Ever get wistful over some DOS program? I’m part of a loyal crowd that is still using Lotus Agenda, the legendary PIM (personal information manager) that was a personal project of Lotus co-founder Mitch Kapor. You can also see Bob Newell’s page of “Agendabilia” (just coined here in honor of the occasion). His site includes the draft text of the review by James Fallows from the May 1992 issue of The Atlantic [see Addendum #3 below], still a revered document among those of us in what Fallows referred to in a long-ago email as “the Agenda bund.”
Yesterday, as I was making a copy of my planner.ag file, I noticed on the Windows Explorer screen of my PC that it had updated on 8/16/2010, but that almost all of the other files in the APPS directory were last modified on 8/17/1990. That meant that tomorrow — now today, at least for another 15 minutes or so in the EDT zone of the Eastern US — is the 20th birthday of (at least my copy of) Agenda 2.0.
Happy birthday, faithful companion, even as we now contemplate a move to running you in a DOS window, under Windows XP, under Parallels 5.0, on a MacBook Pro with 8 GB of memory running OS X. None of which — especially the 8 gigs of memory — either you or I could have anticipated or even grasped when you were born, or should that be burned?
Addendum (8/18/10): For those of you, like me, who assume that Agenda will never pass this way again, especially given the glacial pace of Chandler, despite Mitch Kapor’s initial efforts, well, there is the faintest glimmer of a hint. Or at least there is Tom Berend, a retired engineer in Toronto, whose blog title hints at what we want to hear: Lotus Agenda Rewrite. Really? One guy, on his own, a few hours a day? And as a Web app at that. Stranger things have happened. And besides, he captured the spirit of Agenda better than anyone else: “…it still amazes me how agile, how PERFECT it is.” Just so.
Addendum #2 (4/8/12): Alas, very late last year, Tom Berend (see first addendum, above) put Lotus Agenda Rewrite on hold. As I read his post, probably on deep hold. As nice as Agenda redux would have been, you can’t fault his arguments.
Addendum #3 (4/8/12): Amazingly, about a month ago in sorting through some old file folders, I found the tear sheets of James Fallows’ review from the May 1992 issue of The Atlantic. For those of you who want the final word, as opposed to the draft text mentioned in the opening paragraph (above), here are the four original pages in all their edge-to-edge glory.
Addendum #4 (7/27/12): Tom Behrend has now removed his blog (formerly at lotusagenda.blogspot.com) and presumably any residual thought of a rewrite with it (see Addendum #2).