Sorry to say this about your website.

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    • #21826 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      Hi,
      I’m sorry to say this, but the site isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse.
      One of the problems is that since your last update you have to click the answers just to see alle the messages.
      Posting a message should be clear that you post a message in ‘Website related’ or ‘Game Related’, now you see
      new posts just popping up right in the middle of some other thread. you see ‘Re:’ as a new post…
      The Photogallery demo doesn’t seem to work (or at least it doesn’t do what I expect it to do) When I select the Photo Gallery demo all I get is a page with some links to the photo’s..
      You really should look into ‘vBulletin’ or the other one I posted about in ‘I changed how messages get posted’. these forums are really as userfriendly as any forum every can be.. So if you don’t want to use those forums, at least try to get it to be as easy as those.. I learned when I was a young kid: ‘Why invent the wheel again’ But I know it more fun to try to recreate it yourself so you can learn from it, and I gather from this site that you are learning website programming.. LOL..
      Some of the nice things about those other forums are:
      – better editor (this one is real annoying when pressing the enter)
      – all messages are kept inside a very clear thread
      – Threads are sorted by date (last added reply)
      – It’s more clear when you want to reply and qoute
      – The ‘watch this thread’ function (you get a message when there is a new reply, it’s kinda like this site but then only on the threads I wanted it)
      – Better navigation between subjects..
      The way the board is now is propably ok for the ammount of messages it has now, but when there are more threads and messages it will get very difficult to navigate.
      I hope I haven’t offended you in any way 😉
      And I’m looking forward to discussing a lot of old sierra history (The good old Sierra On-Line).

    • #21827 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: Sorry to say this about your website.) Thank you for the comments! My responses are embedded…
      -Ken W
      Hi,
      I’m sorry to say this, but the site isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse.
      One of the problems is that since your last update you have to click the answers just to see alle the messages.
      Before, I was displaying all of the responses to a message onscreen at the same time, and now I’m just displaying them one at a time (with a list of them, so that you can pick and choose which responses to look at).
      I’m with you on this one. I miss the ability to see all the messages at once. Unfortunately, the code that I was using was built hastily one night, and had a lot of bugs in it. It was poorly designed and poorly written. I’m working on a rewrite that should be back online within a month or two – and, be much better.
      Posting a message should be clear that you post a message in ‘Website related’ or ‘Game Related’, now you see new posts just popping up right in the middle of some other thread. you see ‘Re:’ as a new post…
      That’s a bug I haven’t seen. Can you try to repeat it?
      Turn off “auto notification” before you do – so that each message you add isn’t being emailed to 100’s of people, and then do some experimenting.
      The issue of the title on the message is that I automatically put “re:” on the message you are posting under as the title of any message posted. It’s easy to just type over this with a new title. I think people aren’t realizing they can change the message title. I’ll look to see if there is a redesign I should do.
      The Photogallery demo doesn’t seem to work (or at least it doesn’t do what I expect it to do) When I select the Photo Gallery demo all I get is a page with some links to the photo’s.
      OOPS!!! You are right. When I installed the new version of the software I forgot to move over the code to handle photo gallerys. In the old days at Sierra we had a team of nearly 100 paid QA testers. Now I’ve just got me :{ Oh well… this shouldn’t be hard to fix. Try it again tomorrow. It’s actually a cool feature – I’m surprised no one has used it.
      You really should look into ‘vBulletin’ or the other one I posted about in ‘I changed how messages get posted’. these forums are really as userfriendly as any forum every can be.. So if you don’t want to use those forums, at least try to get it to be as easy as those.. I learned when I was a young kid: ‘Why invent the wheel again’ But I know it more fun to try to recreate it yourself so you can learn from it, and I gather from this site that you are learning website programming.. LOL..
      You are right that one of the goals for this site was to learn website programming.
      In the early days of Sierra, and before I started Sierra, I was a hot programmer. Unfortunately, during the last 10 years or so when I was running Sierra, I was stuck as a bureaucrat while all the developers got to have all the fun. It doesn’t matter how hot “I was” – all that matters today is that it has been about 10 years since I was writing lots of code, and I’m pretty rusty. To be fair though, I’m positive that I’m at least a “top 10%” programmer.
      Most of the problems with this site come from three areas:
      1) Hot programmers are not necessarily hot designers. My wife Roberta (Kings Quest) is a hot designer. She understands user interfaces, and how to build one that isn’t confusing. I’m good at code, and mediocre at design. I primarily design via the “do it and refine it” method. I’m very fast coding, so generally I like to put something on the site, see if people use/like it, and do more of what people like, and less of what they don’t.
      2) This site was never intended for this purpose. I built this software to be a general purpose website generator (look at
      Link: http://www.talkspot.com(http://www.talkspot.com/) 
      ) to see where this site is headed. My long-term goal is that anyone (individual, small business, or group/association) who wants a website can build one themselves. There are currently websites that do this – but they are all gutless. Most give you one page, and no user authentication. There are LOTS of features that will be added to this over the next year. Users of this software will get sites for $10 per month that would have cost $10’s of thousands of dollars if they were coded custom. If I were building a website just for sierragamers.com, it would be a lot simpler.
      3) It isn’t finished yet. You are seeing a VERY pre-release piece of code. The code is changing too rapidly to start writing documentation. 99% of the functionality hasn’t even been coded yet. This means that there are no help files, no tutorials, no instructions, etc. Even when finished, the software is intended to be used differently than it is being used here. Here’s a quick overview: The idea is that this is a website generator – but, one major distinction is that I’m using a novel approach for generating websites. My plan is to have 100’s of different “template” websites, for 100’s of different target audiences. For instance, I see templated websites for cub scout troops, church groups, homeowners associations, fan clubs, corporate intranets, train clubs, boat clubs, retail stores, liquor stores, etc. The idea is that in 30 seconds you can build a website that is already customized for you. 99% of the work is already done. All the target user needs to do is change whatever text that separates their homeowners association from the one down the block.
      Some of the nice things about those other forums are:
      – better editor (this one is real annoying when pressing the enter)
      I should have a fix to the “enter key” confusion within the next couple of weeks. The code is already written.
      – all messages are kept inside a very clear thread
      This site uses a different metaphor. I’m using a tree, of infinite depth. Currently, I have a bug in the code that displays your position in the tree at the top of the message window. When I put this code back it will clear up some confusion.
      – Threads are sorted by date (last added reply)
      I do display things in date sequence, but then give the forum administrator the freedom to move anything anywhere. I was a bit sloppy when I re-organized the board and didn’t pay much attention to date. I was moving things around based on “topic” not date. I’ll try to pay more attention to this in the future.
      – It’s more clear when you want to reply and quote
      Give me an example of what you are talking about… should I include the message being responded to in the response? So that you can easily refer to it?
      – The ‘watch this thread’ function (you get a message when there is a new reply, it’s kinda like this site but then only on the threads I wanted it)
      I had that, and it was confusing my non-techie users. Perhaps it was just poor design. If this seems to be something people want, I’ll add it back.
      – Better navigation between subjects..
      The way the board is now is propably ok
      ***CONTINUED***

    • #21828 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      for the ammount of messages it has now, but when there are more threads and messages it will get very difficult to navigate.
      I’m going to have a “newest” and “oldest” button on threads soon – maybe that will help. My current thought is to just watch people use it (especially myself) and then enhance it a little each day as I see ways to make it better.
      I hope I haven’t offended you in any way 😉
      Heck no! Comments like this help me know how to improve the site.
      Here’s another piece of background info on the site: My long-term goal is that this site get taken over by one of my sons. Both are talented programmers, but neither want anything to do with the site. I’m betting that once money starts rolling in, and that they discover that they can work from home, and just cash checks – their opinion suddenly changes. If not, who cares? I’m having fun working on it. I don’t see this as a business that will ever make big money.
      There are other reasons to do things than to make “big money”. I’m a believer in the power of computers to change lives. The telephone made the world smaller through giving people from different countries (and cultures) a way to communicate. Television kind of also does this, but it’s really just a broadcast medium – not a communications medium. And, there are some major problems with television as a “world shrinking device” (it’s not fair – some get it some don’t – and, it’s not a level playing field – some countries produce more, and higher quality than others). I get excited about the idea of people from different cultures having a way to communicate in a true multimedia way. I’m a “freedom of speech” kind of guy. I like the idea of empowering people and groups with a simple multimedia way to spread a message. Currently, the software on this site is adding about 1 new website per week. That will grow enormously over the next few years. Think about it. The internet is enabling communities of geographically dispersed people to communicate and interact in a multi-media way. To all of you who grew up with the internet, this is old news. To us old guys who didn’t see a computer until our teens, it’s BIG news. If I can find a way to swing it, I’m going to offer this free (or, darn close to it) to non-profits. Today you can do most of what you do here on a BBS – but, that’s only today. As I said 99% of what this site will do hasn’t been coded yet. If I used public domain software I wouldn’t really have control over what features go in, or how it rolls out. I think there is something cool here that I want to be part of, and I want to guide its destiny.
      And I’m looking forward to discussing a lot of old sierra history (The good old Sierra On-Line).

    • #21829 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: Sorry to say this about your website.) Ken,
      Would you be willing to tell us silly folks what kind of database backend you are using? I see you’re using asp, buy beyond that, I’m quite oblivious.
      Thanks,
      Dave

    • #21830 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: Sorry to say this about your website.) “My long-term goal is that this site get taken over by one of my sons. Both are talented programmers, but neither want anything to do with the site. “
      Does that mean that, if/when that happens, we won’t have you to reminise with/ask questions of? Or does that mean that you’ll just do less direct programming here?
      Morgan

    • #21831 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: Sorry to say this about your website.) “My long-term goal is that this site get taken over by one of my sons. Both are talented programmers, but neither want anything to do with the site. “
      Does that mean that, if/when that happens, we won’t have you to reminise with/ask questions of? Or does that mean that you’ll just do less direct programming here?
      Morgan
      Good question. I’m not sure what the answer is. For at least the next year I’ll be heavily involved in this. I have a major upgrade to the software that I’ve been doing while traveling. I’ll install it as soon as I get home. I still wouldn’t be surprised to see one of my sons, or my brother get involved. There’s even been a discussion or two with Al Lowe about his getting involved.
      And, actually – I’m having fun doing this! So I may stay involved.
      Who knows? I haven’t gotten today figured out. How can I know what I will think tomorrow?
      -Ken W

    • #21832 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: re: Sorry to say this about your website.)

      Oh, definitely get Al here.

      Ken, if you won’t write a book, can we at least get Al to write a book, about his experiences.

      If you don’t know this, as of August 1, you can upload a PDF file (book) and sell it at CafePress in paperback, so Ken, you could write a say, 250 page book with Roberta, and then it’d cost you about $12 for every one you sell, and you could sell it for say, $18.95 (that’s what I’d pay, I’d still buy it for $19.95 in paperback, but I think I’d feel like you’re ripping me off for a 250 page… now, if you were willing to do the full 300, I’d definitely pay the $19.95).

      http://www.cafepress.com

      My first book is coming out there this friday, for $15.95.

      Dave

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