Ben Langhinrichs

July, 2009
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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 30 Jul 2009, 10:44 PM
There are some stories which make me thank my lucky stars I didn't decide to go to law school.  This particular story, on CNN.com, starts:
A Boston, Massachusetts, police officer who sent a mass e-mail referring to Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. as a "banana-eating jungle monkey" didn't intend to express bigoted views or cause pain, his attorney said in a statement Thursday night.
Nah, how could you possibly think that referring to a black Harvard professor as a "banana-eating jungle monkey", four times in all, was possibly expressing a bigoted view?  But my favorite line comes a bit later in the article.  You can almost predict it, and still it astounds me:
Marano said Wednesday that Barrett's comments were taken out of context.
This is the catchall excuse for anything anyone says that they shouldn't (although sometimes it is said by people with good reason as well), but can you imagine trying to keep a straight face as you explain what context would justify this offensive and racist stereotyping?

Yup, I'm glad I didn't go to law school.  Can you imagine defending this guy?

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Thu 30 Jul 2009, 09:55 PM
Committees, especially committees setting rules and standards and such, can be dreadfully tedious and time consuming.  Unfortunately, they are necessary, and we are all extremely fortunate to have the people on the OpenNTF Steering Committee putting in that tedious and time consuming work for our benefit.  Done right, these rules and protocols and license schemes and systems will make OpenNTF even more productive and useful for all of us.  From what I can tell, they seem to be doing it right, or as right as possible.  In many ways, it is a good sign to see people leaving the committee, because a committee that is doing nothing is no problem being on.  It is a committee that is fighting to make its way through the process that drives people away, sometimes because the tensions in the group get high, but often because people leave when they simply cannot spend that much time on the project.

So, thank you to the members of the OpenNTF Steering Committee, Vince Schuurman (Chairman), Nathan Freeman, Ludwig Nastansky, Justin Hill, John Head, Brent Peters, Scott Johnsen, to the past members who took part in the process earlier, and to all those Alliance members and others who are supporting the process.  It may feel like a long slog, but we appreciate your staying on track.  Best of luck as you continue fighting the good fight for all of us.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Thu 30 Jul 2009, 04:53 PM
Today we released iFidelity Version 3.0a and iFidelity Gateway Version 3.0a.  The features/fixes include (in no particular order):

  • Image resources, both local (same database) and remote (different database), now sent image parts included in the MIME.
  • Background images on table cells, using both local and remote image resources, now supported on Outbound
  • Computed image resources supported for both images and backgrounds
  • Margins inside nested tables now accurate whether percentages or absolute
  • Improved handling of padding and spacing around images and tables, both inbound and outbound
  • Modified HTML for Lotus iNotes to avoid preprocessing which strips some attributes
  • Outbound messages optimized to read better in Outlook 2007
  • More accurate calculation of line spacing on inbound mail
  • Enhanced recognition of colors in various formats, including malformed formats from Outlook 2003/2007
  • Handling of "monotype" and other semi-standard Outlook features
  • Recognition of partial CSS attributes which override general ones (e.g., border-left even when there is a border)
  • Handling of larger images on outbound mail (very large images were truncated)
  • Added names to outbound content parts to allow better parsing when returning inbound
  • Faster memory recovery of allocated chunks
  • Support for inline binary encoded MIME parts
  • Improved support for multi-byte characters in hotspots
  • Better spacing of text/html MIME part  to account for GMail oddities
  • Recognition of some MS Word conditionals to allow better processing of email from Outlook 2003/2007

That may seem like a lot of items, but with well over 50 companies using iFidelity now, we have had the chance to be exposed to a lot of scenarios.  I would expect the list of bug fixes to go down over time, but as we are taking a "perfection is only almost good enough" approach for now, there will still probably be a couple more releases with lots of minor issues addressed at once.  In addition, there may be a few changes necessary to optimally handle new external software, such as Lotus Notes 8.5.1, Microsoft Outlook 2010, Internet Explorer 8, and so on.

Note: When I checked, only the Windows version of iFidelity and iFidelity Gateway were actually updated on the website, so I'll be off to see where the Linux and AIX versions are.

Oh yes, the free license.  I'll repeat our offer to IBM Business Partners who sell or work actively with Lotus Software: a free iFidelity server license to use so that emails you send, or receive in either iNotes or the Notes client, can be rendered with the highest iFidelity quality.  You just have to ask (before we end the offer) by filling out the iFidelity BP Order form.  And for you customers, feel free to try out the free evaluation license.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Wed 29 Jul 2009, 11:21 PM
...but they probably have more interesting stories to tell when you invite them to a party.

Note: Since my comment seems to have been misunderstood by one or two, I should clarify.  My point is not about gender politics or anything of the sort.  It is a point about language, as I am a writer (when not developing software to pay the bills).  There are comments such as "Well-behaved women rarely make history" which sound so good, they are repeated over and over, but do not really mean what people think they mean.  A more correct statement would be "Women who make history are rarely well-behaved women." but it just doesn't roll off the tongue the same way.  Nonetheless, it makes a lot more sense.  Very few people, women or men, make history, and that has little to do with their behavior.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

Wed 29 Jul 2009, 11:56 AM
The following idea was posted by Tommy Valand back in November 2007, but it deserves more support.  Even aside from the web editor use, there are many times when it would be handy to be able to create a rich text field, with both computed and static text, for example, and just check a box to say that the rich text should be treated as HTML.   It is available for a whole form, but narrowing it down to a rich text field would be more useful and powerful.

So, why not head over and vote for it if you like the idea?


Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Wed 29 Jul 2009, 07:18 AM
I wanted to make a comment on a BleedYellow blog, and couldn't figure out how.  Stuart McIntyre informed me very graciously that I had to log in.  OK, that makes some sense, so I went to log in, where it asked for username and password.  There was no option to register, and I honestly couldn't remember whether or not I had before, so I went back out of the Login and went to Register.  I tried to use my name, but it said there was already someone registered with that name, which must have been me before.  I went and searched my email and found my confirmation email.  So far so good.  I went back and tried to log in with my user id and a variety of simple passwords I might have used (throw away passwords I tend to use for sites like this).  No luck, and no option to request a password.  I guess my next step is to register again with a variation of my name, but in the meantime, I wanted to give some quick feedback as a newbie to Connections.  Actually, I have no idea whether the problems involved are due to Connections or to BleedYellow's implementation, although I would suspect the former.

So, in order of the frustrations:

1) Most web based systems that require a login to comment tell you so near the "Add a Comment" rather than simply leaving it inactive.  I clicked on "Add a Comment" on Scott Hook's blog and it didn't work, so I came to the erroneous conclusion that comments were blocked.  There should be a parenthetical (You must be logged in) or something like that.

2) Many web based systems that require a login have a dual Register/Log In page.  When you go to log in with Connections (because I am fairly sure this part is generic Connections), there is no option to register.

3) When I went to register and it found my name, there was no option to simply log in with it.  This is less common, but very useful.

4) This is the most annoying issue.  When you attempt to log in, and your password doesn't work, there should be some indication about how to either retrieve or reset your password.

5) Finally, when I go back to the BleedYellow confirmation, and follow the original link, instead of a link directly to my profile, there is a long to a search place from which I can search for my profile.  Why?  You know my profile name, so why would you want me to search for it again?

6) Back to the confirmation letter, which has the line "You MUST login with the e-mail address that you provided at registration." which seems to contradict the registration page, which clearly says "Your username will be composed of your First Name + Middle Initial (if entered) + Last name."  The first seems to indicate I should use my email address as my username, but the second that I should use "Ben Langhinrichs"

So, I am stymied.  I don't know how to request a password change, nor what my password originally was, or even what my username really is.  I guess I'll re-register, but it seems a real limitation for a public facing system.  That is, unless somebody knows who to ask to reset the password.  Anybody?

OK, one final gripe.  I went and re-registered, using the same email address as before.  It accepted it without complaint, and sent me an email saying I had registered correctly, but it hadn't really.  It must have failed silently on the duplicate email address.  Sigh!

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.