Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas card musings....

I'm (finally) writing out some Christmas cards. And hitting a dilemma. I've always signed our cards with my name and Steve's, followed by those of all the kids. As I started out signing them that way this year, it occurred to me that the first three kids are quite solidly adults, living in their own apartments, and maybe it isn't right to include them on our Christmas card. After all, my mother no longer includes me on hers... Yet the youngest of the six still lives at home as he's still in high school, and the next older two live at home when not at college. It doesn't feel right to name three of six kids, and it doesn't feel right to name all six at this point, either. But I'm also not sure I'm ready to let them go... So, for this year anyway, all six will still be on the card...

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Domino blogger

George Langlais, who has worn many hats on the Domino programmability team, has started a blog - aptly named George's Blog. It should prove an interesting read, I encourage you to keep your eyes on it!

And I promise to get back to blogging here, too. With 8.5 finishing up, power outages, Christmas, birthdays, it's been more than a bit hectic around here...

Monday, November 17, 2008

those other files....

Anyone who has looked at the contents of an NSF in one of the Eclipse navigators rather than Designer's navigator knows that we've added a few extra files (stored as hidden file resource design elements) to make each nsf a good Eclipse citizen. And if you've worked with xpages and have wanted to include some java classes, you've discovered that you can just add in files to the nsf in the projected hierarchy through standard Eclipse mechanisms.

Which leaves me with a dilemma. These extra things really are file design elements, except that their path is not relative to the Resources\Files juncture in the virtual file system. They are also something that not everyone wants or cares to see. I'm worried that users who have worked with "traditional" file resources might be a bit annoyed to see stuff they didn't create show up there.

I'm leaning towards adding a separate category called "Project Files" (or something like that) that contains these other files, so they'd be accessible from the Designer navigator. And I believe whether or not that category is presented in the navigator ought to be controlled by a preference. These files would have paths relative to the project root - so if you wanted to add a file there, you would just type the relative path you wanted.

But others have said we should just dump them in with the other file resources. A file is a file, so why make an artificial difference?

I could use a sanity check here to see if I'm making an artificial distinction or a helpful separation - please let me know what you think (and an answer of it doesn't really matter is also helpful information!) Thanks!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

sugar mountain

On my twentieth birthday, I listened to Sugar Mountain all day. Today, on the freight boat back to Woods Hole, watching the dark blue ocean, and the bright blue sky, it came on again, uncommanded, as if it knew it was that time again.

I'm an unspecified number past 20, and I was definitely leaving the island too soon...

It feels like I've gotten away with being 20 on Sugar Mountain for a long time - every day remains a new adventure, even a few decades later :-) Maybe someday I'll grow up, but not this year.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

fresh eyes

It's funny, sometimes things are so much a part of the UI that you are accustomed to, that you just no longer even see them. As we brought Designer over to Eclipse, many pieces of UI moved over almost exactly as they were in the "old" Designer. But thanks (really!) to a customer who talked to me after a demo a little while ago, now every time I look at this very old piece of UI design, it drives me crazy. So not long after deciding to just "look around," I found myself actually changing some code - and those design doc properties, that have looked like that since before I started working on Notes, now (I hope) make a little more sense! The old way was designed for the space constraints of the infobox! And the most likely significant piece of information (the note ID) was last, and the UNID was spread over two lines.... I'm thinking this design is better, but I have a few questions.... (And to be clear, it's not even checked in yet, so surely won't be in 8.5, but rather in whatever number comes next!)

Does anyone even need to look at sequence time and number? Is this a better order? Do you really need to see the database replica id on every design element doc id panel? Does anyone really need the old way of presenting this in that form?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

As my silence here reflects, the past month has been insanely busy, putting the finishing touches on 8.5. And simultaneously designing what's next. As usual, there are already more things I want to do than time to do them.

In my engineering "childhood," we just built the next logical extensions of what we had just done, or if someone had a cool idea, we'd do that, after doing some logical calculus of what fits under the curve til the next release. I'm not sure if it's my perspective changing because I am more part of the process than I once was, or if things have changed (or both!), but now what goes in to the next release seems much more disciplined.

What goes in has to provide real value, and it has to make a difference. Now I'm not a marketing person, so I don't really have or have access to the data to predict that adding feature A will generate Y positive result. Yet I know inside me that many of the things we are considering will make a huge difference, and I have a strong sense of which are most important. I know it intuitively, I know it instinctively. INFP that I am (though the F edged out the T only by a small margin), going on instinct works for me :-) But I find I need to be able to *prove* it.

It's too soon to be saying what we're looking at doing next - still much more to figure out. But it is fun to be trying some ideas out!

Monday, September 22, 2008

She was my first real friend, we met in first grade. Her grandfather taught us how to do the Irish jig. Dressing up in our moms' clothes and high heels... Swinging on the swings at the school across the street from ours, talking about how dumb all this growing up stuff was.

I was the tomboy nerd; she the fashion princess. We would grow apart over time, our interests and directions just too far apart. I haven't seen her in a long time, but when I heard she died last week, it hit me hard.

As different as we were, parts of us were also the same. Tonight I'm wearing mascara - not something I usually do, but something that just felt right tonight.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I remember sitting in my Metaphysics final exam, spring semester, senior year of college, last exam. I had finished the exam. Once I turned it in, I would be a college graduate (modulo a ceremony). I sat there with my exam a good long while. I seriously contemplated not turning it in. The only way I could fail the course would be on the technicality of not turning in the final - that would give me an FX in that course. Then I wouldn't have to graduate. I wasn't sure I wanted to let go - I wasn't sure I was ready. I loved my college, and my four years there were precious. But once this exam was done, I was done...

So I guess I like to hang on to things. We're in that part of 8.5 where we are doing the hard triage. Some of the bugs are clear, we have to fix them. Others are not so clear - the ones that show up when you stand on one foot, under a full moon and the wind is blowing from the east. I cling to each bug as if it were that final exam. There are some very patient souls triaging with me :-)

But it's nearing time to let go, turn in the exam. There's the next round to think of, new features to build, thoughts to complete.

I did turn in my exam that day, and I did go on to grad school. I am working on the list of next things for Designer. But first I'm going to fix this one bug....

Monday, August 11, 2008

positive or negative....

One thing that has always bugged me about Notes is the negative logic. "Hide when"/"Do not maintain unread marks"/etc. In newer properties, I've been making that logic positive, and in a few cases in the application properties editor, I have reversed previously negative logic to be positive. So "Do not maintain unread marks" turns in to "Maintain unread marks."

The problem... Whether or not to update the infobox. In an ideal world, sure (probably). In the beta, you'll see we have not yet changed the infobox, just moved the application properties editor rendition to be positive. Long term, the db infobox will be obsolete, so I am a bit hesitant to put much investment there. But will the inconsistency here be so bad that we really have to change the infobox? Personally I'd rather put the energy elsewhere, but if the new UI differing from the old UI is really going to be an issue, it is certainly possible to align them (though that would ripple through documentation, etc).


Sunday, August 03, 2008

my favorite debugging technique

Over the past few years, I've spent more time debugging Java than C++. I like things about both languages, and I don't really have a strong preference. In general, both languages work, and both languages let me say what I need to say. But when debugging Java, there is one feature from C++ I sorely miss...

Set Next Statement

I can't tell you how many hours that one technique has saved me... Now that I get to debug C++ again, every time I use it (like just a minute ago), I smile.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

so says the whippoorwill...

My song for today. He's better. Still in the hospital, but change is in the air!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


if last weekend saw me shirking maternal responsibility, this week saw me swimming in it. One of my boys has been in the hospital since Monday night, and is projected to be there til next Friday. He'll be ok, though the path from here to there is still a bit uncharted, and some paths are easier than others. It's not easy to see your child connected to endless IV lines, and you know life has turned around when you're happy to hear him complain about it.

When the big stuff hits, there's no denying what a mom needs to do....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

maternal failure

I'm having one of those "I'm the worst mother in the world" moments. I have six sons. I don't like sports. And that's a really bad combination.

My youngest loves basketball. At least it moves at a faster pace than baseball, which set me to walking laps around whatever field those games were in, as I just couldn't sit and watch a game that went so slowly. So I should be feeling fortunate he has settled on a sport I can almost stand to watch.

Whenever I do watch one of my kids play a sport, my attention stays focused on the game only as long as my child is actually doing something. Not for a moment longer. And, one of the things that makes me a bad mother, sometimes less. I watch the other parents, apparently really into the game, and feel like I must be from another planet.

There's a basketball tournament this weekend we learned about just this Wednesday. Thursday night ferry tickets got moved to Saturday night. Now, oh, the tournament goes to Sunday, too. Rory says he can skip the second day. Even I know he can't.

I really should try to be one of those mothers who cheers loudly from the sidelines. But I'm just not that person! I'm leaving basketball for the guys this weekend. I'm going to the island without them. I hope bad mothers are welcome there.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

halloween redux

I got away from my laptop for a bit this afternoon and tried to find the garden. It has gotten way overgrown due to my neglect. I decided to clear a 6 foot patch again.

I was pulling and pulling, making quite a pile of weeds. I got to a strange looking couple of plants. I pulled one, then looked at it carefully... It looked like a squash plant. That's odd, new kind of weed, I guess. OH! That pumpkin from last Halloween that spent the winter in the garden must have had some fertile seeds. The plant in my hand was one of two little pumpkin plants. I replanted it back in the garden next to its sibling - if part of the garden becomes a pumpkin patch, I can live with that. With this kind of start, it will surely be one of the most sincere pumpkin patches around!

Monday, June 23, 2008

single/double click dilemma

Sometimes defaults are really tough to figure out. Right now we're really going back and forth on whether single click should open things in the Designer navigator (as it always used to) or whether double click should open things (as is the default in Eclipse). We do pay attention (post-beta) to the Eclipse default.

People used to Domino Designer want single click. People used to Eclipse want double click. People who started out used to DD and then started using Eclipse (me, for one!) adjusted to the double click. But we've also had people get blocked thinking there's no way to get a list of forms because single click didn't work.

So the question is... Now that we listen to the Eclipse preference, should that Eclipse preference in a Domino Designer install be set to single click to open or double click to open? And remember that this behavior affects *all* perspectives in the Eclipse instance.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

old vs. new

I realized that I keep saying that Designer 8.5 will have no LotusScript editor. When I say that, I am thinking about the brand new LotusScript editor we are building based on the Eclipse framework that has a class browser, etc. In my head, because that isn't ready for 8.5, "it" isn't there.

But I've heard that some take my statement very literally - that they think Designer 8.5 won't have any LotusScript editor at all. What we do have (still) is the old LotusScript editor, while we continue to work on the brandy new one.

In my heart, it's the new one that counts, but that's different from not having any LotusScript support at all, and of course we still support the old one!

Just thought I'd clear that up :-)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

twittering about

I've been experimenting with twitter lately (late to the party, but that seems to be my style..) Not sure what I think of it yet, but giving it a try. The one thing I find I do like about it is that it is easy to do. Sometimes the thought of writing a *blog post* is daunting - it feels like a blog post must have some profound meaning, and sometimes deep and meaningful just doesn't fit in the day.

So we will see what twitter brings. On twitter, I'm mvgirl, of course!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

in Bremen!

Haven't seen much of it yet, as I just arrived a few hours ago. But I went for a long walk in a park across the street from the hotel, and found a reliable source of diet coke....

It was a pretty easy flight, even my 50 minute connection worked, even though I DID have to go through passport control/security again. Will mostly be preparing for the talk tomorrow, but I hear there's a boat tour tomorrow night that sounds like a neat way to see the city!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

quite a day

my head is full this morning. It's beautiful outside, and my list of things to do today is way longer than the day. My thoughts are like a pinball right now, trying to decide which idea to tackle first. Replacing cabinet pulls on the kitchen cabinets, planting gladiola bulbs, preparing a presentation for DNUG (I thought I was done, but have some new ideas!), coding up a feature I've committed to for our next iteration, breakfast, let the dogs out, and back in... So I'm starting with a blog post, which wasn't on the list at all, but so be it.

I fly to Bremen late Tuesday night, arriving Wednesday mid-day. I've never been to Bremen, and I'm looking forward to it - to see the river that leads to the North Sea. I'd love to see the North Sea, but that will have to be another trip - my son graduates from high school on Sunday, and I need to get right back home.

I'm also looking forward to showing all the neat things we actually are doing for Domino Designer. Our team has been working very hard, and there is a LOT to show. I'll post screenshots after the talk :-)

Saturday, May 17, 2008


My dog Woodstock is an impeccable judge of character. In our house, we refer to it as passing the Woodstock test.

Woodstock is a field spaniel, and like many in his breed, he is reserved. He's not nasty at all, but if he doesn't know you, he will generally keep his distance.

I brought Woody in to Iris when he was a puppy. It was an overwhelming experience for him. But one person passed the Woodstock test, Cynthia Ice. Cynthia had a soft heart underneath a very dry cynical wit. Woodstock saw straight to the heart, and made a fast friend. Cynthia saw past Woodstock's reserve to the sweet dog he is.

Cynthia died this week, and we will miss her very much. I keep remembering snippets... Her guide dog Cashmere would sometimes wander out of Cynthia's office when she was absorbed in her work, and Cashmere would head straight to my office. I'd spoil Cashmere for a bit, then bring her back to Cynthia quickly, as Cashmere and Cynthia were quite a team. Meeting Cashmere and Cynthia in the hall, rubbing Cashmere's tummy as Cynthia and I chatted. Cashmere died a year or two ago, and I know Cynthia's heart ached for her. She never replaced Cashmere, I think because there could be no replacement.

And there is no replacing Cynthia. She has left this world a better place - she fought for the rights of the visually impaired, and she gently taught all of us to make our software the best it could be. And she has also left this world a darker place for her light no longer being with us. Cynthia, it was an honor to know you, and heaven is a brighter place today.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

bookmark migration

In my Lotusphere presentation, there was a slide that had the phrase "bye-bye bookmarks" on it. I meant that pretty literally and have not as yet scheduled anything into the plan to actually migrate them, thinking that the new Eclipse working set ways of arranging design databases would lead people to rethink their bookmark structure anyway. And, in full disclosure, we have a lot of things to do, and I'm not sure this fits anyway!

But I have heard some internal users report that they expected their bookmarks to be migrated. It would be "just code" to do it, but is it important enough to do? Or would you be seizing the opportunity to rearrange your databases anyway? Thanks again :-)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


One of the more common Designer actions, certainly. But we're encountering some challenges in making it work consistently from the client. So the question is, is this used often enough from the *client* that it is worth putting the effort into fixing, or should we just pull the menu from the client? I must admit I am leaning towards the latter... We'll still have View/Design to open up a specific db in Designer, so you can move from the client to the Designer in context... But you would then need to choose to create the form or outline or whatever once you were actually in the Designer. Would this be such a big move backwards in user interface we shouldn't even consider it? Or is this a rarely used convenience feature we can live without?


Friday, May 02, 2008

it worked!

And I ended up settling on, it's shorter... Thanks to all for the help. I think in the end, it actually was set up correctly before, I just never realized it as I expected that the cname record would make go to google until I took the final step of connecting it to the blog. Another proof that user expectations can create an odd mix with software developer's expectations....

But is now alive! And nicely redirects to it :-)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

cname records, oh my....

A while ago I grabbed the domain thinking I'd give this blog its own domain name rather than just be a blogspot prefix. Blogspot has some pretty good instructions on how to send your blog to your domain name, and I figured this would be pretty easy. I did notice that they didn't have instructions for Network Solutions, but I figured it all must be pretty generic.

I am not an expert in cnames and aliases and hosts and all that stuff. Just not enough UI to keep my interest :-) But how hard can it be? Apparently, hard enough.

Armed with the documentation, I went to setup advanced DNS settings for It seems I need a CNAME record that sends it to and then after that works, all I should need to do is a few steps on blogspot.

So I set up to map to in their domain management tool. It warned it would take a while to replicate around... A few days later when hitting still gave an error, I went back and looked.

It was mapped to With the period at the end. I edited it to remove the period, and figured I had made a typo. Looked at it again, the period was back.

And I'll admit it, that was months ago. There are too many other things on my plate to spend time on that. But I tried again last weekend. I noticed the UI was different, maybe that bug was fixed. Nope, still there.

Now it might be a bug, and it might just as easily (or more likely) be user error. But at this rate it will be a while before sees the light of day!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The stove was off...

so we were free to take a walk...

Tabblo: Island Spring

We walked to the lagoon today - a beautiful blue Spring day.  It was too cold for humans to swim, but Wendy and Eve thought the water was just fine...


I had wondered where the Cassie had gone - all last summer she was docked with the Grace in Vineyard Haven harbor, but for the past month or so, Grace was docked alone.  Cassie turns out to have been hiding at Sailing Camp Beach!


As Wendy and Eve took their swim, a sailing race was beginning.  The season is beginning!

... See my Tabblo>

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

bug or feature, I can't decide....

Several of the new design elements in 8.5 are variants of file resources. That means that unless I do something, if you open a database with some of these elements created in the 8.5 Designer in the 8.0 Designer, these elements will show up as file resources.

Now from some points of view (including mine on alternate days), this is a bug. And from others, also including mine on alternate days, it's a feature... You can at least look at these elements as text like files in notepad in older versions of Designer.

So should I fix this or celebrate this?

thanks :-)

Friday, April 11, 2008

first light

So yes, I've been quiet on Designer lately. We've been intensely busy transitioning to our proper home in the Notes environment. I must admit, it's pretty! While our initial work has been done on "plain" Eclipse, but we need the Notes framework to have little things like location switching...

We'll be doing further work to customize the look - trying to strike a balance between making it feel like home and exposing the power of Eclipse. I'm proud of what the team's been doing on this - so thought I'd give an early look of its new look, even though it is still evolving :-)

Sunday, April 06, 2008


A peaceful, evening crossing. Dark night on the ocean, empty ferry, quiet night. The ferry is pulling in to the dock at Woods Hole. All relaxed. Then it happens. Did I turn the stove off? I know I did. Yes, I'm sure, really sure. I checked the burners before we left. But did I check the oven?

I remember as I took the last pan of cookies out thinking how on this stove I had to press Cancel...

Steve tells me he's sure it was off.

It's off, I know it. Mostly.

Or maybe I just have to go back to check :-)

Other than that thread running in my head, it was a nice day on the island. Oh it certainly was gray, cold, and windy. But the tulips are coming up in my garden, we got a nice walk before the drizzle started in earnest.

Maybe I do just have to go back to check!

Friday, March 28, 2008

speaking of the world...

do something to make a difference to global warming... Turn out the lights on Saturday 3/29 from 8-9 (your time). Imagine how beautiful the stars could be without extaneous light...

See this link for more info!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

and then all was right with the world.....

I am on the island. Evil spirits indeed do not cross the water. My legs are tired from a two mile walk in wind to see the Katama breach. It's almost a year old now, but somehow last summer I never found the time to walk out and see it. It's amazing... The currents are going every which way, and the sand continues to erode - mini cliffs along the water's edge. A seal followed us along the beach, bobbing his head up from the water laughing at the silly humans walking in the wind.

I'm home and it is good.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

when you walk through a storm....

I remember my grade school class having to learn that old song for one of spring/fall/concert events... I didn't think it would ever ring so true. It's been running through my head pretty steadily in recent weeks.

Life has been feeling like quite a test. Our peacable canine kingdom has suffered from the decision of two of the spaniels that they really hate each other. They're fighting over dominance - and we are the focus objects. We've had three emergency vet trips, several scheduled trips, and a trip to a behavior specialist... Two of the crew had surgery today - one scheduled for a lump removal (unrelated to the combatants), the other needed emergency repair to the first repair of the fight that happened a week ago. I'll spare any readers the details as it's just been awful, but the canine behavior specialist did have some good suggestions that seem to be working so far.

Long ago (but well after they made me learn that song), I learned that when things get really awful, it's best for me to just keep going no matter what. Maybe that's because when your kids are little, mom has no choice, regardless of what's going on, you just have to keep everything moving forward. Life goes on, nothing is permanent, no point in dwelling on what's going on, just keep moving ahead. Sometimes I think it makes me feel like I'm ignoring the issues, but it beats dwelling and drowning in them.

And code is a great place to hide... Let's just say I've gotten a lot of code written this week!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

when a hard disk dies...

it's odd what you want to recover most.

I should have known - I was in denial, for sure. Even during Lotusphere, there were some unexplained events with my laptop, but denial is a very powerful force. Since Lotusphere, with increasing frequency, my laptop would misbehave. An error on boot... Access Connections disappearing from the toolbar... But I circumvented each obstacle... If I can get by it, it can't be that serious, right?

Last Thursday, when IE suddenly refused to connect but Firefox was happy, I decided it was maybe time to heed Steve's advice and do a chkdsk, which of course involves a reboot. Blithely I tried it. Reboot, chkdsk successful, but as it launched, blue screen... Tried it all again, not a fluke. Tried it again in a different T60 shell, same thing. Dead disk.

Then the panic starts.

Source trees - ok on that count, submitted my code a few hours ago. Work mail - all on the server, no problem, can always make another replica. Presentations - ouch. But if I have to write them again, I still could. Personal email - now THAT is only on the machine as I so neatly remove it from the server... That's a real problem. My history is in my email - it's a journal of conversations, and I felt its loss deeply.

I actually felt kind of disoriented. It's probably pretty unhealthy for a laptop to be so much a part of one's comfort zone.

But there is a pretty happy ending. Someone was able to put it in a drive tray, and if you don't try to boot off of it, the data is accessible. My personal email has a new home on my home machine. My presentations have been preserved. A new disk is on its way from the mothership. All's right with the world again.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Album Craze

After seeing Pete's and Brian's album covers, my curiosity got the better of me...

Here's mine!

A Chestnut Mare... Ironic, as that song will always be close to my heart. It is my song, from long ago, but will always make me smile.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Change of Seasons

As soon as I returned from Lotusphere, I felt spring on its way. This contrasts sharply with the reality of New England winter, but I can't help it, I feel it. It didn't make sense to me until I realized why I was feeling the seasons were changing - Lotusphere is a season unto itself. When it's over, it must be the next season, which if you blur it with reality, the season after winter is of course spring....

You can start feeling Lotusphere in the air when the call for abstracts go out, but it doesn't truly arrive until you start getting notices for slides being due... Once the presentations start taking form, the season is in full swing... It continues til you arrive home from Orlando. November, December, January... Lotusphere Season.

And now it is Spring. No matter what the groundhog said today.

Monday, January 28, 2008

a few thousand words....

or a few pictures... I was so happy to be able to show not only the work to put Designer in Eclipse at Lotusphere, but also to reveal the new XPage design element that we've also been working on. In a way similar to how reworking the Designer UI lets us address longstanding issues in the Designer client, the XPage design element gives us the freedom to create a new way to render Domino data in a modern way, taking into account all that we've learned along the way...

And I said pictures not words, so here are some screenshots from Lotusphere for the curious...

Friday, January 25, 2008

bonnie & clyde

Bonnie & Clyde's first picture :-)

at the airport, looking back....

I'm soaking up my last view of leaves on trees, green grass, and warm skies.... The past week at Lotusphere has been amazing - insanely busy every moment, but so nice to get the validation that Designer is on the right path. I've been in Orlando since the 16th, first preparing for the OGS and my Designer session on Monday, then preparing for the app dev mini main, and in between doing my best to answer customer's questions in lab. Missed the Wednesday night party this year in favor of minimain rehearsal and preparation, but I must admit the quiet on the Swan/Dolphin campus on Wednesday evening is a breath in a busy week....

Soon the warmth will be replaced by New England winter, and the peace I feel at the moment will be replaced by the intensity of building the product.

When I was in school, I never would have imagined that I would ever stand up in front of 4000 people and get any words out of my mouth. It's still not easy, as the shy little girl is still inside, but it is getting a little easier...