Ben Langhinrichs

March, 2004
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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.


Sun 28 Mar 2004, 06:13 PM
Readers from the US are more likely to appreciate this...  

We were travelling towards Philadelphia and my wife pointed out that we were passing Valley Forge.  

"What happened at Valley Forge?" asked my youngest son, by now used to our short history lessons.

Before we had a chance to answer, our older son answered succinctly, "They had a winter, and it sucked!"

I've heard much longer explanations of Valley Forge and what it meant to the US Revolutionary War, but none quite so brief and to the point.  Maybe the kid should become a history teacher.

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

Thu 25 Mar 2004, 11:44 AM
Fellow Penumbra Group member Carolyn Kraut has started a blog, and the very first post I read helped me out.  Carolyn described in her post how, in ND6 and above, when you want to get the server or filepath from @DbName, you can now access the array elements directly, so @DbName[2] replaces @Substring(@DbName; -1).  Her mentioning this got me to thinking about the direct accessing of array elements, and I realized that my Interesting Challenge Redux post from a few days back could be simplified using this approach.  The code I had was:

but using the direct access to the array elements in the Titles_Old field would save one line and greatly simplify another, thus:

The temporary variable "titles" is no longer needed, and the messy

@Subset(@Subset(titles; n); -1)

is replaced by a tidy and more easily read

Titles_Old[n]

Thanks, Carolyn, and welcome to the Domino blogosphere!

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

Thu 25 Mar 2004, 07:27 AM
Support Thoughts intro
I am doing some active thinking about support forums because I am actively working to bring up our new Support Forum and still retain all the content from the past seven years.  I am adapting the OpenNTF domBulletin template to my needs (using @Midas and such).  If you want to see the progress, go to Genii Support Forum (beta).  I hope to have the support forum fully functional in the next couple of weeks.

Multilingual Support
I am active in a number of user-supported support forums, most notably the R4&5 Gold forum and the ND6 Gold Forum on Notes.Net (or LDD for those who think that way).  One thing that bothers me about these forums is that they are all "English", all the time.  Now, before anybody jumps on me, I accept that the forums are a lot easier to understand for us English speaking people when the posts are in English, and I understand that English is an unofficial standard among computer people, so I accept the necessity of having English.  What I object to is the avoidance of anything else, and the active dissuading anyone from posting in any other language.  I wish there could be a native language translation provided when the author of a post was not entirely comfortable with English, not replacing the English, but augmenting it.  This could be informal, just by requesting it of the authors, or there could be a separate field for it and a designator if the post contained a separate language version.

I envision a field on each post which states the "Alternate language", and a separate field for that language supplement.  Let's imagine someone posts a post in English, but also specifies Spanish as the "Alternate language" and posts the post in Spanish, presumably their native tongue.  English speaking people can still read the English part, but when it is very confusing, those who read Spanish can try to see if the explanation there makes more sense.  There could be a view for "Alternate language" as well, so that those very comfortable with German, French, Spanish, or whatever else, can endeavor to provide a bit better support for people asking questions in those languages.

Now, I don't want this to be confused for support for different language forums.  There are forums in different places already which serve as native language support, but they sometimes lack the breadth of experience available in the English forums (not due to any failing on the part of the native language speakers, but because of that unofficial standard I mentioned).  This plan would probably fail if too many posts only contained the alternate language, but I think that would be a self correcting problem, since people would not get the responses they wanted.  On the other hand, some posts would get answered that are not now because the English of the author is simply not adequate to the task - sort of what would happen if I were to post in a German only forum.

What do you think?

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

Wed 24 Mar 2004, 10:14 PM
First, Andrew's post:
As I'm sitting here getting NCT Search 3.0 beta 1 ready to send over to Jim at Brightline, I realized that the cache is a little too good --- if you make a change to a configuration form, you have to redeploy the servlet to get it to pick up (or drop the diiop task on the domino server and restart it).

Then Colin's post:
It's aliiiive! A wee C++ app connecting to MySQL using the MySQL C API. MySQL's C++ API (called MySQL++) and RedHat 7.3 don't seem to get along, so I decided to see how hard the plain ole C API would be to work with. It seems quite doable, and others have written their own C++ wrappers for the basic C API. After all, why not? A hidden upside was that by digging deeper into the C API, I also came across a few mentions that MySQL++ is highly inefficient.

And finally, my son's AIME question:
A convex polyhedron P has 26 vertices, 60 edges, and 36 faces, 24 of which are triangular, and 12 of which are quadrilaterals.  A space diagonal is a line segment connecting two non-adjacent vertices that do not belong to the same face.  How many space diagonals does P have?

What do these have in common?

I'll tell you... they are all completely insane sounding ramblings that make sense if I stare at them just long enough, but not too long.  Where does the human brain learn to decipher this stuff?

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

Tue 23 Mar 2004, 03:02 PM
There was an interesting interchange in the R4&5 Gold forum today about setting the date which a document reports with @Created.  Rod Whiteley suggests changing the part of the UNID which represents the date and time, which will work, but has some major drawbacks, such as breaking links to the document, orphaning responses to the document, etc.  Sometimes it is better to stay inside the box.  A better approach is to set the $Created field with a timedate, which will change what Notes uses for @Created and the NotesDocument.Created property.  It is still possible to find the original document creation date by looking at the document properties, which seem to use the UNID, but this will fix replication problems and issues where the @Modified is earlier than @Create.

The $Created field does not seem to be documented in the Help files, but it is documented in the C API header files in STDNAME.H, where it says:

/* Created date, if specified overrides UNID created date for @Created */
#define   FIELD_CREATED   "$Created"

So, if you are experiencing trouble because your @Created is incorrect, you can create an agent such as:

FIELD $Created := @Modified;
""

and run it on the selected documents.  Voila!

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

Mon 22 Mar 2004, 11:40 PM
A beta tester asked me "How would I code the sample in your interesting challenge blog using @Midas?"  My first reaction was, "You can't, because there isn't any looping in formula language", but then I remembered that @While and such constructs WERE added in ND6, so I gave it a try.  Now, to be fair, I had to tweak the code some under the covers to fix a few bugs which surfaced, but that is what betas are good for.  Anyway, the following code works with the new beta I'll send to beta testers tomorrow.

Sorry for the odd purple, but that is what the screen print saved.  Let me know if you would like any explanation of what is going on.

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.