Lotus Notes Tribunal, Exhibit 001-H: “Useless Errors”

Lotus Notes is a crime against humanity. In exhibit 001-H we see how Notes tells you that’s something wrong by telling you nothing.

You know when you do something that you’re not supposed to do?  Or when the application encounters a problem?  You get an error message.  In a good application you get information that will help you to fix the problem.  In a poor application you might get something less than useful.  However as applications age and become more mature this aspect tends to improve (being something that most developers don’t give much attention to in initial versions).

Notes, however, has purposefully made error messages inscrutable, mystifying and unuseful simply to hurt you and your family.  This is the only logical reason for why a 15-year-old application would continue to inflict the likes of the following upon the world.

First we have an error in memory management:

This error gives us some detail, at least.  It also assumes that we – and the thousands of low-level business users inflicted with Notes – have network documentation on hand and are Notes administrators.  In an organization like mine Notes has about a 1 in 8,000 chance that it’s directing this message to an actual Notes Admin.  Say what you will about Notes, but it does aim high.

If you’re willing to get give Notes some credit on that one because it does, however obliquely, provide actual assistance let’s agree to disagree as we consider this:

Please, read that with me: #0C:E9.  If you’re well versed in hexidecimal numbers then it should be clear that this can also be read as #12:233 which is perhaps even less helpful.   I don’t even know why this was raised.  Something to do with the email I was trying to read perhaps?  A background process?  Or, as I contend, did Notes simply feel that I was being too productive that morning?

Finally we have and example of Notes really putting the brakes on:

This error appears for no discernible reason using no standard error presentation whatsoever.  It’s a big red (blood red, one might say) box with no connection to the operation system or application at all.  No error code is given.  Nothing is logged.  Nothing can be done to recover.

However Notes, clearly demonstrating the sadistic tendencies that are the hallmark of all its interactions, forces you to specifically kill the application yourself.  I don’t know if Notes sees this as absolution for its own involvement but whatever the reason this kind of psychological softwarfare must be stopped.



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