Arris: Application & Utility Forum?

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    • #44126
      hoak
      Participant

      Hey Arris, how about a separate Application & Utility forum? The Windows Server as a Workstation platform and its Audience almost certainly roll some specialized or what they consider ‘best of‘ applications and utilities — and we could all probably benefit from the discussion, experience, and analysis of the best tool for a particular job.

      I have over a dozen tools, utilities and applicationsthat come to mind; some common, but some more obscure and esoteric that could get the ball and discussion rolling… You could even template the forum to keep topic posts organized like the various platform sub-forums using a topic post template like:

      Application/Utility: Name
      URL: [url=]Site Name[/url]
      Download Link: [url=]Get It Here (If Applicable)[/url]
      Price & License: Shareware, Freeware, and Price
      Synopsis: What it does, how much it

      [+] Highs

      · Feature & Benefit Points
      · Stuff You Love

      [-] Lows

      · Bugs & Issues
      · Limitations
      · Warnings

      Review: Your review of the tool or application

      …with topic title formats like:

      (RFD/Review) Application/Utility Name

      Of course things don’t need to be this formal, but a forum to separate application and utility discussion from game, and OS setup and configuration might be a nice ticket to inviting and sustaining more focused discussion applicable to our unique choice of operating system and how we maintain and use it.

      Just a thought…

      :geek:

    • #51236

      Aren’t there already plenty of sites that do just what you described? Why duplicate that effort, especially in a relatively small community like this? Application compatibility, sure (and we already have a subforum for that), but general reviews, recommendations etc. aren’t specific to R2 at all – you could go to any Windows 7 forum and the same things that are discussed there would apply here as well.

      Just playing devil’s advocate…

    • #51237
      hoak
      Participant

      @Indrek wrote:

      Aren’t there already plenty of sites that do just what you described?

      Not for the ‘Server as Workstation‘ platform and audience.

      @Indrek wrote:

      Why duplicate that effort, especially in a relatively small community like this?

      Because it’s not a duplication of effort, because the community is small, and traffic is light (understatement)… Your response is its own answer as a ‘Poster Child Post‘ that demonstrates forum Members are bored and more constructive discussion is warrented… I can get the ball rolling, but, having moderated enough forums to know making that effort in ‘Misc‘ sub-form category will be a wasted effort…

      Of couse if everyone is satisfied with the static state of things — you’re absolutely right; why go for interesting discussion and post count that’s above what you’d see on a comments section of an abandoned web page…

      @Indrek wrote:

      Just playing devil’s advocate…

      I’ll say; it’s not like I’ve suggested we burn you alive… On second thought…

      :mrgreen:

    • #51238

      @hoak wrote:

      Not for the ‘Server as Workstation‘ platform and audience.

      And how is that audience different from the general ‘buy Windows 7 and use that‘ audience? Compatibility issues are pretty much the only things that set us apart and, like I said, the forum has those covered already.

      @hoak wrote:

      Of couse if everyone is satisfied with the static state of things — you’re absolutely right; why go for interesting discussion and post count that’s above what you’d see on a comments section of an abandoned web page…

      Hmm… that seems a pretty cynical view of things 😛

    • #51239
      hoak
      Participant

      @Indrek wrote:

      And how is that audience different from the general ‘buy Windows 7 and use that‘ audience? Compatibility issues are pretty much the only things that set us apart and, like I said, the forum has those covered already.

      Most most of the people on this forum (present company excluded) whose posts I bother to read, and whose opinions, and feedback interest me are not run-of-the-mill Windows Users…

      And that is the point; I’d rather get feedback from other WaS users I know, value, trust and that can offer some real insight — then some Geek Blogger wannabe. This is a Miscellaneous Sub-Forum exclusive to Server 2008 R2 help and issues — starting software and utility posts here is no different then Games and is impractical for all the same reasons.

      @Indrek wrote:

      Hmm… that seems a pretty cynical view of things 😛

      I’d say your hostility, apparent desire troll the forum to a stand still, and regard for the kind of people posting here as no different then any other Windows Users as far more cynical — this isn’t the thread you’re looking for, move along…

      Anyway, I posted a sample post, and will save more interesting material in the event it’s welcome here or for another forum…

      :geek:

    • #51240

      Heh, relax there, buddy. No need to get all agitated. I was asking a simple question – “Why?” – since what you suggested struck me as, well, redundant. But I guess you were not looking for constructive criticism after all. Sorry about that.

      @hoak wrote:

      I’d say your hostility

      Au contraire, my good man. The only one giving off hostile vibes here is you.

      @hoak wrote:

      apparent desire troll the forum to a stand still

      Appearances can be deceiving. My desire is to initiate discussion, not to troll. I’m not sure why you’re so mistaken about my intentions. Maybe you’re unclear on the meaning of the phrase “playing devil’s advocate”? If so, I’m sure a quick visit to your search engine of choice will clear it up, after which we can hopefully resume civilised discussion.

      @hoak wrote:

      regard for the kind of people posting here as no different then any other Windows Users

      Is it not the whole purpose of this forum to reduce the difference between Windows 7/Vista and Server 2008 R1/R2 Workstation to nothing more but semantics? For all intents and purposes, everyone here is a Windows user (Server-specific compatibility issues notwithstanding, of course).

      I do hope you’re not somehow basing your self-worth on your choice of OS. I’m only asking because your posts leave the impression that you think this is some sort of exclusive club where “run-of-the-mill Windows Users” (whatever that means) are derisively looked down upon by those select few who have been blessed with both the knowledge and the resources required to run this particular piece of software. Because guess what? It isn’t.

      @hoak wrote:

      this isn’t the thread you’re looking for

      Your Jedi mind tricks won’t work on me 😛

    • #51241
      hoak
      Participant

      @Indrek wrote:

      Heh, relax there, buddy. No need to get all agitated.

      I am relaxed, I’m not agitated — it’s your straw man arguments, bating remarks, rhetorical questions where you offer your own answers and are completely intolerant of exception that have me reproaching you, and I’ve realize too late what I’ve fallen for

      @Indrek wrote:

      I was asking a simple question – “Why?”

      So simple, so innocent; except you answer all your own questions with the assumption of ‘correctness‘ before offering an opportunity for response, and reproach the answers I do offer as unacceptable with more straw-man bullshit, and insults.

      @Indrek wrote:

      But I guess you were not looking for constructive criticism after all. Sorry about that.

      Constructive criticism‘? ‘After all‘? Where do I solicit any criticism? And where other then in your mind are your posts anything that even remotely resemble anything ‘constructive‘?

      @Indrek wrote:

      Au contraire, my good man. The only one giving off hostile vibes here is you.

      You’re obviously lacking in introspective attention to what you’re writing, and how you’re writing it — or are a dishonest person.

      @Indrek wrote:

      Appearances can be deceiving. My desire is to initiate discussion, not to troll.

      There should be no issues of ‘appearance‘ or ‘deceit‘ on an tech forum (unless your a marketing shill representing some interest), your statements and intentions should be explicit, not a guarded mess of jabs, bating remarks, rhetorical questions, sarcasm, and petty personalized insult under the guise of analysis.

      It should be clear who the topic post was directed at; in case you missed it let me retype it here so you can see it more clearly: Arris: Application & Utility Forum? Nowhere is there any “RFD” or solicitation for discussion explicit or implicit.

      @Indrek wrote:

      I’m not sure why you’re so mistaken about my intentions.

      Considering your choice of grammar, sarcasm, bating remarks, rhetorical questions and petty insults that till now I’ve politely ignored — I sincerely doubt you are anything but trolling…

      @Indrek wrote:

      Maybe you’re unclear on the meaning of the phrase “playing devil’s advocate”? If so, I’m sure a quick visit to your search engine of choice will clear it up, after which we can hopefully resume civilised discussion.

      More sarcasm and insults, concealing another self-aggrandizing straw man argument; ergo I that solicited a ‘discussion‘, want one with you, and that you have been civil.

      @Indrek wrote:

      Is it not the whole purpose of this forum to reduce the difference between Windows 7/Vista and Server 2008 R1/R2 Workstation to nothing more but semantics?

      Another assuming rhetorical question; can you possibly tolerate or is there even room in your thinking for an exception? Do I even care at this point? No. But for the sake of others that may bother to read and may be mislead; I see many here that don’t have any desire to replicate the Windows 7/Vista ‘desktop experience‘ or ‘userland‘ and, like me have some very specialized OS needs.

      @Indrek wrote:

      I do hope you’re not somehow basing your self-worth on your choice of OS.

      More revolting, petty, bating insults, why? Have you even read why I use Server 2008 R2, the answer is on the forum. Windows isn’t even my main OS ‘choice‘… But all things considered you probably know this already, and/or don’t honestly care…

      @Indrek wrote:

      I’m only asking because your posts leave the impression that you think this is some sort of exclusive club where “run-of-the-mill Windows Users” (whatever that means) are derisively looked down upon by those select few who have been blessed with both the knowledge and the resources required to run this particular piece of software. Because guess what? It isn’t.

      Good Lord, you’re so off-the-charts with this baiting, bullshit, troll remark it doesn’t merit comment beyond that…

      Please, flake-off Indrek, the post wasn’t intended as invitation for your trolling; in the future I’ll correspond any similar intentions via PM to the intended audience directly to avoid upsetting you…

      🙄

    • #51242
      Arris
      Moderator

      Hey hoak/Indrek,

      I’m always open for new ideas that expand the sharing of knowledge and have a nice community that helps each other. However, Indrek also has a point that it isn’t really related to the Windows Server operating system.

      I’m planning to merge the Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 [R2], Windows XP and possibly even the Windows 7 section into one new general Windows section, because in these categories aren’t much posts anyway.

      I propose we will then also add a subsection called Application and Utility Tips or something alike where these kind of posts can be placed. We ‘ll keep an eye on it for some time and see if nice discussions and interesting topics will come up. If that’s the case we will keep the section so people who are interested can exchange tools and experiences. If it turns out not many people are interested in these subjects at this place, we will close section and move the posts to somewhere else.

      Will apply these changes to the forum coming week. If you have any ideas/suggestions to these changes, I’d like to hear it! 🙂

      Arris

    • #51243
      hoak
      Participant

      I think that sounds good; I don’t know if phpBB offers the functionality, or if there’s a plug-in for it, but if there some means to flag or rename topic titles that are merged so that forum Users can tell a particular merged thread is about Server 2008 vs Server 2008 R2 without opening it — would be very helpful, or perhaps setting a topic title policy to make it clear, and updating the topics manually… Not just an idle suggestion, if manual labor is involved, I’ll help…

      Re. Application & Utilities: I initially had in mind software that was rather Server, and Server as Workstation centric — that isn’t typical Consumer software like WSCC and the Utilities it deploys; but now think it might be nice if the section invited discussion and comparison of Userland applications, as there are forum Contributors that have a lot of knowledge of Windows internals that can can offer insight, so perhaps a more generic title then ‘Tips‘?

      Lastly: the forum global link color is very low contrast for the current theme, and the forums seems to be on a version of phpBB that has an annoying post scroll bug that’s fixed in later versions, there are also many security fixes in later versions and updating is usually fairly easy if you’re not too many versions behind…

      :geek:

    • #51244

      @hoak wrote:

      It should be clear who the topic post was directed at; in case you missed it let me retype it here so you can see it more clearly: Arris: Application & Utility Forum? Nowhere is there any “RFD” or solicitation for discussion explicit or implicit.

      In that case you should have contacted Arris directly via PM, email or other private channel. When you post a message on a public forum, an invitation for discussion is implied.

      But I see you’re really taking it into heart that someone dared challenge your opinion. I’m still confused as to why you would totally fly off the handle like that for what really was a sincere question (and not at all rhetorical, as you claim), but since I’ve no desire to partake further in this nonsense, I’ll be happy to oblige your request to, as you so eloquently put it, “flake off”.

      Arris: thanks for chiming in. I agree, merging the non-2008/R2 forums into one general Windows forum is a good idea, it reduces clutter on the forum main page. Of those, the Windows 7 forum is the only one that sees any significant activity anyway. The Apps&Utils subforum will also make more sense there, for reasons already explained. I’ll be interested in seeing how the new structure works out.

    • #51245
      hoak
      Participant

      @Indrek wrote:

      But I see you’re really taking it into heart that someone dared challenge your opinion.

      Check your premise: I voiced no ‘opinions‘ for anyone to ‘challenge‘; and you’ve posted nothing of veracity or worthy of ‘taking into heart‘ — or to effect me in any way with regard to emotion; perhaps you’re projecting…

      I posted a suggestion… For you to dive bomb a literal, straight-forward, post statement that contains no guile, and invites no discussion the way you have with all your: bizarre assumptions, sarcasm, personalizations, histrionics, and disingenuous psychologizing is not a ‘challenge‘, it’s trolloing and nut bag crack-potting…

      @Indrek wrote:

      I’m still confused as to why you would totally fly off the handle like that for what really was a sincere question…

      Reproaching someone for ridiculous assumptions is not ‘flying off the handle‘ of anything; if any of your questions were in fact ‘sincere‘, you would not have presumed to answer your own question when asking, and you would not regard your nasty remarks as above reproach…

      Perhaps there’s a semantic language barrier issue; I don’t speak Hrvatski, and as you’re making the effort at translation I supposed some forbearance at understanding on my part is due — but your statements are so loaded with irrelevant personalization, hostility, and histrionics it doesn’t invite much enthusiasm or sympathy from me in discussing anything with you again…

      🙁

    • #51235
      Arris
      Moderator

      Didn’t read the whole topic, but please stop quarreling with each other and try to avoid getting into this non-constructive downward spiral. What I see is: one starts with a little personal criticism towards the other, the other responds to that with some more etc. etc. 😕 I don’t want to play the cop around here who has to stop all arguments. Just be a little tolerant to each other. 🙂 Anyway, enough about this.
      @hoak wrote:

      I think that sounds good; I don’t know if phpBB offers the functionality, or if there’s a plug-in for it, but if there some means to flag or rename topic titles that are merged so that forum Users can tell a particular merged thread is about Server 2008 vs Server 2008 R2 without opening it — would be very helpful, or perhaps setting a topic title policy to make it clear, and updating the topics manually… Not just an idle suggestion, if manual labor is involved, I’ll help…

      Lastly: the forum global link color is very low contrast for the current theme, and the forums seems to be on a version of phpBB that has an annoying post scroll bug that’s fixed in later versions, there are also many security fixes in later versions and updating is usually fairly easy if you’re not too many versions behind…

      I’m postponing upgrading the phpBB software each time, but will try to do it coming weekend. I already set up a test environment on a local webserver to see how the migration goes and which plugins look useful for this forum. The plugins I’m currently looking at are:

      • AutoMOD
      • Topic Solved
      • Thanks for posts or something alike; a ranking system to show appreciation.
      • Some plugin that uses the icons in front of the topic name to indicate some version of Windows. Any Suggestions?

      The thing I don’t like about phpBB is the support for plugins. 🙄 In most cases you manually have to replace many lines of code and modify several template-files if you are not using one of the default templates. I hope AutoMOD will [partially] automate this process. 🙂

      You are right about the link colors, they are hardly distinguishable from the normal text. I think a quick fix in the css will solve this.

      @hoak wrote:

      Re. Application & Utilities: I initially had in mind software that was rather Server, and Server as Workstation centric — that isn’t typical Consumer software like WSCC and the Utilities it deploys; but now think it might be nice if the section invited discussion and comparison of Userland applications, as there are forum Contributors that have a lot of knowledge of Windows internals that can can offer insight, so perhaps a more generic title then ‘Tips’?

      Sounds well; we could possibly make it a little more specific like ‘Application Tips’, what do you think?

      @Indrek wrote:

      Arris: thanks for chiming in. I agree, merging the non-2008/R2 forums into one general Windows forum is a good idea, it reduces clutter on the forum main page. Of those, the Windows 7 forum is the only one that sees any significant activity anyway. The Apps&Utils subforum will also make more sense there, for reasons already explained. I’ll be interested in seeing how the new structure works out.

      That’s what I thought. 🙂 My idea about the new grouping is as follows:

      Other Windows Operating Systems
      * Miscellaneous - All topics that don't fit in the categories below.
      * Hardware - Problems with drivers and hardware.
      * Software - Issues with Applications, Games and other software in Windows.
      * [Application] Tips - Discussions about Tools, Utilities and Applications that make life easier.
      * Tweaks and Tricks - Personalization and productivity tips for Windows.

      Any suggestions are welcome! 😉

    • #51246
      hoak
      Participant

      For phpBB plugins I’d suggest any one of the many spell checkers, and re. sub-sections I’d suggest seperating Applications from Games entirely, i.e. just have generic ‘Games‘ and ‘Applications‘ forums, mixing Games and Applications and having a seperate Applicatios Tips forum seems redundant and confusing…

      My biggest concern though is there are some really valuable Windows OS version specific threads that will be obscured if all OS version threads are merged into one common sub-forum. If no update to topic titles is made it might be a bit confusing opening a thread you thought would relate to what you were looking for when it’s actually discussing a different version of Windows.

      😕

    • #51248

      Looking through the soon-to-be-merged subforums, I see only two topics that don’t explicitly state the OS in the title, and one of those isn’t OS-specific anyway, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

    • #51247
      Arris
      Moderator

      @hoak wrote:

      For phpBB plugins I’d suggest any one of the many spell checkers, and re. sub-sections I’d suggest seperating Applications from Games entirely, i.e. just have generic ‘Games‘ and ‘Applications‘ forums, mixing Games and Applications and having a seperate Applicatios Tips forum seems redundant and confusing…

      Don’t todays’ browsers have spell checking for all text-fields? At least my Firefox has an English Spell Checking plugin in it.

      That’s a good advise! 🙂 How about the following structure?

      Other Windows Operating Systems
      * Miscellaneous - All topics that don't fit in the categories below.
      * Hardware - Drives and hardware related issues.
      * Applications - Issues with installing and using software.
      * Games - Problems with gaming in Windows.
      * Tips - Discussions about Tools, Utilities and Applications that make life easier.
      * Tweaks and Tricks - Personalization and productivity tips for Windows.

      @hoak wrote:

      My biggest concern though is there are some really valuable Windows OS version specific threads that will be obscured if all OS version threads are merged into one common sub-forum. If no update to topic titles is made it might be a bit confusing opening a thread you thought would relate to what you were looking for when it’s actually discussing a different version of Windows.

      I have seen forum software in which it is possible to set the topic icon at the moment you create a new topic. Don’t know if this is also possible in phpBB but is currently not possible because of the custom template, or if there is an other reason. By adding custom icons it will be possible to quickly indicate about which OS the topic is about. If all of this isn’t possible for some reason, we ‘ll have to make some rules regarding topic names and I will have to manually edit the existing topics, because indeed, it would be confusing if we just migrate the topics to a Windows General section. It isn’t that much work like Indrek says.

    • #51249

      Icons are a good idea, but they won’t work in case the topic covers more than one OS (eg. “Vista vs Win7” or “XP vs WS2003”). Besides, I think that most people will automatically mention the OS in the topic title anyway if there’s possibility for ambiguity. A simple mention of this in the rules topic (or subforum description) should suffice.

      The structure you proposed looks good to me, except I believe it’s more common to have the Misc subforum last. Although, looking at the existing forums, the reverse has also worked out just fine. Thought I’d mention it just the same, though.

    • #51250
      hoak
      Participant

      @Arris wrote:

      Don’t todays’ browsers have spell checking for all text-fields? At least my Firefox has an English Spell Checking plugin in it.

      Well IE does not by default, and while you can get IE spell check add-ons, they’re slow and ugly in their execution… The phpBB spell-check plugs I’ve used are very fast, much better behaved then anything I’ve tried in IE, and are easy to install in phpBB. So while it’s not a forum necessity by any measure, it is a nice feature/benefit; as many posting here that would benefit most from a spell checker probably aren’t native English speakers, and any spell checker they have installed in their browser may not be English…

      @Arris wrote:

      How about the following structure?

      Other Windows Operating Systems
      * Miscellaneous - All topics that don't fit in the categories below.
      * Hardware - Drives and hardware related issues.
      * Applications - Issues with installing and using software.
      * Games - Problems with gaming in Windows.
      * Tips - Discussions about Tools, Utilities and Applications that make life easier.
      * Tweaks and Tricks - Personalization and productivity tips for Windows.

      I think it’s fine but Applications, Tips, and Tweaks & Tricks have some overlap and probably could be reduced to two sub-forums for more clarity…

      @Arris wrote:

      I have seen forum software in which it is possible to set the topic icon at the moment you create a new topic. Don’t know if this is also possible in phpBB but is currently not possible because of the custom template, or if there is an other reason. By adding custom icons it will be possible to quickly indicate about which OS the topic is about. If all of this isn’t possible for some reason, we ‘ll have to make some rules regarding topic names and I will have to manually edit the existing topics, because indeed, it would be confusing if we just migrate the topics to a Windows General section. It isn’t that much work like Indrek says.

      Yes Icons would be neeto; but anything that works is good! There appear to be quite a lot of Server 2008 topics that won’t apply to 2008 R2, and could create confusion if they were just merged without some kind of indicator of which iteration of the OS was being discussed.

      Lastly, it warrants mention that not just forum link color, but also the quote and code contrast colors are not very contrasty; so in this vein I’d suggest always allowing the native phpBB3 theme as a user option, as while it’s not very pretty, it is very functional across a wide range of issues like: color blind Users, different displays and display settings, it has a lot of carefully thought out details that individual theme Developers frequently miss, and your forum will still present publicly in the site theme default.

      :geek:

    • #51251
      Arris
      Moderator

      Updated the forum structure. What do you think? Haven’t looked at a plugin to be able to use a Windows version as icon for a new topic, but will look at this soon. For now, one should use the Windows version in the topic name (as most of the cases is indeed done automatically).

      @hoak wrote:

      Well IE does not by default, and while you can get IE spell check add-ons, they’re slow and ugly in their execution… The phpBB spell-check plugs I’ve used are very fast, much better behaved then anything I’ve tried in IE, and are easy to install in phpBB. So while it’s not a forum necessity by any measure, it is a nice feature/benefit; as many posting here that would benefit most from a spell checker probably aren’t native English speakers, and any spell checker they have installed in their browser may not be English…

      You sound convincing, so I’ll check if it’s easy to implement it in the new forum installation! 😉

      @Indrek wrote:

      Lastly, it warrants mention that not just forum link color, but also the quote and code contrast colors are not very contrasty; so in this vein I’d suggest always allowing the native phpBB3 theme as a user option, as while it’s not very pretty, it is very functional across a wide range of issues like: color blind Users, different displays and display settings, it has a lot of carefully thought out details that individual theme Developers frequently miss, and your forum will still present publicly in the site theme default.

      It is a user option in the [localurl=ucp.php?i=165:2xvgpdpd]UCP[/localurl:2xvgpdpd] so that’s fine. 🙂 Besides that I’ll still the style of the links posted in the topics to make them more visible.

      Arris

    • #51252
      hoak
      Participant

      Looks good Arris! Didn’t see that you had a bunch of themes in the UCP, don’t know how I missed that! Is the board on phpBB3 now?

      😀

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