Ben Langhinrichs

July, 2003
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Thu 31 Jul 2003, 06:22 PM
I wanted to wish a Happy Birthday to both my son, Nate, who turned 13, and Harry Potter.

Copyright © 2003 Genii Software Ltd.

Wed 30 Jul 2003, 10:37 AM
I was part of an interesting joint/distributed interview with Ed Brill of Lotus/IBM and Florian Lier of smartiX Consulting GmbH with a focus on IT entrepeneurs.  Not sure how I was selected, but I was please to be in such company.  Ed talks about it as well (here) on his personal blog.  Read it and let me know what you think.

Copyright © 2003 Genii Software Ltd.

Thu 24 Jul 2003, 12:21 AM
I have had a designer create a new look and feel our website, and would appreciate any feedback, either here or to .  You can reach the new site and compare it with our old site to see what is different and what you like better (or not).  Any feedback on any aspect welcome.

Before I get too much feedback on the content, that is still somewhat incomplete, especially the product pages, but will be filled in over the next few days.

Copyright © 2003 Genii Software Ltd.

Wed 23 Jul 2003, 11:40 AM
Avowed Lotus geek Rocky Oliver has been blogging about some hidden gems in Notes 6 that you may not have gotten a chance to see.  He recently wrote about colored rows and columns in views, and earlier wrote about embedded editors.  What I haven't seen him blog about is in-view editing, which he must know about because he just co-wrote the Lotus Notes and Domino 6 Programming Bible with Brian Benz (a book I highly recommend).  C'mon, Rocky, give us some tidbits about this amazing new addition.

As for layers, which are another hidden gem, I'll have to write about them myself in a future Rich Text 101 article (see sidebar for previous Rich Text 101 topics).

Copyright © 2003 Genii Software Ltd.

Tue 22 Jul 2003, 02:51 PM
On CNN.com today, the headline reads: Astronomical: Study counts 70 sextillion stars

If you read the story, it is not until the fourth paragraph that you get a vague hint that the counting wasn't really counting at all, when the phrase "was calculated by" is used instead of "was counted by".  It is not until the fifth paragraph that the article clarifies that "the number was drawn up based on a survey of one strip of sky, rather than trying to count every individual star".  Furthermore: "Within the strip of sky some 10,000 galaxies were pinpointed and detailed measurements of their brightness taken to calculate how many stars they contained. "

OK, so first, only a survey of one small strip of sky was done, and everything was extrapolated from that.  Second, the brightness of a galaxy was used to calculate the number of stars, with no particular evidence that it wasn't twice as many dimmer stars or half as many stronger ones.  Finally, this is extrapolated not just across the sky, but "multiplied again out to the edge of the visible universe", whatever that means.  I am not a scientist, but the likelihood of serious error has exceeded any possible value by this point.  On top of that, studies show that most people don't read beyond the fourth paragraph of any given news story, so nobody even knew this was a wild guess at best.

"So what?" I hear you mutter under your breath.  With stars, it hardly matters, but this is exactly the way Microsoft counts seats when it claims to be dominant in collaboration/e-mail/pick-some-other-category.  Use a lot of fuzzy math; pile the estimates on estimates;  discount other reasonable interpretations, and then declare a number, with all caveats buried on a website seven clicks from nowhere.  And guess what, people believe them, just the way they believe the astronomers!

Copyright © 2003 Genii Software Ltd.

Mon 21 Jul 2003, 06:11 PM
Others (such as Mark Bernstein in this post, and Julian Robichaux in this post) have been blogging about the Bulwer/Lytton fiction contest, a great contest for the worst opening line to a (non-existent) novel.  On a related note, it has been said of IBM that if it tried to market hamburgers, it would call them Charred Dead Cow In A Bun With Processed Cheese.  Unfortunately, IBM is slipping, as this webcast about Lotus Workplace Messaging shows.  It may be a bit long winded, but the message is great.  IBM has to watch out, or it could lose its reputation for lousy marketing.

So, in the spirit of helping out, I suggest that people (here or in their own blogs) suggest really bad marketing slogans or messages for any of the Lotus/Websphere products.  

A couple of samples:
  • Lotus SameTime - Obtrusive, omnipresent, in your face message interrupter
  • Lotus Notes - Different people getting together, well not actually together, to share stuff in real time, or not, and find out if they have any reason to work together, apart


but you can pretty much do whatever else you like.  Let's help Big Blue avoid the danger of insightful, targeted marketing, which might cause some sort of a glut of business for us all.

Copyright © 2003 Genii Software Ltd.