Ben Langhinrichs

May, 2006
SMTWTFS
 01 02 03 04 05 06
07 08 09 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31

Search the weblog





























Genii Weblog


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


Wed 31 May 2006, 08:56 AM
This idea came to me while reading a discussion on codestore.net about DominoBlogs.com, and ways that it could be better done.  He suggested a number of changes, including a rating system, and Laurette Rynne, who runs DominoBlogs.com with her husband Tim, responded to all his points.  Her comment about rating was 
As for a peer review / rating system - we specifically didn't want to include this, as the idea is to encourage new bloggers to advertise themselves and allow new voices to be heard without judgement. We want to leave it up to individuals whether they continue reading or not.
Jake responded, reasonably enough, that "without some kind of rating system it will always only ever be one long list of blogs", but then acknowledged that
Having said that I've seen (on photoblogs.rog) that this kind of rating system can lead to a "rich getting richer" situation where only the popular blogs get a look-in and continue to get rated highly, while other unrated sites tend to stay away from the public eye.
This is where I started to think about rating systems and the problem of the rich getting richer.  A very similar problem exists with many rating systems, including the US News and World rankings of colleges in the United States, which has led to a similar unreasonable focus on the top ten or so colleges and universities.
But there are some features of blogs that might allow for a different system that would both address Jake's concern about one long undifferentiated list and Laurette's concern that new voices should be heard without judgement.  I posted this suggestion there, but I would like to propose it more generally, beyond just the suggestion for DominoBlogs.com. 

Non-hierarchical vetting system for blogs
A better system might be a less hierarchical system where people could give some approval mark ("I vouch for Codestore.net") and comments, but the only levels were Vouched For, New, Not Vouched For and Dormant. Any blog would have a sixty (or thirty or whatever) day period as "New" until they were Vouched For by at least two (or three or whatever) people. This would give a good chance to see new blogs whether or not people knew them. After that, any blog that didn't earn a certain number of approvals would be "Unvouched For", and ones that did earn a certain number would be "Vouched For". Finally, any blog which went for sixty (or forty five or whatever) days would be "Dormant".
This sort of system would avoid the hierarchy of, say, Volker Weber or Rocky Oliver's sites always showing up with super high ratings, but would provide some level of vetting to give people a chance to see new blogs, but avoid ones that generated no interest from anyone.  

Copyright © 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

Technorati tags:

Tue 30 May 2006, 12:40 PM
I am not a big comic book fan (OK, I'm not a comic book fan at all), and I dislike movie violence (or other kinds for that matter), and I have avoided seeing the first two X-Men movies happily, but my ten year old dragged me out to see X-Men 3 despite my trepidation.  I have to admit that it was very good.  I was intrigued by the fact that the normal Good vs. Evil theme was not really followed.  In the movie reviews, Professor X is described as "Good" and Magneto is described as "Evil", but as my ten year old pointed out before we got the theater (while giving me a run down on who was who), Magneto believed that the humans were out to get the mutants, and he was probably correct.

In any case, I am not in the business of movie reviews, but I very much enjoyed the movie.  It was partly the company, as taking one of my kids to the movies is always fun, but it was also a pleasure seeing that the movie was a good deal less mindless than I expected, and a good deal more fun.

Copyright © 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

Technorati tags:

Fri 26 May 2006, 04:29 PM
If it looks like a tabbed interface, it should darn well act like a tabbed interface.  OK, I know I am being picky here, and there is even room for interpretation, but this is the top of the home page of the CNN.COM website...

CNN banner tabs

In my opinion, those look like tabs, yet when you click on one, such as American Morning (which I have never clicked on prior to today), you get...

American Morning header

Now, again, it may be just me, by why the heck would you switch interfaces and use that stupid CNN section dropdown instead of something more like this?

Alternate American Morning header

Wouldn't that make more sense?  Wouldn't it be better (more consistent) interface design?  I mean, just because I'm looking at American Morning right now, doesn't mean you should make it harder for me to find Paula Zahn Now later, right?  I'm just asking.

Copyright © 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

Technorati tags:

Thu 25 May 2006, 12:15 AM
A long time correspondent wrote asking me about Open Document Format (ODF) and the announcement that IBM will include an embedded ODF compatible OpenOffice editor instance inside Lotus Notes once Hannover comes along.  See this article for details.  This friend wrote:
I always think of you as the Rich Text expert - especially within Lotus Domino.
...
Will Notes / ODF have any effect on Notes Rich Text ?
An interesting question.  From what I can tell, the answer is "No!", because it seems very likely that IBM is simply going to extend their current ability to use MS Word as an editor in order to utilize the OpenOffice applications as editors.  This will not alter the use of rich text at all, but it does envisage a much stronger role for OpenOffice and ODF format.  One question that will likely arise is, how do you convert back and forth between ODF and rich text, if ODF is an important format?  At least, that is the question that intrigues me.

Copyright © 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

Technorati tags:

Wed 24 May 2006, 10:11 PM
Sometimes, the less said, the better...

Ferocious hamster team

Copyright © 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

Technorati tags:

Wed 24 May 2006, 10:57 AM
Years ago I read an intriguing article about power plants, and how they had to have the capacity to handle peak loads but normally didn't use most of that capacity.  We are seeing something of the same issue here with support CoexLinks, except taken to extremes.  Much of the time, there are few support calls.  CoexLinks just chugs away, doing its thing, and the only support calls are pre-sales support when people have questions about initial setup.

But we have a lot of customers by now, and we want to make sure that they always get the support they need.  And recently, we hit one of those rare times when three large customers were all having problems at the same time.  It turned out to be a memory management problem which led to regular crashes, not due to a memory leak, but due to a conflict between processes.  Most of our customers didn't see it, but these three saw it on a regular basis, so we got quite a few support calls.  Eventually, with lots of clues, we found the problem, fixed it and released Version 2.7 which eliminates the problem.  Now, we are back to crickets chirping in the support center, but the experience led us to decide to expand our support capability and separate out some of the pre-sales and post-sales support.  We will soon send our customers a letter along the lines of the following, although we are still setting up the appropriate phone number and e-mail addresses and such.  I just wanted to give you all a heads up and explain the reasoning a bit more fully:

Due to explosive growth in our coexistence tools, Genii Software has announced that its partner, Granite Software, which has been providing both pre and post sales support as well as being a full reseller of our CoexLinks product, will refocus entirely on sales and pre-sales support.  Post-sales support will be taken over by The Turtle Partnership Ltd in England, which will provide telephone, e-mail and database support.  This move will provide better coverage for our many European and Asian customers, while freeing up Granite Software to handle the many simultaneous prospects for CoexLinks, as well move forward with its award winning spamJam and ZMerge product lines.  Genii Software will continue to provide second line support for all coexistence customers, but also focus more heavily on its research and development into advancements in its existing and new product lines.

All three companies are members of Penumbra, a unique international consortium of highly trained ISVs and consulting firms working with IBM Lotus Notes and Domino and other technologies.  All members are separate companies, but collaborate on occasion to provide a synergy and breadth that benefits their mutual customers.
I am excited by the prospect of working more closely with the Turtle Partnership, and am pleased that this sort of arrangement allows them to meet whatever level of support we may require in a given week, since they already provide administrative support to a number of companies and have the size and flexibility to handle any peak times.  I'm also pleased that Granite Software will continue to fill the invaluable role in pre-sales support.  As always, Genii Software will focus on on-going research and development, as well as second level support.

Copyright © 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

Technorati tags: