away from Notes would be too costly. I would say migrate ASAP, that ship is sinking.

As a developer, I’m not a decision maker, I do make decisions but within my scope, most of them are based on experience, some of them are based on gut feeling. My guts say, hrm, Lotus Notes still sounds like a dinosaur to me…I hope I never have to program on top of it :-p