Ben Langhinrichs

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March, 2008
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Tue 25 Mar 2008, 05:08 PM
This is loosely related to the new Midas feature shown in this blog post.


Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

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Tue 25 Mar 2008, 01:24 PM
Albino ButterflyChapter 4: Reunited 
by John Lance

"So, how're you feeling?" Albert asked.

"Well, I don't think I'm a butterfly named Shavista anymore," the woman replied.

"Sounds like an improvement."

"I supposed. At the time being a butterfly seemed nice. Particularly since I didn't have this headache. So, are you going to cut this duct tape off?" 

"You're not going to try to run away again, are you?" asked Albert.

"No. And for the record, I wasn't running, I was fluttering. Besides, if someone  drives by you might have to answer some hard questions."

Albert waved his hand dismissively. "For tying up my ex-wife in duct tape? No jury in the world would convict me," he smiled a sad smile. Then added, "I missed you, Jenny." 

"Me too Albert." 

Albert took out his pocket knife and sawed through Jennifer's bonds. 

"Are clothes too much to ask for? At least I got those when we were married," Jennifer said, shivering under her blanket. 

"Well, I had a suitcase in the trunk of the car but that seems to have gone missing. You could have tried to prevent that by the way."

"Oh, that's a fantastic idea, why didn't I think of that? Oh, that's right, I was drugged at the time. Hmmmm, I wonder who did that?" Jennifer replied sarcastically.

Albert held up his hands, "Alright, alright, my bad."

They sat in silence for a few minutes, then Jennifer asked, "How long has it been? Since you rescued me I mean."

Albert sighed. "Well, we were in the motel for two days while the drugs they had you on worked their way out of your system. You got pretty sick there. And violent. That's when I gave you the Valium. We're no longer welcome at Best Western by the way."

"Oh."

"Apparently the lamp through the television was the deal breaker. But at least you got a nifty tattoo out of the whole experience. An albino butterfly, right?"

"Its the name of, the group," Jennifer said.

The cult. 
Albert thought. But at least he smart enough to keep that to himself. "The Albino Butterfly. Sounds like a 70s rock band, Or one of those girlie drinks that come with the umbrellas."

"They're going to come after us, you know that right?" Jennifer said.

"Don't worry, I can handle them," Albert replied, hoping he sounded more confident than he felt. Getting Jenny off the compound grounds had proved harder then he had originally anticipated. Whatever drugs the cultists were on seemed to dull their sensitivity to a blackjack across the skull. 

Jennifer sniffled and wiped her nose, trying to hide the tears that were threatening. 

"Well, you're out of there now. No need to look back," Albert put a comforting arm around Jennifer's thin shoulders. It was familiar and yet awkward. 

Jennifer shrugged it off. "Do you have any food?"

Albert turned out his pockets. "This it the best I can do."

"An old fortune from a fortune cookie? That's helpful. 'Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil.' Jeeze, whatever happened to 'Good fortune is on the horizon?'"

"You're still allergic to twinkies, right?" 

"Yes, why do you ask?"

"No reason," Albert replied, looking in the direction of the trap door.

Another one of those long, uncomfortable pauses ensued.

"Albert, did my father send you?"

"No, of course not. Guiseppe has no idea I'm here." Well, maybe some idea Albert thought to himself. Sort of depends on whether Bingo called  it in or not.

"Then why did you come and save me?"

"Well, I couldn't just leave you there. Besides, it didn't make sense. You're too smart a woman to fall for that cult crap. I figured they must have drugged you, and, you know, I was duty bound to come get you."

"You owe him money, don't you." A statement, not a question.

"Now Jenny..."

"Jesus Albert. You're gambling again, aren't you?" Jennifer's voice had the sharp tone of a hanging judge pronouncing a sentence. There was no debating it.

"It was sure thing Jenny. The Patriots hadn't lost all year. And the Giants suck. If Asante hadn't dropped that interception...."

"And you thought if you brought his little daughter home my father would forgive and forget. How much is it this time Albert?"

"A lot. It's a lot Jenny." Albert quietly admitted. Then remembering the hatch, he added, "But I know how to make things right, Jenny, And it doesn't involve you at all. I swear." 

Jennifer got up and started to walk away.

Albert grabbed her arm. "Jenny, it wasn't just the money. I was worried about you. I swear."

"You're full of shit," Jennifer replied. She yanked her arm out of his grip and continued to walk down the road.

"Jenny, come'on," Albert called after her. But she didn't turn around.

Albert heard the roar of an engine and turned. He could see headlights in the distance. 

"Hey Jenny, looks like we won't have to walk after all." Albert started waving at the car, trying to flag it down. 

The car didn't seem to be slowing. In fact, if anything, it was speeding up.

"Oh shit," said Albert.

Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

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Tue 25 Mar 2008, 12:54 PM
As I mentioned before, we are experimenting with using the IdeaJam software to start a new sort of dialogue with our customers and potential customers.  I thought I should describe some thoughts on this experiment, because GeniiJam (or whatever we call it) is likely to be quite different than the IdeaJam many people know and love, both in terms of goals and implementation, even though it will use the same software.  There are three significant differences which are likely to impact GeniiJam.

1) The cycle for new ideas is likely to be much longer and slower.  Simply said, IdeaJam has hundreds of visitors every day, while GeniiJam is likely to have far, far fewer, due to its narrower focus and smaller target audience.  This will change the dynamics considerably.  For example, it will be much easier to see all the ideas in an idea space, which is impossible with most idea spaces in Idea Jam.  It will also be much slower to get an impression of the popularity of an idea.  On the other hand, it may be much faster to see a solution completed.

2) The people who can implement the ideas, or show how they are already implemented, are connected to the site.  With IdeaJam, IBM employees may be reading the ideas, but direct interaction and response to ideas is unlikely, so IdeaJam is more of a general idea generation and sounding board, but unlikely to have answers and solutions directly tied to the ideas.  GeniiJam is likely to generate much more direct response to individual ideas, as both our developers and support people will be able to respond and even act on requests or show the requestor how the current products already can accomplish the stated goal.  Thus, if an idea is posted that can already be addressed by one of our products, we can respond and close the cycle without having to wait to see the popularity.  If an idea is posted that sounds good to us, we can respond and give a target version.  These differences will put more focus on completed ideas than IdeaJam has, and less on the "What's Hot!" portion of the software.

3) GeniiJam will be integrated into the fabric of the Genii Software website in a way that IdeaJam can't be, at least during the course of our experiment.  In other words, like the Genii Blog, there will be connections back and forth between the support forums and GeniiJam and the blog and help manuals.  For example, if a visitor wants to link to a help entry for Midas, they will be able to just write:  

It would be great if the AppendGraphic method would allow us to import .PNG images.

and the text will be saved as:

It would be great if the AppendGraphic method would allow us to import .PNG images.

with a link to the Help topic for that method.  Similar automatic connections can be made to the support forum or blog, and connections can be made back from those as well.  We can do all this by leveraging the Wiki and LinkMatching functionality of Midas and CoexEdit, but they should allow a more integrated experience than IdeaJam, where ideas are just posted and then drift to the back as new ideas flood in.

Our goal is to establish a deeper dialogue with customers, allowing feedback and idea generation to be shared with the users of our products.  The experiment is limited only in that if this approach does not work, we will move on to others ways, as dialogue is essential, whether this is the bext implementation or not.  I hope that when we formally introduce GeniiJam, you will come and share in the experiment with us.

Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

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