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In Memory of Lotus Organizer

The cover/logo of Lotus Organizer.

While mindlessly scrolling through my feed (a habit I should probably tone down, especially the ”mindlessly” part), I stumbled upon an article about the Lotus Suite.

Reading that name opened the floodgates of memories for me. Not for the entire suite in general – after all, I can barely recall the components of such a suite – but for my favorite software as a kid: Lotus Organizer (yes, I was a pretty odd kid, I suppose).

So, I thought it would be fun to go down memory-lane and share some memories of my early computer days.

A screenshot of Lotus Organizer.
Figure 1. A screenshot of Lotus Organizer.

If you are not familiar, Lotus Organizer was a virtual agenda. As was the custom at the time, it was a pure skeuomorphic experience. You had a literal virtual agenda (as you can see in the picture), complete with a cover, binder clips, labels, colorful tabs, and even a “trash bin” that would dramatically burst into flames when emptied. I still remember the satisfying sound effect of flipping the pages!

It probably was this physical feel that draw me to it. Even though it was installed on our home computer, my father rarely used it. However, it reminded me of the actual agendas and notebooks that my father used at work. I spent literal hours customizing the cover of my virtual agenda, changing its colors, title, finishes, and texture. Let’s be honest; how cool it is that a productivity app includes so many options for an element that it is barely visible unless you close the agenda?

The marvelous planning view.
Figure 2. The marvelous planning view.

You may ask, ”Davide, my brother in Christ, why the hell did you use a virtual agenda when you were only 11 years old? Well, mostly to play, marking fake appointments and making up things to do.

But I also had some (kind of) real use for it. That was around the time when I started learning Visual Basic to make a Pokédex. My uncle, who taught me Logo (who knows which version), gifted me a book on Visual Basic. I remember using Lotus Organizer to plan my study. I marked study hours using the agenda, scheduled days using the planner, and wrote interesting things I learned in the notepad. All of this was really unlike me. I never put so much effort into studying anything until much later.

I think it was Lotus Organizer who put in me the seed of that sickness that compels me to constantly try some damn app to “stay organized.”

Before writing this brief post, I spent some time looking at screenshots and modern reviews. I miss this piece of software so much. To be honest, it has nothing to envy from the most famous and modern productivity app. Of course, the UI and software capabilities have made plenty of progress since its last version (dated 2008), but the essence is all there.

Maybe I should try running the last archived version and really explore these old memories. Or perhaps I should refrain from spoiling them by looking at them again with my modern eyes. I still haven’t decided.

How about you? Do you have any strange software obsession from your childhood? Let me know.

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