Celebrating the Winter Solstice

By Nigel Cheshire

Tomorrow, December 21, we’ll be celebrating the winter solstice up here in the northern hemisphere. The solstice, of course, marks the shortest day of the year, the point at which the North Pole is tilted at its furthest-away point from the sun. I never really understood why the solstice marks the (astronomical) start of winter, when, to my mind, the days getting longer means that we should be midway between autumn and spring.

Anyhow, the point is, that for centuries (actually millenia), people have celebrated at this time of year. The early pagan festival of Yuletide predates Christmas and is the origin of the yule log, the burning of which is thought to have represented the return of the sun. There are many, many festivals and celebrations that take place at this time of year, Christmas and Hanukkah of course, but also some more esoteric ones, such as Hogswatch and Festivus. (I wanted to include Wookiee Life Day, but that happens in November. Which is odd, because I thought was only held every three years, but I guess here on earth comes every year.)

Here at Teamstudio, with offices in the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan, we’re pretty northern-hemisphere and western-culture biased. Even in Japan, where Christians are pretty few and far-between, Christmas is a thing now. You’ll see some very western looking Christmas decorations in the shop windows if you’re walking around Tokyo at this time of year. Christmas day is not a holiday in Japan however, and so while those of us who celebrate it are feasting and exchanging gifts, our Japanese coworkers will be beavering away at their desks.

A common theme amongst many of the celebrations that take place at this time of year is one of regeneration and renewal, whether it’s marking the end of one year and looking forward to the new one, or celebrating the change from longer nights to longer days. It’s also the time when many of us make new year’s resolutions - vague promises to improve our lives in some way. Somehow, all of that seems appropriate, given the changes that are underway in the Lotus/IBM/HCL Notes and Domino ecosystem in which we live and work.

Irrespective of the change of ownership of the platform, many of our customers are transitioning their aging Notes and Domino applications in one way or another. They may be moving them to another platform, modernizing them using XPages or some other solution, or retiring and archiving them. Still others are continuing to build and maintain applications that run in the Notes client, but may be wondering how the acquisition of the platform by HCL will impact on them. Here at Teamstudio, we remain committed to supporting our customers whatever their preferred forward path is. For migrators, we have tools to help catalog and analyze applications and then export them to common and useful formats. For those committed to the platform, we have tools that help with the unique challenges that our beloved application platform can sometimes pose.

So, at this special time of year, as our thoughts turn to the year past and the new year ahead, we remain thankful for all our customers’ support. Some of our customers (including IBM themselves) have been with us for more than 20 years, and for that we are truly grateful. So, whatever your geographical location, customs or traditions, we send you season’s greetings and our best wishes for the year ahead, whatever it may bring.