Ben Langhinrichs

September, 2010
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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.


Tue 21 Sep 2010, 09:10 AM
My non-business writing blog, The Absent Minded Muse, is built using the standard IBM Domino Blog template, and it attracts a lot of spam.  Are there any add-ins, tricks, settings, etc. to control the spam, or do I have to build something in myself?  I find that I get lost when looking for documentation on the template.  Is there a wiki or some documentation somewhere to answer these sorts of questions?

Update: I finally decided to go to the source and searched Steve's blog, and I think I found the answer.  I will test and see how well it works.

Copyright © 2010 Genii Software Ltd.

Thu 16 Sep 2010, 10:54 AM
As many of you know, I am not really a gadget person.  While others walk around with iPhones and Blackberries and other whizgizmos, I tend to stick to my laptop for work and to a paperback book for reading pleasure.  Thus, I had slightly mixed feelings about receiving a Kindle for Father's Day.  On the one hand, I had expressed an interest to my wife.  On the other hand, I wasn't sure how I would feel actually using it.

The model I got has the 3G network, and it is wonderful to be able to sit on the beach and order a book.  Realistically, most of us don't spend that much time on the beach, so I probably could have gotten away with the wireless model, since I am usually close to some wi-fi, either at my office or on the road.

As for actually using the Kindle for reading, I have been pleasantly surprised.  Gabriella Davis had warned me that it felt "un-book-like", but I have been very pleased with both the readability and with minor details like it keeping track of the page you are on.  The biggest surprise to me though was how much I use it for more than books that I have bought, and I have bought several.  I use it for PDFs for technical topics.  I use it to review stories and novels sent by friends.  I use it to review my own writing, both business and non-business writing.  To load all this onto the Kindle, I use the very handy and free Calibre software to synch and convert to Kindle format.

Now, I take my Kindle anywhere where I used to take books, but it has books, magazines, articles, work-in-progress, technical documentation (e.g., ODF manuals), and they all fit in the size of just one light book.

It doesn't overheat.  It is easy to read in bright sunlight while sitting outside.  The battery lasts for days and days, about a week to ten days if I turn off the wireless.  I could almost get to be a gadget person if gadgets all worked this well.  (Of course, one feature that some of you will hate is that it does not have a browser.  For someone who wants to get work done, this is a plus, but I also have my laptop for any real browsing.)

All this, and you can get it in the wireless, non-3G version for $139.  I recommend it, if only to save in chiropractic bills since you won't have to lug as much around.

Click to see Kindle 3G at $189

Click to see Kindle Wi-Fi at $139


Copyright © 2010 Genii Software Ltd.

Wed 15 Sep 2010, 12:03 PM
In the various discussions of AppStores and cheap utilities, I find it interesting to think about who buys rather than what they buy.  In my business, the software that is bought by administrators sells for six times the software that is bought by developers, and yet sells more easily.  Obviously, they solve different problems, but I am curious how the equations work out for small apps, utilities and templates.

Putting aside what the app, utility or template does exactly, who could/would make the decision to buy it in your company?

Priced between $5 and $10
Priced between $50 and $100
Priced between $500 and $1000
Priced between $5000 and $10000

It is likely that the answers differ.  In the company I used to work for years ago, the answers probably would have been:

Priced between $5 and $10        Me! (I might have expensed it or not)
Priced between $50 and $100      My manager (probably using company credit card)
Priced between $500 and $1000    My manager's boss (probably using company credit card)
Priced between $5000 and $10000  Vice president (my manager would have submitted request)

Note that it doesn't matter what the software does, on the whole.  The implications of that are twofold.  The first is, super cheap apps can be marketed to developers or users directly, while even low priced apps may need to provide justification to a manager.  The second might be the time required.  Hypothetically speaking, let's look at the same price points and figure out the delay between seeing and purchasing:

Priced between $5 and $10        Now! (If it seems worth it, I would buy it.  What's the risk?)
Priced between $50 and $100      Couple of days (to track down manager, explain app)
Priced between $500 and $1000    Week or more (even harder to nail down)
Priced between $5000 and $10000  Week or more to six months (usually the latter)

Again, without even determining what the software does, and without going into which will be approved and which will not, we can make some rough decisions about who is the target audience, who is the decision maker, what time frame is likely to be required.  It is worth looking at the business aspects of the apps, utilities and templates separately from the specific technical details.

What would the answers be in your company?  What others questions would price by itself determine?

Copyright © 2010 Genii Software Ltd.

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Thu 9 Sep 2010, 09:54 AM
I generally keep my life as a writer and life as a software developer separate, but I imagine there are quite a few in this community who read science fiction, and I know there are a lot who like humor.  It so happens that I have a four part story in a new anthology of science fiction humor, and I thought I'd let you know about it.

The title of the book will either disturb you or entice you (you don't have to say which!), but the stories themselves are generally good fun, mostly clean.  This isn't erotica, although there may be a few NSFW bits in some stories.

Trust me, this one is worth picking up.

Copyright © 2010 Genii Software Ltd.

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