The furry one finds time-share is better than taking Notes

Again the cyberrodent braved Lotus Development Corp.'s surreal conference while the
ratlings and Mrs. Rat cut loose to terrorize Mickey, Shamu and other theme park denizens.

The Rats arrived in Orlando, Fla., a few days early to spend some quality time together
before the head of the family had to submerse himself in the latest tips and tricks for
Domino development and Defense Message System administration. Being on a limited budget,
the Rat also subjected himself to several hours of time-share pitches to get discount
theme park tickets.

After hearing about the benefits of buying a fraction of a condo built on fine Florida
swampland, the Rat went merrily on his way to Lotusphere. Before long, he felt like he was
back with the time-share salesfolk. The whole Lotus event had the feel of an Amway
convention--the ultimate example of network marketing.

All the faithful were gathered, glimpses of new products were shown to great applause,
and newcomers received indoctrination. There were motivational speakers, too. At the
opening session, a pair of Canadian mountain climbers gave an inspirational account of
their Lotus-sponsored assault on Mount Everest.

"We all have mountains to climb," one declared, "be they business
mountains, financial mountains or relationship mountains." The Rat felt an est
session coming on. Then the second climber started talking about how mountain climbing was
a life-or-death event and suggested, "Maybe you should use that standard when dealing
with Lotus. Give me software that works or die!"

Now there's an idea the furry one can sink his fangs into. Some Notes users might want
to kill the developers at Lotus after they see Notes 5 and Domino 5. A stealth slide
someone snuck into the presentations announced that Lotus would drop direct native client
support for all operating systems except 32-bit Microsoft Windows and the Power Macintosh

All others will be subjected to what Lotus spinmeisters called the ultimate browser
experience. It's questionable whether Unix administrators of Domino can get full
administrative access to Domino 5 servers through a browser, so they might have to manage
their Unix servers from--shudder--a machine running Windows.

The thought sent the Rat into a tailspin. How fortunate for Lotus that the Brady Bill
is still in effect. Once the Rat calmed down, he realized all he had to do for revenge was
talk to some Notes DMS sysadmins.

There were bright spots in Lotus' demos of Domino and Notes 5 administration. Somebody
at Lotus finally found out how to do drag and drop right. The Designer development tool
looks an awful lot like Microsoft FrontPage, and the new Notes 5 client looks like
Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer 4 spun in a blender.

And there were demos of Lotus' eSuite Java apps for the network computer. It appears
that Lotus spent the last year moving interface elements around because, otherwise, it was
the same thing they called Kona last year at Lotusphere.

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad
packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at

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