Sunday, March 18, 2007

Products you should consider.

I'm doing a little catch-up today. Trying to get some backlogged development done, as well as put a little update here. Today I've got several products that I've been evaluating, and which belong on anybody's short list of products to consider.

Lotus Notes 8
http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/hannover
I've said over and over again how there is nothing whatsoever on the market that compares to Notes, and IBM has really taken this to a new level. If you're a Notes user on release 6.x or prior, don't bother with release 7. Hannover has a radically improved user interface that is second to none (hear that, Outlook users?). In addition to making standard features out of enhancements that folks like me have been adding for years, Hannover adds built-in Word Processing, Spreadsheet, and Presentation capabilities. The document format is ODF, so it's completely compatible with every major office application on the planet, save one. This is in addition to the document management, database, workgroup and email capabilities that already made it superior to the combination of Outlook, Access and OneNote . This is no Microsoft Office wannabe with a bunch of disparate applications. Your document stores can now include any sort of productivity documents you like.

This Computerworld article pretty much tells the story, but IBM's put together this slideshow to really highlight the new features of Lotus Notes 8 ("Hannover"). From a user's perspective it's more consistent than MS Office 2007. From a developer's perspective, too. This product really rocks.

LogMeIn.com
http://www.logmein.com
You've seen all the ads for GoToMyPC. Well, to my way of thinking this is better. The basic product (with remote control) is free. It's extremely easy to use with either the Java client or the Firefox plug-in. You install a little helper program on the machine you want to control. From then on, logging in to your PC is simply done by securely logging into LogMeIn.com with any browser. The machines you've placed on your account will show up on a list. You select it and you're there. You can view your screen full-size (and scroll around if necessary) or have it scaled to your available screen real-estste.

The "Pro" version includes file transfers, etc. as you would get with PCAnywhere. This is a normal two-pane file transfer screen... you can test it yourself, as all of the Pro features are available for the first 30 days to the free users.

One of the nicer features for my purposes is being able to invite someone else to share my screen. The invitation is delivered via email. A link in the email takes the invitee to my screen (I have to be present to authorize access), and allows them to see what I'm doing. It's great for demonstration purposes. Optionally, I can allow them to take control of my screen.

This works through the even the most draconian proxy servers, and is as secure as it gets.

RSSeditor/Win
http://www.rss-info.com/en_rsseditor.html
This little product lets you edit RSS feeds for your website without any complicated software. I use Blogger for portions of this site, but RSSeditor/Win allows quick generation of those portions that I've posted with Nvu. It's great for Frontpage users, too.

D-Fend and DOSbox
http://members.home.nl/mabus/
http://dosbox.sourceforge.net/news.php?show_news=1
From the DOSbox Wiki:
DOSBox emulates an Intel x86 PC, complete with sound, graphics, mouse, modem, etc., necessary for running many old DOS games that simply cannot be run on modern PCs and operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Linux and FreeBSD. However, it is not restricted to running only games. In theory, any DOS application should run in DOSBox, but the emphasis has been on getting DOS games to run smoothly, which means that communication, networking and printer support are still in early developement.
This lets you breathe new life into older software that no longer runs under XP. Games, etc, that just plain don't run, will. Not only that, but they'll run in Linux or on MacOS using this emulator.

D-Fend provides a front-end for DOSbox so that your DOS programs are accessible from a user-friendly picklist. All of the configuration options for the various programs are managed by D-Fend, leaving you to just click and run your applications. This is a huge plus, highly recommended.

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