Here’s a cute little Lotus Notes UI fail.
The image below shows an email with three attachments in an email. The “icon” it is using for these attachments appears to be a tooltip from a completely different file.
Before I switched to Outlook, and set my system preferences for it to handle
mailto: links, Lotus Notes tried to open Outlook to send mail.
The sweet, sweet irony.
One of the strengths of Lotus Notes is that it is fundamentally a database, with bullet proof synchronisation.
One of the downfalls of Lotus Notes is that it is fundamentally a database with an aggressive hatred of its users.
Here is a classic example. To create a custom searches, you are presented with this drop-down list of the available fields you can search on.
Look at the size of the scroll handle! There are literally hundreds (thousands?) of fields to select from. Good luck getting the right one.
One of the most popular travel apps, Worldmate, recently announced it has “teamed up with Blackberry” to produce a travel app. Tried to install it on the brand new Curve from work, and it failed. A brief search shows that the new travel app wont work for those using a Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES), which is, I don’t know, MOST OF THE USERS.
RIM have gone and “updated” their desktop software, and they have “updated” it good and proper this time.
They have taken a functional PIM synchronisation tool, and completely broken it. Worse, the previous version didn’t need fixing. They’ve not added a single new feature, only bugs. So many bugs, that it prompted this blog entry, and a downgrade to their previous version.
Lets take a look at the brokeness.
It starts with this wonderfully ironic error message. Redemption appears to be a third party library to enable better access to Outlook data. However, “redemption” is defined thus:
1. an act of redeeming or the state of being redeemed.
2. deliverance; rescue.
3. Theology . deliverance from sin; salvation.
4. atonement for guilt.
5. repurchase, as of something sold.
Is RIM is atoning for the complete lack of QA? Or is it hoping for deliverance from a slow and painful corporate death, by releasing suicide software that everyone will hate? (mind you, iTunes is not that much better).
Syncing with Outlook data, while Outlook is running, doesn’t work. You don’t know that though, because when it fails, you get the above dialogue. Configuring Outlook sync with Outlook running also doesn’t work. You must close Outlook anytime you want to view or modify any settings, or indeed sync any data. This resulted in the following sequence:
- Try to configure Outlook settings
- Discover that it can’t see any Outlook profiles.
- Close Outlook
- Restart the BB desktop software
- Try to configure Outlook settings
- Select the only Outlook profile configured on the machine
- Configure the sync
- (… time passes …)
- Start Outlook
- Try to configure Outlook settings in BB desktop software
- All the settings are gone
That actually happened.
Now we come to the crux of the problem. There are so many things wrong with these screens. Here are some:
- No feedback as to which entry you are modifying
- Name column is fixed, and no way to change it. Too bad if you have contacts with long names that all start similarly.
- Since I didn’t trust the data I was being shown but still wanted to sync and eliminate conflicts, I wanted to copy some of the information to the clipboard in case I lost it. Nope. None of the text is selectable on any of these screens.
- If a contact entry has been modified in two places at the same time, there is a chance that you will want to keep some fields from one edit, and other fields from another edit. You know, merging. Nope. Not only can you not select fields from either side to merge, but no other fields are shown. This lack of context means it’s very hard to know which copy you should take.
Once you taken the plunge and guess which entries to choose, you are presented with this screen, which looks more like the first screen in the conflict resolution process from the previous version of the software.
From here, you click on the information button, and you get a popup that contains the entire record, and highlights what has changed. This is much better, but it should have been the first screen you see, not the last. At this point, having all that contextual information is useless, because you can’t go back and adjust your choices. From here, you can cancel, and start all over again.
Lots of people are having problems with this version, many of them far worse than my gripes. In some cases, the software crashes or hangs, and doesn’t work at all. I came across this thread at Crackberry. In it, they point to
this link to download the previous version, which I plan to do. Update: That link is reportedly broken.
I’ve been saying for some time now, that I don’t understand it when people say they love their Blackberry. To me, that is like saying you love your stapler. And when my stapler starts to piss me off, I throw it away. Unfortunately this is not my Blackberry.
You have exactly one chance to get the meeting repeat details right, otherwise you have to delete the meeting and start again.
Or lets say you’re trying to extend a periodic meeting. Sorry. Can’t. IBM suggests you create a second meeting.
Notes is functioning as designed. An enhancement request for this added functionality was submitted to Quality Engineering as SPR #DGAY5NEGS5. There are no current plans to address this request.
Usually, they are too quick to close issues that have not been solved.
This time, for fun, they will not close an issue that was successfully resolved in July last year.
I posted this not too long ago. Huh. I should probably find something else to whinge about.
In case you’re wondering, the attachment referred to in the entry for July 22 is here.
Usually, support tickets are closed before you’ve had a chance to tell them that the “fix” they’ve applied hasn’t worked.
Currently, I have ticket open that they wont close, or more accurately, don’t realise it is still open. Every once in a while I will add another comment to the ticket, to see if that will jiggle something loose. so far it hasn’t and it is six months and counting.