Reality check: Shall we keep this software?

The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.

Moderators: Jenise, David M. Bueker, Robin Garr

Whither the forum software?

This is great. Let's keep it!
45
78%
Let's pay Eric to make something even better!
12
21%
I want to go back to Netscape!
1
2%
 
Total votes : 58

Re: Reality check: Shall we keep this software?

Postby Paul B. » Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:22 am

Well, I usually have snap answers to most things, being an impulsive type, but this one has me thoroughly stumped.

I can't deny my fondness - clearly shared by many here - for the old interface that allowed one to follow the breakdown of responses in any given thread. That was a truly intelligent, functional and intuitive design that was probably way ahead of its time (I don't know this for a fact as I have nothing to do with programming, but I think it's safe to say that it was a pioneering design). Aww, heck ... I may get some grief for saying this, but I'll say it anyway: the threaded interface on the old WLDG was amazingly fantastic. There. :mrgreen:

Now, the move to Netscape was not initially bothersome for me because new experiences frequently cloak change in a sense of excitement. And I got pretty good at selectively tuning out the ads and flickering banners all around, focusing on the left pane housing all the folders and the main text windows down the middle. It wasn't bad after a while, though I did find the look of the place a bit on the kitschy/pink-flamingo side.

This BB setup is visually more quiet - a very good thing. I like it. I can't say that what Eric might be able to design wouldn't put this interface to shame, but that said, these latest digs really are very decent and functional IMO.
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Let's spend Robin's children's inheritence!

Postby Jim Cassidy » Fri Apr 14, 2006 1:23 am

This is much better than Netscape, but I really prefer the old forum. I know nothing of programming, but it must be possible to recreate the capabilities of old program while eliminating the problems. I'd be in for $50, maybe more.
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Re: threading and color change of links!!!

Postby John Tomasso » Fri Apr 14, 2006 9:24 am

Robin Garr wrote:. When you open a forum and see the list of posts, you'll notice a tiny yellow folder just to the LEFT of the message title. Click it, and it's supposed to take you to the place in that thread where you left off.


Yes, and it works like a charm.

I really don't miss the threading at all, and I used to hate it when the conversations moved all the way out to the right side of the screen. Proper use of the quote function here can mimic the threading - and I think it's easier to follow, without all that multiple clicking.
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Re: lets chip in

Postby Bob Henrick » Fri Apr 14, 2006 8:08 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Bob, my post at the top of this thread answers that question. We're looking at a five-figure price tag. Eric would deserve it, but it's non-trivial, and we're not going to come up with it by passing the hat for a few bucks here and there.


So, if I understand you correctly, Eric wants at least $10,000 to write a new WLDG software that would do all we want. Is that correct, or do I not understand 5 figure price tag?
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Re: threading and color change of links!!!

Postby Bob Henrick » Fri Apr 14, 2006 8:19 pm

John Tomasso wrote:Yes, and it works like a charm.

I really don't miss the threading at all, and I used to hate it when the conversations moved all the way out to the right side of the screen. Proper use of the quote function here can mimic the threading - and I think it's easier to follow, without all that multiple clicking.


John, either I am not using the software correctly, or my machine is not responding as your is. I just logged on to the forum for the first time in 24 hours, and I have no, zero, none yellow flags. I have had them in the past but I do not now, and I have not edited my profile or made any changes to the way I view the forum. Even though when I used to get the yellow flag, if I brought up the board and then left after clicking on a forum (say wine forum) then left the forum without reading one post, all the flags would go to black, never to return. So, what these yellow flags are is a notice of the new post since your last visit. Not really even close to what we had over there with the old software. John, I don't mean to sound contentious, but I just am not getting what you say you are getting from this software.
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Re: Let's spend Robin's children's inheritence!

Postby Bob Henrick » Fri Apr 14, 2006 8:28 pm

Jim Cassidy wrote:This is much better than Netscape, but I really prefer the old forum. I know nothing of programming, but it must be possible to recreate the capabilities of old program while eliminating the problems. I'd be in for $50, maybe more.


Jim, I too like this much better than the Netscape board. I had finally grown so unhappy with that board that I quit posting completely and rarely ever signed in except to see if I had a private message or if I wanted to go to the chat room. I still sign in there to get to the chat because that is the only door there is to that room. About that $50, I would be happy to pony up that amount and have said that before. When my friends in Va were fighting the anti shipping laws I sent them that amount or more, and when Michigan was likewise engaged, I sent them that amount or more to them too. So yes, I will be happy to give to Robin if he would or could get the old software updated and get away from these generic one size fits all boards.
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Re: lets chip in

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:13 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:So, if I understand you correctly, Eric wants at least $10,000 to write a new WLDG software that would do all we want. Is that correct, or do I not understand 5 figure price tag?


Not so much "wants," Bob, as calculates that this is what it would take in terms of the hours and effort needed to do such a job right. It's a fair price, consistent with standard development costs (and better than most), but it's definitely not pocket change, and it's not something that's going to be accomplished by passing the hat.

Honestly, looking at the numbers at the top of this thread and seeing the general satisfaction that most folks have, I just don't see us raising that kind of money. Maybe if we had taken this poll on Netscape without having tried out this open-source alternative, we could have raised the money, but it's my instinct that we don't see it happening now.
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Re: threading and color change of links!!!

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:18 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:I don't mean to sound contentious, but I just am not getting what you say you are getting from this software.


Bob, knowing that you're running all sorts of spyware and adware stoppers and extra firewalls, I think it's very likely that your system is refusing to take the cookies it needs to handle this kind of job. This software is painfully simple compared with Netscape, but it does depend on session and persistent cookies to detect where you've been and what you've done.

The good news, if you want to work on it, is that for the first time, this ENTIRE forum is hosted on a single URL, http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/village . There's no issue of neeting to deal with wineloverspage.com and myspeakerscorner.com, or Netscape and CompuServe and Prospero and lord-knows-who. If you can set all your firewalls and cookie-stoppers to trust wineloverspage.com - or even just wineloverspage.com/forum/village if you want to take it that far - then the forum should behave normally for you.
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Re: threading and color change of links!!!

Postby Bob Henrick » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:24 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Mike, it's a little quirky sometimes, but the forum actually does have that functionality. When you open a forum and see the list of posts, you'll notice a tiny yellow folder just to the LEFT of the message title. Click it, and it's supposed to take you to the place in that thread where you left off. (There's also a folder icon to the RIGHT, next to the name of the last poster. Click that one, and it takes you to the last post in the thread.)


Robin I don't think that is entirely correct. The little yellow folder is supposed to take you to the latest reply, and not to where you left off.
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Re: threading and color change of links!!!

Postby Bob Henrick » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:30 pm

[quote="Robin Garr"]Bob, knowing that you're running all sorts of spyware and adware stoppers and extra firewalls, I think it's very likely that your system is refusing to take the cookies it needs to handle this kind of job. This software is painfully simple compared with Netscape, but it does depend on session and persistent cookies to detect where you've been and what you've done.
[/quote

Robin, about those spyware/adware and firewalls...even with all those, my checking account was pilfered of $19,000 so you bet I am trying my dead level best to stop the bad guys. Anyone on the internet and especially on broadband who does not, is playing with their identity. Somehow after I posted about not having the yellow folders, they returned.
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Re: threading and color change of links!!!

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:02 am

Bob Henrick wrote:Robin I don't think that is entirely correct. The little yellow folder is supposed to take you to the latest reply, and not to where you left off.


Like I said, I'm still learning this software too! :) BUT ... I'm pretty sure that the YELLOW folder on the LEFT goes to the point you left off in a thread (or at least to your last previous visit). The WHITE folder on the RIGHT (next to the latest poster's identity) goes to the last reply in the thread.
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Re: threading and color change of links!!!

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:04 am

Bob Henrick wrote:Robin, about those spyware/adware and firewalls...even with all those, my checking account was pilfered of $19,000 so you bet I am trying my dead level best to stop the bad guys. Anyone on the internet and especially on broadband who does not, is playing with their identity. Somehow after I posted about not having the yellow folders, they returned.


I'm not advising you not to run those programs if they make you feel more secure, Bob. All I'm saying is that if you're seeing odd effects with the folders (and other similar issues in benign sites that you visit), it may be that you need to get in and tweak some of those programs so they don't screw up "trusted" sites.

I'm glad the folders are back.
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Re: lets chip in

Postby Paul Winalski » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:18 am

Robin Garr wrote:
Bob Henrick wrote:So, if I understand you correctly, Eric wants at least $10,000 to write a new WLDG software that would do all we want. Is that correct, or do I not understand 5 figure price tag?


Not so much "wants," Bob, as calculates that this is what it would take in terms of the hours and effort needed to do such a job right. It's a fair price, consistent with standard development costs (and better than most), but it's definitely not pocket change, and it's not something that's going to be accomplished by passing the hat.


Hell, that's what I'd be charging for that level of commitment and work.

Good-quality, robust software involves a lot of cussed, nit-picking detail work that's a real chore. Fun hackery will get you 90% of the way. Then, as we say in the software industry, comes the last 90% of the job. :) But that's the vital part that insures the software won't fall over if you look at it cross-eyed, and to make sure that it scales upward to a large number of users without getting tediously slow or breaking, and to make sure that it's safe from net vandals, and... and... and....

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Yes

Postby Peter May » Sat Apr 15, 2006 6:41 am

Robin Garr wrote: Please chime in with your vote and your thoughts. This is important.


I voted to keep with this. Netscape software is unspeakable. The option of an upgraded version of the superb user friendly original WLDG software sounds attractive, but it makes no business sense to invest a 5 figure sum in software that is to be written and maintained by just one individual.

Thus I vote to keep this. It is a major leading software for forums, mots visitors to this board will be familiar with using it, and there is a good prospect of future maintenance and some support.
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Maybe I'm crazy or early dementia could be setting in but ..

Postby Bill Spencer » Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:45 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Is this good enough, and should we stay?


%^)

... I could have sworn that when you were first posting about this new "board" and the discussion turned to the "tree-threading" topic, you said it was something you were working on but still needed more time to work out some "bugs" and feel good about the security issues involved with that particular ability ... so is what you're saying now is that that is now NOT possible with this software and we'd need completely new software with it's $10,000+ pricetag to accomplish that ?

If I'm crazy and/or have some early dementia, I truly apologize to you and others taking part in both this and the earlier discussion for asking the above ...

On the other hand, if I do remember correctly this part of our very early discussions on "tree-threading", isn't what you're saying now a little bit on the disingenuous side ?

I'm NOT trying to pick a fight here, Robin ... but IMHO, there are a LOT of votes NOT being recorded in your poll because there are a SLEW of people you lost when you made the switch to Netscape and who STILL haven't come back even with the "birth" of this new board ...

In friendship but with concern ...

Clink !

%^)
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Re: Maybe I'm crazy or early dementia could be setting in bu

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:58 pm

Bill Spencer wrote:I could have sworn that when you were first posting about this new "board" and the discussion turned to the "tree-threading" topic, you said it was something you were working on but still needed more time to work out some "bugs" and feel good about the security issues involved with that particular ability ... so is what you're saying now is that that is now NOT possible with this software and we'd need completely new software with it's $10,000+ pricetag to accomplish that ?


Bill, I know you're not trying to pick a fight, and I'm not at all miffed by your asking questions. Let me try again:

I'm happy with this new software. Most of us seem to be. Most of us were NOT happy with the Netscape software. :)

This current forum (PhpBB is the name of the system) does have a "tree-threading" modification. Initially, I was told that this modification is buggy and insecure, but we're keeping an eye on that, and there may be developments sometime soon. We'll let you know as soon as there's soup to serve ... it's not a secret, it's just that we don't have all our ducks in a row.

This topic we're in is about something rather different. I was talking to Eric about how we initially went to Netscape because his old program just wasn't serving our needs any more, with security issues and error bugs. If we should be interested, he would be happy to consider writing us an *entirely* new forum, including the kind of threading we had in the old one and a lot of other new stuff too. But he would have to be paid for his time, and compensated adequately and substantially. This is after all his job, not something he would do for a hobby and favor. But it's not directly related to the PhpBB thread mod. It's just an entirely different option, one that I wanted to offer to the group to see what you thought. I'm not changing my original statement in any way, shape or form. We're looking at the threading mod. If we can find a way to do it - and it might require SOME money for development, but certainly not $10K - then we'll do that.

If the gang votes to have Eric build us something completely new, we'll do that instead. But to be honest, the way the vote and the discussion is going, I think the group has already spoken, don't you?
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Re: Reality check: Shall we keep this software?

Postby David Lole » Sat Apr 15, 2006 7:47 pm

Another happy with what we've got, but if enough people want to put up for a new system, it wouldn't worry me, as long as it was free from the vagaries of the Netscape software. I'm here for matters of wine, food and the top people you get to know who are doing likewise.
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Fundraising suggestion

Postby Simon J » Sat Apr 15, 2006 8:23 pm

Hi Robin,

IMHO, this is better than the Netscape but less versatile/user freindly than the old forum (although the options for replying are more complete here).
Should you try to give it a go with Eric, maybe you could fundraise by asking for contributions of bottles and then hold an on-line auction. People can pledge a bottle(s) and when you estimate you have enough to raise the funds fire up the hammer!

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Re: threading and color change of links!!!

Postby Bob Henrick » Sat Apr 15, 2006 9:07 pm

Robin Garr wrote:[I'm not advising you not to run those programs if they make you feel more secure, Bob.


An unfortunate choice of words Robin. I don't think that this kind of protective software is me mimicking Linus and his security blanket. I report again that even though I run Spyware, a firewall (pro model), and antivirus software. Somehow my bank account was broken into to the tune of enough to pay Eric twice for writing the new software. So, while my security software choices may seem like overkill, or unfounded fears, I do not believe for one moment that the problems I have had here or on the NS forum have anything to do with my security protections.
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Re: threading and color change of links!!!

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Apr 15, 2006 10:26 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:I do not believe for one moment that the problems I have had here or on the NS forum have anything to do with my security protections.


OK, Bob.
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Re: Reality check: Shall we keep this software?

Postby Agostino Berti » Sat Apr 15, 2006 10:30 pm

Hi Robin,
I say go all the way until you have the ideal forum.
I think TN transference is key. That's what I love about this site, looking up a wine and getting 20 different laypeople's opinion on the same wine.
I'll chip in money, no doubt. Whatever you need. This layout is good until then. This is my opinion and I think I agree with you.

Thanks,
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Re: threading and color change of links!!!

Postby Paul Winalski » Sat Apr 15, 2006 11:17 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:
Robin Garr wrote:[I'm not advising you not to run those programs if they make you feel more secure, Bob.


An unfortunate choice of words Robin. I don't think that this kind of protective software is me mimicking Linus and his security blanket. I report again that even though I run Spyware, a firewall (pro model), and antivirus software. Somehow my bank account was broken into to the tune of enough to pay Eric twice for writing the new software. So, while my security software choices may seem like overkill, or unfounded fears, I do not believe for one moment that the problems I have had here or on the NS forum have anything to do with my security protections.


I, too, run antivirus software, a firewall, and an ad/spyware blocker. I also avoid use of Internet Explorer because of its security problems. I don't think you're being a single bit paranoid, or that you're overreacting.

That being said, it did turn out that my ad-blocking software was responsible for my problems logging into the Netscape forum. I was able to log in just fine if I shut down the ad blocker, but not with the blocker in place, even though--the damning piece of evidence--I set the blocker into pass-through mode, where it was supposed to just let all HTML through. The problems went away when I reverted to an earlier version of the ad-blocking software.

I recount this story just to point out that anti-spyware software, ad-blockers, firewalls, and virus-checkers are software and can have bugs in them, too, that cause them to inadvertantly mangle harmless network interactions.

As far as I know, this newest incarnation of the WLDG software makes only the very lightest, and most legitimate, use of session authentication cookies for its operation. If your network protection software is interfering with that, then I'm sorry--it's either misconfigured or it's got bugs.

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Re: threading and color change of links!!!

Postby John Tomasso » Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:20 am

Bob Henrick wrote:Somehow my bank account was broken into to the tune of enough to pay Eric twice for writing the new software.


I don't mean to be nosy, Bob, and I will mind my business if you don't want to talk about it, but did the bank make you whole for your loss? I was under the impression that the consumer had protection against those kinds of crimes, and that the worst part of such an incident might be the time required to set things right. If you were out real dollars, that's a whole 'nother ball of wax.
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Re: Reality check: Shall we keep this software?

Postby Bob Ross » Sun Apr 16, 2006 12:55 pm

Agostino Berti wrote:I think TN transference is key. That's what I love about this site, looking up a wine and getting 20 different laypeople's opinion on the same wine. I'll chip in money, no doubt. Whatever you need. This layout is good until then. This is my opinion and I think I agree with you.

Thanks,
Agostino


Right on Agostino, right on!

Regards, Bob
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