Flutterby™! : Absurdities

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics


2004-11-07 22:54:25.691292+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

We need a collaborative outliner: We're working on an essay for Charlene's english class, one of those initially trite "is flag burning good or bad" assignments that has turned into an exploration of the history of the iconic meanings of the flag as an advertising symbol, sitting touching each other on the couch, and we're emailing revisions back and forth, across the couch, with less than a foot separating our screens.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Writing Consumerism and advertising Work, productivity and environment Net Culture ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-08 01:06:48.010311+00 by: meuon

Laughing. How about a word processor that lets two people open up a shared doc, and know that others have it open and make all edits open on all screens.. Oh, that kinda happens if you 'remote control' via VNC. I shared a webdesigner's DreamWeaver last week.. He was in Florida, I was in Chattanooga. I was using rdesktop on Linux.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-08 01:16:18.94633+00 by: Brian

I've seen people doing neat things with SubEthaEdit on the Mac (possibly renamed Hydra-something recently), which lets multiple people edit the same document, marking the various bits of text to indicate whom it came from, integrating with an IM client too. A lot of folks at PyCon were using it to collaboratively log the talks: with ten people taking (and correcting) notes, leapfrogging over one another, you can actually get an accurate transcript.

I also know folks who use screen(1) driving an emacs session to do something similar, although you have to let one person drive most of the time. Emacs can open a frame on a separate $DISPLAY, which would give you two separate drivers' seats against the same buffers, probably closer to what you want.

I'd really love to see some of SubEthaEdit's clever update protocols dragged into the free software world and implemented in an emacs module.. I think that could be very powerful.


#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-08 02:21:23.377426+00 by: aiworks [edit history]

Groove (http://www.groove.net) may do this. I've been using this interally for our group and it has some interesting things that have this kind of colloborative behavior. Their instant messaging is very good.

Unfortunately, Groove sucks in many of the same ways that Notes sucks. Someone other than Ray Ozzie needs to bring his stuff to market.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-08 15:01:29.255335+00 by: Diane Reese

Tell me more about the ways you feel Groove, and Notes, sucks, please?

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-08 15:41:31.801145+00 by: aiworks [edit history]

Realize that:

  • I'm a Notes R5 Certified Lotus Professional
  • At one point in my career I was responsible for a global Domino infrastructure spanning 10,000 users and just under 100 servers (Intel, AIX, and Mainframe)
  • I've been to 3 Lotuspheres
  • I have a button that says "I'm 1 in 20 million" referring to when Notes hit 20 million users
  • In other words, I've guzzled the yellow Kool-Aid
  • Groove sucks in that same way that Notes sucks for one simple reason: Ray Ozzie creates a culture around him of designing software toolkits instead of applications or full infrastructures. In the past, Lotus refused to add basic "quality of life" features to Notes because of some kind of internal religion.

    Here's an obscure example: Bill Andreas (senior lead designer) refused to entertain the idea of calling an external image editor in the Domino Designer (vs their horrible one) because he thought the only correct way to do it would be to write to the APIs of all the major image editing software. We weren't asking for anything nearly that big (write a file, call an app, wait on the app, load the file) but we (meaning a dozen people from different companies who had never met before) couldn't bring him around. I could go on and on about this (LotusScript that doesn't always compile, rich text in views, view refresh handling, client code that brings machines to their knees, etc...), but it doesn't matter any more. Lotus is a red headed step child to IBM now, IBM is driving the design of Notes to fit into WebSphere (you persist data? Good Lord, you have to stick it in DB2), and clearly the push is on maintaining the current customer base and not innovating.

    Now, let's talk about Groove. I'm not a Groove expert (my father is and that's how I've come to use it), but is has the same mixture of innovation and brain dead user features (to make it almost but not quite useful) that I've come to expect from Ozzie:

  • You can't add a contact unless it has an e-mail address (which means you end up with a lot of made up e-mail addresses)
  • You can't search across a Groove space (this is better than it used to be)
  • I recently bought a new laptop; moving my Groove spaces from one machine to the other was a bizarre, multistep process.
  • This is fairly new code (vs. Notes) and it runs like a pig. They can't blame multiplatform compatibility any more. It has all the hallmarks of a prototype or reference implementation. And, just like Notes you really need to run it all the time to get the most use out of it.
  • You can tell that "Groove as a toolkit" is their focus. You have to add standard tools to a space and they have a bunch of user and employee written (read unsupported) tools on their website (the Iris sandbox all over again).

    I wish that they would just go ahead and sell a toolkit without a half baked application wrapped around it. I come back to the notion that they seriously need an application development partner to being their only customer.

    #Comment Re: made: 2004-11-09 12:29:17.068777+00 by: meuon [edit history]

    You hit it, a lot of 'end user solutions' are actually 'toolkits'. All of my stuff falls into this catagory, for the same reasons most of theirs are: