RE: The Coop

April 13, 2007

This was originally a reply to Dan Lackey’s post on Flock and the Coop extension coming from Mozilla. However, I realized I had more to say than just a comment on his blog and my thoughts deserved a separate post.


Having been around Flock for pretty much the same time span as you, I would have to agree with you. As a community member, I spent many hours of my time over the last 18 months reading bug reports, SVN commits, etc. Sure those details are open, but you have to dig through mailing lists to find them.

I am faithful that Flock is not vaporware, but I feel, like you, that Flock needs to be more open. Sure anyone can browse through the code, file bug reports, and download “nightlies”. However, what makes or breaks an open-source project is the community. Firefox and Ubuntu are good examples here.

Flock is coming around though. The main wiki is starting to be a place for Design specs. IRC and the developer mailing list are starting to pick up again. But all of these communication channels are for the more technical user (yes, I know. this is a beta so many, if not most, are higher up the technical food chain. but there need to be more user friendly communication channels). For example, Flock’s community dude Evan sent a survey to one of the mailing lists. Ok, that’s a great way to get user feedback. However, the mailing list is a lot less visible than the official blog. The blog is one click away from, whereas the mailing list at least 3. So I would suggest cross posting things such as this survey, unless one wants to get feedback from a specific subset of the Flock community.

Ok, I think I am done. Don’t get me wrong, I think Flock is a great product and has enormous potential. I just feel Flock needs to be open in more ways than just source.

P.S. Evan, if you read this, I liked seeing some pics in your Flickr account from Flock HQ. Please make that a regular thing. Makes you all seem more human or something.



December 15, 2006

So my fifth semester of college is done. About frickin’ time too. I am looking forward to Christmas break, a lot. I don’t go back to school for a full month, which gives me plenty of time to work, relax, code, game, etc.

New Things:

  • My podcast downloader works. I need to think of a good way to check if the feed is updated or not. Right now, it always downloads the enclosure even if it was download during a previous run of the program. Anyone interested in trying the program out?
  • My roommate is playing Gears of War. He has been stuck on the last boss for at least an hour now. I am laughing inside.
  • My little bro got his first girlfriend. Dave, if you read this, congrats dude.
  • I am excited for the Spring semester.
  • Flock 1.0 has been pushed back to an early 2007 release. Pretty sure this hasn’t been stated officially, but Mike stated it in the forums.
  • Everyone Loves Raymond has turned into my favorite TV show. Ever since Lost has taken a break, ELR has taken a special place in heart. I also watch all the Heroes episodes online and am really looking forward for new episodes.
  • Looking forward to the Lamb of God/Trivium tour. Pissed that I am missing In Flames for basketball.

More on point #4. Why the heck would I be looking forward to school? Well, I am actually taking a programming class this semester, which is always a plus in my book. I also got to skip the first semester programming class so I don’t have to labor through too much old material. I am semi-scared about coding in Java. I didn’t have the greatest experience learning Java in high school so I am a little apprehensive about it. But I am sure pretty it won’t be that bad. Also, I am taking an Info Security class. This class should be pretty fun and interesting. Security is definitely one of my passions and the course follows the necessary items for CISSP certification so if I do well in the course, I may try to get my first cert.

Yay! I updated my blog again. Awhile ago, Lloyd pointed out that I don’t post often enough. Hopefully that will change. Probably not though.

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Thoughts on Tech Support

July 7, 2006

I have working tech support for close to a month now and have been enjoying most of the experience so far. Though, I have to say it’s not always the easy, laid-back job my friends think it is. I have found a few parts of the job a little challenging.

The first part is one I did not truly consider until this past weekend. My girlfriend, Tanya, and I were traveling to Minnesota to find an apartment for the fall, and queued the podcast I had recently recorded where Jake Dahn and I interviewed Will Pate. We discussed a lot different topics related to Flock, and during the course of the podcast Tanya would ask some questsions. So I would pause the podcast and answer her questions, no big deal.

However, it wasn’t until that car ride that I realized something: I should really be approaching support requests as if I am talking to Tanya or my parents. Not to knock their knowledge of computers, but it pretty basic. I think I should really be answering their questions as if my dad was asking the question. But then again, would my dad really be using Flock? No, he wouldn’t. So how much prior knowledge do I expect the users to have? While I think most Flock users are your average techie, how can I know for sure how much knowledge they have?

Another part of the last 4ish weeks has been finding answers to problems I cannot reproduce on my machine. When I am able to see the problem myself, or have seen it in the past, I am usually pretty good at helping people out. But when I honestly cannot seem to open up my mind to think of all the possible problems. It has just been somewhat difficult to think through all the possible problems when I don’t even know what could be causing the problem (don’t know the code). Hopefully this will come with practice.

Also, I haven’t looked at this article on the assumptions of tech support thoroughly yet, but it looks like something I should look at. Any suggestions for reading on tech support and/or QA, I would be glad for the advice. Eli Goldberg already has added Cem Kaner’s Testing Computer Software to my list. I should see if it’s at the library and spend an hour a day reading it. But that would mean giving up an hour on WoW, and I don’t know if it’s worth it. I mean, it’s summer.

Anyways, any suggestions/comments/feedback would be appreciated.

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My New Job

June 12, 2006

The Boys of Summer Support

Two of our favorite Flockstars, Daniel Lackey and Jon Homan, will be doing support internships with Flock this summer. We’re jazzed because we not only get two experienced Flock folks helping provide support for users, and we get to give them a unique work opportunity for their summer break.

You’ll see the guys hanging out on our support forums, helping verify bugs and working behind the scenes on the Help and Extensions sections of the new website that will launch soon with Cardinal.

As you can see, I have a new job. No more night shift stocking at a grocery store. The only bad thing about the new job has been readjusting my sleep schedule. Yesterday, I slept from 6pm to 3am. Thats just crazy.

Also, sorry for being non-existant since the beginning of May. The combination of exams and then WoW and work has sucked away all my time.

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April 19, 2006

Just wanted to test out the new Flock blog editor. They switched from TinyMCE to Midas. I probably won't notice too much a difference, but I do see that interface is a little different. Also, I can't tab from the "Title:" field to the text field. A pain, but a small fish to fry I suspect. Will do more indepth testing when I have time, which will be probably be after school is done.

Working on Flock

April 15, 2006

Once again, I spent a fair amount of time trying to verify bugs in the Favorites section of Flock. Most of time before yesterday and today was spent on the blogging feature of Flock. It has been a nice change of scenery and I am beginning to get a better understand of Flock's favorite system.

1242: (verified)
1613: (gotta ask Ian/Lloyd about this one)
2206: (waiting for a second computer/user)
2226: (verified)
2234: (verified)
2349: (verified)
2462: (verified)
2658: (verified)
2852: (need to look at the wiki page more closely tomorrow)
2972: (verified)
3017: (verified)

To Do:
File bug on blogging, picture of error message. Bug seems to occur when no blog account is setup when selecting "Publish". Setting up an account with blog post still open, then selecting "Publish" does not bring up error message.

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WIP 04/13/06

April 13, 2006

Today, I did some work for Flock and helped out the QA team by verifing favorites bugs. I didn't get as many as I want to get done. But I might have some time tomorrow as well.

2799: (prolly resolved, but not sure if read-only resolves bug)
2859: (verified)
2858: (no idea what the bug is about)
2860: (gonna let Lloyd/Eli handle per termie)
2994: (no feed dropdown marker for me; feeds are still in dev)
2615: (verified)
2229: (verified)
1194: (can't work with test case)
1242: (next on my list)

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