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Lotus Notes on Droid in Secret

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by imdickie, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. imdickie

    imdickie Active Member
    Thread Starter

    Aug 17, 2010
    Since I've been able to get Lotus Notes working on my Inc without the help or knowledge of my IT dept I have had a ton of people from my work asking me how I got it to work and how I keep it from being ferreted out by my IT dept. I emailed the instructions to a few people and thought I'd just as well create a document that details the process and post it for others that may be in a similar situation.

    I take no responsibility for the instructions in this post. It is for informational purposes only. Try at your own risk. This post makes mention of several products out there that are the respective trademarks of their owners. I do not condone nor personally utilize illegally obtained software.

    To get Lotus Notes working on your Droid you need to meet several prerequisites and have a few things downloaded or on hand. Here they are in no particular order.

    1. Droid (Duh..., I have a Droid Incredible and this is written from that perspective)
    2. PC that is on 24/7
    3. CommonTime mNotes Wireless - CommonTime : Products : mNotes (Has a 30 day trial, but full version costs $70 USD)
    4. Virtual Box - Downloads - VirtualBox (Runs separate copy of OS)
    5. OS Install Disc (Legitimate Windows OS version of whatever your company sanctions)
    6. Always on internet connection
    7. RDP Lite - Remote RDP Lite v3.0.0 Application for Android | Tools
    8. Lotus Notes
    9. Your Company VPN access

    I have a media server running that pushes all of my entertainment content to my home theater. It isn't a rocket ship of a PC by any means, but it has enough umph to get out of its own way.

    The first thing I did was download and install Virtual Box. The reason I installed a separate OS was to keep a barrier between my company and myself. By installing a separate OS that I used to connect to my compnay VPN and Notes I feel comfortable that my personal files are safe from any intentional or accidental intrusion. This step is not necessary if you are comfortable with your company having the ability to view the content of your PC.

    Virtual Box is super easy to download Downloads - VirtualBox and install. Just pick the correct version for the OS your system is running. Pick whatever size of RAM and virtual hard drive you feel comfortable with. I suggest using a static hard drive size only because it is easier to manage in the long run. I am running 4GB native on my machine so I chose Virtual Box recommended RAM of 192MB. My computer has a 2TB drive so I gave the virtual hard drive a modest 20GB of space.

    Once Virtual Box is installed you fire it up and click on "New". This will start the process of installing a fresh OS inside the virtual machine. My PC runs on Win7 64, but my company still runs on XP so I put my legitimate copy of XP in the CD tray and installed the OS inside of Virtual Box per the instructions. Virtual Box has a pretty vibrant user community so I recommend you check out their website because there are some configurations you can set that will make your VM easier to use, like shared mouse and keyboard.

    My company uses Cisco for its VPN and we have a web front end so I went to the website webvpn.mycompany.com and followed the instructions to load a certificate and get an active VPN connection running. Once I validated it was working I turned it off for most of the rest of the process.

    The next thing I did was to load Lotus Notes. It is very likely you have access or can get access to Lotus Notes installation files from your company. If not, I'm pretty sure you can make this work by just copying the C:\notes directory or the directory where Notes resides for you on your work PC and making a copy on your new VM. I haven't tested this yet, but after using this for a while I'm pretty sure all mNotes needs to work is the yourname.id file. You just have to know where the yourname.id file is and the address of the Notes server your mailbox resides.

    I had a legitimate copy of Lotus Notes 8.0 so I installed it and configured it to see the server my mailbox resides. Make sure you have it set up to only use the server copy of Notes. If you set it up to replicate you will run out of space on your VM very quickly.

    Now you should have a VM installed with XP running, a VPN connection to your work, and a working copy of Notes that sees your server side mailbox. The next thing is to download and install Common Time's mNotes Wireless. The installation was pretty painless, but the most problems I faced were with the settings on mNotes, all of my own doing mind you. Just make sure you have your work PC handy and you copy down the information correctly. It is pretty much common sense, but common sense is something I am lacking at times.

    Common Time does a good job documenting the installation process so I recommend following the PDF they have on their site when you download the trial copy. You will need to input a number of items in the program running on your Virtual Machine, and then configure your mail account on your Droid. If you have all of your settings correct your Droid should now sync with CommonTime's servers and you should have everything on your Droid that you sync with your server.

    The reason I think you can just copy your \notes dir to the VM is all mNotes is looking for is paths to notes.ini and yourname.id files. Keep in mind I have not tested this, but since you don't need Notes to be running to make mNotes work I'm pretty sure you can get away with just copying your \notes directory over.

    I have mail and calendar that sync with my server so I had to take my names.nsf file and move it over to the \Notes\Data directory on the new VM and point mNotes to that file in order to have my contacts migrated properly. I also had to make it a ritual that every Friday I copied the names.nsf file on my work PC over to the VM so my contacts stayed current. My company only allows for 250MB of server storage. I have well over 1000 contacts so that doesn't leave a lot of room for mail and calendar.

    You could just leave well enough alone at this point but since my company will randomly cut off VPN connections that have been persistent for more than 12 hours I needed a way to get to my system and restart everything. I chose to use Windows native "Remote Desktop Connection". There are other ways to do this like logmein.com or phonemypc.com but I already have RDP connection ability and am familiar with how to set it up and make it work.

    The first thing you do is go into your system properties of the computer where your VM resides (Make sure you are not doing this to the VM itself) and allow a remote connection. In Windows 7 you get there by right clicking on "Computer" and then standard click on "Properties". From there click on "Remote settings" and check the radio button "Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop (less secure)". From there you can set up to specifically allow only you by clicking "Select Users" and choosing the User name you want. From there click OK, then OK.

    If you want to test your connection go to another computer on your internal network and click the start button then enter the text "mstsc" in the text box on the bottom. Enter in the IP address of the computer where the VM resides. Make sure you enter the IP address of the computer itself and not the IP address of the VM. You should be presented with a log on screen. Enter in your user and password info and a remote desktop session should start.

    If you want to use Remote Desktop outside of your internal network you have to go into your router and tell it to forward port 3389 to the IP address of the actual computer where the VM resides. Again, make sure you are using the IP of the computer itself and not the IP address of the VM otherwise you won't be able to restart everything remotely. There are a ton of guides out there on how to do port forwarding so I will leave that up to you to googlefish for the appropriate info based on your particular router.

    To gain access to your computer remotely from outside your network you also need to know the external IP address of your router if it is a static IP or set up a Dynamic DNS account that will allow you to create a named address and can change the DNS entry as your ISP dynamically changes your IP address. Most current routers have the ability to enter dyndns.org account info and will inform dyndns.org if your IP address changes. If you haven't already I recommend going to dyndns.org and creating an account and a dns entry that you can always use to get to your network as needed. Once you have done that you will have an address that looks something like nameyouchose.dyndns.org. This will always point back to your router and will allow you remote access to your PC where your VM resides.

    Now that you can connect to your computer remotely and can do so from outside your network grab and install Remote RDP Lite (Remote RDP Lite v3.0.0 Application for Android | Tools) from the Apps Market. Fire it up and enter in your dyndns name nameyouchose.dyndns.org. If you've done everything correctly you should now have to enter your user and password name for your computer and then see your computer screen on your Droid.

    Now you have the ability to restart the Virtual Machine if it crashes, go into the VM and restart mNotes, restart your VPN, or even change settings.

    I really wanted to take some screen captures for this process, but there is a ton of personal info used in the process and I just don't have the time to take the screen shots and edit them so the personal info is blurred out. If I get some more free time here in the future I will either amend this post with screen shots or make a new post with the screen shots.

    Hopefully you found this post useful. I will do what I can to answer any questions that come about as a result of this post.



  2. Brinkley1988

    Brinkley1988 Well-Known Member

    Wow, so long an instruction. Thank you so much for sharing! That's helpful!
  3. imdickie

    imdickie Active Member
    Thread Starter

    Aug 17, 2010
    I know it is long and complicated, but I really hated my Blackberry. I've sent enough emails to my coworkers that I can tell the feeling is widespread in my company.

    Honestly I created this only to have a place to send my cohorts with just a link so I can keep the discussion out of corporate email.
  4. GregTard

    GregTard Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2010
    I am an IT Manager for a software development comp
    I feel bad for your IT department, but also feel it is there fault for having such poor security and logging.
  5. Lukehluke

    Lukehluke Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Wow thats a lot of information but some people will find it useful :)

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