You don't know me

by Volker Weber

Two days ago somebody tried to attack me (the equivalent of pissing on the electric fence) and he has made a very stupid but common mistake. He confused vowe with myself. It should come as no big surprise that vowe is only a small part of me. I won't be revealing any more of me than you could know already, but I will tell you a few things you might not actually know:

  1. I like a lot of Microsoft products, for instance Windows 2000 Professional, Word and Excel 2000 (Windows) and 2004 (Mac), Outlook, Visio and to some extent Project. Access and Powerpoint are not on this list, as well as all software with mandatory activation.
  2. I like Notes, especially the simple things, including replication. I dislike most other things in Notes, especially its ancient single-threaded plumbing, its butt-ugly interface and templates. As a mail and c&s client I would prefer Outlook any day. Luckily I don't need either.
  3. I use stuff that works for me. My MacBook does, as most of the applications that came with it. I also like ThinkPads but they are oddly quaint to me now. Notes currently does not work for me, mostly because it is too closed. I am not keeping any data in proprietary formats anymore.
  4. I don't spend time supporting friends and relatives on Windows. They can either afford a Mac, or they will get Ubuntu. There are exceptions to this rule.
  5. I believe that Microsoft has turned into the IBM of the early 90s. Overconfident, bloated, slow, generally hated, can't live without it. Some of those things still describe IBM.
  6. I believe that IBM is a big hairy monster which does not need help from any smalltime guy. Nor will it ever pay back, let alone forward.
  7. The percentage of idiots in any sufficiently large group is fixed. However, it helps if the group is not led by some of the idiots. Corollary: Every company has a lot of very nice people. I usually succeed in finding them.
  8. Structure is an illusion. It's the people who count. Reorganisation is futile, unless you move the idiots from the top to the bottom. Removing them does not help, because the group will grow new idiots. Unfortunately in some organisations idiots bubble up, because promotion is the only way to get rid of them.
  9. Give and you shall receive. If that does not work immediately, give some more.
  10. Collaborate. You can create magic, if you work together.

Do you know me any better now? No. You are only reading what I write.


Do you expect point number 2 to change (in any direction) when Notes 8 is released?

Rob McDonagh, 2007-03-20

You can answer the question yourself. The plumbing remains unchanged, the UI will be nicer, data remains in the same buckets, the whole client drifts towards big and heavy. I won't need a portal client nor composite applications.

Volker Weber, 2007-03-20

Wer ist dir denn da auf den Fuß getreten und hatte dabei schlechten Mundgeruch? Nein, bitte keine Antwort, wir versuchen aufgrund deines Posting es selber herauszufinden ;-)

Joachim Haydecker, 2007-03-20

This list is no surprise for me, as I've been reading vowe for quite while now. And also ... I second (4) and (9). ;-)

Olav Brinkmann, 2007-03-20

@Joachim: you won’t have to look very far :o)

Ben Poole, 2007-03-20

Of course we don't know you, vowe. But I do know the internet 'vowe', which is a subset of the real vowe. And from the subset you can at least get an idea of who the real person is.

For example, I know that I wouldn't want to be in the guy's shoes if/when you find out who did that...

And I also believe in points 4 till 10. Sometimes I'm called naive, but that's the way I've chosen to live my life.
(I still need some pointers on point 7 though, how to find the nice people)

Alex Boschmans, 2007-03-20

"Give and you shall receive." This does not hold if you give to an idiot at the top.

Björn haferkamp, 2007-03-20

making a distinction between yourself and vowe seems like a split personality issue to me ;-)

Mariano Kamp, 2007-03-20

Volker, Yes, that's about what I expected. I thought you would say that the UI would no longer be butt-ugly, but that some of the simplicity you like would be gone. Ultimately, a bit of a wash.

That's not what I would say for ME, but that's my guess about what it would mean to you.

Rob McDonagh, 2007-03-20

A long time ago, you wrote the nearly same sentence:
You may know vowe, but you don't know Volker.
I'm sure it was not the only time, but that's the post I found by accident while searching for something else.

Martin Hiegl, 2007-03-20

Martin, indeed. And of course it still holds true. Simpler minds than you expect otherwise.

Rob, I can differentiate between my needs and other peoples needs. So what I am saying here is only an indication of my own needs.

Volker Weber, 2007-03-20

Point 2, have you been reading my mind??? :-) However I have to take to task the single threaded bit. From R6 onwards they have finally removed the single threaded database copy and also the detachment of files both in databases and the mail client. A welcome move. Also background agents have been possible ad infinitum (well at least since V3). The fact that developers don't use them is not so much the fault of Lotus (except in the mail file).

Butt ugly? Undoubtedly. Intransigent? Certainly. However every time I try to get a contact out of Outlook I wish for a freeform typeahead/search like Notes.

Point 9, if you give to a giver you will reap the benefit. If you Give to a taker you will appreciate the gift but regret the result. First assess your target audience, then give to the herd, not the wolves.

When I worked in the Army (reme) we had a saying. The reme is like manure, spread it around and it does wonders; pile it in a heap and it stinks! Collaboration is the same thing. Collaboration to achieve a goal is a fantastic tool. Collaboration for collaborations sake stinks!

Neil Thomas, 2007-03-20

Not wishing to go off the point, but the threading in Notes stinks. End of. Yes, there have been some welcome tweaks, such as those you mention, but it’s still really bad, especially when you run the other “clients” likes Designer and Administrator (they’re not really separate clients at all, at least not when it comes to threads).

And who says we don’t use background agents??? ;o)

Ben Poole, 2007-03-20

Volker, since you mention Ubuntu once and again... I have started to reach beyond playing with Linux and I have tried SuSE's Enterprise Desktop (since it came with a c't special), I have tried Ubuntu and I had some work to do on RedHat a while ago. From the gut feeling I really like Ubuntu most.

Now, do you know good literature/books on Ubuntu for Windows-Converts, which you could recommend? I would be looking for something that not only scratches the surface (i.e. how to surf the web, do e-mail and office), but that would afterwards also go deeper to system configuration. I've seen a couple of books on Amazon, which sound good, but I would like to get a first hand opinion. Any recommendations?


Ragnar Schierholz, 2007-03-22

Never read any book on Ubuntu. Did not have to ...

Volker Weber, 2007-03-22

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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