Posts Tagged 'productivity'

First impressions from Lotus Symphony

It’s been 3 days now since my resolution to drop Microsoft Office, and start working with Lotus Symphony entirely. Thought I’ll share some of my early impressions with you.

  • The work area is slightly different, since one of the toolbars is now a sidebar – takes some getting used to, but at the end, it’s more convenient to work. The relevant functions are right there, and you can control the appearance.
  • I’m using the Hebrew user interface, so all my new documents are set right to left (Bi-Directional, or Bidi hereafter) by default. The Bidi support is excellent so far, both in the user interface and in the document itself. However, when I created a new English document, I couldn’t find that tiny Left to Right paragraph icon. It’s available, but must be enabled from the File, Preferences screen (see screenshot). Maybe the next version will put it in the toolbar by default.
  • The sidebar can be open, float or closed. Very useful, depending what task you’re doing: open for editing/creating, float for minor adjustments or close for previewing.
  • Loading time. Both Lotus Symphony and Lotus Notes (and Lotus Sametime for that matter) are running over Eclipse, which slows things down a bit. Enabling Lotus Symphony on system startup (again, under Preferences) will open the first file faster. Once the client is up and running, things go smoother.
  • PDF export. One of my favorite features so far. I’ve been using the CutePDF writer software until now, which ‘Print’ your document into PDF. Now, with the export command, it’s much more easier, and you can even determine the quality of the PDF, optimizing for screen, print or press.
  • JPG export. This is super cool ! No more ‘Print screen’ and then edit in Photoshop or something. You can export your document to PDF, current page or all pages, and even decide if you want it in color of greyscale. Nice.
  • Install plugins. Part of the Lotus Symphony download package is the multilingual support. It comes as a .zip file, which can be added to Lotus Symphony, thanks to the Eclipse platform (screenshot). Any idea how I can switch between the interface languages? Update – figured out how to switch between languages (UI) – it depends on your Regional and Language Settings, under Start, Setting, Control Panel. Also explained here.

Lotus Symphony is turning out to be more than a suitable replacement for Office, and with almost 500,000 downloads, its getting some attention. Datamation Magazine even crowned Lotus Symphony as Office Productivity Software Product of the Year 2008, beating Microsoft Office.

In a totally different subject, thought I point you to a very interesting initiative, or experiment,
by my good friend Luis Suarez, who’s taken a step I know most of us would love to take – giving up on emails! Follow the link and read the rationale on his blog. This recent interview of Luis with IBM’s Peter Andrews on Effective Blogging, reveals Luis’s intentions. Worth the download.

Negotiating my Lotus skills in Brussels

I’m attending a course in Brussels this week, on negotiation skills and customer satisfaction.
We had an exercise in pairs – there was a 2 Euro Chocolate bar on the table, and we had to negotiate for it.. I’m a sucker for chocolate, so I offered my ‘customer’ 30 minutes of my time, showing how to better utilize Lotus products for his benefit.

So, if anyone’s interested in 30min (or more) of my time, in order to increase their productivity with Lotus products, just say the word.. but I’ll need something in return 😉
A beer would be a good start..

Symphony to my ears

IBM announced today (Tue) a new desktop productivity software, Lotus Symphony, free of charge.
The new software, announced at Collaboration Summit in NYC this morning, includes a word processor, a spreadsheet and a presentation tool, and is available for download for all users: business, professional, academic and customers.

Lotus Symphony runs of both Windows and Linux machines, and support Open Document Format (ODF), Microsoft Office and exporting to Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF).
The software is build on Eclipse and Lotus Expeditor, and can also handle Lotus SmartSuite files.
Lotus Symphony is a stand-alone version of the Productivity Tools available in Lotus Notes 8 client, and provides the end-user with the flexibility to work on a productivity software of his/her choice, saving as ODF and exporting to PDF.

More coverage is available here:
IBM takes on Microsoft again, with Lotus Symphony (C/Net)
IBM giving aways social networking (ZDnet)
IBM releases IBM Lotus Symphony free software suite (CNN Money)
IBM Symphony pushes Microsoft buttons (InternetNews)
IBM launches free, online Office applications (PC Magazine)
IBM sets an alternative for Microsoft Office (TheMarker IT – Hebrew)
IBM Lotus Symphony – supports multilingual languages, including Hebrew (DailyMaily – Hebrew)

Lotus Symphony:

Mobile & Media Consultant. I help startup companies launch products to the consumer market. Reach out: dvir.reznik [at]



This is my personal blog. The postings here do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my past employers or of my clients. It is solely my opinion.