Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Version 1.01 of Presenter for IBM Lotus Notes released (04 November 2008) – Eat your own dog food!

 

I don’t give many presentations these days, but expect to do so tomorrow afternoon at the Melbourne (Australia) Lotus User Group meeting.

So I took out my unique little “Presenter for Lotus Notes” application and brushed up a few cobwebs on it. No new functionality, mainly some color changes to alternate view rows and little things like that.

Its now ready for download at either http://asiapac.com.au/NotesPresenter_Download.htm or http://notestracker.com/NotesPresenter_Download.htm. Naturally, it’s still completely free.

But you are probably asking: “What on earth is Presenter for Notes?”

Presenter_for_Lotus_Notes_v1.01_view_by_Slide_Number

Well, the story behind Presenter goes like this…

I once did industrial chemistry and high school chemistry/mathematics teaching, then spent a long time at IBM (from 1970 to the mid-1990s, now retired), and find myself as a consultant still in IT 39 years after starting at IBM. My fortieth year in IT begins next January, is that good or bad I keep asking myself.

During all that time, I’ve seen a vast number of lessons, lectures, business presentations and the like. In the early days, they were done on blackboards and paper. Later overhead projectors were in vogue, with their transparent plastic “foils.” These foils, in any quantity, weighed a ton and weren’t much fun to prepare, distribute and lug around (as I can attest from giving lots of IBM presentations across Australia, and Asia while supporting the IBM System/38 and AS/400 and other systems).

Then in the 1980s and 1990s, along came Lotus Freelance and Microsoft PowerPoint and suchlike. A better thing? On the whole, probably so.

But overdone to the nth degree. Now we have PowerPoint presentations in plague proportions! See here or here (especially look at the articles about “Unplug that projector” and “Drag and drop” and “warts” and “disaster”).

When I was to give a presentation several years ago, I asked myself if there was a different and/or better way.

Being active in the Lotus Notes community, I decided that “If you promote and sell it, you should use it!.” So I developed a “presenter” platform to be used in the Lotus Notes Client environment itself.

Presenter_for_Lotus_Notes_v1.01_sample_slide_with_collapsible_sections

The rationale for having a tool like Notes Presenter is briefly outlined in an earlier blog post of mine, see Notes Presenter -- Let's eat our own dog food with more details on the download page given above. There’s a user guide built in to the database, in the “Help Using This Database” document.

You can use Presenter not just for preparing and giving presentations via a Lotus Notes Client, but also for packaging and delivering virtually any Notes applications (databases) together with any sort of related supporting files: executables, documents, data files (even other Notes databases, including design templates), and much more.

You could, as just one example, hold different versions/releases of a Notes application suite – or a presentation, or anything else -- either inside [separate documents held in] a single Presenter database or in multiple Presenter databases each one dedicated to s single version/release.

In fact, whatever can be attached to a Notes rich text field can be delivered via a Presenter database as one tidy self-contained package.

Presenter_for_Lotus_Notes_v1.01_view_by_Category_and_Concept

With the various Presenter views (such as the view by Category/Concept shown just above), and via full-text search, you can quickly and easily locate a particular slide or group of slides related to a given topic.

For example, in the question time at the end of a pitch,  somebody asks you about a particular term you used that’s buried deep within one of many slides. Use a full-text search to rapidly locate that slide instead of fumbling around (as I’ve seen happen a number of times) and perhaps not even be able to find that slide again.

There’s a lot more I could say, but let me just say that if you’re a Lotus Notes Client user you should “eat your own dog food” and avoid using PowerPoint wherever possible. Download Presenter for Lotus Notes and go try it out!

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