Perry, Mike, and I met yesterday to talk Flock. I’ve known Mike for a long time, but it was nice to get to meet another local Flocker in Perry. We didn’t have any formal agenda. One might say we, ahem, winged it. It’s hard to remember everything we went over. I know I asked a lot of questions, many of them pertaining to things I’d dearly love to see changed in Flock. For example:
- How do you feel about the way the Performancing extension appears at the bottom of your browser window without disrupting your browsing context? (I’d consider giving the enamel off one of my eye-teeth if it would convince our dev crew to implement something similar in Flock.) Mike’s on board with me; Perry could go either way, though he agrees with me that having the blog editor in a tab beats having it in a separate window.
- What would you think of having a find-like dialog for tagging? This is something we implemented way back before Flock was Flock and we were writing an extension rather than a browser. Here’s the idea. If you click the star button, your favorite gets added, just as it does now. But instead of having to double-click to produce a tagging dialog that takes a couple of seconds to load and takes up half your screen, a little find-like toolbar appears at the bottom of the screen. If you don’t start typing tags, it goes away after three or four seconds. if you do start typing tags, it stays put until a few seconds after you’ve last typed or until you dismiss it manually. Other controls (e.g. for privacy) could appear in this dialog as well. The beauty of the thing is that it’s unobtrusive, it’s highly discoverable, and it’s smart (it knows to go away if you don’t start typing pretty quickly). I would consider giving the enamel off my other eye-tooth to see this implemented.
- What do you make of this whole tagging and web 2.0 business? I tend to be skeptical of such trendy things and am always curious what others — and particularly others not under the cliquish spell that seems to have been cast on all living in or near Silicon Valley — think.
I’m sure I hounded them with other questions as well, most of them part of a program to validate (or tear down) some of my own impressions about Flock. I hope it wasn’t too annoying. Some other things that came out of the discussion include the following:
- Perry continues to have a weird behavior wherein, sporadically, typing an apostrophe while in the blog editor produces the find dialog and thus prevents him from using the apostrophe key as expected. Has anybody else experienced this?
- Mike’s unable to save blog entries to his server (blogger) as drafts. This’d be valuable as a preview mechanism because in many cases, one has to go in and hack source to get the styling to fit with the blog’s styles.
- It’d be nice if there were a preference that would tell the photo topbar what size image to drag by default.
- A better tagging story in the blog editor would be nice, but it’s tricky to build a blog editor that handles features not present in most blogging software, so the poverty of the technorati tagging implementation is understandable for now.
- We may look into my giving a presentation to a general computer users’s group here in Knoxville. I wonder if any community members have started working on S5 or similar presentations about Flock. I rather doubt it, but I’d guess that the next few months would be a ripe time to start thinking along those lines.
There was more, but these were the high points. We also chatted briefly about gadgets, screencasting software, the slow bandwidth at Panera, and other miscellany. I thought it was a fun outing, and it’s nice to meet up with folk who’re enthusiastic about a project you’re involved in. I hope more Flock users come out of Knoxville’s woodwork and that they express an interest in future meetups. I’d also love to hear about similar gatherings elsewhere.