Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Looking for Work

About a month ago, the layoff wave finally caught up to me. Everyone at Skyway was gracious, saying repeatedly that they wish they had the money to keep me on board and that they'd really like to bring me back when the economy starts to turn around. But obviously I'm not holding my breath.

Here is my LinkedIn profile, including plenty of recommendations from colleagues and supervisors.

So if you know of or hear about any Eclipse-related positions, either contract or "perm" staff, please keep me in mind. For now I'd really like to try to stay in the Eclipse development world (designing/writing plug-ins and RCP-based applications, mentoring, training) but I'm open to just about anything to involves Java and Eclipse.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Eclipse: Talkin' To Users, Redux

This is a follow-up to Wayne's post about the Eclipse newsgroups. As I commented there, I understand that the barrier to entry into the newsgroups is higher than it should be, I really do get that. But, personally, I find web-based forums like phpBB to mostly suck. There are some things about them that I do wish we had on the Eclipse newsgroups, like:
  • the ability to earn and give reputation points for good answers
  • the ability to easily find threads that a given user has contributed to
  • the ability to search across multiple groups easily.
It is true that, other than the points system, most of the other features of web-based forums can be done with newsgroups if you have a good client. But with so many people using web-based email these days, isn't it too much to ask them to install a separate piece of software just to participate in the newsgroups? I think so, much as I prefer newsgroups myself.
I've been trying to put my finger on why, exactly, I prefer newsgroups and I think it all boils down to flexibility. Because they are based on NNTP, an Internet standard, there are many clients that are capable of participating. That gives the user total control over his reading/posting experience. Contrast that with most phpBB-style forums, where the most control you usually have is the color scheme and whether or not you want a "flat" view or a threaded one.
The other big win, for me, that newsgroups have is the tight integration with my email; because I use Thunderbird all day to read multiple email accounts and RSS feeds, newsgroups fit right in like just another account. So, for me, it's flexibility and integration that win out.

In the comments to Wayne's post, someone mentioned FUDforum and it's newsgroups bridge. To me, this sounds like the best-of-both-worlds solution. It even has email list integration, so potentially we could offer total flexibility in how users participate: NNTP, web, or email, take your pick. To me that is an ideal solution.

So, are there any other options available? Either competitors to FUDforum that can bridge between web and NNTP, or some completely different technology? Remember, what I consider important is flexibility, giving choice and control of the client to the user, and integration with software I'm already using every day.