… and thanks for all the … Ed!

No, not fish. All the effort to keep Notes and Domino alive. Yes, I think that we have all the give Ed a lot of credit for.
This should not become an obituary. I wish Ed all the best for his future. I think he has earned it, to have lots more fun and success, than what he had to endure during the last few years at IBM.
I met Ed three times, but I doubt, that he remembers me. I have one of these faces people tend to forget in about 0.45 seconds after having turned their back. At most he remembers my comments on this blog.
Not to be outdone by all the other well-wishers that are lining up right now world wide:
Thank you Ed. It was fun as long as it lasted and now go for it and do something completely different. And who knows, you might even try your hand on flying airplanes again? With the Very Light Airplane category it got saver, cheaper and easier. Does not take any more b…s than going into the Alps with a Porsche 911 in winter. With the electronics engaged that is.
Bye.

Another reason why I will always like Domino and Notes more than …

… other mail clients, because of the things I could do with it.
Once I translated the OpenNTF mail client to German and I added some features, like views with different categories. Sent and received for the same email address for example. I liked that much better than having to sort things manually into folders. Unfortunately, they broke with the Java views. I never figured out how to make them work with more than one categorisation.
I hate folders, but the big advantage of the Notes folders are, documents can reside in different folders. I had a function for my mailbox that added the same mail to different folders and left it in the inbox.
Or the integration of mails into Notes based CRM systems via embedded views. I used that on several CRM systems I either worked on or developed from scratch. Some people didn’t even use their mailbox anymore.
With what other mail client can you do that?

Why I will always like Domino and Notes more than …

… Outlook and Exchange

A few years ago I was at a partner conference about virtualization (yes, I can do that, too) and we where sitting in the bar. A few business partners with beer, so the stories started to flow. I was the only one that used and administered Domino, everybody else was Exchange. One after the other shared their horror stories. Completely f… up databases, crashes all over the place, backups not working, mails lost in the thousands. You name it, they had it. All I could do was listing, because my horror stories with Domino couldn’t compete in any way with theirs. The worst I had was a very slow Domino, because somebody (head of IT) sent a very funny .ppt file to everybody in her address book. It would have finally made it through, but the rest of the company could not wait another 3 or 4 hours. It was around 2003 and internet connection was still a bit slow. Otherwise I can not remember ever having to panic with a Domino server. Some crashed once in a while, but I never those ugly situations as my Exchange colleagues.

# Domino 2025 Jam – When hope rises and falls

My dear colleagues,
The Domino 2025 Jam is over and now what? We certainly get an interesting roadmap presentation soon and many of us will have hope, that this will change the tide, the game, turns the train around or whatever metaphor you like. I personally don’t know what to make of it. Many really good ideas popped up. Some of them multiple times. Some of them were pretty old and still hot. What raised my (right) eyebrow a bit were the many requests for basic functionalities in Verse. But these are details. I would like to look at the big picture.

I have had unanswered questions about the whole IBM/ND situation for years.

Why does IBM refuse to do even basic consistent end user marketing?
This discussion has been going on as long as I can think of N/D, but I want to know, why IBM does not want to do it. What is so bad about 101 of marketing? N/D wasn’t beaten by Outlook/Exchange because the later was any better, it was beaten through marketing. Aggressive marketing, I give you that, but IBM had all the time and resources to react to it, but never did. Why did IBM let this happen? Many things come to mind when thinking about it, but speculation does not get me the answer. So I ask you: Why?
PS: I don’t think advertising at airports is of any use. Painting the cabin of the airplane yellow and writing IBM Lotus on every available surface might help.

Why does IBM refuse to listen to the user?
The user-experience of N/D was never outstanding. It was OK, but many little bugs, limitations and peculiarities haunted N/D for years or are still there. The design is not modern anymore and some things are clumsy. Outlook has been used as a stand alone mail client forever, why wasn’t IBM capable to do the same? Technical reasons? Security comes to mind, but that could have been achieved differently.
What is it, that makes IBM think, the user is not the most important person in the N/D environment?
PS: No, I don’t think developers and administrators are the right persons to gather and filter the opinion of the end user.

What? No app store? In 2018?
That is also something I never understood. N/D is predestined for an app store. That should have been an app on the welcome page. What is it, that makes IBM not to want easy money? I would have tons of apps in there. Not everything needs 100 hours of consulting (Don’t get me started on the online buying experience of IBM. I’d rather have a teeth pulled. Why is nobody fixing this). Why is there no app store?
PS: Yes, I know that this may be a headache for administrators, but isn’t it all about making the life of users easier?

Looking at the big picture that forms in my mind about the last year, I don’t see a confident IBM. I had technical problems during the online jams. I had problems with the idea jam. Some videos I saw were not the quality one expects from IBM. Things feel sometimes clumsy, amateurish. What is going on inside the N/D group in IBM?

The HCL deal. Whatever I read, there is no convincing explanation, why HCL should be any better as IBM in writing code. Strategy and marketing (see above) will stay with IBM. How deep the strategy for the design goes is anybodies guess, but for me – sorry – that smells like cost cutting. But I should not jump to conclusions, therefore I ask you, what is the point of the HCL deal, if not cost cutting?
PS: The ex-IBM-now-HCL-developers might have more air to breathe, but what comes after the initial vibe?

The Idea Jam itself. Why is IBM doing this again and again, only to get the same answers every time. They vary only on particular problems, but not at the bigger picture. It has been like that for years. And every two years, when the general manager changes (and often the structure where we find N/D for the next two years), we get a hype and we all hope this time everything changes for the better. What is IBMs strategy for the next five years?
PS: Still, was a good idea, but why does IBM now hide the jam? Any secrets in there? Should we just forget it was there?

So, if you find these questions interesting, I would be very much interested in interesting answers to them.

And as a final note, I don’t know, if you all have the same impression as I do, but my gut feeling tells me, not everything will be great again.

 

 

What could have been, if …

Well, lately I do not have a lot to do with Notes and IBM stuff in general. But it continues to creep up on me. For a while now, I brood over what could have been if IBM would not have bought Lotus. Would it have been as dominant as Exchange/Outlook today? Who knows.

But now things have changed. IBM announced the partnership with HCL. I frankly would have preferred an outright sale of the whole collaboration stack – yes, including Connections – to somebody with a vision. What happened is the complete opposite. The outsourcing of development and services of a part – Connections may follow later if you ask me – to a company that has no vision. The „vision“, strategy and marketing rests with IBM. Seriously? The things IBM hasn’t really excelled in – a very polite description – will stay with IBM and the jobs IBM was good at, will be outsourced. HCL will probably do a admirable job, but I suspect they will eventually get a bit impatient with IBM, about the success of IBM’s strategy and marketing department. Which I suspected for years was either a ghost department or outsourced to Microsoft.

From the IBM point of view, where cutting cost is the only strategy, this makes sense. My business senses just tell me, this is just another in a long row of such decisions, where cutting cost is more important, than investing in growth. While I admit, growing with these products today, which have been neglected for so many years, is close to useless. It would take a lot of investment to turn that ship around and we probably would not recognise Notes/Domino anymore.

I have a suspicion. It was the only way for the ICS group to achieve the cost cutting targets without completely killing products. Would the later have happened, an avalanche could have been triggered, where even the most loyal customer would have pulled the plug.

While IBMers are doing the I-am-so-exited-about-this-news-dance (and some partners will chip in shortly), I can not see anything in the announcement that would provide confidence. While „dead by 2021“ will not happen, I am not convinced, that the agony will take much longer. When you read the announcement or listen to IBM videos, there is just „We continue to invest“ or „joint investment of both companies“. No number, no target, nothing that could mean that IBM would really change the way they did business the last 20 years.

IBM announced also the #Domino2025 project. Everybody can now give their opinion about the future. Well not quite: seats are limited. I registered, but I have little hope that I will be among the chosen ones. I am just not important enough. My only qualifications are being a developer of many applications on that platform and I really, really care about it. But I am probably not nice enough, either. Will we ever know what comes out of it? Experience says no.
We had that before and I hope that IBM threats us a bit more like adults. After all, thousands of blog posts and articles have been written by partners and customers in the last 20 years about what we expect from IBM.
Some of our colleagues have already expressed a strong opinion towards killing the client. But let’s stop right here with anybody else’s view, I will give you mine.

I want to steal what Team NZ said after the last Americas Cup. Let’s throw the ball as far as we can and let’s see how we can reach it.
What are the problems?

Old client that many users hate. Make a new one. One that runs mostly in the background. Let Notes-Applications be directly on the Desktop/Sidebar/Dock/Menu/Whatever. Treat them as individual Apps. The user does not need to see every App that makes up a whole suite like a CRM that uses multiple databases. That allows that the user to have his independent mail client. And make it fast. Real fast. Even faster. Let Outlook be a alternative but make a better mail client, also for iOS and Android.

Way too many different programming languages. How about Swift and Java Script only? Should do the trick.
In any case there should be just one way to develop for the client and for the browser.

Integrate MSOffice in a way that mimics Sharepoint. For years Microsoft sold Sharpoint as a replacement for Notes. Let’s make a better Sharepoint. That would mean, that IBM should bring new Apps included in the license.

Open it up to individuals. There are many out there that would benefit.

Make an App-Store. Many developers would like to sell some easy to use apps for a few bucks.

Cloud service for everyone. Even individuals.

A new Designer would be nice too. One that let’s you build also mobile apps real fast. Plugin for XCode anyone?
Give designers everything they need to build really good locking apps in the shortest time possible. That is key.

Even with every security specialist now groaning, let users build their own apps again. Once it was Notes, then they moved to Excel, because the admins did not like what users did. What is more important, a happy admin or happy users?

Ready-to-use servers including Linux. Yes, I think Lotus Foundations was cool. Had potential.

Complete overhaul of .nsf and Domino. Why not using a more modern database, like MongoDB?

Way too many products. Shouldn’t Traveller, LEI, Mobile Connect and so on, just be part of the whole thing? Yes it should.

Well that’s about it for now. Many more ideas where these come from.

You are not alone if Gamification does not work for you

I am really sorry. I am so yesterday, probably last century. I just can’t get the hang of gamification. I just don’t care about virtual buttons (and friends). I do have to rely on my own imagination to get enough happiness hormones from achievements. Ugly buttons just don’t cut it.
I just want to tell everybody out there, who can’t get the hang of all the gamification, fitness and health apps …

You are not alone!

The reasons why this will not change in the foreseeable future:

Just imagine the following situation: You meet somebody from the different gender (or same, whatever) you like and he/she tells you, that you look good.
Which answer will make you look better?

A: You think? Look I have all the reward buttons since 2011 here on my phone.

B: You think? I have started Kung Fu a few years ago.

I do sports that do not allow me to have a phone on my body. In Kung Fu anything hard on my body would be a risk to me and others. I even have to take of my wedding ring. It hurts, you know, if you hit something with it or get hit accidentally (no, despite popular rumours, this has not altered my appearance to the better).

As it happens, I just passed my third test. Another diploma for my wall of honour … which happens to be a box in a closet. Otherwise I would have all my office walls full of more or less important diplomas. That ranges from a Wings training course that takes an hour or so, to the biannual flight instructor refresher course (16 hours, 160+ questions and until recently a lot of strange paperwork), to all the IBM/IT stuff (has successfully sat still for four days without making to much of a fuss) and some academic grades.
While I do not frame every single diploma and nail it to the wall, I am still particularly proud of that last one. My trainer wasn’t sure at all, that I would pass. He was certainly more nervous than me, since he gets the blame afterwards from the grand master (who is around 70 and moves like a very young thirty year old). Since I am not a really nice person, I was probably a bit artificially stupid during the last couple of training hours. The relief in his eyes was worth it. But the real deal is, that I have achieved a goal. That there is a paper involved, that certifies this, does not really concern me, but the prospect of moving on and taking on the next step, this is what it is all about.

By the way, if you are locking for a fitness program with 1578 years of experience, try Kung Fu (Wushu or whatever …). It is essentially that. It is not so much about fighting. We do not fight. But be prepared to be frustrated by your inability to learn movements that look so easy, but it will improve your whole body. It literally does train every single muscle in your body. It certainly changed a lot for me. Lost about 8 kg and added some muscles. My meniscus is much better, but I still would not be a good catholic.

The other thing I do is mountain biking. I much prefer going downhill than uphill (this has something to do with a hereditary thing that gives me a headache). I doubt, that a health app can measure correctly the effort you have to put in mountain biking, especially on difficult terrain or when I have to push or carry the darn bike. Therefore the app is utterly useless. And since I rarely use the same trail twice, I can’t even compare the times. Not that I did not try it occasionally, but I always forgot to either set or stop the timer. I just can’t get the hang of being interested in numbers, which define my achievement.

Playing squash with a phone strapped to my arm? That would be the end of it, since once in while a wall is in the way.

A long time ago I was a freestyle skier. Moguls was the thing. It is still today. It’s the movement that is nice. Finding the perfect rhythm. Which is rare, by the way. It is still exhausting, though. Very. I don’t care how fast I can go downhill on a flat run (which is rather dangerous on some runs anyway, due to heavy and slow traffic and … boring … and carving is for the elderly. There, I said it). Therefore any skiing app that counts the runs I have gone down is useless. I don’t look for speed, I look for excitement (but not in the form of danger … well … sort of).

I will not even start about windsurfing.

Got it? One can do sports that are demanding, exciting, where you need all your body and your brain to achieve a goal, but any fitness app will be completely and utterly useless, because it can not see, what you are doing with your body. It only assumes you are moving in a certain way (all right, with the Apple Watch you can measure more stuff. Might be more accurate, still not interested).

I do understand that some of you out there are proud of what you achieved using these apps and rightly so, but I want to lift the moral of all those of us, who do not use that stuff. We can be happy (and healthy) without the collection of ugly buttons on a screen.
The same goes for gamification rewards in professional training. The diploma or achievement notification on a screen is not what counts, it’s the feeling of relieve that you finally got, what the poor instructor tried to hammer into your brain.

See … YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I FEEL WITH YOU.

You now have my official blessing to groan openly, whenever you see another screen shot of a fitness app achievement page.

Beating a dead horse or rather a dead cash cow

The latest Notes & Domino fix pack is out and some news from IBM about the future.
There are some really good articles about it:
Peter Presnell: Was that it?
It probably was. Peter’s insight and thinking are as usual spot on. But are there really still 50’000 ND customers? I heard that number years ago and it must have changed since then. What I would really like to know is, how many developers in IBM are still working full time on ND? Five? Ten? How many do you need to make 81 fixes? Not a hundred, I am sure. Most will probably work on Verse anway.

Richard Moy: The Future of Domino from the POV of an ISV
I always liked Richard’s way to look forward and not back. He sums it up quite nicely, why Domino is such a good database system and why it is difficult to replace it with anything else. And he is prepared for a live without ND.

David Leedy: No More
The view of a developer. Also spot on. I agree, that ND would be better of and kicking, would OpenNTF get the whole thing.
I am looking forward to his next article.

Do you remember ND 8.5.4? Never happened. It became ND 9. Too many features for a point release they said. Now it’s the other way round. Not enough features for a point release. Just fix packs … until at least 2021. By then it will be Version 9.0.1 FP 27. Does that sound like a vibrant product? No. Does that sound like a product IBM is actively looking for new customers? No. Does that sound about a product where IBM is looking for happy partners? No. Even if IBM is continuing support beyond 21, do you really want FP 397? No. And IBM can call this a „Feature Pack“ until the cows come home, it does not replace a Notes Version 9.0.2. For everybody the naming speaks volumes, there are going to be mostly fixes and not many features. Apart from those that fix something.
While IBMers claim they hear customers loud and clear about what they want from IBM, what did the customers actually say?
„We need the following features (fill in what you like) from you and we need them quick, because our whole ecosystem of thousands of suppliers and customers depend on you.“ Probably not. It is more like:
„Dear IBM, we would really like you to continue developing ND, otherwise we are forced to look for an alternative“.
Then IBM responds: „Well dear customer, I am glad that you mention this, we have a nice new cloud product called …“.
„But IBM, we like Notes, it does what we want for a reasonable price, but it just isn’t modern enough“.
„The new cloud product will have all the design features you like and …“.
„But IBM, we would really like you to continue to develop Notes“.
„But dear customer, you just said you look for an alternative? Look here on these screen shoots …“.
„But IBM, we have our own developers who do a great job with Notes …“.
„In that case you might want to do a resource balancing. We have great training possibilities where your new developers will learn all they need about …“.
„Look IBM, there are a few things that need to be fixed in Notes ASAP, otherwise we run into problems.“
„I see, why don’t you open a PMR and I will see what I can do. On the other hand, our new product is cloud based and will always be on the latest release with the latest fixes installed.“
„Sorry IBM, but we don’t want to go cloud. We need our data in house, regulations, you know“.
„In that case, we have wonderful on premises solutions and we have the perfect service offering for the migration of your legacy apps … what was it again … a yes, Lotus Notes …“

For all those who absolutely want to see ND as a product with a future … there could be a future, but in that case we would have to get rid of IBM’s hold on ND. But right now … well imagine this picture. It is not about beating a dead horse anymore, by now we are cocking glue out of the carcass. Still useful but this is about the last thing you can do with it. And stuffing the head for the memories.

Dooooom … not again!

Notes is doomed … again. Or for good this time? What happened lately is interesting.

Well, first something on a personal note. I am not affiliated with a IBM Partner anymore or with IBM in general. I don’t have to be considerate to anybody anymore. Not that I ever really was.

There are more and more of us who talk about the end of Notes/Domino lately. We see signs on the wall. Where is the road map? Slow (well, glacial) update cycle and so on …
Notes/Domino is in decline. It has been a long time. Since IBM bought Lotus I would say. It was always the foster child. Something for the end user, IBM never really wanted to do. Gerstner bought Lotus not for of its products, but for its people (he said so).
In the beginning it worked, but after Notes 6 it turned around.
Let’s face it. Notes the fat client is old. Very old. Eclipse as the RCP did not make it to the future.

For years IBM had one resource action after another and it isn’t over. Expensive employees are replaced by younger ones, lacking experience and knowledge about anything IBM does. While IBM says, this is part of a strategy to turn the ship around, one gets the impression of the Titanic building its own icebergs.
It buys back shares just to keep the share holder value afloat. If loans would not as cheap, as they are right now, IBM would be in a much worse state. Or rather the stock price. The outrageous thought that investing in new products with less money could have made a better and more sustainable impact, I wouldn’t dare to mention.
Where is Notes here? Nowhere. It isn’t important anymore for IBM, if it ever was. While financially it might still bring in a few bucks, it isn’t a strategic product. You may argue that you are convinced, that IBM is dedicated to IBM/Domino, I would argue IBM is very good at pulling the wool over our eyes. Whatever you might hope, Notes/Domino is not part of the long term turn around strategy (if this even exists) of IBM and I think not even Verse.
OK, all this is lame and not really news. What I never understood is, why nobody came up with a real competing product? Not some apple/oranges competition like SharePoint/Exchange.
Domino/Notes is basically a database. An object based/oriented NoSQL document database (that’s my definition in easy to understand, modern terms. Apply your own if you wish). What I thought was rather cool, is the combination of design and data. Something many experts sneer on, for whatever reason. There are lots of reasons not to do this, especially if things get bigger, but it works rather well in ND. The replication is another point, but many can do this today. The rapid development thing is a rather fine tool, too and one of the main reasons of ND’s early success.
I always thought about ND like the Volkswagen Golf. It never really excels in anything, but it does a lot things very good. It is most of the time just the best package. There are a lot of good cars around but they can’t beat the Golf in units sold. Unfortunately Volkswagen knows that, IBM does not. Pitty, but such is life.
So why isn’t there an Astra or Punto in regard of ND? Frankly I don’t know. I wish there was something out there that could replace ND one to one. The ease of development and installation, the ingenious data/design storage system, the stability and so on. Many other solutions are better in in some respect, non comes even close as a whole package.
Something has amazed me lately: not even the mail server war ended as expected. It is a pretty vibrant market. I frankly thought that Exchange is everywhere, but that isn’t the case. Linux has won the server war and with that came new possibilities. For a long time different Linux distros had a bunch of different – sometimes more than one – mail server options. Today it looks like Dovecot/Openexchange dominates the IMAP server market. Sure, Exchange probably does all the internal stuff, but IMAP still serves the needs of billions of users. And here comes the thing, IMAP works for most of us just fine. We don’t need Verse. Though, the next new thing must be something really special, mindblowing, galactic (not a quantum leap, which is the smallest possible leap).
If anybody had told me 10 years ago Linux is going to be the server of choice and some small finish company would dominate the IMAP market, I would have discretely ordered one of those nice jackets that help you keep your arms crossed. But ND is still the closest of a multipurpose communication system out there. Everybody else is just mail.
The conclusion is, IBM has given up on the mail war way to early.

I can think one of the reasons IBM fails is, that while ND scales up extremely well, it scales down even better. It was the perfect tool for small companies that grow fast. Connections based on Domino would be a game changer for many companies. IBM does not want small companies. They are just a pain in the a.. and not worth the effort. Unfortunately, the big companies of the future are small today.

Migrating from ND today will always end with more stuff than what you had and a lot more administrative headache. Or you go cloud. But that does not change the problem of getting more different applications with in many times not the same functionality and a lot of things you don’t need, but you still pay for. To get to the point of where you were with ND before the migration, you have to do a lot of customisation and that makes updating again a nightmare. Provided you did use ND as more as a mail server. Otherwise I don’t understand you anyway.

Well, wonders happen once in a while, but most of the time they happen to others. There isn’t just an accident chain (or the more modern swiss cheese mechanism), there is also the wonders chain. We might see wonders coming, if we look close enough or in the right direction.

Let’s just fantasise for a moment.
Wonder No. One.
IBM comes up with the message of an all new Notes/Domino set. A lighter client and full web and mobile capabilities with a new development client that brings back the best of all that we had and kills everything we don’t really need. Fit for the future.
What is the probability of that?

Wonder No. Two
Partners and Customers are fed up with IBM and decide to stick together. „If you want to have it done correctly, do it yourself!“
An initial group builds the core of a modern replacement for ND, using a graph database and just one modern programming language with a stripped Linux server as part of the whole thing. More Customers and Partners join over time and build the most modern communication/social/RAD/whatever tool available. (I stop here, because I could go on about what would for me be the best possible solution. I have a pretty concrete idea about it and it would take a lot more time and space. And you probably would be bored to death or get a sore neck from all the shaking.)
Anyone care for an estimation of probability?

See.
With all those estimations flying around, partners and customers now have between 5 and 7 years to find a solution. Locking back 5 to seven years, apart from the mobile hype, not a lot changed (still Exchange, still RDB, almost anything from then is still around). I suspect not a lot will change in the next 5 to 7 years either. Partners and customers now have the choice to
a) move to a new platform with all the pain that is known today will inevitably come (except you had only mail on Notes – see above)
b) take the bull by its horns and make the future happen yourself (make wonder No two). Not entirely painless but what a blast.
c) hope for wonder No one.

a) is the conventional and sensible solution for everyone who does not seek to stand out. b) is for the pioneers among us. c) is just – sorry about that – stupid.
It’s up to you.

Heeelp…. needed … badly.

This is a completely private problem.
My monster number one got a camcorder for Christmas. Nothing special there, but she needs a possibility to cut her movies. She knows by now iMovie for iOS pretty well and would like to transfer her movies to my old iPad 2 and cut them there (which isn’t a very good idea, I admit, but I don’t want her to borrow my Mac all the time either, neither does my wife). And we have the connection kit for the SD card.
The video standard is:

AVCHD standard
Video: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264

That is something the iPad does not recognise and will not import it when connected to the SD card.
There was once an app that did it called Splice, but that does not work any longer.
Does anybody of you know an app that lets me import videos in the above format directly from a SD card to the iPad? A converter or something like that?
I know that this can be done by various apps on the mac. I only look for a solution, that does work on the iPad alone.

An idea anyone? Otherwise there will be a lot of tears, shouting and general misbehaviour around me in the next few years.

PS: The stuff she does with an iPod alone is pretty amazing….

The ghost of the iPad Repair Man

I can’t change electronic devices like my underpants. I always wait till things really break and then I change. My iPhone 4 still does the trick. This blog still runs on Lotus Foundations and my Mac Book Pro is a mid 2009. I had a hard disk crash lately but with Time Machine changing the disk is painless … provided one has all the passwords ready on paper and not only in the Key Chain (hint hint). By the way, an SSD does wonders to an old Mac. The speed gain is amazing.
A week ago my iPad 2 gave up the ghost. Suddenly the screen was black and that was it. I was able to make a backup, therefore I suspected the screen was done. Happily I went and bought a shiny new iPad Air 2. No, not the gold one (yuck). Space grey.
With the backup, the setup was almost painless. Apart from a few orphaned apps and some not so nice apps, which wanted money, for stuff I had already bought.
Just a thing. If possible restrict all the purchases on your iPad to one Apple ID. Makes life a lot easier, because somehow it accepts for a certain time – 90 days? – only one Apple ID per device. I was a bit confused with all these pop ups about the Apple ID.

The old iPad then started to collect dust and I went with my ex girlfriend – I am married to her now – to Lyon. Nice, very nice. I like it much better than Paris. Food is in general way better than any other place I have been in France. Even for Swiss standards, it is a very clean town (much less dog poo than Paris). I like the stone they used to build the town and the public transport system is extremely good.
Actually we went there, because I had something to tick of on my bucket list. I always wanted to learn how to drive a rally car. Sideways that is. On gravel or snow. Therefore I booked a one day course for me and my wife with Team Pilotage 42 about 50 minutes west of Lyon. Luck wanted it, that we were only 3 students. One young man, my wife and me. The guys father has been a rally driver, therefore we suspected, he would drive circles around us. Damien, our instructor, holds an official diploma as a racing instructor from the department of sports of france. I love France for things like that. In a time where political correctness almost forbids to like driving cars fast, France is still proud of its long tradition of racing and shows it.
After a bit of theory we went out to the tarmac track for a first training session. It was all about how to sit and hold and turn the steering wheel. It is pretty hard to unlearn something one did wrong for so many years. Years ago during another safety training with BMW, they showed me an other technique which does not work on a track apparently. At least my seating position was right and I got the first point against my wife who mentioned once in a while for the last twenty years, that I am sitting to close to the steering wheel. I don’t.
Next thing, the foot rest. That is not what it is called, it is the „call pieds“, which keeps you firmly in your seat and holding that with force isn’t restful at all. But it works. The morning was spent almost entirely driving around the track and unlearning stuff. How to hold and turn the steering wheel, where to look, where to start your turn, where to hit the apex and so on.
Lunch was again a reminder, why one should take life not so serious. In Switzerland we would have had some sandwiches or other „light“ (speak „cheap“) stuff. In France one gets fed with a mille feuille au saumon and some kind of boeuf bourguignon. All inclusive. No wine though. But a dessert.
The afternoon was spent on the dirt. Now things got serious. Finally driving sideways. The Citroen C2 isn’t a powerful car. Especially not the diesel version with 90 bhp. But it is plenty, if you know what to do. Now the funny bit. My wife, who never drove anything fast around a track before, was a second faster than the boys. Which isn’t so hard for me, because I am used to it. My mother was faster than me 25 years ago, when we drove slalom races for fun (still hurts a bit). It wasn’t so easy for our young friend who pushed hard to beat my wife, which was exactly the wrong thing to do. It is all about finesse, not power and a heavy feet on the throttle. It really looked damn good when my wife came screaming around the corner sliding sideways through the apex almost perfectly. Unfortunately she broke two cars within 5 minutes and that was it for the day. Just punctures. Happens all the time on this track. And it was anyway at the end of the course. No harm done, but a good story to tell.
After a few more days sightseeing in Lyon without the monsters, we picked them up and drove home. One of the first things daughter no. 2 did when she came home, was trying the old iPad. Lo and behold the damn thing showed on the screen, who wouldn’t budge a week ago, that the battery was almost empty. The darn thing repaired itself while we were away. That isn’t the first time it happened. A year ago our Casio (do not buy) piano had one key that lost all its dynamic and sounded awful. We sent it away but the service center said that they could not find anything. It had mended itself while en route. We must have some really good feng shui for electronic devices here. I almost start to believe in higher powers. There is certainly a perfectly natural explanation, but that does not make a good story. A house haunted by an ancient computer expert who has to fix things before getting eternal live, is much more interesting. Actually, I know a few people, who when they die, should roam the earth in search of equipment they fixed badly during their live and do them correctly until they are allowed to IT paradise: a place full of Exchange servers with strange error messages, active directories with corrupted databases, Fortran and Visual Basic programs with syntax errors one can not find. Or is this rather hell?

For me at least, the bucket list is one item shorter. Wait, probably half an item. Have to do that rally driving stuff again. Next time when something breaks here, we just go and do something fun and political incorrect and that should do it for fixing anything electronic here at home. Can’t wait.