Archive for the ‘Collaboration’ Category

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Blackout Ireland – fighting Internet censorship

March 6, 2009

The RIAA. Many of you will know this acronym – they’re the Recording Industry Association of America, and it’s a group that represents the big 4 record labels – Sony, EMI, Universal and Warner. They are very well known in the US for their shameful lawsuits to people who they label as “pirates” or “copyright infringers”, some times sueing them for the inscredible amount of $750 per tune. Fortunately, it seems that the US Courts are not finding those lawsuits funny anymore, and due to the work of some excellent lawyers, the tide is turning and RIAA has even been sued for fraud, abuse, and “Sham Litigation” .

But even though things don’t seem to be working for them in the US, that didn’t stop them from trying similar actions in Europe. IRMA, the Irish equivalent of the RIAA, have sued Eircom so that the biggest Irish internet provider would filter IP addresses that “infringe copyright” and… Eircom fell for it and settled.

The details of the settlement are disgraceful, and it seems IRMA can now have websites blocked on request, which Eircom won’t challenge. Let’s see some implications on this:

1) Censorship. I don’t have to tell you how bad this is – I would personally prefer not to feel as a character of George Orwell’s “1984”, thank you.

2) Websites blocked on request. Potentially any site that IRMA decides is bad for their business, can get blocked. Could be any indie site that legally sells mp3, or wordpress.com, since I’m writing this, or google.com as users might search for mp3 there. The possibilities are endless.

3) Snooping into users’ privacy. As Telenor (Norwegian ISP who challenged an equivalent lawsuit) wrote, “Asking an ISP to control and assess what Internet users can and cannot download is just as wrong as asking the post office to open and read letters and decide what should and should not be delivered.”. See reference to “1984” above.

Allow me to pause for a moment to look at the bigger picture. Obviously piracy is wrong, but piracy is not quite the issue here. Many years ago, it was the radio being accused of potentially killing the discographic business. Now it’s the internet. Even though famous musicians like Trent Reznor/NiN have made some serious money out of allowing fans to freely download their music , still some entities have not understood that time moves on and so do business models.

It’s not like the big 4 have given good alternatives to people who actually want to get their music files legally. Let’s say Mr. Joe Bloggs wants an mp3 from one of the musicians that “belongs” to the big 4. What can he do? There’s iTunes, which requires a standalone client, is not compatible with all main OSs, and only has, as far as I know, a partial catalog of only one of the big 4’s discographies. There’s mp3 stores at amazon.co.uk or play.com, but they don’t sell to Ireland – I can understand online shop restictions when it comes to packages, but restricting downloads to countries is another of those brilliant ideas I’ll never understand. What is Mr. Joe Bloggs going to do? He’ll have to buy the cd from amazon (if he can find it there, but if an online shop doesn’t have the CD he’s looking for, odds are he won’t find it at his local CD shop), wait for it to arrive, and rip it to mp3 (if he knows how to do it). The only positive thing is… often a CD is still cheaper than the download of the full album from an online music store – funny isn’t it?

So Blackout Ireland was formed by a group of Internet users in Ireland who do not want to be subject to this new form of censorship. To support this effort, you can visit the website, perhaps follow a few of the suggestions mentioned there (contact your ISP, etc), and change your avatar in any public social networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc) to this:

Blackout Ireland

Blackout Ireland

Other links:

James Cooley – Guilt upon Accusation and Internet freedom in Ireland

Uldis Bojars – Post details: Irish Internet Blackout

Aubrey Robinson – Blackout Ireland – Some Questions

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Twitter follower mosaic

January 26, 2009

By @walter . Get yours here

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I’m part of the GONAD

August 3, 2008

It is with great joy and with a voice trembling of emotion, that I announce that I am now a member of the  GONAD – Geeky Order of Notes Admins and Developers:

I’m guessing I’m probably the only user registered on the Galway/Ireland/GONAD domain! 😉

Thanks Steve for this great idea and the fantastic certificate!

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ILUG 2008

June 10, 2008

Last week I was at the Irish Lotus User Group! Besides the magnificent sessions, it was great to meet some great people I already knew, and some others that I didn’t.

The organizers were, as usual, fantastic. I don’t know how they make it. Thanks folks!

I’ll also add a few notes as they spring to mind:

Ed says IBM still won’t invest on TV advertisements for Notes. Disappointing.

– Another great session by Rob, the Dojo techniques were amazing (no I didn’t drink my free beer 😉 )

– As Steve already mentioned on his blog, hats off to Ben and Mark for their great Eclipse session

– I got a LS2008 staff shirt from Mary-Beth. Thank you!

– Despite the green hair, Bill is still a fantastic speaker 😉

– Found yet another Notes and Ubuntu fan

– (… possibly more to come after I wake up properly and my memory returns!)

Cya all next year!

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Dynamically loading subforms

April 17, 2008

I’m sure many Notes developers have gone through this problem before: “I want to load a different subform after the form is loaded”. Unfortunately, Notes doesn’t let you do that, and so ways have to be found around this… layers, hide/whens, sections, programmatic tables, etc.

But let’s say you reeeeaallllyyy want to dynamically load a subform, for example, when the user selects a value from a dropdown box. Here’s a way of doing it, supposing the default subform is “sfm_Default” and the subform you want to load comes from that dropdown box.

1. Make your computed subform take the value of whatever’s on a computed field (called for example fld_WhichSubform)

2. Put the following code on a button that should be called (via JS for example) when the dropdown box (called for example fld_DropDown) value changes:

@SetProfileField( “fm_FakeProfile”; “fld_PSubForm”; fld_DropDown; @UserName );
@Command( [ViewSwitchForm] ; Form )

(Any unique key that will correctly identify the document will do for the @SetProfileField. @Username is but a suggestion, @text( @DocumentUniqueID ) could be used as well)

3. Give the following formula to your fld_WhichSubform computed field:

x := @GetProfileField( “fm_FakeProfile” ; “fld_PSubform”; @text( @DocumentUniqueID ) );
@If( @IsError( x ) | x = “” ; “sfm_Default”; x )

This is but a simple example, and more interesting/complex things can be done with it.

Note: for this method to work, the document has to be saved. A @Command( [FileSave] ) before the ViewSwitchForm might be necessary in some circumstances.

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My story with Lotus Notes

April 8, 2008

Some of you might wonder why I mentioned “Collaboration” on the “About” page of this blog.

A huge percentage of my worklife has been dedicated to a collaboration platform called Lotus Notes. How did that happen? Well recently there has been a meme/trend going

around in the Lotus Notes community with many bloggers mentioning how they got into this same bandwagon, so I guess it’s my turn

Flashback to my homecountry, Portugal, in 2000 or so, I was in college studying Computer Science, and we had a “course” on the 4th year which involved doing a project for a

company. Of all the companies we could choose, I picked one called Salvador Caetano IMVT (one of the biggest portuguese privately held companies) that was really close to my

wife’s work and acceptably close from home.

So Salvador Caetano at the time had two available projects, one for SAP and another for Lotus Notes. Someone from the inside advised me that the Lotus Notes project was more

interesting so I took it on. Now as you all know, “Lotus Notes” is not something you hear about in college, so I bought a book about it and started to read.

So I started in December 2000 getting some training in Lotus Notes 5 (although the company was finishing it’s upgrade from, iirc, 4.6.1) and started the project soon after, the

design of a workflow application for computer hardware purchasing based on application requirements. Besides working on this project, and since the existing Notes team in the

company was composed of one person only, I soon started to assist him in Notes Administration issues as well.

The project ended in mid-2001 and the company liked my work, so they hired me for a 3 year contract as a Notes Developer and Admin.

After those 3 years, I moved to a consulting company called Artsecrets TI, a small software house that sold both IBM and Microsoft products. Despite the constant running around, I found the work as a consultant very rewarding, as I got exposed to different systems and solutions every day from different customers, so although most of my work at Artsecrets was done as a Notes Developer (mostly R5, but some ND6 as well), I had the chance to use other tools and application platforms as well.

After some time I decided to seek Fame, Fortune and Glory (OK, not really, just some better quality of life) outside of Portugal so I ended up accepting a position of a Lotus Notes Programmer Analyst at APC (now Schneider Electric). Things have been working well for me here and after less than two years I’ve gotten a promotion to Team Leader – which means I don’t have as much time as I’d like to look into the technical side of Notes since I have to look at metrics and task assigments and…  but ah well, I can’t complain. 🙂

So for those that didn’t know me, here’s my story with Collaboration and Lotus Notes.  I still look at Notes as a kick-ass appdev platform, so hopefully I’ll be able to in the future use this blog to occasionally participate on Show and Tell Thursdays (SnTT’s) with some nifty Notes Dev tips

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Welcome to my Playroom!

February 18, 2008

Welcome to the first post on Playroom 3!

So what’s this blog about? When I started dabbling in the mystical arts of HTML back in 1994, I created the Playroom, which was a really rudimentary/noobish web page.

A few years after, the Playroom 2 came to life. My University page, which covered mostly my hobbies at the time.

Fast forward into the Web 2.0 era, and a blog seems to be the best way to recreate the Playroom. So the Playroom 3 will cover both technologies (Gadgets, IT, software development, Collaboration…) and hobbies (Boardgames, Reading, collecting…).

So, “welcome to my parlour…” 🙂