06 September 2007

Notes Nicknames

Lotus Notes is the mail system in use in my office. When I first started with the company about seven years ago, our email name was just the first name followed by the last name. Then we had a big merger and all of a sudden there are more than one Joe Block and Jane Doe in the firm. To make the names unique, middle initials were introduced, first with the dot then without. Someone could start out as John Smith and if there's a new John Smith then the new guy would be named John X. Smith, unless he has his own real middle initial. A third John Smith might come along after the abandoning of the dot, so that he would be John Y Smith. All this is fine for all those people with common first names and last names, but what if the people I know have unique names, like Albus Dumbledore or Severus Snape? What can I do if I just want to address these two as Dumbledore or Snape, respectively?

The answer lies in the use of the Personal Address Book (PAB). Instead of trudging through THE central Address Book, you can create your very own address book, entering the names individually or copying them from the central Address Book as the need arises. Once you have an entry in your PAB, you can customize it to your heart's content. In Albus B. Dumbledore's case, I'll just call him Dumbledore. Who cares if he has a brother name Aberforth? The brother only came out in the last Harry Potter series so the name Dumblebore automatically refers to Albus. I can never remember whether Dumbledore's middle initial has a dot or not anyway, so just Dumbledore does the job. Likewise, I don't care that there are other blokes named Harry out there, I want to address Harry J Potter simply as Harry.

As shown in the screenshot, what I did was I made my Dumbledore entry to have no first name and no middle initial. Just the last name. For Harry Potter to be just Harry, I would make Harry his last name and again provide nothing else. Then whenever I want to address these magical characters, I just enter the short version and press F9, then the real address would show.

I like the discovery I made on my own but thought there should be another way around it, something more direct. Sure enough, as pointed out at http://www.alanlepofsky.net/alepofsky/alanblog.nsf/dx/nicknames , the proper way to make use of nickname is to enter them in the Short Name field in the Advanced tab. To use multiple nicknames for the same person, you would enter the variations in the Full Name field, keeping each variation on its own line. Still, I like my way better because I can make the change right there when I open up the entry. Also, in the list view, all my entries would appear sorted exactly the way I think of them. With the way Alan Lepofsky pointed out, in the list view Dumbledore would still appear as Albus B. Dumbledore and not as Dumbledore.

In my real address book in the office, I have entries for Teary, Purple, Lone Gunman, plus a bunch of other first names that are either unique, such as Inna or Magnus, or belong to people in my immediate group.

Oops, I did it. My fans don't want to read about boring computer stuff but I wrote on the topic anyway. Oh well.

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