Awasu » 2008 » July
Sunday 27th July 2008 9:13 AM [Awasu News]

The 2.3.4 beta release [?] is now available here.

It's been a bit longer than we would normally like since the last beta release but if you look at the prodigious list of new features and enhancements in this one, it's easy to see why.

Major highlights are:

  • Many enhancements to Awasu's reporting features.
    • Lots of new report templates are now available.
    • Reports can now be created for channels in a folder.
    • Reports can now be configured to mark items as read or remove them from workpads.
    • Reports can now be emailed out after they have been generated.
    • Reports generated from a workpad can now be configured to be automatically run when the workpad is changed.
  • Integration with online services.
    • Feed items and web pages can be quickly sent to online services such as Digg or Reddit.
    • Awasu also makes it easy to subscribe to feeds coming online services and keep them up-to-date.

There are also heaps of other smaller changes that improve the existing features. The full low-down is in the release page.

There will be a quick turn-around for the next release so get yourself set up with the all the chunky Awasu goodness in this one as we make the final push towards the 2.4 release. Woo hoo! :cool:

And yes, I am definitely off to the pub tonight... :jig:

Wednesday 16th July 2008 2:33 PM [Awasu News]

The third and final 2.3.4 alpha release [?] is now available here.

No major new features in this release, just spit and polish on the stuff introduced in the previous alpha releases, along with the usual bug fixes and minor enhancements.

I'll let this one marinate for a short while before serving it up as the 2.3.4 beta release :cool:

Wednesday 16th July 2008 12:51 PM [General]

My esteemed colleague Nick Bradbury writes today about having knee surgery but expresses some concern about placing himself in the hands of a system that works using felt-tip pens.

Just before the procedure, a nurse walked over with a felt-tipped pen and wrote "YES" on my right leg. When the doctor came over, he confirmed it was my right knee that was being operated on, and then proceeded to write his initials above the "YES."
On the one hand, it was reassuring to know I wouldn’t wake up to discover a missing testicle. But on the other hand, it was unnerving to realize I had placed my fate in the hands of a medical system that has to resort to felt-tip markers in order to prevent surgical mistakes.

Avoiding the obvious question of whether they use the same procedure if you go in to have a testicle removed :roll: , I think it's an excellent solution. The more complexity you introduce into a system, the more chance you have of something going wrong. Sometimes people come to me wanting a program written to solve a problem they have and are often perplexed when I suggest an alternative that doesn't involve computers at all. Much the same way that one of the hardest things to do as a musician is shut up and not play, people often find it hard to see non-technical solutions to a technical problem.

I think it's telling that in the article Nick linked to explaining that even using a felt pen doesn't always work, they used an "X" to mark the appropriate body part which is clearly asking for trouble, given the ambiguity of "X". You can be sure that had they have written "Yes, this one!!!" or "No, the other one!!!", it wouldn't have made any difference how the operating theatre had been set up, they would've double-checked.

Technical or non-technical approaches, ya still can't eliminate the possibility of people screwing up :roll:

Monday 7th July 2008 3:50 PM [General]

A post came my way today that talked about Awasu's channel reports:

The feature that I find lacking in the readers I've looked at is the ability to export selected articles to an attractive and customizable report format that can be cut and pasted into an email.

The closest I’ve found so far is a reader called Awasu. As you review your feeds, you can move any feed items you want to save to a “workpad." You can set up as many workpads as you want, and create reports from these workpads. That's a start. But the report formats (templates) provided are fairly basic. While you can customize them, it's not quite as straightforward a process as I'd like.

With posts like this, I normally get in touch with the author and have a chat with them about what they found difficult to use and how they would like to see things improved. But in this case, they've made it difficult to post a comment (you have to sign up) and there's no email address or any other way to contact them :wall:

Blogging has often been described as having a conversation but if you set up your blog like this, you're really just shouting out into the void. The blog doesn't seem to support trackbacks either so unless Cindy is subscribed to us, she's not going to even know about this post and miss the chance to request some new Awasu features.

Having said all that, her comment is spot-on, the supplied report templates are a bit basic. We used to have the same problem with the channel summary templates, the idea being that we supply some simple, easy-to-understand templates so that people could work with them and come up with their own. However, I have to admit that a certain amount of laziness on my part :oops: was to blame (I don't really like working on that kind of stuff) but I rectified this once I realized that it was important to have some cool templates come with Awasu as standard.

I've long held that channel reports are one of the most useful features of Awasu, letting you do something useful with all the information coming in, and so it's important that they look just as good as the channel pages, out of the box. So the 2.3.4 release will be pushed back a bit so that we can provide some better report templates.

Sigh, it never ends... :whip: