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The Alternate Reality, Episode 2: The Application Experience

Mat Newman  July 28 2010 01:05:05
Second full day @ work running within my Alternate Reality.

Today I began by upgrading from Karmic Koala to Lucid Lynx while helping get the children ready for school, so by the time I got into work I had a new version of my "Alternate Reality" up and running.

Have to admit, a couple of the interesting experiences I had yesterday have gone, things like my display not switching screens as fast as I would like, and my UltraNav not doing what I expected it to do.  Lucid Lynx feels solid, and today it did what it needed to do: let me get on with my job...

So I spent the early morning replying to email messages, checking blogs and other general admin before heading out for a training session.  A couple of hours later when I got back things got serious.

I love developing.  And I really enjoy developing in Notes.  So this afternoon I built my first website using Notes (Designer 7 under Wine) completely within my Alternate Reality.  That wasn't such a big deal after all.  It was still Notes, and nothing had moved or changed places just because it was running under a different operating system.

Style-sheets were still constructed in Notepad++ (also running under Wine), but I decided to drop my familiar image editor (Photoshop) to give the image application that comes with Ubuntu (Gimp) a try.  It took a few minutes to orient myself to Gimp, but I was quickly able to slice, dice and create images without too many hassles (RTFM).

Along the way I had to check on a couple of servers for clients, so there were the normal RDP/VNC sessions which accompany such calls.  I must say that - again - the native apps that come with Ubuntu for the purpose are better than I expected.  In fact; I launched a remote VNC server full-screen, did my thing and before I thought about it hit Ctrl+Alt+Del.  Normally that would mean my OWN Windows OS presenting me with the three-finger-dialog, but the "Remote Desktop Viewer" app inside Ubuntu actually pushed this through to the remote server.  THAT took a second or two to compute before I realised how groovy that feature is.  I quickly hit Escape, and then tried the "Windows" button on my keyboard - again it activated within the remote server, and not my local machine.

So there are a couple of things that I am really impressed about with the native functionality of the apps within Ubuntu.  "Terminal Server Client" does everything that an RDP on Windows is capable of - it even lets me resize remote desktops on the fly, which is pretty neat. The "Remote Desktop Viewer" is also a pretty good replacement for tools like UltraVNC.

At the end of the day I replicated the web-site locally, and then flicked over to Notes 8 (native) to shut down and do my knock-off-time replication.  By the time I got back from dropping my coffee cup off in the kitchen, replication had finished and I was able to shut down the machine.  13 1/2 seconds later my laptop was snug in it's back-pack and I was heading out the door.

I still can't get over how fast Ubuntu starts, runs and especially shuts-down.

And tomorrow I am not going to be pleasantly surprised when I try another native application.  I have been expecting an inferior experience running outside of Windows for some reason ... but it just hasn't happened yet.  I especially like the way the "File Browser" within Ubuntu is more like Notes "quick-search", you start typing a file name within a "File Browser" window, you can pause, backspace, continue, etc - it's one of the 'Microsoft' things that has always annoyed me (yes I know I said yesterday I wouldn't bash!).

Overall, I would have to say that Notes is Notes - even under a different operating system, and the tools that come with Ubuntu are really contributing wonderfully to the "Application Experience".


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Mat Newman

THE Notes (formerly IBM/Lotus Notes) Guy. Productivity Guru. Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. Former IBMer. HCLite. Views are my own.

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Mat Newman

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