Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 16th Jan 2004 20:19 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Yesterday we reported on NBOR's Blackspace/Dyoun followed Assosiated Press' reports. Blackspace is a new way of doing things in computing. The free NBOR player was made available for download last night and it included a number of pre-recorded demos of what Blackspace can do. Based on these demos, here is what we think about the product.
Order by: Score:
Related Articles
by Alex (The Original) on Fri 16th Jan 2004 20:48 UTC

:) http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=2084

Aha, that piece of article is very familiar to me ;) That's the one I was referring to in my previous post about not remembering which article it was ;) Anyway, thanks for the review of NBOR Blakcspace. It saved me precious download time.

Guess this answers the question...
by jojo on Fri 16th Jan 2004 20:55 UTC

whether this was all hype, and will be a flop.

Beat me to it
by Luke McCarthy on Fri 16th Jan 2004 20:58 UTC

I took some (not very interesting) screenshots of my own just now:

http://iogopro.hypermart.net/nbor/

Judging by the installer, I think this program is for kids, but maybe I'm being a bit harsh?

I agree with the conclusion
by jojo on Fri 16th Jan 2004 21:00 UTC

that this would be a great research project.. it would be great to extend it, work from or around it, if it was OSS or in the public domain. But as an actual product, proprietary software, that's for sale, and for $299 no less, don't see it happening. Don't see myself downloading the demo, as the first comment says.

This reminds me of Squeak!
by Wilhelm Fitzpatrick on Fri 16th Jan 2004 21:02 UTC

This sounds like it has alot of similarities to the Squeak environment, except perhaps that Blackspace might be a little more accessible to novices?

Also, I wonder how it compares with Jef Raskin's Humane Interface?

Logowriter
by Kelson on Fri 16th Jan 2004 21:12 UTC

This would be perfect for elementary school kids. Kinda like when I was in grade school, we had logowriter. While I don't see it as being a valuable tool for developing anything near professional grade, it would be excellect to teach children the basics.

- Kelson

Re: Logowriter
by Roberto on Fri 16th Jan 2004 21:26 UTC

At least logo was a programming language.

If you make people believe this is programming, they are bound for a rude awakening when they find out that actual programming is completely different.

After all, this doesn't explain any paradigm. Except for the link-stuff-with-coloured-arrows paradigm.

It *may* work as a powerpoint replacement, though,

I'll second that.
by L.B. on Fri 16th Jan 2004 21:31 UTC

Wilhelm beat me to it, so I'll second what he said about Squeak. This sounds a LOT like squeak!

It sounds more newbie friendly, but more restrictive once you've exhausted the basics.

For anybody who wants to see the potential the computers should have and one direction extreme usability could come from, research Alan Kay. Not only is he responsible for the idea of _personal_ computers (ie. not main frames) and the Windowing paradigm, but he is an incredible computer visionary!

Needs undo....
by Steve on Fri 16th Jan 2004 21:48 UTC

Cause the current 'undo' doesn't seem to work

It's a neat toy but I don't know how you could do any real work in an environment like this. Maybe after (a lot ) of development it would work but it seems like you are still limited by your tools. You can't seem to make new tools and they only give you a couple of widgets to interact with.

There is no way in the demo to get data into the application. Maybe they plan on adding that into a future version because without that there is no way to do ANYTHING useful with it.

I don't want to say it's useless, but I don't yet understand what you can do with it.

v NBOR ... official software of the planet Nibiru
by Sunbeam Starwalker on Fri 16th Jan 2004 21:55 UTC
squeak??
by Leslie Donaldson on Fri 16th Jan 2004 21:57 UTC

link for squeak???

nibiruan
by Luke McCarthy on Fri 16th Jan 2004 21:58 UTC

OH... MY... GOD...
...
...


*thump*

RE: squeak??
by Eugenia on Fri 16th Jan 2004 21:58 UTC

Leslie, here is what you actually looking for (a similar concept, in Squeak)
http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=3006

huh, reminds me of squeak...
by revaaron on Fri 16th Jan 2004 22:10 UTC

This seems a lot like a dumbed down version of Squeak's Morphic GUI system. That is, Squeak is a very powerful system with a powerful (though elegant and simpel) programming language behind it. But it is quite accessible by novices, adults and children alike. NBOR seems like the computing playground known as Squeak, but more limited in its scope, without the ability to extend it with a built-in programming system.

I am kind of a weirdo. For me, Squeak is my desktop. I usually only use a web browser outside of Squeak. Everything else I do within it- xterm, email, develop, irc and some other stuff. For me, that is 99% of what I do. Someone is working on an X11 server all in Squeak, so one day, I should be able to dump the more restrictive environments I'm stuck with- Mac OS X, Windows, Linux/X11- and just run Squeak. I can't wait until that day. Unlike with the above OS/environments, I have the ability to change, modify, extend or enhance anything. I can rip out images from a webpage. I can directly interact with every GUI object on the screen. While this may sound like nothing more than a cool demo, the number of times it has let me make my computing environment work for me- rather than making me work around it- is huge.

for those asking-

Squeak: http://www.squeak.org
Squeak Swiki: http://minnow.cc.gatech.edu/squeak

As a bonus- Squeak has no goofy New Age alien channeling! Just hardcore computer science applied to solving real world problems and having fun!

hmmm, seems like
by Anonymous on Fri 16th Jan 2004 22:16 UTC

That seems a lot like Apple's OpenDoc Strategy. There you get a Panel and you can attach functions and with them your own function or application. The only interesting result from the OpenDoc strategy was CyberDoc (web + email suit) and RagTime 4 (Objects in RagTime 4 were also OpenDoc Containers). OpenDoc was shut down, because many people couldn't imagine what to do with it. In many aspects the same problems as in your review were discussed with OpenDoc.

Great idea, but with practical issues and not beeing able to program a more specific function with ease. OpenDoc was also meant to be as a platform, where developers should write new objects.

Powerpoint is Nice.
by Mike on Fri 16th Jan 2004 22:17 UTC

Hmm,

Not only is the interface very unsexy, it has a very unspecific use. I find it strange that they chose to put a very forward thinking UI in a Presentaion Suite. I'm not sure that their interface philosophies are better than the current standard that is:

PowerPoint.

Then again, I don't feel like i really understand what they are trying to create here, so maybe I'm missing the point.

almost forgot
by revaaron on Fri 16th Jan 2004 22:18 UTC

for those interested in a Squeak Smalltalk for doing similar stuff as the NBOR dynamor system, check out the Squeak Swiki site I posted above and search/look around for the eToys system, scripting system, and Morphic. It is possible to do a lot of fun stuff in Squeak without writing one line of code...

RE: huh, reminds me of squeak...
by Eugenia on Fri 16th Jan 2004 22:23 UTC

Actually NBOR is more flexible than Squeak. For example, in this screenshot http://minnow.cc.gatech.edu/squeak/uploads/683/squeak34-1600x1200.1... (I believe) you can't drag out the "Play" button off the Chess board or the media player and attach it with a simple drag-n-drop to another object and automatically have "Play" know what to do with that new object that it is now attached. Squeak can do similar stuff but many Smalltalk apps are still "monolithic" having buttons and actions tied to the specific apps.
NBOR's Dyoun goes one step further than Squeak by having self-contained objects (even when it doesn't make sense to have them as such), it is just that on the way they have lost a lot of the practical functionality that Squeak and normal desktops have.

Nicely Hyped
by Kon on Fri 16th Jan 2004 22:30 UTC

I guess I'll be the one to say what everyone else is thinking - this is terrible, the product release equivalent of a kindergarten crayon drawing, and is an insult to anyone putting real blood sweat and tears into products which are truly innovative and forward thinking.

RE: Nicely Hyped
by Eugenia on Fri 16th Jan 2004 22:33 UTC

I think you are overeacting.

NBOR *is* innovative when perceived as a *research project*. It is an interesting study of how to do "application usage starting literally from scratch" and how to do object interactivity.

You should only call it "hype" and "useless" and "a joke" when it is sold as a product. Which it currently is. ;D

RE: Nicely Hyped
by Kon on Fri 16th Jan 2004 22:40 UTC

Yes, I'll agree it makes for an interesting research project. However, reading through the website (this will replace thousands of dollars worth of applications (but requires windows and if you buy now the price is reduced)), looking how it operates (hire a graphics designer, fire the new age freaks -- that alien has to go), and especially viewing the IP (1500 filings, what are these people smoking!) -- they do themselves a huge disservice.

RE: huh, reminds me of squeak...
by revaaron on Fri 16th Jan 2004 22:45 UTC

Eugenia:

Actually, you can. In Squeak, an object can me immediately draggable or require selection. That is, if you- a programmer- write a more traditional app, you don't want your users accidentally dragging out or deleting buttons or other widgets, making them restart (and possibly abandon their work) to get things back to normal. You select the specific widget ("morph" in Squeak Morphic speak) by using the middle-button on your mouse, or by alt-clicking the widget. You can then move the widget, bring up a menu with a bunch of operations (change color, target, script), open up a script viewer on it, rotate, etc etc.

In the example you mention- the Chess app- the "Play" button does have a specific action (which method to call) and target (on what object to call the method) assigned to it. But this is changable. If there was a reason the user wanted to change it, that is possible and very easy. It would not make much sense for the user to have to manually bind the "Play" button to the desired app every time that opened up the Chess app. If you simply drag out a button from the "Parts Bin" it has nothing assigned to it, and you can certainly add and change actions and targets as you please.

I tried to illustrate this with the pics in this folder:
http://www.d.umn.edu/~reic0024/squeak/osnews/
(will be up in a few minutes!)

*Some* Smalltalk apps are "monolithic" in the sense you describe. But it is very incorrect to say that because *some* Smalltalk apps are one way or another that all are. NBOR is most likely written in C/C++ against MFC and the Win32 API. It would be just incorrect to make a statement like "C++ apps use a direct manipulation GUI system, as shown in NBOR." Smalltalk (unless you mean strict Smalltalk-80), like C++, Python, Java and Perl, has a number of GUI toolkits available. Some are implementation specific, some not.

RE: huh, reminds me of squeak...
by Eugenia on Fri 16th Jan 2004 22:48 UTC

>C/C++ against MFC and the Win32 API

It is written in Qt's C++

Visual environments too limiting
by Rayiner Hashem on Fri 16th Jan 2004 22:52 UTC

Ugh. I just don't get these visual programming environments. They take two of a human beings most specialized and narrow-purpose skills (visual perception and motor control) and try to apply them to highly general and abstract problems.

Programming is inherently an abstract endeavor. Its like mathematics. When mathematicians started using computers to study math, they did not invent complex visual tools to help them specify* mathematics problems. Instead, they just adapted the existing symbolic language to a computer domain. Abstract, symbolic thinking is a human being's most powerful skill. As such, it is best-suited for solving highly general problems.

My prediction is that if it becomes important for computer users to also become programmers, humans will adapt to computers rather than the other way around. Computers will support symbolic programming languages that are very close to human thinking, as to minimize the learning curve, but the languages will still be inherently symbolic abstract, not visual and concrete.

* Note the difference between 'specify' and 'visualize'. Visualizing a mathematics problem is a straight-forward, not-very-general procedure. Specifying a mathematics problem is a highly general procedure. This is why most current mathematics software uses graphics to aid in visualization, but uses a symbolic programming language for specifying problems.

RE: huh, reminds me of squeak...
by revaaron on Fri 16th Jan 2004 22:57 UTC

Eugenia says:
>> C/C++ against MFC and the Win32 API
> It is written in Qt's C++

OK. But the point stands, no matter if it's written in C++/Qt or Perl/Tk.

I have the images up. Disregard the blue rectangle; I was going to have it change colors, but decied to have the button produce a croaking sound instead.

Again, the point of redefining a button that is a part of an app I don't know. However, something I do once in a while is take out buttons or listboxes or other widgets, moving them to other places in the app or on the screen. In squeak, I often take a menu item out of a menu if I want easy and quick access to it. Or, I simply drag it out and put it in a flap to make a quick and easy launch bar.

v please, sentient ones, join us
by Sunbeam Starwalker on Fri 16th Jan 2004 23:18 UTC
Re: Visual environments too limiting
by RevAaron on Fri 16th Jan 2004 23:45 UTC

I agree- purely visual programming environments seem pretty limiting to me as well. There are a couple tools that seemed to have did it OK, but it is very hard to do a visual programming language well.

That said, systems like Squeak Morphic are not visual programming languages. There is a visual aspect, yes, but it is not a visual-only system. All the percieved "power" of writing code in text is there, but the additional layer can make things easier for the programmer and the user. As for NBOR, I don't think this is a visual programming environment... It's something else. A visual interaction/computing environment. NBOR isn't about creating programs so much as media, it seems.

NBOR = intellectual property company similar to EOLAS
by Sodium Chloride on Sat 17th Jan 2004 00:07 UTC

NBOR™ has been in secret development for nearly ten years - four years in conceptualization, three years in specification design and three years being written to code.

(the app does look like it was designed 10 years ago on a VIC-20, so this may be true)

It was invented by Denny Jaeger, a pioneer in computer applications for the audio industry. Frustrated by what existing software couldn't do, he was driven to find a way to make computers work the way people think they should.

(this is a funny one. most people have no idea how a computer 'should' work, more that it 'shouldn't work' the way it does!)

Beginning in 1993, Jaeger began designing what would become NBOR's unprecedented structure and carried the project for the first five years - during which he acquired his first patents on the technology, aided by Harris Zimmerman, a leading intellectual rights attorney and now a member of NBOR's Board of Directors.

(it is clear from the outset, NBOR is an IP company by what NBOR focused on first... certainly before they'd gotten any code to actually run according to the timetable above)

In 1996, the Intertactile Corporation (which was later renamed NBOR Corporation) was founded by Jaeger. He was joined two years later by John Doyle, a former Executive Vice President at Hewlett-Packard and head of HP Labs and now NBOR's Chairman of the Board. In 2002, Donn Tognazzini, a financial services industry expert with over four decades in the brokerage and investment management industries, joined NBOR's board.

(again, sounds like the perfect guy to hire for an IP shop that will make a living filing lawsuits...)

Both Mr. Doyle and Mr. Tognazzini are investors in NBOR Corporation, and they were instrumental in raising additional capital from a small group of very forward-thinking private investors.

(the absence of any well-known investment firm tells us that NBOR never had anything compelling to a venture capitalist who almost always wants to make a real company, not an IP lawsuit shell)

Critical to the software's development, Jaeger personally wrote all of the thousands of pages of application specifications that became the foundation of the working code produced by NBOR's hand-picked, international team of dedicated programmers, which he personally directs.

(the application is, in my opinion, total crap. the UI simply doesn't work, sometimes on extremely basic operations. either the specs were crap or the coders were crap... or both. i wonder if the coders were picked for IP purposes... one coder per country that NBOR is filing patents in)

It would not be an exaggeration to say Jaeger and his team broke the prevailing rules of how code has been written for the last 25 years.

(yes, the code's runtime behavior is worse than most code I've seen in the past 25 years. the 'player' hardly even could run without crashing. this paragraph probably means 'we incorporated more lines of patent claims per line of code than ever before!')

Significant of NBOR's revolutionary capabilities, over 1500 claims in 60 patents have been either issued or are currently pending with the U.S. Patent Office, plus a large number of pending foreign patents.

and the claims to all these patents in the US and other countries pretty much puts the final nail in the coffin. NBOR is an IP company, pure and simple.

they are only shipping this lame demoware so that they can say other people copied some part of it and then NBOR can sue them.

it is beating an obviously dead horse to say that the number of patent claims is ridiculous for a broken drawing app that doesn't even run without crashing.)




It looks like NBOR is a small company that is designed as a lawsuit machine. It will be interesting to see how this one turns out. Perhaps Darl McBride will end up here after he is done with SCO.

@RevAaron
by Rayiner Hashem on Sat 17th Jan 2004 01:53 UTC

That's true, of course. Historically, Smalltalk systems have been famous for their ability to integrate the ability to write Smalltalk code, with the ability to use visual layout to make certain tasks easier.

Squeak & Alan Kay
by Anonymous on Sat 17th Jan 2004 02:36 UTC

I'm surprised to find so many Smalltalk enthusiasts here!

Squeak has a problem, its UI (either Morphic or its MVC predecessor) is very different from what we're accostumed to. I'm nº1 fan of Alan Kay and his team, but I'd be happy to see some ideas from Cincom (the browsers are the best, I think) & VisualAge (coupling presentation to model is very cool) make their way into Squeak... along with decent UI themes. It's just so bidimensional looking as it stands, and the default serif fonts don't help a bit.

obscure & unfinished
by m on Sat 17th Jan 2004 03:10 UTC

It is a lot of fun to play with, it is also perplexing that the program is presented as a final product instead than as a pre-alpha project. I do not like either apps that try to access the Internet without asking first (sound.exe, player.exe). While I play with it I think of how easy and intituively I can find my way around Squeak (Squeak.org) and how obscure the Nbor interface is (not just the black screen), you are lost and it's all black, fun!

Five minutes with Nbor and you become an abstract painter, five more and you read this:
-player.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
If you were in the middle of something, the information you were working might be lost...-

"Middle of something"?, hehehe, not really. At this stage Nbor feels like editing into a blackhole, sort of /dev/null for Win. Plenty of GUI concepts to work on, deserves praise for that, new GUI proposals are basically nonexistent, but not ready for prime time. Somebody mentioned kids, no this is not for kids, teaching them OBERON would be more straight forward, this is unfinished.

North of England
by Anonymous on Sat 17th Jan 2004 04:00 UTC

We have a phrase in the North of England for this type of thing...

"Bag 'O Shite"

I think that sums it up nicely.

My Turn
by Eric D. Fields on Sat 17th Jan 2004 04:35 UTC

I have to admit, I more or less agree with everything that's been said here.

NBOR is simple, fun, interesting, different, innovative, imaginative.

NBOR is also amazingly complex, frustrating, weird, and seems to be a lot like this Squeak project i'm not being introduced to.

It does feel like something that should be open sourced to act as a sandbox for future visual environment projects, not something geared at replacing 1500$ worth of business products. I couldn't imagine typing a document in here... no spell check, thesaurus, rulers, bullets... the list goes on. And considering the fact that it blatently states that "you get to control things the way YOU want to" means that there would be no homogenity in even a single office full of computers with these app loaded on. Now imagine a company that operates in all corners of the world trying to network all these people.

I suppose if people somehow start developing apps within this app, it could work. For example, figure out the right combinations of VDACCS, sliders, knobs and maybe you can come up with iTunes for NBOR, then maybe it could be downloaded from somewhere? I give up.

This thing is very very new age, which means that they ignore all the above facts when programming something like this because, theoretically, yes... you could do almost anything with this. It's just that there is already a truck load of proprietary apps out there ten million times better, and a lot of people willing to pay good money for them.

i actually dont see how its so like squeak
by hmmmmm on Sat 17th Jan 2004 07:23 UTC

squeak may be annoying and unpolished... but at least its not completely useless


this is the product of some random idiot with a stupid idea... that has decided to use market speak and hype to try and make a buck off it


RE: My Turn
by Bob Leslie on Sat 17th Jan 2004 11:25 UTC

An interesting analysis with which I concur.

Looking at NBOR it seems to me to be a learning tool for problem solving, and in its present crude implementation meant for educators as well as students of all ages.

It is, therefore, unsurprising that a lot of the hype has fallen on the deaf ears of those who do not fall into this academic category!

If you look on NBOR as simply a learning tool(s) which can help individual students develop their analytical and thought processes towards solving problems, it's perhaps of some marginal value.....but at a tenth of the current asking price!

Visual Programming...
by The ear on Sat 17th Jan 2004 13:46 UTC

when i hear about visual programming an old amiga programm comes in my mind: Can Do (can do it).

Todays applications are results of improvements from thousands od people over decades.
why there are people who think that they can reinvent the wheel?

As many berfore said, it is still insteresting as a research project, but it's an joke for an actual product.

Ahem ...
by Anonymous on Sat 17th Jan 2004 18:21 UTC

Eugenia - " It is really entertaining seeing all the Linux fanboys over here shooting NBOR down (without having tried their product yet) however shout "innovative" for segusoLand two stories above this one. Hah!"

Having visited the site I think most people were able to spot the overblown claptrap component - whatever OS they use. Empty vessels make the most noise.

a better way - scripting tools?
by petr krenzelok on Sat 17th Jan 2004 18:41 UTC

Looks like some old time Rebol/View 1.0 beta release :-)

http://www.mustard.co.nz/rebol/guiform/guiform10.jpg

I may be wrong, but concepts like that may never work. You have to learn how to attach visual representation meaning to supposed actions and that may end-up in non-intuitive way.

I think that already mentioned tools like Squak, or for me it is just REBOL, are much better way to do so. It is called scripting and it provides you with glue to link your apps and automate many things. Concepts like Arexx on Amiga went even further ... :-)

Here's how some reblets can look like:

http://www.rebol.com/reblets.html

It just takes few KBs to write usefull reblet to tens of KBs to write really usefull app - http://www.altme.com/

-pekr-

rebol is great :)
by hmmmm..... on Sat 17th Jan 2004 19:00 UTC

nice little language.

I have a OO system like NBOR.
by Ballard on Sat 17th Jan 2004 22:31 UTC

NBOR is not a new revolutionary system. I have worked on a an OO system for quite awhile that is built on Atomatrix, http://atomatrix.sourceforge.net . I know that these types of systems strengthen a revolution that already started. In the past, these systems seemed sci-fi or only for kids. Perhaps, the ability for childern to learn easier is the revolution.

Re: a better way - scripting tools?
by RevAaron on Sun 18th Jan 2004 02:18 UTC

Different strokes for different folks, and different tools for different jobs. The two languages I use the most are Squeak Smalltalk and REBOL. Both have their strengths and uses. They complement each other *very* well, though there is a fair amount of overlap.

While Smalltalk can do just about everything, some tasks are easier to whip up in REBOL For me, even though Smalltalk is the language with which I have the most experience.

Squeak and REBOL and different answers to different questions. It really doesn't make sense to say that REBOL could replace Smalltalk, nor that Squeak should be used as the One True Language. Squeak has a million things that REBOL doesn't have and is likely to not get in the near future- the portability brought on by an open source system [1], a super-powerful IDE and GUI system (REBOL/View is really nice, but somewhat limited), all of the libraries, among other things.

[1] I have no REBOL/View on OS X or Windows CE, my two primary platforms. There is no way I will use REBOL/View for OS 9, I don't even have classic installed. I have made a few requests to REBOL asking for a WinCE REBOL/View (there is a REBOL/Core), and they always have replied that many folks have asked for it, but they don't have the time. I even offered to sign an NDA and port it myself from the regular WinCE and Win32/View sources. REBOL would make an *awesome* platform for mobile development- it feels pretty fast, apps are very portable requiring no tweaking (unlike Java, it seems), and it you can develop *extremely* quick in REBOL. I wish I had it instead of eVB on WinCE.

Re: I have a OO system like NBOR.
by RevAaron on Sun 18th Jan 2004 02:27 UTC

Ballard, I'm afraid I don't see what Atomatrix and NBOR or Squeak have in common. When installing it, I have a MOO/text-adventure command line interface, not a graphical manipulation system. I imagine both use OO concepts, but NBOR certainly isn't claiming to be where OOP was invented. If you wouldn't mind, would you explain what NBOR and this Alchematrix have in common?

Re: I have a OO system like N
by Anonymous on Sun 18th Jan 2004 02:29 UTC

I have just tried it. I don't understand it at all. What is it for? Can you explain it a little more? Thanks.

re: Aaron - REBOL
by petr krenzelok on Sun 18th Jan 2004 10:44 UTC

I never tried Squeak, but I remember I tried SmallTalk even before rebol existed and I was really hooked. So now I am reboller and can explain quite some things.

There is rather good message for you. We know View development was on-hold for nearly two years, but situation at RT changed and I hope we will see some announcement soonera than later.

View 1.3 is under heavy development, it is RT + community effort like never before! There will be MANY fixes, some improvements and the goal is clear - get 1.3 as an consistent upgrade to View out to the masses and as a preparation work for 1.4.

OSx version is coming, I think RT is waiting for 1.3 to be released and then OSx is gonna be included, imo in March.

You can watch how project is emerging in AltME blog, or you can even participate - if you wish so, just contact me and I'll try to arrange AltME connection for you.

Here's the blog:
http://www.rebol.net/projects/view1.3/indexd.html

HTH,
-pekr-

another bummer about REBOL...
by RevAaron on Mon 19th Jan 2004 05:09 UTC

pekr-
man, you got me all excited about REBOL again! but then it came back to me, why I don't put more energy into REBOL itself and the community. Following your link, I saw a reference to DyBASE, an OODBMS for REBOL, Ruby, and Python.

So I downloaded it, excited to play with it. I am a big fan of OODBM systems. But of course, I can't use DyBASE without shelling out money for REBOL/Command. Reminds me why I wish REBOL was open source, or at least mo generously free. ;)

muhahahaa
by nuubik on Tue 20th Jan 2004 08:45 UTC

Honest to god if you need a good laugh you just have to try it ... I was on the floor after 30 seconds of clicking and draging stuff "INTUITIVELY" ;)

My thoughts after persistent use...
by tel on Wed 21st Jan 2004 20:19 UTC

I've given NBOR my best shot, having tried it almost daily since its release, giving it the best opportunity to prove itself. Here are my thoughts (and I think I'm being quite objective...)

PROS:
1. Interesting concept

CONS:
1. Full of bugs. Although they acknowledge that this is beta software, my feeling is that this is still pre-beta. When using it for more than about 10 minutes at a time, the program will certainly crash with fatal errors. Some of these crashes are random, and some are reproducible. Hard to believe that a program in development for 10 years remains so unstable.

2. Doesn't live up to its name. This program certainly DOES have boundaries and rules. These boundaries are inherent in the way things have to be done, the way arrows have to be drawn, the colors that have to be used, etc. We're just being forced to remember a different set of rules than we're used to. Despite its claims, NBOR is NOT intuitive; in fact, just the opposite -- I find it highly unintuitive (the fact that several days of using this program and still not understanding how to connect what to what underscores this point.) I am forced to remember abbreviations like PR, PN, NP, VRT, etc.

3. Lack of interoperability. Like it or not, Windows users use Microsoft products, and the lack of integration with known formats (Word .doc files, for example) makes this much less useful. Further, although Blackspace could be used for a few things, it certainly can't be used for most things. I still need to run Quicken, consult my calendar, browse the internet, etc. NBOR doesn't integrate well into any of these tasks.

4. Lack of usefulness. I see no advantage of using NBOR over the current presentation software available (Word, Powerpoint), and in my opinion, the existing software does what it's supposed to do quite well. Further, I find the current software much more intuitive than NBOR! Clicking a menu item that says "Text Box" is easy, as opposed to drawing a VDAAC, dragging text into that VDAAC, then adjusting the text's and VDAAC's properties. NBOR may offer a slight advantage when doing some weird text formatting, though.

5. Lack of support. Several e-mail to NBOR with regard to some bug issues and "how-to" issues have remained unanswered. The Help Dyomations, although somewhat useful, fail to give me all the information I need to use NBOR to its full extent. What are all the keywords that NBOR uses? What are the rules behind how arrows connect to what?

6. Minor, specific issues. I have to use the mouse or the up/down arrows to scroll text in a VDAAC. Why can't I use the Page Up/Page Down keys?

SUMMARY

I appreciate the uniqueness of this concept, but the implementation is terrible. I can't see paying even the introductory price of $149 for this software in its current state. I have a feeling that the introductory price will expire long before even the bugs get fixed!

Just my thoughts...

Info.
by Nephew on Wed 21st Jan 2004 20:27 UTC

I'm Denny Jaeger's nephew, which, on this forum can be taken as a grain of salt or ludicrous entertainment, since no one would really know whether I am or not.

Around March,2000 Denny asked me to design 10,000 icons for this highly secretive project. At the time he was talking about interactive 3d holograms, a system 100 times faster than anything else out there, revolutionary computer tools, etc.

I turned down the icon job, because it didn't pay enough for the amount of time I would be working on this project, Also, since I'm an artist/illustrator I couldn't imagine giving that up for creating icons.

I think that ultimately he couldn't find anyone to create the icons, which resulted in a very strange interface. Of course, if there were a gazillion icons that would be strange too.

If you do look up Denny Jaeger he does have an innovative history. He created software in the 80s that can recreate the strings? in an orchestra. It looks like this software is still being used today. Basically, he has created a bunch of music related technology. NBOR might end up being just a music app.