In the early years of VNCScan, all of the data was stored in a Microsoft Access database and the settings were stored in INI files. This worked well but required that I distributed a lot of additional runtime files to access the database(pardon the pun).
In late 2003, I decided to move away from Access in favor of flat XML. To this day, I still debate with myself which was better because each have their issues. The XML file format for data made it possible to ship a smaller product with less dependencies but it severely limited the multi-user capabilities for sharing data.
The XML format is just plain text files. When one console reads the data and then writes a change, there’s a chance that another console that is also reading from that same textual XML file can write back what it thinks is accurate data and overwrite the first consoles changes. It can get messy real fast.
At least with the Access database, you could have a few users adding and reading data at the same time without overwriting the whole file just for one change to a single field.
I realize that Microsoft is steering its developers to their mini desktop SQL server instead of Access but it just seems like a lot of overhead for the type of data being stored.
Today, all of the routines needed to read and write to an Access database is built into the existing DotNet Runtime. What drove me to this XML format is no longer a problem.
So, what do you think? Should we make the move back to the Access database to facilitate a better multi-user experience or stick with the XML?
We’ve completed the initial phase of our website redesign!
In the next few days, we’ll be editing all of our old pages with redirects to the equivalent page at the new website. Some of the pages already redirect property and a few of them (like the main home page) automatically do so after a second or two.
We want to keep the old site in place for a while to let the search engines catch up with the move. After about a week, we’ll move all of the old pages into an archived subset of our new website for historical purposes only.
We’ve painstakingly recreated every page on the old site in the new design so that all of your important information is still there in the new one. The first advantage of the new site is the great site-wide search function.
The move was done for a couple of reasons. First, our old site was looking pretty aged. It was created by hand in static HTML. It has been tiresome to edit and keep up to date because of this. I think that the design looked OK but it was based upon Windows XP – which contributed to the “yesterdays web” look.
So, we moved to a CMS based upon Joomla 1.5. It was a significant learning curve but I was able to draw upon the knowledge of people smarter than me to get me on the right path. I am immensely greatful for everyone who has helped me switch paradigms into the world of Joomla.
Now that the initial change-over phase has been completed, we can start looking for ways to make the website more interactive and social. I’m very excited about the possibilities. There are so many smart and talented people using VNCScan in ways that I never imagined. You guys deserve a website that can let you share that knowledge and help each other out.
Any comments on the new website will help steer it’s direction.
I believe in the power of social networks, blogging, and podcasting to bring people together like never before in human existence. It’s an exciting new world that we live in today and I feel like we are on the verge of something as revolutionary as the invention of the telephone.
The world is getting smaller and information is becoming more accessible than ever imagined before. And it’s becoming accessible to people all across the globe instantly.
Social media and networking is the tipping point that allows the Internet to not only offer information to it’s users, but also allows the information to flow in both directions.
On June 28, 2008, I will be in attendance at the Podcamp Ohio Un-conference and will be giving away four full site licenses for our VNCScan Enterprise Network Manager.
If you’re attending this event, look me up. I’d love to chat!
Email is been a major problem the past few years. Spam filters are proving to be just as much of a headache as the spam that they are trying to filter out.
When you place an order for VENM licenses, the registration information is sent to you through email from an email address at vncscan.com. Google hosts our email so the reverse DNS resolves to something like “an-out-0708.google.com”. This mismatch between domain names triggers a lot of low end spam filters into thinking that the email is junk.
This wouldn’t be so bad if it would just quarantine the email and notify the user that things are awaiting review in a quarantine. What’s happening, however, is that the registration email gets bounced back to our system as “rejected” and the customer never knows that the email was ever sent.
Typically, this results in a very angry customer contacting us to notify us of our failure to deliver their product. We strive for extreme customer satisfaction so this is a very big issue to me. We’re looking into new ways to deliver serial numbers, but in the meantime, here are a few tips to make sure that you get your registration email right away.
First, make sure that you “whitelist” the entire vncscan.com domain in your junk email filters. How to do this depends upon your spam filtering system.
If you’ve been emailing us over and over with no response, it is definately because something is blocking our email. Here’s a way to test this out:
Open a gmail account if you don’t already have one
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your order number and question
Check that account for a response
If you already have a gmail account, you may be able to catch me in a gtalk chat. My personal email address is sbostedor at the vncscan.com domain. Of course, I don’t want to post it here in the entirety to avoid spam crawlers.