Posts Tagged Lotus

Helping cut down Email Stress – My Tips for dealing with Inbox overload

Everyone is spends some of their time processing the flow of information through their inbox or in-tray.

Sometimes I’m sure folk feel like their inbox is part of a production line and they need to process stuff as quick as possible before something breaks or hits the floor.

You may feel like you’re in your own version of this classic Mario Bros. game…

Classic Mario Bros. (Mario Bros Game & Watch)

I hope you’re not in this persons’ shoes!

(attribution : dpstyles)

Or if you are, it’s not stressing you out.

It’s not uncommon for the number of messages (read or unread) in an email inbox to lead to a feeling of stress – getting behind on your tasks, or getting snowed under.

So unless you’re comfortable with everything in the inbox (everything’s in 1 place) – and you don’t mind that.  Then these may be helpful tips to reduce that email stress.

My Tips for helping to deal with Email:

  1. Use the sender and subject lines – to help decide how much attention you need to give a message before it’s opened
  2. Use filters or agents (rules) to mark unimportant (email subscriptions |newsletters) as read as soon as they arrive or move them out of the inbox – saves you a mouse click or two  [Gmail is brilliant at this]
  3. Use your preview function – to scan through email
  4. Get your folder structure right (it helps you track where you are with categorising and prioritising your work – especially if you receive tasks | actions via email)
  5. Use buttons or shortcuts to move messages into folders quickly and simply – again saves you a mouse click or two (then the email dealt with… but you can come back to it later if needed)
  6. Turn off the New Mail Alert pop-up or sound alert (especially for busy times when you’re concentrating on something else)
  7. Reduce the frequency to check or update the inbox (make it every 15 or 20 minutes instead of 5 minutes for example)

Organising your Mail File Folders:

Your approach to this will be reflected in how you think of email.  Do you treat it as personal knowledge repository (it’s not what email was created to do, and there are better options), or if you see it as part of your general information processing and flow?   If you see it as information delivery and processing service that can really help shape your strategy to sort and categorise the messages you receive.

Personally, I now treat email as a temporary information|content store, a processing station for sorting out each message as it requires.

I see 3 main categorises of messages:

  • Actions  –  processed by prioritising and then action
  • Knowledge –  processed by keeping & moving to appropriate content store (not email!) or disposing
  • Responses –  processed by keeping & moving to appropriate content store (not email!), an action or dispose

Therefore I have the following folder structure in my mail file:

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Follow Up : – Actions I need to respond to

Keep : – Medium to Long Term messages that need to be referenced infrequently for a particular topic (folder names make that obvious) – delete or purge once no longer relevant

Processed :- Where messages that have been read, actioned (if required) are moved to – eventually deleted.

Subscriptions :- Where newsletters, collaboration system notifications, subscriptions are moved to – rapidly deleted (after 10 days).

Useful Toolbar Buttons:

As a Lotus Notes user, there are couple of additional tweaks to the client UI that can be helpful in speeding up the processing of email.

Lotus Notes has a configurable Toolbar:

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This can configured via the Preferences section: (via File > Preferences > Toolbar > Customize) or right click on the Toolbar and customize

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The useful Toolbars to customize are:

  • Navigate View
  • Read Document

These appear automatically in context (in any view or folder or when reading a document) – as they are context sensitive.

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I’ve set up a couple of “move to folder” buttons:

They use the formula:

@Command( [Folder] ; “Folder Name” ;”1″ )

or

@AddToFolder(“MovetoFolderName“;”RemovefromFolderName“)

So use this as many times as you need for the folders you have.

I’ve also added a button for showing only unread mail – helps clear away the clutter.

That uses the formula:

@Command( [ViewShowOnlyUnread] )  

Again it saves a few mouse clicks – the current action in

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is rather hidden away and fiddly to use.

Formula Language Text Annotation notes:

Black font:- Formula language and key variables – only change if competent and knowledgeable about Lotus Formula language and structure.

Red font:- Indicates Lotus Notes folder name to be inserted into code to give destination folder of processed documents.

I’ve also written about another customisation of the Lotus Notes toolbar here: Filing knowledge into services via Email  – this provides a more thorough “how-to” on creating Toolbar buttons for yourself.

So there you go – nothing perhaps that is new and ground breaking but a helpful reminder.

What are your hints and tips for dealing with email?

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OpenNTF FileNavigator is great! – Why didn’t I know about it before!?

However, I had mentioned in passing using Evernote with Lotus Notes in the last couple of days.

As far I know if someone done something with Lotus Notes as a development project the place to look is OpenNTF.org (which is looking great a Domino web app!) So my searches for “evernote” didn’t reveal any results.  So I checked the most popular downloaded projects. (Of course you do, if good and free it will be there)

I was drawn to File Navigator – since I’ve been using the sidebar in the full version of Lotus Notes, the missing item has been direct interaction with OS file system. And now it’s available! 🙂  Of course, Lotus Notes has supported drag and drop across folder windows on to notes documents to add attachments.  But File Navigator is great because it’s there in side bar… so much better!

(sample screenshot)

So now it sits in my sidebar with my Sametime contacts and calendar, and I don’t need to move to OS folders to interact with the documents I’m sending or receiving.

How easy was it to install? Super simple…

The File Navigator catalog page (with the screenshot) has an icon on the top right like this:

You simply bring up the “My Widgets” sidebar area:  (update your preferences if required)

Then drag the icon to the sidebar panel… it downloads in the background, you accept the install and restart Lotus Notes.(then you can hide away “My Widgets” sidebar via your view menu options).

You need to be running Lotus Notes 8.5x in the standard (using eclipse).

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How I got started in Notes

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Well it’s fairly simple really…

I’ve only had one employer since graduating from UMIST (University of Manchester) with an Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering. I did a year out with Careforce, a Christian volunteer organisation for pre or post graduates. I worked in a hostel for homeless young men in Manchester for year.

It was during that year out that I applied for various graduate posts in both engineering and IT companies. I’m grateful that the opportunity came from an IT company. My observation of and contact with engineers, is that is a more static and conservative industry in which to chart a career; and can be more vulnerable to pressures within an economy.

My first experience of a Notes client was within my 1st week at work (after all that induction stuff).  I had to complete and sign-off on a number of CBTs (Danger, Danger! – Notes newbie!); before being let loose on a Notes 4.5.3a client on a Windows NT4 workstation. My first role was an NT4 (Windows) administration and support for customer of ours.

From there I went through a series of short-term placement (6 months); in VMS/Vax Administration (learnt DCL); was a business analyst for a pre-Y2K infrastructure refresh and desktop rollout.  It was during that time as a business analyst I meet my friend and colleague Stuart. My final placement was in the Notes administration team that Stuart was soon to become team lead; I was glad to be offered a permanent place on the team, and so as they say “the rest is history.”

One thing I’ve always found to be an advantage with Notes is its independence of workstation credentials (Workgroup/AD etc).  I think I’ve spent at least half my years or more working a customer  Windows domain or network; but always (apart from serious power or network outages) be able to connect to my employer’s Notes/Domino domain.  Also as an Notes administrator it was necessary to run multiple ids and domains; I wonder what the record is for the number of Notes domains managed from a single client?

I’ve worked with Stuart in various administration and project roles for around 5-6 years. Achieving Dual PCLP in both Notes 5 and Notes 6. As my career has advanced my role has been increasingly project based with a good dose of infrastructure or architectural know-how required.

Since the start of 2008, I have been in my new role as a Technical Product Manager. My particular area of ownership is team project or workspaces; so I look after solution offering from an engineering point of view for products such IBM WebSphere Portal, Microsoft SharePoint, IBM Lotus Quickr etc.

Next?

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Exchange and Lotus (again)

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Ok, this debate is nothing new. 

Stumbled upon this using the Terraminds search function for Twitter within the Twhirl client.

http://itcomparison.com/Mail/Exchange2k7vslotus8/Exchange2k7vslotus8.htm (Last updated: 09-01- 2008)

Unfortunately… these guys (http://www.itcomparison.com/aboutus.htm)

“IT Comparison team consist of many IT Professionals who work for
several enterprise firms. Our team has first hand experience with most of
the products compared on this site. ”

…remain to some extent hidden; and this review is one of the few software comparisons  available. 

However, presuming they are who they say:  Then I welcome and the review/opinion of a group of professionals, who should be interested in providing an objective review and remain independent of the vendors.

Also the format is also useful…  providing a rating and comments about certain performance and functionality aspects within the product.

I hope that this site continues to provide this type of output.  I wonder why they feel need this type of site; aren’t there already sites/forums like this available!

Their home page:  http://www.itcomparison.com/index.html

However, as their forum uncovers in 5 posts; the sides of this debate are so loyal/stubborn I think it will be hard for an honest objective review to receive that type of acknowledgement from both camps.

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UK Premium Support Seminar

Just a note that I’m presenting at :

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My topic is:

CSC – The CSC portal: keeping focus on content and collaboration
Speaker: Charlie Hope, CSC Lotus Collaborative EMEA Technical Lead

 

So I guess you can work out who my employer is!

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IBM Lotus Connectors – Dual Notes Client install and other hiccups

It won’t come as a great shock to most people, that with Notes 8 being such a recent release, it isn’t the standard messaging client on most people’s workstations.  More commonly, people will be running another version of Lotus Notes along with the Notes 8 client. In case that’s Lotus Notes 7.0.2

Not surprisingly when I ran the lotus-connections-plugins.msi to install the plug-ins for the Notes client, MS Office applications and Windows Explorer; it choose to install the plugins into the Notes 8 client, which the Windows registry indicates is the primary client.

All the nice print screens that Mitch Cohen mentioned here: Lotus Connections Plug-ins for Lotus Notes, Microsoft Office and Windows Explorer (Part 2) – appeared on the launch of the Notes 8 client.

So what can I do to add them to the Notes 7 client.  Well as Mitch points out “The toolbar icons are all simply calling agents in a database titled Lotus Connections Plug-in for Notes (ilc4ln.nsf)…”

Dual Client Work-Around

Therefore the steps to add the toolbar to the Notes 7 client are:

  • Copy the ilc4ln.nsf “Lotus Connections Plug-in for Notes” database into your Notes 7 client’s data directory
  • Open the Lotus Connections Plug-in for Notes database in designer and run the agent “(ILCInstallStep2)”

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  • Click “Ok” and the following screen should pop-up.

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  • Copy these files “ndbagent.dll”, “nilc4lnm.dll”, “nilc4lnx.dll” into your Lotus Notes application directory (where nlnotes.exe resides)
  • Edit your Notes.ini to include the line or add “nilc4lnx” to the EXTMGR_ADDINS line to become  “EXTMGR_ADDINS=nilc4lnx”
  • Re-start the Notes client
  • And the toolbar  image  and bookmark folder LCBookmark  will now be available.

Problems trusting hosts within the Notes Client

Once it was running in the Notes 7 client, and  I had setup the preferences. I still had a couple of issues.

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First I thought this meant you needed to add the hostname to the Advanced> Java Applet Security section of the location document.

No, from the ‘Cache/HMTL’ view in the Lotus Connections Plug-in for Notes (ilc4ln.nsf)

cache_hmtl_view

There is a document added which documents accurately the workaround needed.  Basically you need to import the Internet certificate into Notes.  Instructions as follows:

The remote server is not trusted. Complete the following steps to correct the error:
1. Copy the name of the remote service to your clipboard: <your Lotus Connections host name>
2. From the menu, start the User Security dialog: File->Security->User Security
3. Enter password if prompted
4. Click the tab: Identity Of Others
5. Click the radio button: Find more about people/services
6. Click the button: Retrieve Internet service certificate
7. Paste (or enter) the service name.
8. Choose the desired protocol (example: choose HTTP for web).
9. Click the button: Connect  [you may require a connection document for this to work]
10. Inspect the certificate to determine whether it is trustworthy.
11. To trust the certificate, click the OK button (or click Cancel).
12. Close User Security. If trusting the certificate, try again to load the web page.

After this the Notes Connector should work.

MS Office and Windows Explorer install… seemless.

Windows Explorer:

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MS Office Application Toolbar:

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Sametime 7.5.1 CF1 and connectors for Lotus Connections 1.0.1

Unfortunately I don’t have a work around for the Sametime plug-in hiccup.  Where the profiles element is incompatible wit the 7.5.1 CF1 client.

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Error Message:

Requested operation cannot be performed because it would invalidate the current configuration. See details for more information.
Profiles Business Card Sametime Feature (1.0.1.20070822-0130) requires plug-in “com.ibm.collaboration.realtime.people (7.5.1.20070606)”, or compatible.

I’ll see what the web has to offer.

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Lotus Connections Connectors

IBM has recently released the Connectors for IBM Lotus Connections, which allow better integration with Lotus Connections from Notes, Microsoft Office, Sametime and Windows Explorer.

The connectors are available from:

Lotus Connections Business Solutions catalog

The connectors support:

  • Lotus Notes 7 (Basic) or Lotus Notes 8 (Basic)
  • Microsoft Office 2003
  • Lotus Sametime 7.5.1
  • Windows Explorer

Mitch Cohen has done a couple of great blog posts on the installation and integration of these.

Lotus Connections Plug-ins for Lotus Notes, Microsoft Office and Windows Explorer (Part 1)

Lotus Connections Plug-ins for Lotus Notes, Microsoft Office and Windows Explorer (Part 2)

Now where’s that Lotus Connections service!

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