- I play Champions, The Super Role-Playing Game(tm).
- Look for Inky DeLight at http://www.herocentral.net/ for online gaming.
- Come play with us, face-to-face, every Saturday at 7 PM, in Long Beach, CA. Call 323.225.1002 for directions.
- We usually get together for board games from 3 PM to 6 PM. too.
- I also have written two comic books. Look for Naomi Battle Squirrel and Mudpie at http://www.heroicpub.com/
- Check out my career at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jimgettman/
While at The Capital Group, our Production Support Services Team built a support knowledge base using TWiki after evaluating and rejecting several commercial packages. Update1:
The CG Tech Arch group declared TWiki a not supported application, banning further implementations. Update2:
Now more unauthorized, open-source wikis are showing up at CG, and they're having a hard time convincing people to use Lotus SameTime/QuickPlace/Quickr, or whatever name that application now bears. Update3: I quit CG
and looked for a company with more enlightened IT. (IMHO, they'll be using TWiki at CG long after they abandon the Lotus tool that's NOT a wiki.) Update4: I'm at Point.360
now, and we recently chose MediaWiki as our wiki engine. TWiki still rocks, but its flat-file-on-Unix architecture did not match our commitment to .NET on Windows up front and Oracle on Linux in back. MediaWiki seems to have faster installation (Use XAMPP) and search and more flexible edit, but weaker edit notification and even worse handling of attachments. For business I still think Twiki is the best overall.
- More detail on TWiki.org vs. MediaWiki - We're 3 months into using MediaWiki at Point.360 and are firmly committed to it. It's a good tool, but I have regrets, and would counsel anyone building a Business Intranet service to use TWiki. Here are my takes -
*MediaWiki.org Native Advantages -
- Easier to install on Windows (but see twiki.net)
- Easier to administer (but see twiki.net)
- Runs on MySQL
- Doesn't use Perl
- Faster page loads
- Faster searches on Wiki content
- Section editing by default
- Discussion pages by default
- Good press from Wikipedia (note #1)
*TWiki.org Native Advantages -
- Way way better attachment handling
- Way more flexible and powerful
- Way better page watching and notification
- Way better page history and diffs
- Slightly easier Wiki syntax
- Doesn't need a relational database (note #2)
- Better support for organizations with multiple groups (i.e. it has structure)
- Better interface for navigating within sets of information (structure matters)
- More openness in its support and development community
(From someone that's done both) - Choose TWiki unless you are building an encyclopedia for general audiences.
#1 - TWiki.net
is rapidly eroding advantages for MediaWiki, and their pricing model is very reasonable. I haven't tried TWiki.net yet, but it looks to be -
- Easier to install than MediaWiki
- Easier to administer than MediaWiki
- Able to automatically convert data from MediaWiki (W00T!)
- Retaining all the goodness of TWiki
- Adding more all the time
- supported by (and supporting) Peter Thoeny
#2 - Relational databases
are a compromise at best. The best RDBs are three orders of magnitude slower than the best indexed flat file systems at storing and searching, and support the horrors of integrity checks (which needlessly throw errors and stop processing,) and locking, which can crash operations for entire companies.
More on Wiki in our business - We're 6 months into using MediaWiki at Point.360 and have all but abandoned our Wiki. The problem was exposing our content to outside users. I advocated 'login to update', but putting out IT plans and foibles for the world to see was too scary, and requiring passwords only for access outside the firewall was too much trouble. It turns out that 'login to view' is intolerable, so people stopped using our wiki.
Laid off again and looking for work. I'm focusing on jobs with responsibility for system architecture and UI design responsibilities. I've seen everything at least once, spend a lot of time keeping up on what's new, and can really help a company with a good business model build and maintain the IT team and technology that will make them succeed.
Also, I updated Update 5 to reflect what I think about TWiki.Net. Peter is really busy right now (like he wasn't before!), but, once I used a contact to get around his old, blocked mailbox, he still took the time to fix my access issue. Right on, Peter, you're the best! Update8
Got a job with The Decurion
putting together an OLAP and reporting system. Can't give any details because I haven't started yet. Update9
The Decurion is great. It is a company in transition, so there are lots of opportunities and risks. It has a moderately successful implementation of Microsoft SharePoint, and I am learning to use it. I killed SharePoint at Point360, and am more convinced now that it is a dangerous mistake in all circumstances. Imagine that you are sitting down to a lovely dinner with friends. You don't know what is being served tonight, but your friends are pretty good hosts. You look down at the table and...
- At MediaWiki everyone has a linen napkin and a titanium Spork, and there is one, huge, bowl. (Hmmm... chop salad again?)
- At the Twiki table you see everyone has the same earthenware cup, saucer, mug, bowl and several plates for bread, salad, dinner and dessert; 5-pc stainless steel flatware; plus chopsticks, a sharp kife, shell crackers, a napkin and a large bib. The table is sturdy and marked from years of service. There is no tablecloth or centerpiece, but lots of room for food platters and beverage pitchers. (Dang, now I'm hungry!)
- In the house of Microsoft you see everyone has their own table with a selection of saws, hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers and powertools. Each place has a big sheet of stainless steel and a notebook full of flatware designs. There are also special places with help wanted signs -- a surgical station for the wounded, and a conveyor where deceased guests can be hooked up and dragged off through a door labled "Bloatware". (Welcome, feel free to scream.)
Turns out Decurion is managed like most other companies, building staff on ego and hubris in the good times, and doing layoffs when the bottom line reveals the bloat in bad times. We announced plans to cut head office staff 36%, from 234 to 150. I asked whether we had any plans to cut unnecessary technology; it seems we don't. We do have SharePoint, which is frozen for a major upgrade while chewing up staff and budget. We do have Business Objects Data Integrator, which takes longer to build transfers in than writing T-SQL, runs at 1/4 speed at best, has a hard limit of 2GB data before it locks up, and, when one looks behind the GUI, merely generates crappy T-SQL so our databases can do the real work. Did I mention that we just installed the most expensive brand of SAN? This is the gee-wiz company that supports real-time replication across sites, but Decurion has only one site and no DR plan.
I was let go at Decurion and am now looking for work. Check out my curriculum vitae at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jimgettman
. I may not always be right, but I am never anonymous, and always working for the good of all.
I now work for www.andrewselectronics.com. We are a company in transition with a lot of IT work to do, and I am very happy, because, while our leaders are betting on IT as the future of the company, they are also both pound an penny wise.
My TWiki Links
- TWiki.ATasteOfTWiki - view a short introductory presentation on TWiki for beginners
- TWiki.WelcomeGuest - starting points on TWiki
- TWiki.TWikiUsersGuide - complete TWiki documentation, Quick Start to Reference
- Sandbox.WebHome - try out TWiki on your own
- Sandbox.Sandbox - just for me
My Personal Preferences
- Show tool-tip topic info on mouse-over of TWiki.WikiWord links, on or off:
- Set LINKTOOLTIPINFO = off
- Preference for the editor, default is the WYSIWYG editor. The options are raw, wysiwyg:
- More preferences TWiki has system wide preferences settings defined in TWikiPreferences. You can customize preferences settings to your needs: To overload a system setting, (1) do a "raw view" on TWikiPreferences, (2) copy a
Set VARIABLE = value bullet, (3) do a "raw edit" of your user profile page, (4) add the bullet to the bullet list above, and (5) customize the value as needed. Make sure the settings render as real bullets (in "raw edit", a bullet requires 3 or 6 spaces before the asterisk).
- TWiki.ChangePassword for changing your password
- TWiki.ResetPassword for changing your password
- TWiki.ChangeEmailAddress for changing your email address
- TWiki.UserDocumentationCategory is a list of TWiki user documentation
- TWiki.UserToolsCategory lists all TWiki user tools