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Must a Palm app have color, icons and tree-views to be mar..

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Anonymous
January 31, 2005 1:16:43 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

Our sales are suffering because of the ubiquitous GUI standards of the
modern desktop where resources (filespace/RAM and CPU/speed) are essentially
infinite.
Despite our confidence that we are giving users what they need, there is a
steady stream of complaints (and, worse yet, a distinct lack of sales)
because we are not giving them what they think they want.

Is it possible to convince potential users/customers that a different,
simpler (even "plain") UI is not merely tolerable but is actually
domonstrably "better" when it comes to limited, imbedded (or semi-inbedded)
hardware/OS environments such as palmtop computers? Or is the only hope of
appeasing the complainers (and generating sales) to make the app more
cubmersome and bloated so as to better "fit in" with the common user (i.e.
desktop) experience? We know what the "right" thing to do is but we have a
business to run and I have to consider the bottom line and right now our "if
you build it (right) they (buyers) will come" strategy is not working.

The essential question is, how important is it for a GOOD piece of
software to make a good first impression? And, if it is as important as we
are beginning to realize it is, is it justifiable to sacrifice limited
resources and useability (RAM, speed and elegant simplicity) to give the
user what he is expecting to see even though it is merely a ruse to secure
his comfort level (towards a sale)? This is an age-old delima that has
plagued business from aracades (if I cannot get the player to insert the
first quarter, it doesn't matter
how good my game is; the player will never give it a chance to find out) to
restaurants (just make the food on the menu look great even if what is
served is nothing like it). It is as much a moral delima it is a marketing
decision because there is always a cost.

That is the broad question and as a specific example, I put forth our
just-released version 3.0 of New Yanoff (NY) 3.0
(http://www.PalmYanoff.com). We have gotten several surprisingly harsh
criticisms lately with which I cannot agree. However, I am beginning to
question whether I am correct in my disagreement (could the complainers
really be right?) and so I am beginning this open discussion on UI for Palm
in general, and for Usenet newsreader clients on Palm in particular.

We have had a very difficult time getting any specific criticism
(constructive or otherwise) about NY (with the exception of comments in
regards to PocketPurchase which have been resolved, thankfully). Most of
the feedback that we have seen really doesn't make much sense to looking at
it as a PALM
USER. As a PALM USER even when considering a hypothetically "near-perfect"
Palm Usenet newsreader, what do you consider essential (must-have) or,
alternatively, must-avoid functionality/features?

Here is an amalgomation of some recent conversations we have had to seed
this discussion:

> IMHO a newsreader that cannot group messages by thread is useless­.

I agree that's why the first feature I added to New Yanoff was full
threading (GPL had a pathetic threading algorithm)!

GPL Yanoff barely threaded at all (only father-son) but NY now threads very,
very well (and the PC-side software when using the Java Conduit threads
perfectly)!
Have you tried 3.0?

> (no thread trees)

Thread trees seem to have so little practical utility as to be virtually
useless; certainly of so little use so as not to bother trying to make sense
of them on such a small screen as exists for Palm devices. Please tell me
how you use thread trees in actual practice and I am relatively certain that
NY currently has a way to do achieve the same result (or, if not, it could
be modified to do so without resorting to thread trees).

> The icon is still monochrome (the only monochrome icon
> out of over 200 applications I have installed).
> I spent much money to have a better display and
> today in 2005 a commercial product with a b/w,low-res icon...

I could add a color icon but won't until I add color features; to do
otherwise would be misleading. We also have a commitment to remain
backwards compatible with older (i.e. low-res, grayscale devices) but that
can be done while adding color features. For a text-based newsreader the
same argument we used in regards to thread trees applies: what use of color
can ONLY be done with color? The only one I can think of is
quote-level-coloring. This is actually a valid answer but the reality is
not so simple as it might seem due to gross limitations/oversight in the
Palm OS itself. We have looked at adding this feature and, believe it or
not, multi-colored text fields require a HUGE investment of time and code
(all the built in text functions have to be abandoned as there is no
built-in support/API for multi-colored text fields)! But, other than this,
where is color crucial to a specific useful feature? We would love some
good ideas for how color should/might be used in a Palm OS newsreader (so
long as it does NOT require multi-colored text in a single text field) to
give us the justification we need to move to a color icon!

> ... and minimalist interface/gra­phics

OK, this is something I have heard quite a bit from many people who are used
to other programs. Screen space is very scarce and the more buttons and
icons exist, the less room there will be for what is *really* important:
TEXT!
New Yanoff is *not* a clone of Outlook Express (or any other newsreader).
GPL Yanoff and New Yanoff were designed and built from the beginning with
the
Palm HW and its inherent limitations in mind. They were DESIGNED to exploit
the reality of PALM!
NY does not pretend to be OE-on-Palm because OE's design would be WAY too
cluttered, confusing and inappropriate. One of the reasons our registered
users love NY is *BECAUSE* it works so well for their device and does not
try to cram a desktop design onto a minimalist OS/machine! And yet, as
happy as our current user base is, I sense we are winning the battle but
losing the war.

> the buttons are using "Dude Speak" (yes, I can see to save space)
> but buttons with abbreviations instead of icons is not a good idea.

Almost all of the buttons are user-definable and SO ARE THEIR TEXT LABELS!
Just what kind of icon can represent functions such as:
"Delete all Unlocked Articles from cursor on up, move to Next Newsgroup and
goto 1st unread article"?
And how would that icon differ from the sister function:
"Delete all Read Articles, move to Next Newsgroup and goto top article"?
You see, in actual fact, it is not as simple as it might seem and there are
many justifications for doing it the way we have in our implementation.

But even if that weren't so, why should we waste the memory (yes, on PDAs,
RAM is very scarce) adding bitmaps especially when they wouldn't be
intuitive? Remember, this is an app DESIGNED for the limited environment of
Palm OS (where memory can be VERY tight). The last thing people will use or
appreciate is a 1Gb PRC! We are already receiving complaints that the PRC
is "too large"...

> many of the other menu options and buttons
> don't seem organized well at all.

This is just the kind of useless comment that drives designers crazy!
The words "many", "other", "seem" are worthless because they are too vague!
PLEASE: If you don't like how something has been done, be specific!
Say something like, "Menu Y's option 3 and Menu X's option 2 should be under
a new Menu called "Z" because they are related in such-and-such a manner."
That is something we can consider accomodating!

> If you need inspiration, you can take a look to TuNews

I have seen it and I strongly disapprove. It is (along with most portable
newsreaders, especially the PPC ones) trying to be exactly what NY is trying
avoid: OutlookExpressCrammedOntoPalmOS.
The goal of a newsreader should be convenient access to (and manipulation
of) news threads.
With NY we have attempted to maximize that goal TAKING FULL CONSIDERATION of
the limited environment that exists on the Palm OS/hardware.

> But it is much more promising than NY, in my opinion.

Besides icons (totally disagree), thread-trees (can agree in principle but
in practice this does not seem to be a real issue) and color (I agree on
color and and am working on it), what does TuNews (or any other portable
Usenet client) do better than NY? Those of you who "don't like" NY, have
you actually spent time getting to know NY or did you just take a peek at it
and say to yourself, "doesn't look like OE so it must not be any good"? I
think if you give NY a sincere try, you will find that it does nearly
everything you really want a newsreader to do and it does so very well (even
though it may do it in a different fashion than how you may be accostomed).
We are begging here for elaboration. Please, give NY a fresh try and give
us specific feedback. We are not afraid of competition so better yet, try
both and then let us know what you think. Try to set aside your prejudices
and OE-bias and evaluate the apps on how well they actually achieve the goal
of accessing text in a reliable, pleasant and efficient mannter. Don't
forget to sample the advanced features such as killfiles and SPAM avoidance
(which OE and TuNews do not have) which greatly contribute to a sastifactory
user experience.

> I hope this dont offend you

Be assured, it does not; after all, we are BEGGING for critical/constructive
feedback!

> I know that a program like Yano­ff requires many,
> many months of hard work,

That really isn't a valid consideration.
If a piece of software is junk, it is junk, regardless of how long the junk
took to create, right?
And if NY is junk, we really do want (need) to know.

> but today PalmOS PDA are powerful, and we are accustomed to
> ­very complex programs,with many advanced funtions, graphics etc.

So please elaborate as to what NY should have that it does not.
You can't just say, "it needs to exploit my color screen" and not explain
how! The prepodnerance of color devices does not, in itself, provide a
justification the expense of adding color to an app (although perhaps, from
a purely marketing standpoint it does). Even more importantly, WHY should
NY have this thing that you feel it needs; how would you use this thing and
why is it so important? What is it you desire to do now that cannot
currently be done just as well? The "how" and "why" will help us to decide
if your desire has genuine
validity.

> NY looks like a very old and amateurish program when
> it is compared to best P­almOS software;

The same could be said of any newsreader on any platform when compared to
the flashiest software (such as games) on that same platform.
NY is for TEXT-based Usenet; how flashy can text be?
How flashy is your favorite desktop newsreader?

When was the last time OE was updated?
How does OE compare to IE or Word or Doom3?
Seriously, have you tried it to see how it handles text articles?
Was your user experience seriously lacking somehow?
God willing, NY will *never* be OE and that is a GOOD thing!

> the only chance of success for NY is the complete lack of alternatives

Ouch; that one hurt! :>

> and I hope you will make a g­ood newsreader in the future

And I hope everyone will continue this discussion until
we can come to some points of agreement so we can
make NY more of what everyone would like to use!

P.S. Before you non-English speakers flood us please know that we are
painfully aware that we do not have satisfactory multi-language support and
are also working on this.
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 2:50:59 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

On 2005-01-31 08:16:43 -0800, "Gregg Woodcock"
<usenet@SonLightSoftware.com> said:
>> The icon is still monochrome (the only monochrome icon
>> out of over 200 applications I have installed).
>> I spent much money to have a better display and
>> today in 2005 a commercial product with a b/w,low-res icon...

I have to agree there. It looks really silly to have 1 monochrome app
icon in a sea of color icons. Not to mention if I see a b/w icon, I
presume that the app is *old* (ie, pre-dates color icons).

>
>> ... and minimalist interface/gra­phics

I took a look at the screen shots at the product web page, and I'd have
to agree.

While it *is* a text app, you can still make use of some color. For
example, you could provide a "ledger view" where you alternate between
white and blue for the list view.

>
>> the buttons are using "Dude Speak" (yes, I can see to save space)
>> but buttons with abbreviations instead of icons is not a good idea.

If the idea is to "keep things simple", then having a button called
"v^" doesn't make sense at all. Is this a newsreader for people that
previously used tin via dialup? You shouldn't need to be a command line
geek to use a newsreader.

>> NY looks like a very old and amateurish program when
>> it is compared to best P­almOS software;
>
> The same could be said of any newsreader on any platform when compared to
> the flashiest software (such as games) on that same platform.
> NY is for TEXT-based Usenet; how flashy can text be?
> How flashy is your favorite desktop newsreader?

For a good example, compare an older Newsreader (such as Thoth) with a
modern "flashy" one such as Unison (these are on Mac). One of them has
the "text feel", the other feels more like a modern app - icon bars,
drawers that hold favorites, etc. They both deal with text, but one
feels more like a modern app, the other feels more like a text app.

Brian
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 3:01:04 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

On 2005-01-31 08:16:43 -0800, "Gregg Woodcock"
<usenet@SonLightSoftware.com> said:

> This is an age-old delima that has
> plagued business from aracades (if I cannot get the player to insert the
> first quarter, it doesn't matter
> how good my game is; the player will never give it a chance to find out) to
> restaurants (just make the food on the menu look great even if what is
> served is nothing like it). It is as much a moral delima it is a marketing
> decision because there is always a cost.

Why not strike a balance? When you do a new release, make sure to
include a balance of new (technical) features and at least one or two
"features" that provide "sizzle". That way the sizzle/eye-candy gets
you press coverage, downloads, etc, and the technical features endear
you to those that appreciate depth.

Keeping an app 100% b/w just because it will save a few bytes/CPU
cycles may be admirable from a "purist" view, but if the marketplace
had determined b/w was desirable, we'd still be clamoring for Palm Vs
(a wonderful machine in its day, but there is a reason nobody sells a
b/w business class handheld).
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 5:15:41 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 12:01:04 -0800, Brian Hall wrote:

> On 2005-01-31 08:16:43 -0800, "Gregg Woodcock"
> <usenet@SonLightSoftware.com> said:
>
>> This is an age-old delima that has
>> plagued business from aracades (if I cannot get the player to insert the
>> first quarter, it doesn't matter
>> how good my game is; the player will never give it a chance to find out) to
>> restaurants (just make the food on the menu look great even if what is
>> served is nothing like it). It is as much a moral delima it is a marketing
>> decision because there is always a cost.
>
> Why not strike a balance? When you do a new release, make sure to
> include a balance of new (technical) features and at least one or two
> "features" that provide "sizzle". That way the sizzle/eye-candy gets
> you press coverage, downloads, etc, and the technical features endear
> you to those that appreciate depth.
>
> Keeping an app 100% b/w just because it will save a few bytes/CPU
> cycles may be admirable from a "purist" view, but if the marketplace
> had determined b/w was desirable, we'd still be clamoring for Palm Vs
> (a wonderful machine in its day, but there is a reason nobody sells a
> b/w business class handheld).

Or, better yet, take a lesson from Microsoft. "It's not a drawback,
it's a feature." That is, turn the criticisms into assets.

It's not that it doesn't have color feature, it's that it's lean and
quick. It's not that the buttons have weird button labels, it's that
one can customize the labels.

Just a thought.
--
Derek

There is no greater joy than soaring high on the wings of your dreams,
except maybe the joy of watching a dreamer who has nowhere to land but
in the ocean of reality.
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 5:45:07 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"Derek" <news@gwinn.us> wrote in message news:7tbtq1kk9ssb$.dlg@gwinn.us...
> On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 12:01:04 -0800, Brian Hall wrote:
>
> Or, better yet, take a lesson from Microsoft. "It's not a drawback,
> it's a feature." That is, turn the criticisms into assets.
>
> It's not that it doesn't have color feature, it's that it's lean and
> quick. It's not that the buttons have weird button labels, it's that
> one can customize the labels.

This ("it is actually better this way") is actually how we have been
responding since the beginning but this response as often as not has users
come back saying, "then I guess I just won't use your product" which
(besides being a non-sequitur) is unacceptable!
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 5:50:54 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

<Brian Hall> wrote in message
news:2005013112010475249%@news.supernews.net...
> On 2005-01-31 08:16:43 -0800, "Gregg Woodcock"
> <usenet@SonLightSoftware.com> said:
>
> Why not strike a balance? When you do a new release, make sure to
> include a balance of new (technical) features and at least one or two
> "features" that provide "sizzle". That way the sizzle/eye-candy gets
> you press coverage, downloads, etc, and the technical features endear
> you to those that appreciate depth.

This is pretty much where we are. But...

> Keeping an app 100% b/w just because it will save a few bytes/CPU
> cycles may be admirable from a "purist" view, but if the marketplace
> had determined b/w was desirable, we'd still be clamoring for Palm Vs
> (a wonderful machine in its day, but there is a reason nobody sells a
> b/w business class handheld).

It is not just user/HW cycles but also design cycles. The big feature for
4.0 was to have been SSL which obviously will have much more serious benefit
for everyone but now it looks like we are going to "waste" our time
colorizing with mostly-redundant fluff because that (hopefully) will
generate greater eye-appeal and sales. It would seem it is better to be
pretty than it is to be smart!
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 6:56:05 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 14:45:07 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:

> "Derek" <news@gwinn.us> wrote in message news:7tbtq1kk9ssb$.dlg@gwinn.us...
>> On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 12:01:04 -0800, Brian Hall wrote:
>>
>> Or, better yet, take a lesson from Microsoft. "It's not a drawback,
>> it's a feature." That is, turn the criticisms into assets.
>>
>> It's not that it doesn't have color feature, it's that it's lean and
>> quick. It's not that the buttons have weird button labels, it's that
>> one can customize the labels.
>
> This ("it is actually better this way") is actually how we have been
> responding since the beginning but this response as often as not has users
> come back saying, "then I guess I just won't use your product" which
> (besides being a non-sequitur) is unacceptable!

I'm sorry. The point I didn't make clear was that this shouldn't be a
response. This should be up-front, on the web site. It shouldn't be
something people come to you and ask about.

For example, you've got a screen shot of Yanoff on the front page. The
first thing I notice is that I have absolutely no idea what 3 of the
buttons do. One of the things PalmOS is known for is ease of use. The
screen shot of Yanoff doesn't really look easy to use.

Your site tells me what Yanoff is, but it doesn't prove to me that the
way it is is a good thing, if that makes sense. I mean, you've got 41
items listed in your FAQ, and not all of them are questions. That's
not an FAQ. That's a manual.

If your only market for selling something is online, you've got to
convince people through your site that your product is worth it. As it
is, it just looks like it'd be a hassle to use and not worth the
effort.

I guess that's a criticism of the web site more than of the software.
--
Derek

While good fortune often eludes you, misfortune never misses.
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 7:28:39 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

In article <3674g4F4sbor7U1@individual.net>, Gregg Woodcock wrote:
> built-in support/API for multi-colored text fields)! But, other than this,
> where is color crucial to a specific useful feature? We would love some
> good ideas for how color should/might be used in a Palm OS newsreader (so
> long as it does NOT require multi-colored text in a single text field) to
> give us the justification we need to move to a color icon!

Article scoring would be a good use of colour.
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 7:55:40 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"Derek" <news@gwinn.us> wrote in message news:2d73b1n1p4zv$.dlg@gwinn.us...
> On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 14:45:07 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:
>
> For example, you've got a screen shot of Yanoff on the front page. The
> first thing I notice is that I have absolutely no idea what 3 of the
> buttons do. One of the things PalmOS is known for is ease of use. The
> screen shot of Yanoff doesn't really look easy to use.

THIS IS A VERY GOOD POINT!
I will fix this tonight!
The fact is, with the new landscape, hi-res and font support, we CAN fit
meaningful text onto the programmable buttons but we neglected to make the
best marketing use of that fact!
Thank you so much for something so helpful and so specific (and so
shamefully obvious)!

> Your site tells me what Yanoff is, but it doesn't prove to me that the
> way it is is a good thing, if that makes sense. I mean, you've got 41
> items listed in your FAQ, and not all of them are questions. That's
> not an FAQ. That's a manual.

I can reword the items all as questions; is that your main point?
Or is it that there are too many questions?
Or is it that if users have that many questions, I must be doing something
wrong?
If the latter, we come back to where we began the thread with a plea for
specific suggestions for improvement of presentation/UI (including,
obviously, the website @ http://www.PalmYanoff.com).
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 8:02:15 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

Ever heard of 'selling the sizzle, not the steak'?

--
David Nimon
dnimonREMOVE@##sympatico.ca

--------------------------------
"Gregg Woodcock" <woodcock@SonLightSoftware.com> wrote in message
news:1107205187.16e985e7ba759543af90787d560e4957@teranews...
> It is not just user/HW cycles but also design cycles. The big feature for
> 4.0 was to have been SSL which obviously will have much more serious
> benefit
> for everyone but now it looks like we are going to "waste" our time
> colorizing with mostly-redundant fluff because that (hopefully) will
> generate greater eye-appeal and sales. It would seem it is better to be
> pretty than it is to be smart!
>
>
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 8:37:04 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 14:50:54 -0600, "Gregg Woodcock"
<woodcock@SonLightSoftware.com> wrote:

>
><Brian Hall> wrote in message
>news:2005013112010475249%@news.supernews.net...
>> On 2005-01-31 08:16:43 -0800, "Gregg Woodcock"
>> <usenet@SonLightSoftware.com> said:
>>
>> Why not strike a balance? When you do a new release, make sure to
>> include a balance of new (technical) features and at least one or two
>> "features" that provide "sizzle". That way the sizzle/eye-candy gets
>> you press coverage, downloads, etc, and the technical features endear
>> you to those that appreciate depth.
>
>This is pretty much where we are. But...
>
>> Keeping an app 100% b/w just because it will save a few bytes/CPU
>> cycles may be admirable from a "purist" view, but if the marketplace
>> had determined b/w was desirable, we'd still be clamoring for Palm Vs
>> (a wonderful machine in its day, but there is a reason nobody sells a
>> b/w business class handheld).
>
>It is not just user/HW cycles but also design cycles. The big feature for
>4.0 was to have been SSL which obviously will have much more serious benefit
>for everyone but now it looks like we are going to "waste" our time
>colorizing with mostly-redundant fluff because that (hopefully) will
>generate greater eye-appeal and sales. It would seem it is better to be
>pretty than it is to be smart!

Perhaps so, but there is some value in being "pretty." Legibility.
Hi-res fonts make a big difference, and colors are more easily
distinguished in separating control elements. Hey -- I'm a big
believer in "lean and mean" software. But if through making it
"pretty" you also enhance usability, everyone wins.
--
Mike Koenecke
to e-mail, change domain to "alum.haverford.edu"
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 9:09:19 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 16:55:40 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:

> "Derek" <news@gwinn.us> wrote in message news:2d73b1n1p4zv$.dlg@gwinn.us...
>> On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 14:45:07 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:
>>
>> For example, you've got a screen shot of Yanoff on the front page. The
>> first thing I notice is that I have absolutely no idea what 3 of the
>> buttons do. One of the things PalmOS is known for is ease of use. The
>> screen shot of Yanoff doesn't really look easy to use.
>
> THIS IS A VERY GOOD POINT!
> I will fix this tonight!
> The fact is, with the new landscape, hi-res and font support, we CAN fit
> meaningful text onto the programmable buttons but we neglected to make the
> best marketing use of that fact!
> Thank you so much for something so helpful and so specific (and so
> shamefully obvious)!

I've been known to have a good idea on occasion. It's rare, but it
does happen.

>> Your site tells me what Yanoff is, but it doesn't prove to me that the
>> way it is is a good thing, if that makes sense. I mean, you've got 41
>> items listed in your FAQ, and not all of them are questions. That's
>> not an FAQ. That's a manual.
>
> I can reword the items all as questions; is that your main point?

Partially.

> Or is it that there are too many questions?

Partially.

> Or is it that if users have that many questions, I must be doing something
> wrong?

Goodness, no. There's a reason the concept of "DAU" exists.

> If the latter, we come back to where we began the thread with a plea for
> specific suggestions for improvement of presentation/UI (including,
> obviously, the website @ http://www.PalmYanoff.com).

It's not so much that there are many items on the list as it is that
the list is long. It's probably a bit overwhelming for the typical
site visitor.

That is, you've got 41 questions and answers all on one page, one
after the other. They don't seem organized in any real sense, and it
would seem that they could be separated into related groups, such as
navigating messages (21-24), syncing (11-14), and customer service
(2-4, 36 & 37).

In my opinion, it would make the FAQ less overwhelming and would make
it easier for users to find the information they seek.

--
Derek

"There is a proverb. "As you have made your bed, so you must lie in
it, " which is simply a lie. If I have made my bed uncomfortable,
please God, I will make it again." -- G.K. Chesterson
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 9:12:46 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops (More info?)

In article <3674g4F4sbor7U1@individual.net>, "Gregg Woodcock"
<usenet@SonLightSoftware.com> wrote:

> Is it possible to convince potential users/customers that a different,
> simpler (even "plain") UI is not merely tolerable but is actually
> domonstrably "better" when it comes to limited, imbedded (or semi-inbedded)
> hardware/OS environments such as palmtop computers? Or is the only hope of
> appeasing the complainers (and generating sales) to make the app more
> cubmersome and bloated so as to better "fit in" with the common user (i.e.
> desktop) experience? We know what the "right" thing to do is but we have a
> business to run and I have to consider the bottom line and right now our "if
> you build it (right) they (buyers) will come" strategy is not working.

In my marketing terms, the right thing to do is to provide the customer
with something that improves his "experience." Experience, in this case,
means not only the use of your product, but the benefits from it as well,
that is, it helps the customer do his work more
easily/quickly/cheaply/happily perhaps in ways he never even considered.

So, in that context, the user's perception of your product does matter
although it would be worthwhile to find out if the UI is what's holding
your customers back or if there's something else more streamlined (and
closer to what your company thinks is "right") that would improve sales --
new functionality, tweaks to the existing UI without going whole-hog
graphic, performance improvements, etc.
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 9:12:47 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops (More info?)

On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 18:12:46 GMT, Guy Bannis wrote:

> In article <3674g4F4sbor7U1@individual.net>, "Gregg Woodcock"
> <usenet@SonLightSoftware.com> wrote:
>
>> Is it possible to convince potential users/customers that a different,
>> simpler (even "plain") UI is not merely tolerable but is actually
>> domonstrably "better" when it comes to limited, imbedded (or semi-inbedded)
>> hardware/OS environments such as palmtop computers? Or is the only hope of
>> appeasing the complainers (and generating sales) to make the app more
>> cubmersome and bloated so as to better "fit in" with the common user (i.e.
>> desktop) experience? We know what the "right" thing to do is but we have a
>> business to run and I have to consider the bottom line and right now our "if
>> you build it (right) they (buyers) will come" strategy is not working.
>
> In my marketing terms, the right thing to do is to provide the customer
> with something that improves his "experience." Experience, in this case,
> means not only the use of your product, but the benefits from it as well,
> that is, it helps the customer do his work more
> easily/quickly/cheaply/happily perhaps in ways he never even considered.
>
> So, in that context, the user's perception of your product does matter
> although it would be worthwhile to find out if the UI is what's holding
> your customers back or if there's something else more streamlined (and
> closer to what your company thinks is "right") that would improve sales --
> new functionality, tweaks to the existing UI without going whole-hog
> graphic, performance improvements, etc.

Along the lines for "something else", how about the thought that NNTP
access on Palm Handhelds doesn't have a large market to begin with?

That is, I think it's a neat idea. And TuNews doesn't appear from the
screenshot to really have a better interface than Yanoff. And I could
probably use either of them, if I wanted to access newsgroups on my
Palm.

But I don't want to.

I'm a recovering usenet junkie who's cut his subscribed groups
drastically this year. The groups I subscribe to, like this one, are
not necessarily things in which I read every post or feel like I might
miss something if I'm away from the computer for a few days.

How many other Usenet posters are in the same situation? I doubt that
they're the minority.

I agree with the comment that the button labels are a bit of a
drawback. But even fixing that isn't going to make me suddenly feel
the need for Yanoff.

--
Derek

The nice thing about losing one's marbles is that you only have to
pick up the ones you want.
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 10:34:06 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

In article <3674g4F4sbor7U1@individual.net>, usenet@SonLightSoftware.com
says...
> what does TuNews (or any other portable Usenet client) do better than NY?
>

Thanks for pointing out Palm TuNews, I must have missed it's release.
Love it's tree threading and wonderfull use of color. The screen-shot
shows an 'Arthur Hagen' thread highlighted, coincidence?
<http://tinyurl.com/4zwo7&gt; *Art, are you getting royalties for using
your name in their ads?

--
Hope this helps.
Jim Anderson
( 8(|) To email me just pull my_finger
Anonymous
January 31, 2005 10:34:07 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"Jim Anderson" <fro2750@frontiernet.my_finger.net> wrote in message
news:MPG.1c6844162ec9313f9896ae@news.frontiernet.net...
> In article <3674g4F4sbor7U1@individual.net>, usenet@SonLightSoftware.com
>
> Thanks for pointing out Palm TuNews, I must have missed it's release.

It is not truly released. It is in 0.99 beta and has been so forever.
It has every appearance of being dead (check the Italian NGs they as much as
say so and I believe the designer is Italian).
In any case, it does have a greatly contrasting UI to Yanoff which is why I
mentioned it.
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 12:27:26 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Hi Gregg,

The answer is yes! Color, icons and tree views are important to
users. I personally like Yanoff+. My client though was not satisfied
with it as a news group client. I showed him 3 clients. Yours,
TuNews and one develop by an associate in Texas (Samuel). The one
made by Samuel won hands down. When Samuel designed the software, he
tried to copy the look of the Netscape 7.0 e-mail/news group client.
Because of screen size, he could not make it identical, but the
first thing Barry (the client) said was let's get on-line. He then
proceeded to use the program with no prompting or assistance from me.

This is one of the realities I learned years ago when I first
started programming. People like what is familiar. This is
especially true when it comes to computers. The average person is
not a computer person. The computer is a tool. They want to turn it
on and do the job and log off. If they have to learn something new
it slows them down.

In DOS days when you were filling out a form in a database you
pressed [Enter] to go to the next field. For years, I had clients
tell me that they wanted to press [Enter] not [Tab] to go to the
next field in Windows databases. I explained to them that Windows
had a different paradigm. In the end, I wrote a little routine in
Clarion that gave them the functionality they wanted (I had it set
so that they could choose which way they wanted to move to the next
field). As they used other Windows programs, they got used to the
key presses and switched over to the standard Windows model.

You want to get users, give them the Windows look and feel on their
Palm like what they use on their desktop computer, and your sales
will increase. Now I know your saying if they want Windows they
should by a PPC. Unfortunately the customer wants it all the look
and feel of Windows and the stability and speed of a Palm.

Right now I am trying to convince Samuel to sell his new reader
because it is what my clients want. If he says yes, that will be the
standard program that I give to all of my clients who need a news
group reader. If that happens, I will probably stop using Yanoff+
and use his software.

Your program is powerful for a Palm, but it is not intuitive. People
like those silly icons that tell them what to do. The less they have
to learn to use your software the more your sales will increase.

When I got my first Palm 8 years ago, I fell in love with them
because they were so intuitive. I didn't even bother to read the
manual. I just started using it. Over the years I have demoed quite
a few launchers and none of them seemed worth the added space. A
week or so ago, I downloaded WinLauncher. I was so used to my Palm
that I didn't like it. I read the manual and decided to give it a
real try. The end result is I ended up registering it. Once it is
more mature, I will have my clients who use Palm use it.

When you are designing software, the key is the human interface.

Ciao . . . C.Joseph

That which a man buys too cheaply . . .
He esteems too lightly


Gregg Woodcock wrote:
> Our sales are suffering because of the ubiquitous GUI standards of the
> modern desktop where resources (filespace/RAM and CPU/speed) are essentially
> infinite.
> Despite our confidence that we are giving users what they need, there is a
> steady stream of complaints (and, worse yet, a distinct lack of sales)
> because we are not giving them what they think they want.
>
> Is it possible to convince potential users/customers that a different,
> simpler (even "plain") UI is not merely tolerable but is actually
> domonstrably "better" when it comes to limited, imbedded (or semi-inbedded)
> hardware/OS environments such as palmtop computers? Or is the only hope of
> appeasing the complainers (and generating sales) to make the app more
> cubmersome and bloated so as to better "fit in" with the common user (i.e.
> desktop) experience? We know what the "right" thing to do is but we have a
> business to run and I have to consider the bottom line and right now our "if
> you build it (right) they (buyers) will come" strategy is not working.
>
> The essential question is, how important is it for a GOOD piece of
> software to make a good first impression? And, if it is as important as we
> are beginning to realize it is, is it justifiable to sacrifice limited
> resources and useability (RAM, speed and elegant simplicity) to give the
> user what he is expecting to see even though it is merely a ruse to secure
> his comfort level (towards a sale)? This is an age-old delima that has
> plagued business from aracades (if I cannot get the player to insert the
> first quarter, it doesn't matter
> how good my game is; the player will never give it a chance to find out) to
> restaurants (just make the food on the menu look great even if what is
> served is nothing like it). It is as much a moral delima it is a marketing
> decision because there is always a cost.
>
> That is the broad question and as a specific example, I put forth our
> just-released version 3.0 of New Yanoff (NY) 3.0
> (http://www.PalmYanoff.com). We have gotten several surprisingly harsh
> criticisms lately with which I cannot agree. However, I am beginning to
> question whether I am correct in my disagreement (could the complainers
> really be right?) and so I am beginning this open discussion on UI for Palm
> in general, and for Usenet newsreader clients on Palm in particular.
>
> We have had a very difficult time getting any specific criticism
> (constructive or otherwise) about NY (with the exception of comments in
> regards to PocketPurchase which have been resolved, thankfully). Most of
> the feedback that we have seen really doesn't make much sense to looking at
> it as a PALM
> USER. As a PALM USER even when considering a hypothetically "near-perfect"
> Palm Usenet newsreader, what do you consider essential (must-have) or,
> alternatively, must-avoid functionality/features?
>
> Here is an amalgomation of some recent conversations we have had to seed
> this discussion:
>
>
>>IMHO a newsreader that cannot group messages by thread is useless­.
>
>
> I agree that's why the first feature I added to New Yanoff was full
> threading (GPL had a pathetic threading algorithm)!
>
> GPL Yanoff barely threaded at all (only father-son) but NY now threads very,
> very well (and the PC-side software when using the Java Conduit threads
> perfectly)!
> Have you tried 3.0?
>
>
>>(no thread trees)
>
>
> Thread trees seem to have so little practical utility as to be virtually
> useless; certainly of so little use so as not to bother trying to make sense
> of them on such a small screen as exists for Palm devices. Please tell me
> how you use thread trees in actual practice and I am relatively certain that
> NY currently has a way to do achieve the same result (or, if not, it could
> be modified to do so without resorting to thread trees).
>
>
>>The icon is still monochrome (the only monochrome icon
>>out of over 200 applications I have installed).
>>I spent much money to have a better display and
>>today in 2005 a commercial product with a b/w,low-res icon...
>
>
> I could add a color icon but won't until I add color features; to do
> otherwise would be misleading. We also have a commitment to remain
> backwards compatible with older (i.e. low-res, grayscale devices) but that
> can be done while adding color features. For a text-based newsreader the
> same argument we used in regards to thread trees applies: what use of color
> can ONLY be done with color? The only one I can think of is
> quote-level-coloring. This is actually a valid answer but the reality is
> not so simple as it might seem due to gross limitations/oversight in the
> Palm OS itself. We have looked at adding this feature and, believe it or
> not, multi-colored text fields require a HUGE investment of time and code
> (all the built in text functions have to be abandoned as there is no
> built-in support/API for multi-colored text fields)! But, other than this,
> where is color crucial to a specific useful feature? We would love some
> good ideas for how color should/might be used in a Palm OS newsreader (so
> long as it does NOT require multi-colored text in a single text field) to
> give us the justification we need to move to a color icon!
>
>
>>... and minimalist interface/gra­phics
>
>
> OK, this is something I have heard quite a bit from many people who are used
> to other programs. Screen space is very scarce and the more buttons and
> icons exist, the less room there will be for what is *really* important:
> TEXT!
> New Yanoff is *not* a clone of Outlook Express (or any other newsreader).
> GPL Yanoff and New Yanoff were designed and built from the beginning with
> the
> Palm HW and its inherent limitations in mind. They were DESIGNED to exploit
> the reality of PALM!
> NY does not pretend to be OE-on-Palm because OE's design would be WAY too
> cluttered, confusing and inappropriate. One of the reasons our registered
> users love NY is *BECAUSE* it works so well for their device and does not
> try to cram a desktop design onto a minimalist OS/machine! And yet, as
> happy as our current user base is, I sense we are winning the battle but
> losing the war.
>
>
>>the buttons are using "Dude Speak" (yes, I can see to save space)
>>but buttons with abbreviations instead of icons is not a good idea.
>
>
> Almost all of the buttons are user-definable and SO ARE THEIR TEXT LABELS!
> Just what kind of icon can represent functions such as:
> "Delete all Unlocked Articles from cursor on up, move to Next Newsgroup and
> goto 1st unread article"?
> And how would that icon differ from the sister function:
> "Delete all Read Articles, move to Next Newsgroup and goto top article"?
> You see, in actual fact, it is not as simple as it might seem and there are
> many justifications for doing it the way we have in our implementation.
>
> But even if that weren't so, why should we waste the memory (yes, on PDAs,
> RAM is very scarce) adding bitmaps especially when they wouldn't be
> intuitive? Remember, this is an app DESIGNED for the limited environment of
> Palm OS (where memory can be VERY tight). The last thing people will use or
> appreciate is a 1Gb PRC! We are already receiving complaints that the PRC
> is "too large"...
>
>
>>many of the other menu options and buttons
>>don't seem organized well at all.
>
>
> This is just the kind of useless comment that drives designers crazy!
> The words "many", "other", "seem" are worthless because they are too vague!
> PLEASE: If you don't like how something has been done, be specific!
> Say something like, "Menu Y's option 3 and Menu X's option 2 should be under
> a new Menu called "Z" because they are related in such-and-such a manner."
> That is something we can consider accomodating!
>
>
>>If you need inspiration, you can take a look to TuNews
>
>
> I have seen it and I strongly disapprove. It is (along with most portable
> newsreaders, especially the PPC ones) trying to be exactly what NY is trying
> avoid: OutlookExpressCrammedOntoPalmOS.
> The goal of a newsreader should be convenient access to (and manipulation
> of) news threads.
> With NY we have attempted to maximize that goal TAKING FULL CONSIDERATION of
> the limited environment that exists on the Palm OS/hardware.
>
>
>>But it is much more promising than NY, in my opinion.
>
>
> Besides icons (totally disagree), thread-trees (can agree in principle but
> in practice this does not seem to be a real issue) and color (I agree on
> color and and am working on it), what does TuNews (or any other portable
> Usenet client) do better than NY? Those of you who "don't like" NY, have
> you actually spent time getting to know NY or did you just take a peek at it
> and say to yourself, "doesn't look like OE so it must not be any good"? I
> think if you give NY a sincere try, you will find that it does nearly
> everything you really want a newsreader to do and it does so very well (even
> though it may do it in a different fashion than how you may be accostomed).
> We are begging here for elaboration. Please, give NY a fresh try and give
> us specific feedback. We are not afraid of competition so better yet, try
> both and then let us know what you think. Try to set aside your prejudices
> and OE-bias and evaluate the apps on how well they actually achieve the goal
> of accessing text in a reliable, pleasant and efficient mannter. Don't
> forget to sample the advanced features such as killfiles and SPAM avoidance
> (which OE and TuNews do not have) which greatly contribute to a sastifactory
> user experience.
>
>
>>I hope this dont offend you
>
>
> Be assured, it does not; after all, we are BEGGING for critical/constructive
> feedback!
>
>
>>I know that a program like Yano­ff requires many,
>>many months of hard work,
>
>
> That really isn't a valid consideration.
> If a piece of software is junk, it is junk, regardless of how long the junk
> took to create, right?
> And if NY is junk, we really do want (need) to know.
>
>
>>but today PalmOS PDA are powerful, and we are accustomed to
>>­very complex programs,with many advanced funtions, graphics etc.
>
>
> So please elaborate as to what NY should have that it does not.
> You can't just say, "it needs to exploit my color screen" and not explain
> how! The prepodnerance of color devices does not, in itself, provide a
> justification the expense of adding color to an app (although perhaps, from
> a purely marketing standpoint it does). Even more importantly, WHY should
> NY have this thing that you feel it needs; how would you use this thing and
> why is it so important? What is it you desire to do now that cannot
> currently be done just as well? The "how" and "why" will help us to decide
> if your desire has genuine
> validity.
>
>
>>NY looks like a very old and amateurish program when
>>it is compared to best P­almOS software;
>
>
> The same could be said of any newsreader on any platform when compared to
> the flashiest software (such as games) on that same platform.
> NY is for TEXT-based Usenet; how flashy can text be?
> How flashy is your favorite desktop newsreader?
>
> When was the last time OE was updated?
> How does OE compare to IE or Word or Doom3?
> Seriously, have you tried it to see how it handles text articles?
> Was your user experience seriously lacking somehow?
> God willing, NY will *never* be OE and that is a GOOD thing!
>
>
>>the only chance of success for NY is the complete lack of alternatives
>
>
> Ouch; that one hurt! :>
>
>>and I hope you will make a g­ood newsreader in the future
>
>
> And I hope everyone will continue this discussion until
> we can come to some points of agreement so we can
> make NY more of what everyone would like to use!
>
> P.S. Before you non-English speakers flood us please know that we are
> painfully aware that we do not have satisfactory multi-language support and
> are also working on this.
>
>
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Anonymous
February 1, 2005 5:26:23 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"Gregg Woodcock" <usenet@SonLightSoftware.com> wrote in
news:3674g4F4sbor7U1@individual.net:

> Our sales are suffering because of the ubiquitous GUI standards of the
> modern desktop where resources (filespace/RAM and CPU/speed) are
> essentially infinite.
> Despite our confidence that we are giving users what they need, there
> is a steady stream of complaints (and, worse yet, a distinct lack of
> sales) because we are not giving them what they think they want.

Hi, Gregg -

I've been designing software since the early 80's. All that matters is
what the user wants... not what you think they need, or your opinion of
what they "think they want" which, to be honest, sounds incredibly
arrogant.

There's a term for software designers who think they are going to
convince customers that their own wants are wrong, and that the
designer's product is really what the need...

They're called waiters, and can be found working in all sorts of Silicon
Valley eateries. ;-)

If you know what your users are asking for, GIVE IT TO THEM. And don't
complain about the low power or limited resources of a modern PDA; I
designed a DOS shell program that had an amazing array of functionality
and a then-state-of-the-art user interface, all in 120K, dropping down to
4K when it ran other programs. The systems of the time commonly had
256K-640K of ram, so every K was precious. Modern PDAs are much faster
and have significantly more memory. It may be hard work (the program in
question, PathMinder, was over 120,000 lines of 8086 assembly code) but
you can get the results if you try.

If the job of giving the users what they're asking for is too much for
you, consider another line of work. It sounds harsh, but the market is
harsh. Adapt and deliver, or perish. I mean this as good advice from
one software designer to another.

--
Albert Nurick | Nurick + Associates - Web Design
albert@nurick.com | eCommerce - Content Management
www.nurick.com | Web Applications - Hosting
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 5:26:24 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"Albert Nurick" <albert@nurick.com> wrote in message
news:Xns95EFCFECA20B4albertnurickcom@24.93.43.119...
>
> If you know what your users are asking for, GIVE IT TO THEM. And don't
> complain about the low power or limited resources of a modern PDA.
> If the job of giving the users what they're asking for is too much for
> you, consider another line of work. It sounds harsh, but the market is
> harsh. Adapt and deliver, or perish. I mean this as good advice from
> one software designer to another.

This all sounds good in principle but we both know that is NOT a hard and
fast rule; no one size can always fits all.
The design philosophy espoused above is what created the Edsel (and Homer
Simpsons SUV-mobile), after all!

The real heart of the problem is where to allocate design resources and how
much we should care about the size of our PRC because design resources
(manpower) and device resources (RAM) are valid concerns when prioritizing
features/changes.

I was tending to believe the handful of people who are telling us, "if only
your app did SSL, our college/company would buy dozens of copies" far more
than I did the scores of people who were saying, "if only your app had a
color icon, I could give it a chance". I'm not complaining so much about
them as I am marveling at my own inability to grok such a mindset that
evidently is true (at least in the sense that it is widespread enough to be
a marketing priority). But in this very thread many of you are echoing the
heart of those sentiments! I must be *really* out of touch if even the
Usenet faithful in these NGs are agreeing with those I had originally
considered whackos! It has been a LONG time since I ran across a truth
around which I just could not wrap my mind; I guess there are just some
things we must do even if we cannot comprehend them. I suppose that's part
of the problem; I had always considered the fact that I was a *SERIOUS*
hours-a-day die-hard Usenet reader and HEAVY user of my own app to be one of
our biggest assets. Now I am coming to find it may have been one of our
biggest marketing liabilities! I don't think I'll ever be able to empathize
with the idea that somebody might not get past the opening credits of a
movie because they did not like something as seemingly arbitrary as the font
that was chosen...
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 5:26:25 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 20:59:07 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:

> I was tending to believe the handful of people who are telling us, "if only
> your app did SSL, our college/company would buy dozens of copies" far more
> than I did the scores of people who were saying, "if only your app had a
> color icon, I could give it a chance".

Nobody's saying you can't provide both... at least I don't think
anybody's saying that.

--
Derek

"Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons
exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." -- G.K.
Chesterton
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 5:34:53 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"Gregg Woodcock" <woodcock@SonLightSoftware.com> wrote in
news:1107204844.2b964292a1133a36447eed51da82417c@teranews:

> This ("it is actually better this way") is actually how we have been
> responding since the beginning

No surprise that you're losing customers. It is a developer's job to serve
and guide the end user, but ultimately, you've got to deliver a product
he'll use, and in the commercial market, buy.

"better this way" is better for YOU. Obviously not in the opinion of the
customers.

> but this response as often as not has
> users come back saying, "then I guess I just won't use your product"
> which (besides being a non-sequitur) is unacceptable!

Reality check, huh?

--
Albert Nurick | Nurick + Associates - Web Design
albert@nurick.com | eCommerce - Content Management
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Anonymous
February 1, 2005 6:09:31 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"David A. Desrosiers" <hacker@gnu-designs.com> wrote in message
news:p an.2005.02.01.07.41.36.160907@gnu-designs.com...
>
> In the spirit of giving back, I've done a quick 30-minute review
> of the issues I've spotted in Palm Yanoff, so express that I'm not just
> "spouting off" without basis. I'm sure if I've found thse issues,
> "regular" users will be finding even more.
>
> http://code.gnu-designs.com/yanoff_review/

Several of your comments are invalid because (as I mentioned in a previous
followup) you really ARE registered. If you had been working with a truly
fresh install (i.e. did not have the license key installed), you would not
have had any "why doesn't this 'register' thing let me register" issues.
However the rest of the comments are clearly valid and worth considering how
they might be addressed. I appreciate the time you spent and will make good
use of your suggestions.
February 1, 2005 7:31:29 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops (More info?)

"C.Joseph Drayton" <kalek1@mindspring.com>,
news:41ff01c1_18@Output.100ProofNews.com said:

> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
>
> Hi Gregg,
>
> The answer is yes! Color, icons and tree views are important to
> users.
--cut--

> This is one of the realities I learned years ago when I first
> started programming. People like what is familiar.

--cut about 300 lines--

Make one that botom posts.
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 9:19:03 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

I don't have a lot of time to spend during the day reading news and
usually find it convenient to browse the groups while I'm home at my
desk. So I'm not really a potential customer for your product. No
matter what features you add or don't, I'm not going to be persuaded
to make the purchase. That has nothing to do with your product, I just
don't need the solution that you're selling.

If I was searching for a product like yours, a monochrome icon would
tell me that your product was designed for a monochrome PDA and hasn't
been updated for my newer PDA. You can tell me otherwise, but it won't
make a lot of difference, I'm unlikely to believe you. Good
programmers don't usually make good marketers.

Your message got me wondering, so I took a look at the applications
that I have loaded. I have applications that have colorful icons, but
monochrome applications, why do you feel like it's misleading? Memo is
B&W while Big clock and Handy Shopper only have color in the
background. Yet all 3 applications have color icons.

Remember, customers don't want 1/2 inch drill bits, they want 1/2 inch
holes.

--
Erik
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 11:11:30 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

David A. Desrosiers wrote:
> And Greg, as you should know, I took the same kind of selfless
> time out of my day to clean up your website to bring it to current web
> standards back in June of last year, and created a custom logo for you,
> both of which you rejected in favor of your own design. (If anyone is
> interested, I've still got it available online at the link below)
>
> Original site:
> http://client.gnu-designs.com/www.palmyanoff.com/
>
> My proposed updates, from June 2004:
> http://client.gnu-designs.com/www.palmyanoff.com/layout...

I looked at your proposed update version, and the logo is nice,
but the layout has problems.

If I use it with the default font size that I use with everything else
and the default window size that I use with everything else, then the
"Yanoff" logo at the top overlaps the "WARNING: Y" part of "WARNING:
You will enver read Usenet the same way again!". The worst part is,
the problem with the logo occurs no matter how big or small
I make the window and no matter how big or small I make the font.

Also, the blanks after "Full Name:" and after "Email Address:"
in the left column are too wide and overlap text in the "What
is Yanoff+?" paragraph.

And if I crank up the font size (which I sometimes do on a
page-by-page basis by hitting command-+), then everything in
the left column eventually overlaps stuff in the right column.

If it matters, the web browser I tried it with is Firefox, running
on OS X. I have the same problem if I try it in Safari, though.
And in Mozilla. On the Mac version of Internet Explorer 5.2, I
don't have all the problems, although the "WARNING" stuff does
still overlap the logo unless I make the font ridiculously small.
I don't have any layout problems with the original site.

- Logan
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 12:10:00 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

On Tue, 01 Feb 2005 03:09:31 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:

> Several of your comments are invalid because (as I mentioned in a
> previous followup) you really ARE registered. If you had been working
> with a truly fresh install (i.e. did not have the license key
> installed), you would not have had any "why doesn't this 'register'
> thing let me register" issues.

This is completely false, and can be easily proved by loading Palm
Yanoff + my license key in the Palm OS Emulator. The first time I launched
Palm Yanoff, it says I have 15 days to try it, before certain features
become unavailable. Also, those "Register B4 these work" buttons should
NEVER EVER EVER show that, since I am, apparently "registered".
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 12:22:28 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

> I looked at your proposed update version, and the logo is nice, but the
> layout has problems.

You're absolutely right. I forgot to test with a font size 300%
larger than standard. These problems are fixed now, in this version,
though nobody will ever use it.

> If I use it with the default font size that I use with everything else and
> the default window size that I use with everything else, then the "Yanoff"
> logo at the top overlaps the "WARNING: Y" part of "WARNING: You will enver
> read Usenet the same way again!". The worst part is, the problem with the
> logo occurs no matter how big or small I make the window and no matter how
> big or small I make the font.

Fixed.
>
> Also, the blanks after "Full Name:" and after "Email Address:" in the left
> column are too wide and overlap text in the "What is Yanoff+?" paragraph.

Fixed.

> And if I crank up the font size (which I sometimes do on a page-by-page
> basis by hitting command-+), then everything in the left column eventually
> overlaps stuff in the right column.

Fixed.

> On the Mac version of Internet Explorer 5.2, I don't have all the
> problems, although the "WARNING" stuff does still overlap the logo unless
> I make the font ridiculously small. I don't have any layout problems with
> the original site.

Except:

1.) The original size is using invalid HTML and doesn't validate
2.) It doesn't degrade well for sight-impaired or blind users
3.) It is using tables for layout, bad, and breaks text-to-speech readers
4.) It doesn't work well on a PDA or cellphone at all
5.) The content doesn't flow in any useful way, for navigation
6.) The page is 2x the size, unnecessarily (which will slow down the user
experience, and ultimately cost Greg money, if he gets thousands of
hits per-day).
7.) The page is not forward compatible, because of 1.) above.

But you're right, use whatever works.
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 12:33:10 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"David A. Desrosiers" <hacker@gnu-designs.com> wrote in message
news:p an.2005.02.01.14.09.58.705994@gnu-designs.com...
> On Tue, 01 Feb 2005 03:09:31 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:
>
> > Several of your comments are invalid because (as I mentioned in a
> > previous followup) you really ARE registered. If you had been working
> > with a truly fresh install (i.e. did not have the license key
> > installed), you would not have had any "why doesn't this 'register'
> > thing let me register" issues.
>
> This is completely false, and can be easily proved by loading Palm
> Yanoff + my license key in the Palm OS Emulator.

The point is that you should NOT load the license key and then see what it
does. If the license key is NOT loaded then the buttons/menus do what they
should. I just loaded POSE and re-tested it from a web-page download of
3.0. I never really thought about what they do after a person is registered
because almost nobody would select the "Register" menu item if they are
already registered and the first thing everybody does after installing the
license key is fully configure their ButtonActions (the main reason peole
buy in). That is not to say that I *shouldn't* think about it (and make
sure it does something sensible)...
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 12:45:10 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

> Several of your comments are invalid because (as I mentioned in a
> previous followup) you really ARE registered. If you had been working
> with a truly fresh install (i.e. did not have the license key
> installed), you would not have had any "why doesn't this 'register'
> thing let me register" issues.

I should add that if I'm a valid "registered" user, the buttons with
"Register" and the startup nag, and the "Register" menu options that
appear in a couple of menus in varying places (but don't actually work?)
should NEVER appear. Ever.

Now, one possible way to fix that, is to throw the user into the
form resource that allows those button titles to be edited, and walk them
through a series of "wizards" to set up a news server, mail server, and so
on.

There should never be anything that says "Register Me" or similar
texts in menus, buttons or nag screens, when the user is registered. After
all, that's what they paid the $24.00 to avoid, isn't it?
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 12:45:11 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"David A. Desrosiers" <hacker@gnu-designs.com> wrote in message
news:p an.2005.02.01.14.45.01.247041@gnu-designs.com...
>
> I should add that if I'm a valid "registered" user, the buttons with
> "Register" and the startup nag, and the "Register" menu options that
> appear in a couple of menus in varying places (but don't actually work?)
> should NEVER appear. Ever.

Agree about the startup nag and that is the way it is now (but not the
buttons and that has lead to confusion).

> Now, one possible way to fix that, is to throw the user into the
> form resource that allows those button titles to be edited, and walk them
> through a series of "wizards" to set up a news server, mail server, and so
> on.

Believe it or not, this is EXACTLY the solution I realized while pondering
this last night (not a wizard but a "Configure your ButtonAction preferences
at the following screen; they can be modified at any time" dialog which then
throws them into the Prefs). I think a full setting-by-setting wizard would
be overkill, especially when they have the "(i)" help right there...
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 12:57:56 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

On Tue, 1 Feb 2005 09:20:19 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:

> I expected nothing at all and your unsolicited proof of concept was a
> wonderful surprise and, while not adopted, was greatly appreciated and
> helped us make good changes to ours (we never did get around to figuring out
> why FP did not ensure/generate validating HTML).

The reason FrontPage (and FrontPage Express, which appears to be what
you've used on your site) don't validate is that they are Microsoft
products.

Microsoft has continually added features to Internet Explorer that are
not part of the W3C standards. Their products continue to produce HTML
that fits with Microsoft's standards, but are not W3C compliant.

As long as you're using FrontPage, you won't validate properly. The
solution is to switch to a different editor which is standards
compliant - or even code the text manually in NotePad.

--
Derek

If everything's coming your way, then you're in the wrong lane.
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 1:20:39 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"Gregg Woodcock" <usenet@SonLightSoftware.com> wrote in message
news:3674g4F4sbor7U1@individual.net...
> Our sales are suffering because of the ubiquitous GUI standards of the
> modern desktop where resources (filespace/RAM and CPU/speed) are
> essentially
> infinite.
> Despite our confidence that we are giving users what they need, there is a
> steady stream of complaints (and, worse yet, a distinct lack of sales)
> because we are not giving them what they think they want.
> [...]

Dear Gregg,

I as a possible customer am really offended by parts of your posting.
First of all I'd really like to know how you exactly do your reading of my
mind?
I don't THINK I know what I want, but I definitely KNOW what I want! (And
BTW you're not the only person in this universe who knows how to design and
write software.)

So what do you think would be a good way of learning what somebody wants?
Maybe you could start by just asking specific and open questions.
Of what value are your justifications (to me as a potential customer)?
Of none. So maybe it could turn out to be a good idea to just ask questions,
listen to the answers carefully and value them.

So let's get down to the nitty-gritty. ;) 

Research
I did some research on NNTP-Clients for the Palm-OS platform in newsgroups
and of course the WWW (googling my way around) and soon found out that
Yanoff seemed to be the most appropriate application.

Download/Installation
On January 25th I went to your homepage and after reading and searching
around I downloaded the offered version of Yanoff+, which was 2.1 at that
time.
Only to discover on the very next day that now you had released 3.0, which I
then had to download (and install) again.
I'd really have appreciated a hint to the planned date of release of the new
version when I visited your homepage just the day before.

Usability of Yanoff(+)
First I think I should mention that I currently use a Treo600.
_Every_ time when starting the still unregistered version Yanoff+ I am
bothered with a notification that this is a demo version that would work for
another n days with 2 buttons at the bottom "Buy" and "Try". This is the
first time when I start to doubt the usability of this application. Why?
Because I cannot use the built-in keyboard of the Treo (not even the
5-way-navigator) to quit this message and I have to take out the pen and
"push" the "Try" button.
Why does this bother me? Because I (still) use the Palm-OS plattform because
of it's integration and ease of use and any application that forces me to do
something unnecessary, i.e. having to use the pen because the application
still does not support the 5-way-navigator, for me simply is not as usable
as possible and desirable. Any newly released application that does not
support all current machines and their main features is outdated the moment
it's released. Especially if the designer claims for his application to
maximize usability and then on the other hand forces me to take out and use
the pen instead of being able to use the 5-way-navigator.
When I do not quit this message I'll get another message after a while that
tells me Yanoff has crashed. Great! From just displaying a message?
Dear programmer pls. do your homework with your error-handlers!
When entering the application I get informed that xKB are free (x is the
amount of unused RAM). It's 2005 and this application still does not support
VFS. Unbelievable, but true.
I would very much like an application like Yanoff to at least give me the
option to store the downloaded headers/messages on an expansion card if not
being able to specify how and/or when the app should do it on its own
(headers/msgs. older then x days -> expansion card, e.g.).
The bottom of the screen shows 3 buttons "Register", "B4 buttons" and "will
work!". Your homepage states "That means that you can download Yanoff+ and
try it out free of charge for 15 days." which means that even the registered
version will not allow me to use those buttons (I'm still in the 15 day
trial-period and have 3 unusable buttons!). What the heck are the buttons
for if I can't use them? Or why do you lie to your potential customers on
your homepage?
When trying to set up the preferences I again experienced the lack of
support for the 5-way-navigator. I can choose a menu but I cannot navigate
through the items or choose one of them by using the 5-way-navigator.
After using the pen to get to the "ServerPreferences" I started to configure
the servers.
The next questions arise.
What sense does it make to prominently place an option called "Network Svc"
at the top of the screen when at the same time displaying "<unimplemented>"
next to it?
Why am I forced to add "Username" and "Hostname" on the second configuration
page?
Why do I have to be offended with the designers/programmers religious
beliefs by placing their absolutely unnecessary and inappropriate example
for a signature ("Jesus saves") there?
Ok, everything set up, so let's get down to work.
"Menu" -> "Comm" -> "Go on-/off-line".
What would you expect from that? Going online? I did expect something like
that, but ended up in my Treo's network preferences having to go online
manually.
And after doing that and using the "Done"-button I once again get the
notification that this is a demo version with the three options: press "Buy"
using the pen(!), press "Try" using the pen(!) or wait for the crash.
When chosing to go online in an application I would very much appreciate
this application to do exactly that, ie going online, nothing more and
nothing less.

I could go on for at least another couple of pages of text but it all comes
down to this:
1. Yanoff is complicated and troublesome to use, which at least to me is a
complete contradiction to the palm philosophy
2. Yanoff's usability is completely outdated. I would have accepted
something like this in the old days (Palm V and before), but definitely not
in 2005 from an application released in 2005.
3. Yanoff's creators are not being honest to their customers (no
notification of release-date the day before the release, useless buttons at
bottom of screen vs. promise of fully-featured version during
testing-period).
4. I will definitely not shell out USD 24.- for something like that and I
will strongly recommend my customers and friends to not use Yanoff(+).

> We have had a very difficult time getting any specific criticism
> (constructive or otherwise) about NY (with the exception of comments in
> regards to PocketPurchase which have been resolved, thankfully). Most of
> the feedback that we have seen really doesn't make much sense to looking
> at
> it as a PALM
> USER. As a PALM USER even when considering a hypothetically
> "near-perfect"
> Palm Usenet newsreader, what do you consider essential (must-have) or,
> alternatively, must-avoid functionality/features?

Take a look at Snapper Mail. Nearly the same story (mail-client vs.
news-client) but state-of-the-art implementation.
Use it for a while and then use Yanoff(+). You'll instantaneously get a
feeling of what we, your (potential) customers are talking about.

> [...]

> Be assured, it does not; after all, we are BEGGING for
> critical/constructive
> feedback!

Ok, so here you go. Your're welcome! :) 

> That really isn't a valid consideration.
> If a piece of software is junk, it is junk, regardless of how long the
> junk
> took to create, right?
> And if NY is junk, we really do want (need) to know.

Aha, fishing for compliments.
If you think it's junk well then it most probably is from your point of
view.
From my point of view it simply is software that doesn't scale up to todays
standards. And that's exactly the reason why I will not buy it. But as I
said, that's my personal opinion.

> So please elaborate as to what NY should have that it does not.

Support for the 5-way-navigator.
Not 2 pages of configuration info (for servers) where 1 would be enough.
No unnecessary notifications, buttons, configuration-items.
Working error-handlers.
Tight integration of all functions (one or two keypresses at most).
Use of expansion-cards for rules-based storage of the headers/messages.
Icons/colors/fonts (whatever) to highlight and/or distinct displayed
content.
Etc, etc.

> The same could be said of any newsreader on any platform when compared to
> the flashiest software (such as games) on that same platform.
> NY is for TEXT-based Usenet; how flashy can text be?
> How flashy is your favorite desktop newsreader?

It is not, but at least it makes decent use of today's technology both for
visualisation and usability.
As do all of my e-mail clients, by the way.

>> the only chance of success for NY is the complete lack of alternatives
>
> Ouch; that one hurt! :>

Sorry, but that's the truth. How many other (recommendable) news-readers do
you actually know for the Palm-OS plattform?

> P.S. Before you non-English speakers flood us please know that we are
> painfully aware that we do not have satisfactory multi-language support
> and
> are also working on this.

That would definitely be a very good idea, too.

Thank's for reading all of this and kind regards,

Mike
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 1:20:40 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"Mike D. Njoroge" <mikeDOTnjorogeATunivieDOTacDOTat> wrote in message
news:41ff49e7$0$25070$91cee783@newsreader01.highway.telekom.at...
> "Gregg Woodcock" <usenet@SonLightSoftware.com> wrote in message

> I as a possible customer am really offended by parts of your posting.
> First of all I'd really like to know how you exactly do your reading of my
> mind?
> I don't THINK I know what I want, but I definitely KNOW what I want!

That comment was written tongue-in-cheek but I forgot to add the smiley.
Please take the one below and insert it after that comment!
:>

> Maybe you could start by just asking specific and open questions.

I do believe that this thread meets that description!

> Of what value are your justifications (to me as a potential customer)?

None. That is what is so stinking discouraging! :>
(note the smiley!!!)


> So let's get down to the nitty-gritty. ;) 

YEEEE-HAAH!

> I'd really have appreciated a hint to the planned date of release of the
new
> version when I visited your homepage just the day before.

Good point. Will do a better job of this next release.

> I cannot use the built-in keyboard of the Treo (not even the
> 5-way-navigator) to quit this message and I have to take out the pen and
> "push" the "Try" button.

EXCELLENT POINT! I will get the PocketPurchase guys to work on this
immediately!

> When I do not quit this message I'll get another message after a while
that
> tells me Yanoff has crashed. Great! From just displaying a message?

Oops. That is definitely a bug and I didn't notice it because I had turned
that prompt off ("never again") when I did my testing.
The app is sub-launching out to the Networks Pref panel which bypasses the
normal exit code which writes the "I did not crash" flag.
Good point and this will be fixed immediately!

> This application still does not support VFS. Unbelievable, but true.
> I would very much like an application like Yanoff to at least give me the
> option to store the downloaded headers/messages on an expansion card if
not
> being able to specify how and/or when the app should do it on its own
> (headers/msgs. older then x days -> expansion card, e.g.).

We would very much like to provide this and it is on the To-Do list.
<Begin irrelevant-to-user designer-justification>
One of the reasons it was not done is because of the T5 debacle with DB
handling (still greatly unresolved). There is also the matter of
prioritizing features and resources (one of the reasons we initiated this
thread). Where should this fall in the following feature list based on
items mentioned in this thread?
FiveWay/GUI revamp/repair, colorize, SSL, VFS (that's the order we are now
considering)?
</End irrelevancy>

> Your homepage states "That means that you can download Yanoff+ and
> try it out free of charge for 15 days." which [implies] that even the
registered
> version will not allow me to use those buttons (I'm still in the 15 day
> trial-period and have 3 unusable buttons!). What the heck are the buttons
> for if I can't use them? Or why do you lie to your potential customers on
> your homepage?

GOOD POINT! This is in the FAQ but we should either enable the buttons or
add a hyperlinked exception to that blanket statement.

> When trying to set up the preferences I again experienced the lack of
> support for the 5-way-navigator. I can choose a menu but I cannot navigate
> through the items or choose one of them by using the 5-way-navigator.

Not entirely true but there is a bug there. Because the newly added
ButtonAction prefs "take over" the FiveWay controls, there is a minor
disconnect in this area. As a workaround, you should find that pushing Left
or Right once the menu is opened will then allow you to use Up and Down to
navigate the menus. This will be fixed for the next release (we actually
had noticed this already but it is a good point).

> What sense does it make to prominently place an option called "Network
Svc"
> at the top of the screen when at the same time displaying
"<unimplemented>"
> next to it?

None. When adding features, they always go into the config screens first
and then their function is added. This was one that didn't get finished and
should have been removed. Another good point.

> Why am I forced to add "Username" and "Hostname" on the second
configuration
> page?

This is also something we have already "fixed". What we do now is *explain*
why this must be so in the error that pops up by adding a justification
clause along the lines of "without those fields, a 'From:' header cannot be
generated. This header is mandatory for all outgoing messages.".

> Why do I have to be offended with the designers/programmers religious
> beliefs by placing their absolutely unnecessary and inappropriate example
> for a signature ("Jesus saves") there?

Because you are overly sensitive? :> <-Note smiley!
It is good news after all!

> Ok, everything set up, so let's get down to work.
> "Menu" -> "Comm" -> "Go on-/off-line".
> What would you expect from that? Going online? I did expect something like
> that, but ended up in my Treo's network preferences having to go online
> manually.

This is a nod to novices (which is mostly what this thread is about). They
may not know what the Network Pref panel is called or where it is. They may
not think to push the Poll button because they know they are offline and
won't expect it to work (it will). I think this is far more likely that a
newbie will benefit than it is that an experienced user will be seriously
put out by an extra 2 button presses. Besides, the step is generally
unneccessary as the app will automatically go online when a Poll command is
issued and then go offline when the poll is done. Oops: there goes another
users-don't-care justification (but it is in the FAQ).

> I could go on for at least another couple of pages

If you don't want to here, I wish you would in email
(suggestions@PalmYanoff.com) because you have been far-and-away the most
specific and astute critic we have had in a long time. I don't think I have
ever had the pleasure of agreeing with this many criticisms in a single
contact before. BRAVO!

> Take a look at Snapper Mail. Nearly the same story (mail-client vs.
> news-client) but state-of-the-art implementation.
> Use it for a while and then use Yanoff(+). You'll instantaneously get a
> feeling of what we, your (potential) customers are talking about.

Will do that, too...

> > That really isn't a valid consideration.
> > If a piece of software is junk, it is junk, regardless of how long the
> > junk
> > took to create, right?
> > And if NY is junk, we really do want (need) to know.
>
> Aha, fishing for compliments.

??? I am fishing for useable criticism (and you thankfully bit)!

> Support for the 5-way-navigator.

This is not as bad as it appears; it is 90-something% there right now but
we'll get it 100% in no time.

> Not 2 pages of configuration info (for servers) where 1 would be enough.

You'll have to be more specific here; I don't see how this is possible
without adding an "identites" configuration (which we have seriously
considered doing) and replacing the 2nd screen with a cross-referencing
drop-down on the 1st screen.

> No unnecessary notifications, buttons, configuration-items.
> Working error-handlers.

Shameless oversights in testing. These will be patched immediately...

Thanks again for your most valuable contributions to the app!
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 1:52:25 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

On Tue, 1 Feb 2005 10:11:18 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:

> FiveWay/GUI revamp/repair, colorize, SSL, VFS (that's the order we are now
> considering)?

I think VFS should come after GUI revamp. Color and SSL don't mean
much if I don't have the space to store the data.

Older handhelds will benefit wit their limited storage space
internally. And all handhelds (save those with T5 data protection)
will benefit from having their settings and data saved non-volatilely.

VFS is a bigger selling point than you might think. At least it would
be for me.

Just my opinion.

--
Derek

There is no greater joy than soaring high on the wings of your dreams,
except maybe the joy of watching a dreamer who has nowhere to land but
in the ocean of reality.
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 1:52:26 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"Derek" <news@gwinn.us> wrote in message news:1hf67ssucz5vq.dlg@gwinn.us...
> On Tue, 1 Feb 2005 10:11:18 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:
>
> > FiveWay/GUI revamp/repair, colorize, SSL, VFS (that's the order we are
now
> > considering)?
>
> I think VFS should come after GUI revamp. Color and SSL don't mean
> much if I don't have the space to store the data.

That is the kind of reasoning I have always had but the market clearly is
requiring an infusion of pizazz!

> VFS is a bigger selling point than you might think.

That's what the color-philes are saying, too! Which is bigger....What to
do....
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 2:05:40 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

On Tue, 01 Feb 2005 09:57:56 -0600, Derek wrote:

> As long as you're using FrontPage, you won't validate properly. The
> solution is to switch to a different editor which is standards compliant
> - or even code the text manually in NotePad.

I still do every client page we work with, in vi.
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 2:05:41 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"David A. Desrosiers" <hacker@gnu-designs.com> wrote in message
news:p an.2005.02.01.16.05.39.699342@gnu-designs.com...
> On Tue, 01 Feb 2005 09:57:56 -0600, Derek wrote:
>
> > As long as you're using FrontPage, you won't validate properly. The
> > solution is to switch to a different editor which is standards compliant
> > - or even code the text manually in NotePad.
>
> I still do every client page we work with, in vi.

I did it 50/50. Started in FP but always had to cleanup and fine-tune in
vi, especially when cloning.
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 2:15:06 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

On Tue, 1 Feb 2005 10:47:53 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:

> "Derek" <news@gwinn.us> wrote in message news:1hf67ssucz5vq.dlg@gwinn.us...
>> On Tue, 1 Feb 2005 10:11:18 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:
>>
>>> FiveWay/GUI revamp/repair, colorize, SSL, VFS (that's the order we are
> now
>>> considering)?
>>
>> I think VFS should come after GUI revamp. Color and SSL don't mean
>> much if I don't have the space to store the data.
>
> That is the kind of reasoning I have always had but the market clearly is
> requiring an infusion of pizazz!

Yeah, well. What do I know. I'm still sticking with my m515 on purpose
and on principle.

>> VFS is a bigger selling point than you might think.
>
> That's what the color-philes are saying, too! Which is bigger....What to
> do....

As the recently appointed Centauri Regent stated regarding the decor
"I'm thinking pastels". Of course, the Centauri Republic was falling
apart around him at the time. (Babylon 5 references)

--
Derek

If you're not a part of the solution, there's good money to be made
prolonging the problem.
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 3:46:53 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

Realize that we live in a world with a "throw more hardware at it"
attitude. Writing a simple letter already takes several times more
resources than were used flying to the moon. I too care more for a decent
user interface than for the required memory and processing power.

For example I just sent a complaint to the makers of Chatopus because they
throw all contacts in one big list instead of grouping them in a tree view
like almost all other instant messengers do.

Tom
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 4:47:11 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops (More info?)

"Trey" <me@privacy.net> wrote in message
news:1107232289.51b3c6feac5ee4e8311085f23cd9c9fe@bubbanews...
>
> --cut about 300 lines--
>
> Make one that botom posts.

New Yanoff is hard-coded to do so and also enforces limited inclusion of
quoted text by forcing the user to select some text or none is included.
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 4:50:24 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

Gregg Woodcock wrote in
news:1107246522.85095a99ad9e77d2f6f005933f5c47e6@teranews:

> If you had given us the chance to explain, you were almost
> certainly mistaken about your being unregistered on your clean
> install test because the app never reassigns the default button
> labels even after the key appears. Thus to change the initial
> default button message from "Register B4 buttons will work!" the
> user must actually edit his button labels at the ButtonAction
> Prefs (unregistered users are not allowed to change the text).

Yuck! That really ought to be done automatically. I have never looked
at your app (I don't have any need for a Palm ng-reader), but after
reading this thread (and the examples posted on the web by David
Desrosiers) I have to agree that you need to take a hard look at your
user interface. I would never pay for that mess.

Rikard
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 5:59:38 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"David A. Desrosiers" <hacker@gnu-designs.com> wrote in message
news:p an.2005.02.01.14.45.01.247041@gnu-designs.com...
>
> There should never be anything that says "Register Me" or similar
> texts in menus, buttons or nag screens, when the user is registered. After
> all, that's what they paid the $24.00 to avoid, isn't it?

There are a few problems with this. So far as I am aware, Palm still has as
part of their developer standards and "Zen" of Palm NOT to add/delete/gray
menu items on the fly. They did not provide any easy way to do this by
design: they don't want us to do it! Many developers (including me) and
users disagree but Palm drew a very clear day-one line in the sand that this
would be a divergence from Windows!

As far as nags, they DO disappear after the user installs the key with ONE
exception which is impossible in the real world but which you discovered: if
the user installs the app for the first time and yet there is a license key
already there. I will mention it to the Pocket Purchase team as something
to look into.

The buttons are a totally doable matter and it has come up before but never
with respect to "it may chase people away before they give it a chance".
One of the main reasons not to do anything very, very obvious when a license
key is installed is that it makes the crackers' job SO much easier. They
simply look for the text, find a memory address, and work back from there to
find the jump command to bypass. This is the main reason why we have not
addressed this by modifying the labels once the key appears (and why we
probably won't). It is far more likely we will abandon the label-message
and button-restriction entirely as we now know there is not only a support
issue (registered users think they are still unregistered despite other
immediate cues such as the disappearance of the nags) but a serious
marketing (first impression) issue as well.
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 6:20:00 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops (More info?)

On Tue, 01 Feb 2005 13:47:11 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:

> New Yanoff is hard-coded to do so and also enforces limited inclusion of
> quoted text by forcing the user to select some text or none is included.

As long as it isn't enforced, and people can intersperse their
replies across existing messages, just like its supposed to be, that's
probably acceptable.

If it is hard-coded, and unchangeable, that's a blocker.
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 6:33:12 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops (More info?)

"David A. Desrosiers" <hacker@gnu-designs.com> wrote in message
news:p an.2005.02.01.20.19.59.213222@gnu-designs.com...
> On Tue, 01 Feb 2005 13:47:11 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:
>
> > New Yanoff is hard-coded to do so and also enforces limited inclusion of
> > quoted text by forcing the user to select some text or none is included.
>
> As long as it isn't enforced, and people can intersperse their
> replies across existing messages, just like its supposed to be, that's
> probably acceptable.
>
> If it is hard-coded, and unchangeable, that's a blocker.

Our plan to fight top-posting in a reasonable manner is as follows:
1: The placement of the signature is hard-coded to be at the bottom of all
included quoted text (we would consider modifying this for the "forward"
operation but currently haven't).
2: The initial placement of the cursor is hard-coded to be immediately
before the signature delimiter (i.e. between the quoted text and .sig).
3: If no text is highlighted, no text is included (i.e. it does not by
default include all the text in this case).

The user is free to manually highlight all the original text and regardless
of how much text is highlighted before the fup/re is initiated, he is
subsequently allowed to move the cursor and insert/move/modify text anywhere
and any way he chooses (e.g. move the signature to the top or whatever).

I am a firm believer that most top-posters are more lazy than they are rude
or desirous of top-posting and this will probably eliminate 90% or more of
it originating from within our app (and would eliminate 50% or more of ALL
top-posting if google-groups/Outlook/OE would implement these 3 details).

These 3 details guide the user towards highlighting only the section(s) of
text on which he wants to comment (after all, highlighting more text takes
more time/effort) and also guides him to put his 1-liner at the bottom where
it belongs. Personally (this thread excepted but this article included) I
usually have 1 thing to say about 1 portion of the message and end up
highlighting 1 section and adding one bottom-posted comment. I think this
is the vast majority of what should be happening in Usenet/email anyway.

In fact, I think these 3 details should be MANDATORY for GNKSA approval (at
a minimum they should be in the strongly-encouraged category).
February 1, 2005 7:28:37 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops (More info?)

Why in the world would anyone want to scroll though pages of forwarded
message which lazy bottom posters fail to properly trim to find a "me
too" at the bottom?

On Tue, 1 Feb 2005 15:33:12 -0600, "Gregg Woodcock"
<woodcock@SonLightSoftware.com> wrote:

>"David A. Desrosiers" <hacker@gnu-designs.com> wrote in message
>news:p an.2005.02.01.20.19.59.213222@gnu-designs.com...
>> On Tue, 01 Feb 2005 13:47:11 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:
>>
>> > New Yanoff is hard-coded to do so and also enforces limited inclusion of
>> > quoted text by forcing the user to select some text or none is included.
>>
>> As long as it isn't enforced, and people can intersperse their
>> replies across existing messages, just like its supposed to be, that's
>> probably acceptable.
>>
>> If it is hard-coded, and unchangeable, that's a blocker.
>
>Our plan to fight top-posting in a reasonable manner is as follows:
>1: The placement of the signature is hard-coded to be at the bottom of all
>included quoted text (we would consider modifying this for the "forward"
>operation but currently haven't).
>2: The initial placement of the cursor is hard-coded to be immediately
>before the signature delimiter (i.e. between the quoted text and .sig).
>3: If no text is highlighted, no text is included (i.e. it does not by
>default include all the text in this case).
>
>The user is free to manually highlight all the original text and regardless
>of how much text is highlighted before the fup/re is initiated, he is
>subsequently allowed to move the cursor and insert/move/modify text anywhere
>and any way he chooses (e.g. move the signature to the top or whatever).
>
>I am a firm believer that most top-posters are more lazy than they are rude
>or desirous of top-posting and this will probably eliminate 90% or more of
>it originating from within our app (and would eliminate 50% or more of ALL
>top-posting if google-groups/Outlook/OE would implement these 3 details).
>
>These 3 details guide the user towards highlighting only the section(s) of
>text on which he wants to comment (after all, highlighting more text takes
>more time/effort) and also guides him to put his 1-liner at the bottom where
>it belongs. Personally (this thread excepted but this article included) I
>usually have 1 thing to say about 1 portion of the message and end up
>highlighting 1 section and adding one bottom-posted comment. I think this
>is the vast majority of what should be happening in Usenet/email anyway.
>
>In fact, I think these 3 details should be MANDATORY for GNKSA approval (at
>a minimum they should be in the strongly-encouraged category).
>
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 7:54:48 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops (More info?)

On Tue, 01 Feb 2005 15:33:12 -0600, Gregg Woodcock wrote:

> Our plan to fight top-posting in a reasonable manner is as follows:

Top-posting and bottom-posting are both wrong. Don't do it.

The way to converse via email or via usenet articles, is to
do it in a person-by-person format, not all at the top or all at the
bottom. ESPECIALLY with PDA screens, you don't want to have to scroll
down 20 pages of quoted text, to get to someone'e response.

Likewise, you don't want to read the reply at the top, and then
scroll down to read 20-something pages of quoted text to get to the
context.

Here's one great example:

Who's there
> Knock knock
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 8:26:02 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"Gregg Woodcock" <woodcock@SonLightSoftware.com> wrote in
news:1107227285.2550c010a44665e41d9be4b12cc176c6@teranews:

>
> "Albert Nurick" <albert@nurick.com> wrote in message
> news:Xns95EFCFECA20B4albertnurickcom@24.93.43.119...
>>
>> If you know what your users are asking for, GIVE IT TO THEM. And
>> don't complain about the low power or limited resources of a modern
>> PDA. If the job of giving the users what they're asking for is too
>> much for you, consider another line of work. It sounds harsh, but
>> the market is harsh. Adapt and deliver, or perish. I mean this as
>> good advice from one software designer to another.
>
> This all sounds good in principle but we both know that is NOT a hard
> and fast rule; no one size can always fits all.

You're right. But you've gotta make sure your product hits a big enough
market to make sense to support. If you don't have enough customers (and
that's what you said) then by definition, you missed any significant
target market.

> The design philosophy espoused above is what created the Edsel (and
> Homer Simpsons SUV-mobile), after all!

Actually, designers not listening to customers are typically responsible
for poor sales.

> The real heart of the problem is where to allocate design resources
> and how much we should care about the size of our PRC because design
> resources (manpower) and device resources (RAM) are valid concerns
> when prioritizing features/changes.

If what you make doesn't sell, it's just talk. Hit a market first, THEN
refine the product.

> I was tending to believe the handful of people who are telling us, "if
> only your app did SSL, our college/company would buy dozens of copies"
> far more than I did the scores of people who were saying, "if only
> your app had a color icon, I could give it a chance".

It's easy to test: Put in a color icon. How long could that take... an
hour? See if it helps sales. This isn't rocket science.

> I'm not
> complaining so much about them as I am marveling at my own inability
> to grok such a mindset that evidently is true (at least in the sense
> that it is widespread enough to be a marketing priority).

Folks who use "grok" in a sentence probably are a bit out of touch with
the common user. ;-) If you can't think like a non-techie user, find
someone who can to help design the product.

--
Albert Nurick | Nurick + Associates - Web Design
albert@nurick.com | eCommerce - Content Management
www.nurick.com | Web Applications - Hosting
Anonymous
February 2, 2005 1:03:21 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

Gregg Woodcock wrote:
> One of the main reasons not to do anything very, very obvious when a license
> key is installed is that it makes the crackers' job SO much easier. They
> simply look for the text, find a memory address, and work back from there to
> find the jump command to bypass. This is the main reason why we have not
> addressed this by modifying the labels once the key appears (and why we
> probably won't).

So obfuscate it a little bit. Choose an event from the range of
user events random at startup time. Then when the user registers,
send that event and make all the registration-triggered changes
in response to this event. The cracker then won't even have a
fixed event number to search for, and the event-sending and
event-handling code will be in totally different parts of the
executable.

Or do something else. The point is there are ways around that.

- Logan
Anonymous
February 2, 2005 1:03:22 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops,news.software.readers (More info?)

"Logan Shaw" <lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
news:J0TLd.100241$Ta2.33625@fe2.texas.rr.com...
>
> So obfuscate it a little bit. Choose an event from the range of
> user events random at startup time. Then when the user registers,
> send that event and make all the registration-triggered changes
> in response to this event. The cracker then won't even have a
> fixed event number to search for, and the event-sending and
> event-handling code will be in totally different parts of the
> executable.

None of that will work.
BY FAR the hardest part of cracking is finding a marker.
Once the marker is identified, the code path is always easily traced.
We have mild anti-crack measures in place but the simplest and best is to
keep the wannabees from doing it with a simple hex editor in an afternoon.
It is not going to be much more than an evenings work for anybody who really
knows what they are doing to crack our app (or anybody else's); that's why
we didn't spend much time on it. But by the same token, there's no reason
to make it child's play!
Anonymous
February 2, 2005 3:15:35 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.palmtops.pilot,comp.sys.palmtops,uk.comp.sys.palmtops (More info?)

Bill wrote:
> Why in the world would anyone want to scroll though pages of forwarded
> message which lazy bottom posters fail to properly trim to find a "me
> too" at the bottom?

The real issue isn't top- or bottom-posting. The issue is failing
to properly trim. (Just like you failed to. Which didn't help
your credibility, by the way.)

In both cases, skipping the text (assuming a priori knowledge that
the text to be skipped contains nothing useful in it) can be dealt
with. For bottom-posters who don't trim properly, hit "end"
(or equivalent "go to end of post" command) then read. For
top-posters who don't trim, read and then hit "next" (or equivalent
"go to next article without paging through the rest of this one"
command).

However, just because there's a relatively convenient coping
strategy[1] doesn't change the fact that failing to trim is rude.
Usenet posts are written once and read many, many times. So it
makes sense for the one writer to take a little extra care and
save the many readers a little bit of time and hassle each.

- Logan

[1] in most newsreaders -- in others, either "end" or "next" or
both (as described above) might not exist.
!