Tech Support Lines

One thing the big corporate companies have right is tech support and it really helps how I feel about the company. At work we have a couple of support agreements and it saves time and money if you can call them and speak to a tech within 5 minutes.

Microsoft and Symantec have perfected it, and can usually sort you out within 10 minutes. Mercury Connect is also really good at resolving your problems very quickly.

Conversation Engine Thoughts

Diego has been writing about a project of his the “Conversation Engine”. I thought I would add a few thoughts to the fray that might help.

For discovery a simple RPC-Ping can be used, this can then add that site onto the spidering queue. To maintain the small scale test of the engine to begin with a whitelist of sites that are allowed to ping. Each page should be spidered multiple times over time to take advantage of trackback and pings. This could be coupled with trying to take the date/time out of the published posts. This may be a little difficult but still possible.

Word Ordering in Search Engines

The way Google (and I’m sure most other search engines) use the ordering of the search terms is quite interesting. I have a feeling it may be a by-effect of the way they implement the filtering of results within their databases. To improve results, a person can reorder their search terms, but does the search engine do this itself.

The search engine could use the most common usage of each word (noun/verb) to decide if it is the subject of the search or the action being performed on the search and reorder accordingly.

Microsoft’s Standards Anti-lockin

There has been talk (here and here) about fixing the standards support in IE. Microsoft thinks they have a lock-in with their ActiveX support and how they support the webstandards and they don’t want to compromise that.

I think the opposite is true, if they don’t fix it, customers (enterprise and consumers) will move to the standards compliant options because development is cheaper. 2 years is a long time and if they have to upgrade their intranet, they just might ditch ActiveX and goto an alternative. We have already seen that the consumers haven’t got a problem with switching.

Firefox

I’m very interested in the Firefox development process, I’m slowly working my way into hacking on it. However, the release goals for 1.0 don’t seem clear to me, at the moment the release is being targeted very much towards the home user and I don’t believe this is a good thing. When this badboy hits 1.0 IT managers are going to be trying to deploy it and the support just won’t be there.

I am CCed on a few bugs that will affect how I will roll it out to the 30 workstations that I’m in charge of and some of these will affect how it can be pushed out to 1000s of workstations. Alot of these are being minused for the 1.0 release. The most recent one of these is bug 218944 which is a setback to home users as well as corporate users, it would allow proxy settings to be set in one place in windows and be used by both firefox and IE

If you have the time and care, checkout the bugs that bug 241532 depends on and lend a helping hand.