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Ingenio’s Ether Now Out of Beta
Think “life coaches,” attorneys, therapists, financial counselors and anybody else who might sell expertise in person or over the phone.
There might be some legal issues in some cases, where state-regulated professionals cross state lines in practicing (e.g., lawyers, therapists). There are also some potentially new consumer behaviors here that represent minor hurdles to adoption. Regardless, it’s pretty interesting and gives services a way (although earlier versions of this have existed in the past) to participate in e-commerce.
It’s also interesting as an alternative way to monetize blogs for those who have a following.
Press Release from Ingenio’s Ether:
Ingenio, Inc. today announced Ether(TM), a new voice-commerce application that enables the sale of services over the Internet. The announcement was made at the Supernova 2006 Conference, where Ether was selected from hundreds of companies to participate in the Connected Innovators program due to its extraordinary potential to create new markets and shape the connected future of distributed computing, communications, media and business.
By combining today’s most powerful communications tools — the Internet and the telephone — Ether empowers people to sell what they say. With Ether, anyone with something valuable to say can make money from live phone conversations with their customers. Traditional service providers like computer consultants, therapists, and accountants, as well as online personalities, such as bloggers and celebrities, can use Ether to monetize their web presence and engage audiences in a meaningful way.
As a distributed technology, Ether facilitates connections where sellers have already established trust with their audience, such as blogs, websites or talk-radio shows. Sellers earn money while Ether takes care of the rest, managing the scheduling, communication, billing and payments between sellers and their customers.
How Ether Works
Sellers visit chúng tôi to get an Ether Phone Number (1-888-MY-ETHER with a unique extension, such as 1234). The seller sets a rate that a customer must first pay before the call is forwarded to the seller’s actual phone number, be it a cell, work, home, or SkypeIn number. Ether offers the only billing system that allows sellers the ability to charge for blocks of time spent on the phone — such as $75 per hour — as opposed to a per-minute pricing structure. The seller can also set a schedule of availability to ensure calls only come in during specified times.
Sellers are then free to embed their Ether Phone Numbers on their websites, blogs or business cards. The numbers can be broadcasted virtually anywhere — on radio or television shows, book jackets, or newspaper classifieds. If multiple buyers call a seller at the same time, the buyers are placed in a queue and will receive callbacks from the seller when it is their turn.
Ether Phone Numbers are free. Sellers only pay a 15 percent commission after transactions successfully occur. Ether’s commission covers all functionality, long-distance costs, and credit-card processing fees. There are no setup fees or monthly service charges.
Ether also includes “Pay-to-View” functionality, which enables people to sell and deliver digital content such as documents, photos, computer code, podcasts or video. “Pay-to-View” combines both payment and product delivery; buyers can read a description of the digital content for sale on a website, but only view it after paying the seller’s specified price.
Though they address different market needs, all Ingenio applications capitalize on the voice-based commerce (v-commerce) opportunity by turning a phone call into a revenue-generating event.
“In this day and age of Skype and Vonage, we’re seeing the price of a phone call — basic telephone connectivity — going to zero,” said Faber. “The next era in communications will be to add value to a phone conversation by transforming simple pipes into meaningful, targeted connections with actual monetary worth.”
Ingenio V-Commerce Applications include:
Ingenio Live!Advice(TM) Directories: These Ingenio-powered e-commerce marketplaces enable individual sellers and businesses to earn revenue by selling expertise online via real-time phone conversations. With Live!Advice, Ingenio sources consumer traffic through its own online directories.
Ether(TM): The newest addition to the Ingenio family, Ether turns the Live!Advice model “inside out” by enabling individuals with their own online traffic to connect with their audiences by phone and sell what they say.
The Ingenio v-commerce platform is designed to work with traditional phone lines, but is also compatible with VOIP, thus enabling 100 percent of the market to use Ingenio’s voice commerce applications regardless of telecom infrastructure.
You're reading Ingenio’s Ether Now Out Of Beta
Unlock the Secrets of Data Science and Launch Your Lucrative Career with DataHour – Explore the Upcoming Sessions Now!
DataHour is a program of informative and interesting webinars designed to assist people in starting lucrative careers in the data-tech industry. The subjects covered in these sessions range widely, from Conversational Intelligence and People Analytics to Deep Learning, Data Analytics and Customer Segmentation. This post on the blog introduces a series of upcoming DataHour sessions. Each session will explore a certain subject on data science and its applications in various industries.
Each session’s details, including the time, date, registration link, and the key subjects it will cover, are briefly summarised in the post. These subjects include understanding Logistic Regression, Building an End-to-End Solution for Big Mart Sales Prediction, Deep Dive into Kubernetes and Concepts of Containerization, and The Power of Customer Segmentation. The article also stresses the value of attending these sessions to understand better the most recent developments in data science.
Who Can Attend These DataHour Sessions?
Aspiring individuals who looking to launch a career in the data-tech industry, including students and freshers.
Current professionals seeking to transition into the data-tech domain.
Data science professionals seeking to enhance their career growth and development.Table of Contents DataHour: Understanding Logistic Regression and Decision Tree Analysis
Logistic Regression is a supervised machine-learning technique. A predetermined set of independent factors is used to predict the categorical dependent variable. While decision trees can be used to address both classification and regression issues, they are also employed in supervised types of machine learning.
Sanchita, an experienced Data Analyst, will provide a comprehensive overview of logistic regression. Logistic Regression is a statistical technique used to model the relationship between a binary response variable and one or more predictor variables. During this DataHour Session, she will also guide the audience through a step-by-step decision tree analysis, a powerful tool for classification and prediction tasks. By the end of the session, attendees will have a solid understanding of these fundamental techniques and how they can be applied in real-world scenarios.
📅Date: 5th April 2023
⌚Time: 08:30 PM IST
🔗Registration Link: Register NowDataHour: Building an End-to-End Solution for Big Mart Sales Prediction
Bharat Sharma, a Data Scientist, will cover the whole data science pipeline will be covered throughout the webinar. Beginning with data preparation, which entails cleaning, encoding, and scaling data for analysis. The next step will be EDA, where descriptive statistics will be used to determine how the various data aspects relate to one another. The next step is feature engineering, where we will choose the features that are most crucial to the development of our model.
📅Date: 6th April 2023
⌚Time: 07:00 PM IST
🔗Registration Link: Register Now
Following feature selection, we will go to model selection, where we will pick the ideal algorithm to implement in our model. We will also discuss hyperparameter tuning, which involves adjusting the model’s parameters using methods like Grid Search, Randomized Search, and HyperOpt. Finally, we’ll review model deployment utilizing the PostMan API and the FLASK REST API.DataHour: Deep Dive into Kubernetes and Concepts of Containerization
Jatin Rajpal, an expert in the field of Data Science, will go through the fundamentals of containerization and the tools and procedures (Docker/Image Registry) required to containerize the application. He will also explain Kubernetes, an open-source container orchestration platform that is necessary for running your containerized application at scale.
📅Date: 7th April 2023
⌚Time: 07:00 PM IST
🔗Registration Link: Register Now
Additionally, he will show you how to organize an application into logical components for simple management and discovery. Let us get a hands-on demonstration of a containerized application with Jatin Rajpal.DataHour: Unlocking Business Growth- The Power of Customer Segmentation
A key tactic used by firms to efficiently identify and target new customers is customer segmentation. Businesses can more effectively appeal to the needs and interests of each group by segmenting the client base into smaller, more focused groups based on traits like demographics, behavior, and preferences.
📅Date: 8th April 2023
⌚Time: 01:00 PM IST
🔗Registration Link: Register NowDataHour: Build Your Career in Data Analytics
A genuine mentor can speed up a person’s journey and assist them in reaching their objective more quickly with his or her appropriate guidance. Only a handful of individuals today are knowledgeable on how to enter the popular career field of data analytics and develop a successful career there.
📅Date: 10th April 2023
⌚Time: 07:00 PM IST
🔗Registration Link: Register Now
Jaspreet’s presentation in this DataHour session is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable insights into the steps you can take to become a seasoned analytics expert. With her extensive experience in the field, Jaspreet will share practical tips and strategies for starting your journey toward a successful career in data analytics.
During the session, attendees will learn about the essential skills and knowledge required to excel as a data analyst. This session will include data visualization, statistical analysis, machine learning, and data management skills. Jaspreet will also provide valuable guidance on how to build a strong portfolio and network with industry professionals. Additionally, he will also tell us how we can stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in the field.Enroll Now and Explore Limitless Possibilities! Get in Touch with DataHour – Your Partner in Learning and Growth!
If you are experiencing any difficulties with the enrollment process for a DataHour session or would like to explore the possibility of conducting a session with us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team at DataHour is always happy to help and provide support in any way we can.
You can reach out to us at our dedicated email address, [email protected].
Currently, the new version is in public beta. Here’s how to get it installed and working on your Linux distribution.Installation
Though the OpenShot video is readily available in most Linux distributions’ software repositories, the beta is not. If you’re looking to install it to your system, you’ll need to get it from the developer’s website via the source package or add it via PPA (for Ubuntu users).Ubuntu PPA
Installing the Open Shot beta is simple. Just open a terminal window and enter the command below to add the repository to your system.
Once the PPA has been added to your system, you’ll need to update Ubuntu’s software sources to reflect the changes that have been made.
Finally, it’s time to install the OpenShot 2.0 beta.
apt-get installopenshot-qt From Source
If you’re not using Ubuntu but still want to try OpenShot 2.0 beta, you’ll have to build it from source. Download the latest chúng tôi file from this URL and extract it. Once extracted, open a terminal window, and then enter the following commands:
Now that you’re inside the extracted directory, it’s time to install the dependencies. Search your package manager for libopenshot, libopenshot-audio and ffmpeg. Once you’ve found them (the packages may have differing names), install them.
With the dependencies installed, it’s time to install OpenShot.
sudopython3 chúng tôi
Once the command has been run, you’ll be able to run the program either by running openshot-qt, or by searching for it in your Applications menu.What’s New Since Version 1.0 Cross-platform
OpenShot 2.0 has been a long time in the making – 3 years to be exact. There have been many new features since then. The first most compelling change to the video editor is that it is now available for use on non-Linux platforms. Though it’s not in a stable state, the OpenShot video editor can now be used on Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.New Features
Besides being newly cross-platform, there are other compelling features that have been added to OpenShot 2.0. There are several new, exciting features. Some say that these additions take OpenShot from a casual editor with not much to offer to a compelling video production-ready tool.
2.0 adds things like keyframe editing, support for custom SVG titles, real-time preview support, a split-clip tool, new autosave engine, animated GIF support, better timeline effects, video tagging support and many, many other compelling features as well. Obviously, since this editor is in beta, new features may not be added yet.Conclusion
Video editing on Linux is iffy at best. Sure, there are tools available, but they’re all hit-or-miss. That’s why OpenShot 2.0 makes me optimistic. Each beta release adds really compelling features – features any video editing tool needs to be competent and competitive. I hope that when the release of this program is finalized, it’ll be even better than it is now. Here’s to hoping!
Do you edit videos on Linux? What’s your editor of choice? Tell us below!
Derrik Diener is a freelance technology blogger.
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Google’s Gary Illyes has confirmed that Google started rolling out Panda update version 4.2 last weekend, affecting 2–3% of queries.
If you haven’t felt any impact from the update yet, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear. Panda 4.2 will take a few months to fully roll out, Illyes says, so you may not notice it for a while if at all.
In fact, there has been little evidence of an update thus far. Moz’s search results monitoring tool, the Mozcast, showed no signs of any unusual activity this past weekend.
For the most part, SEOs on Twitter and search forums haven’t reported on any Panda-like activity in the search rankings for their clients.
Not seeing any obvious evidence of Panda wins or losses in my data so far. A long rollout is going to make interpretation difficult.
— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) July 22, 2023
I’ve reviewed my Panda data multiple times to gauge the impact from Panda 4.2 so far. Not much movement at all on Panda-susceptible sites.
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) July 23, 2023
This could either be due to the length of time of the rollout, or it could be due to the fact that the update is only affecting 2–3% of search queries.
By comparison, the previous Panda update was reported to affect 3–5% of queries, and the one before that was reported to affect around 7.5% of queries.
With such a small percentage of queries being affected, sites susceptible to either Panda penalties or recoveries may not be impacted by this update — or they may not be impacted for a few months from now.
Since posting the above tweet, Glenn Gabe has taken to monitoring his sites every morning and reported seeing some dips and surges in traffic:
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) July 24, 2023
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) July 24, 2023
I expect we’ll see many more reports of traffic fluctuations over the coming weeks as Panda 4.2 continues to roll out.
Here we go! iOS 12 developer beta 2 is officially out for developers. As always, we’ll dig through the latest beta version and highlight all the changes between the first beta and the latest beta below.New in iOS 12
iOS 12 includes several significant changes for iPhone and iPad including performance improvements, especially on older devices; ARKit 2.0 with shared experiences; refined search and sharing in Photos; more Siri access in third-party apps and Siri Shortcuts based on Workflow; updates to Stocks, Voice Memos, Apple Books, and Apple News; use management features including updates to Do Not Disturb, more manageable notifications, and Screen Time parental controls; Memoji in Messages; FaceTime between up to 32 users; and much more.New in beta 2?
Podcasts app now shows Now Playing indicator on currently playing chapters (chapter support is new to iOS 12)
New splash screen for updated Voice Memos app
New splash screen for Screen Time in Settings, includes Down Time walkthrough for parents
New arrow launcher for Shortcuts in Spotlight
iPhone-only apps on iPad now use iPhone 6 version, not iPhone 4 version (…Instagram…)
Softer location icon in status bariOS 12 Beta 2 Release Note Changes General
The Weather widget isn’t functional in iOS 12 beta 2. (41096139)
Workaround: Update your device OTA to iOS 12 beta 2. Or, first update your device to iOS 11.4 via iTunes or OTA, then use iTunes to update to iOS 12 beta 2.
The ”Maps Nearby” widget buttons don’t launch the Maps app. (40099072)
Opening an iWork document via AirDrop or Files app might cause the device to become unresponsive. (40338520, 40694399)
Time Zones might not update automatically. (40499996)
compiled .car file. (40507731)
Vibration alerts on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus might be unexpectedly loud.(40524982)3rd Party Apps
Netflix might unexpectedly quit when downloading a video. (40653033)
Twitter might display a blank login screen. (40910390)
Taobao might unexpectedly quit on launch. (40958373)Known Issues
Skype might unexpectedly quit after logging in. (39666451)Accessibility
Notification action buttons might become illegible when Increase Contrast settings are enabled. (41050794)Resolved Issues
Platform Switching for Switch Control is unavailable in iOS 12 beta. (40035312)
Sysdiagnose initiation via the Analytics menu item in AssistiveTouch and Switch Control is currently unavailable. (40504710)
Newly-created calendar events might be unavailable to VoiceOver. (40555552)AirPods
Playback might not pause when only one of the AirPods is removed from your ears. (40824029)App Store
Signing into a previously-used sandbox account during the In-App Purchase flow might produce unexpected results. (40639792)Apple Pay
When an Apple Pay payment sheet is presented in Safari on a Mac without Touch ID, you won’t be able to confirm the payment if your iPhone or Apple Watch display is off. (40384791)CarPlay
Alarms are currently unavailable while using CarPlay. (39159434)HomeKit
Inviting iOS 11 users who have multiple email addresses associated with their Apple ID to a home might not succeed. (41033550)
Workaround: Send the invitation to a different email address or phone number associated with the Apple ID of the iOS 11 user.iWork
The navigation button isn’t present in the Share Options sheet while using the Add People feature. (40368764)Keyboards
While typing in certain apps, keyboard suggestions may overlap. (40231537)Model I/O
In .obj models, the bump semantics in .mtl files don’t map to MDLMaterialSemanticTangentSpaceNormal. (40665817)Phone & FaceTime
Group FaceTime calls cannot be initiated between iOS 12 beta 2 and the first iOS 12 beta release. (39873802)
Workaround: Users should update to iOS 12 beta 2.
while using external headphones. (40615683)
Workaround: Use the built-in speaker of your iOS device.
Workaround: Restart the iOS device or remove and reinsert the SIM Card.
Workaround: Disconnect the call and try reconnecting.
FaceTime might unexpectedly quit on launch. (41189126)
Workaround: Use Siri to place a FaceTime call. Resolved Issues
The Calls on Other Devices using your carrier account feature is unavailable on iOS 12 beta. (40180205)
Users might be unable to configure Call Forwarding. (40362744)
During a Group FaceTime call, the text overlay feature might remain invisible until the preview window is moved downward. (40395097)
Attempting to add an additional participant to a FaceTime call with many participants might not succeed. (40433480)
Wi-Fi Calling might be disabled after updating to iOS 12 beta. (40467667)
Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) customers using the Bell network in Canada might experience an error message when attempting to sign up for a cellular plan or when attempting to access ‘Manage Bell Account’. (40556479)
During a FaceTime call, iPad Pro (10.5-inch), iPad Pro (12.9-inch) (2nd generation), and iPad (6th generation) don’t send video to the receiving device. (40725406, 40873560)
iPod touch (6th generation), iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, and iPad Air support only audio (no video) during Group FaceTime calls in iOS 12 beta.
In iOS 12 beta, Camera Effects in Messages is available only on iPhone SE and iPhone 6s or later and is unavailable on iPad. Camera Effects in FaceTime is available only on iPhone 7 or later and is unavailable on iPad.
Wi-Fi calls might end unexpectedly when transitioning from Wi-Fi to cellular while on the T-Mobile network. (39251828)
Voicemail notifications might be inconsistent and not appear when the device is locked. (39826861)Photos
Search results might be unavailable when using languages other than English. (39781553)ReplayKit
There is no default icon for RPBroadcastPickerView.(38813581)Safari & WebKit
Rotating the device while viewing a PDF in Safari might prevent the PDF from scrolling or maximizing layout width. (39794462)
Important: All Screen Time settings will be reset after updating to iOS 12 beta 2. Users must reactivate and reconfigure Screen Time to continue using this feature.
When Family Sharing is enabled for an iCloud account, only family members designated Parent/Guardian may disable Screen Time on their device.
To enable a Restrictions Passcode on a Child device where the Child has enabled Screen Time, the Parent/Guardian must first disable Screen Time on the Child device and reenable Screen Time from the Parent/Guardian device.
If a Child account wishes not to share Screen Time usage with Parent/Guardian accounts, they should either become a Parent/Guardian or leave the iCloud family. (40675329)
When ‘Ask For More’ is enabled on a Child device, entering the passcode on the Child device to approve more time still results in a prompt on the Parent/Guardian device.
When ‘Ask For More’ is not enabled on a Child device, tapping ‘Ignore Limit’ prompts for the Screen Time passcode. (41060009)
App usage data isn’t removed after an app has been deleted. (39428587)
Screen Time settings don’t sync between devices; however, usage data is synced. (39660477)
Usage breakdown by app is unavailable in iOS 12 beta. (39697268)
Users might receive multiple Screen Time Weekly Report notifications. (40401895)
Apps and Websites might be disabled even after Screen Time is disabled. (40656766)
Some child iCloud accounts might not report usage data back to the parent’s device. (40749009)Siri
Workaround: Use +[INImage imageWithImageData:]
save the Shortcut. (40862775)
Workaround: Set up Hey Siri before updating to iOS 12 beta 2, or set up Hey Siri using a different device signed into the same iCloud account.
Siri might produce unexpected responses to “Where is my…” queries. (39531873)
PresentingaUIImagePickerControllermightcausetheapptobeterminatedwitha privacy violation if the app does not include the NSMicrophoneUsageDescription key in its Info.plist. (40490417)Voice Memos
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In this article:
Strategic Resource Solutions Corp.
Intranets are ideal for information retrieval, of course. But Polsky had a few problems. First, the intranet had to be designed–and maintained–by a two-person staff: Polsky and a graphic artist. That meant he had to design the intranet to minimize the amount of future work after it started to expand. Polsky wanted to allow the various departments to update their own data, without having to give them much of his own input. The second issue was his own limited development skills, which reduced some of Polsky’s design options.
After looking at Cold Fusion, a leading Web site design and management tool from Allaire Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., Polsky chose Gatsby Database Explorer from Gatsby Software Inc. in Hillsborough, N.C. The product dynamically builds a Web interface for Microsoft Access databases without HTML, CGI, or Java programming.
AT A GLANCE: Strategic Resource Solutions Corp.
The company: Based in Cary, N.C., Strategic Resource Solutions is a subsidiary of Carolina Power and Light. SRS provides systems, lighting solutions, mechanical services, support, and software to help firms control building environments and reduce energy costs. The company currently employs 500 people.
The problem: How to provide employees with immediate access to a variety of information such as ever-changing telephone lists housed in a Microsoft Access database.
The solution: An intranet that provides Web-enabled database access.
The IT infrastructure: Gatsby Database Explorer 1.0 from Gatsby Software in Hillsborough, N.C., which dynamically builds a Web interface for Microsoft Access databases without HTML, CGI, or Java programming. SRS’ intranet also uses Compaq Proliant, Microsoft Access 97, DreamWeaver 1.2, Adobe Photoshop 4.0, and custom ASPs.
Gatsby allows Webmasters such as Polsky to build data-driven intranets easily and quickly. As a kind of a poor man’s Cold Fusion, it sacrifices the glitz and some of the bells and whistles available in more customizable applications, including Drumbeat 2000 from Elementary Software and NetObjects Inc.’s Fusion. While these products permit Web-enabled database access and provide richer customization, they also tend to be more complicated to deploy and manage–something resource-strapped Web managers are looking to avoid. “They require custom creation of the interface and difficult maintenance if the database has fields or tables added or removed,” Polsky says.
Gatsby 2.0, which was developed for workgroup users, has only been available since June, so few analysts have looked at the product. Deployment, so far, is limited, though the company won’t provide sales figures. “Cold Fusion is much more flexible than Gatsby,” says David Hadfield, general manager for American Information Components, a small Microsoft Access-focused consulting firm in Loveland, Colo. “Gatsby is an interface right out of box, so you spend no time formatting a form. It has a niche no one else is getting into.”
However, while initial users such as Polsky compare Gatsby to Cold Fusion, Daniel Denning, director of marketing at Gatsby, describes the Gatsby Database Explorer as a new class of product that is most comparable to one part of the Fusion suite, the “NetObjects TeamFusion content contributor.” This is a Java applet that allows users to contribute formatted or simple text to internal data objects that have previously been created in the company’s TeamFusion client. “Cold Fusion and ASP [active server page] are scripting technologies that allow you to build custom pages,” Denning says. Gatsby lets users maintain the content that fuels custom, database-driven pages, he says.
An intranet product
Named after the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, The Great Gatsby, Gatsby Database Explorer creates a front end for editing and viewing the content of Microsoft Access tables and queries. Webmasters don’t need to build or maintain forms or reports, and databases can be viewed, searched, and edited over the Internet or through intranets.
The Gatsby interface adapts to changes made to the database by users. The software automatically builds an interface based on specific database privileges, so new code doesn’t have to be written every time a new table is added, a field is renamed, or a relationship is modified, Polsky says.
Gatsby positions its technology as an intranet product, partly because the limited interface lacks the splash most companies want on their external sites. For instance, Polsky had to turn down requests from an SRS sales manager who wanted the names of top salespeople listed on an intranet page to blink and be in purple. The Gatsby interface provides only global customization of sites, rather then customization of individual pages.
While the software lacks the power necessary for enterprise deployments, it may be the answer for smaller firms or departmental-style intranets that use Microsoft Access databases, officials say.
“Gatsby could be used by a small business with 10 or 15 concurrent users all entering information into a database,” says consultant Hadfield. “If you put Gatsby on top of Access 2000, you could probably go with an even higher number of concurrent users because the database engine in 2000 is better.”
A license for the professional edition of Gatsby Database Explorer 2.0, which allows a firm to Web-enable an unlimited number of databases and users, sells for $1,295. A license for one database on one Web site costs $395. In comparison, one license for NetObjects’ Fusion 4.0 has an estimated street price of $300; Drumbeat 2000 is $399; and Allaire’s Cold Fusion 4.0 starts at $395.
“Erick is the prototypical Gatsby user–someone who needs to put up an intranet with a limited budget, limited time, and no skills to program in Visual Basic to create and maintain Microsoft Access forms,” says Denning.
Polsky says anyone “who’s somewhat computer literate” can use the Gatsby software. “I have never received a support call about the interfaces Gatsby dynamically created,” he says.
Better ways to share information
Polsky joined SRS during a stream of acquisitions and department reorganizations, which required the firm to look for a more streamlined way to share information with its ever-expanding work force. Initially, the IT department considered using the public folders in Microsoft Exchange to dispense information.
“In no time at all, duplicated data was in various subdirectories and the owners of files would quit the company, leaving out-of-date information that could still be accessed,” says Polsky, who reports to the head of marketing/corporate communications at SRS.
SRS company officials realized they needed a better way to control how data became available throughout the company. “Otherwise, you end up with mounds of garbage,” Polsky says.
An intranet promised to solve that problem, but Polsky wasn’t sure what tact to take in developing it. He pondered using a straight HTML approach with Microsoft FrontPage. However, he was concerned that it would require individual departments to be trained on the software–something that didn’t fit in with his time frame or his budget.
It seemed a database-driven site would provide the speediest development cycle with the most flexibility. Polsky considered using the built-in ODBC connections in Access, letting the system create pages from the wizard that he would then customize. But when he tested this idea, he found it too time-consuming.
“I’d create a fairly simple page, have the wizard create the ASP scripting technology, and it would generate 1,500 lines of code,” Polsky says. “I was capable of going through the lines of code to figure out how to customize it to make it look the way I wanted. But I wasn’t willing to go through that much code.”
Another complication turned Polsky away from Allaire’s Cold Fusion. “At the time, I was not a programmer at all so I was afraid of the whole Cold Fusion solution,” Polsky says. “Colleagues I talked to said Cold Fusion was a fast tool if you knew how to use it, but I didn’t have the time to learn how.”
Since then, Polsky says he’s realized learning to put databases on the Web was vital to his survival as a Webmaster. Gatsby leveraged his existing Access skills, solving his immediate database publishing needs. “Then I could start solving problems while beginning to learn ASP,” he says. “Now that I have strong ASP skills, I still use Gatsby for many tasks. It is a tool that allows me to rapidly deploy Web database solutions.”
It’s all in what you need
Re-examine your database designs before you build an intranet.
Design the intranet from the start to reduce future maintenance.
Decide where you can forgo glitz and graphics.
Put information on the intranet that guides users on how to fend for themselves.
Determine what new skills you need to develop to improve the intranet once it’s up and running.
Cold Fusion was the product of choice for Ralph Boone, the intranet development manager at Eastman-Kodak in Rochester, N.Y., when it constructed an intranet last year to join a hodgepodge of hundreds of internal sites that serve nearly 100,000 users. As the front-end application for a host of complicated applications, such as a corporate travel application that allows employees to plan business trips, Cold Fusion had the industrial strength to handle both Access and Oracle Corp. databases used by the photograph equipment company. The better graphics available through Cold Fusion were also important, since Kodak is covered heavily by the local media, according to Boone. “We wanted to put the company newsletter on the intranet in a graphically pleasing format so employees would find out company information here instead of on the six o’clock news,” he says.
The more SRS’ Polsky has learned about buildings intranets, the more he has realized the company’s intranet was poorly designed in the first iteration. “Access rewards you for being a bad database designer,” he says. “You can do all sorts of flaky things and Access provides pull-down lists as a result of doing it in a half-assed way. If you create normalized data with a relationship, Access won’t create pull-down boxes in forms, so it encourages bad habits.”
As a result, he has designed a new and better database and intends to import the content from his old databases with ease. “Using Gatsby taught me better database design through positive reinforcement,” Polsky says. “I was rewarded for good design with a more rich and navigable Web interface. I wish I had designed our intranet using the database design skills I now possess thanks to Gatsby.”
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