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  1.    #1  
    http://www.precentral.net/homebrew-apps/funfactsw

    This is just a simple webApp that pulls random facts from a PHP/MySql database that is updated quite frequently.


    Any feedback will be considered.
  2. #2  
    Will download tomorrow (its 1 am here)

    Be back
  3. #3  
    I LOVE fun facts and useless knowledge! Thanks for this!!!
  4. #4  
    Socca, I posted in the Reviews forum last night, since this thread here didn't yet exist. Please take a look at it: http://forums.precentral.net/webos-a...ts-review.html

    The "fact" exampled in your screenshot simply is not true. This calls into question the validity of all other information your app may present.

    I love trivia, so I was initially thrilled to see your app appear in the gallery. But as it's plainly evident that it contains falsehood(s), there is unfortunately little if any value in it, I'm sorry to have to say. Urban myths and childhood playground riddles are not facts.

    A revision with some proper fact checking, or perhaps even a wiki-like approach, so users could challenge or edit untruths, could probably save it. Until then, I can't see it as useful, not even for entertainment.

    Again, I'm sorry to have to say that, as no doubt you put a lot of work into it. But I have to be honest.
  5. uminchu's Avatar
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    #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by ABBlockhead View Post
    Socca, I posted in the Reviews forum last night, since this thread here didn't yet exist. Please take a look at it: http://forums.precentral.net/webos-a...ts-review.html

    The "fact" exampled in your screenshot simply is not true. This calls into question the validity of all other information your app may present.

    I love trivia, so I was initially thrilled to see your app appear in the gallery. But as it's plainly evident that it contains falsehood(s), there is unfortunately little if any value in it, I'm sorry to have to say. Urban myths and childhood playground riddles are not facts.

    A revision with some proper fact checking, or perhaps even a wiki-like approach, so users could challenge or edit untruths, could probably save it. Until then, I can't see it as useful, not even for entertainment.

    Again, I'm sorry to have to say that, as no doubt you put a lot of work into it. But I have to be honest.
    Honesty is fine, but so is a little tact. The app pulls nuggets from an online public database, verbatim. Your review slams the author for issues he has no control over. He offers you a free copy of his efforts, and you thank him with disrespect, then come into his thread and link to it, just to make sure he and the rest of us know that you've rubbed his nose in it. You could have:

    a) Made your point and moved on, rather than abrasively repeating the same criticism again and again, ad nauseum,
    b) Quietly PM'd the author with your objections rather than publicly throwing him under the bus,
    c) Found at least one positive thing to say,
    d) Simply deleted the app if you didn't like it and gone on with your life.

    May any/all of your projects and the effort you put into them, offered at no charge, be received with somewhat more courtesy, gratitude, and respect than you've seen fit offer. Sorry, just being honest.

    To the author: Thank you very much for your app. I enjoyed it and look forward to any updates and/or future projects.
    Last edited by uminchu; 08/12/2009 at 01:44 PM.
  6. #6  
    I would love to have random fun facts.

    But the example you give is that the Elephant is the only animal that can't jump.

    Snails can't jump, nor can many fish, mussels, snakes, worms, insects, etc.

    Can I ask what database you are drawing the facts from?

    Let me download and try some of the others.

    - Craig
  7. #7  
    The fact I just got is that the Tanzanian parasitic wasp is the world's smallest winged insect.

    It seems that the internet sites concur.

    At some point there may be another fact like the elephant. If you give your source, you can always just point to the source.

    I think that you could make your font a little bigger and still get in your ad for Carfax. I think that your Carfax ad is a first for Homebrew.

    - Craig
  8.    #8  
    @ABBlockhead: Thanks for the very thorough review of this application. As uminchu pointed out, unfortunately it is not my database to moderate. This application is just my version of a program I miss from WM6.

    This is for entertainment only, use at your own risk. I do not take responsibility if anyone fails a quiz using my information. I will update the screenshot to something factual. Thank you for pointing out this error.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by uminchu View Post
    Honesty is fine, but so is a little tact.
    I'm sorry if you found my review offensive. That was certainly not my intention. Let me address your points, one by one, and see if we can't clear this up.

    Quote Originally Posted by uminchu View Post
    The app pulls nuggets from an online public database, verbatim. Your review slams the author for issues he has no control over.
    First of all, just for the record, I did not "slam the author", as you put it. I challenged the value of the application, just as I would any product that doesn't do what it says it does. I'm sorry if you can't see the difference, but a person is not his or her work. To criticize the one is not to speak ill of the other in any way. Criticism is just as vital to our existence as praise.

    Second, at the time I wrote the review, and at the time you wrote your post response here, the author had not specified whether the database was under his/her control or not. He/she simply said "a PHP database that is updated quite frequently". Without either digging into the code, or sniffing to see where the IP traffic is coming from, neither you nor I yet had any way of knowing whether said database was public or private. But even if we had determined that, we still wouldn't and couldn't have known how much or how little of it was under the author's direct control.

    Now, it happened you guessed correctly, but it was just a guess, right? At the risk of sounding a little circuitous, if you're going to challenge a criticism of nonfactual "facts", you'd do well to be well armed with indisputable facts yourself, rather than just your own assumptions. If you knew something I didn't about the database all along, please share it. Otherwise, you were just speculating, which in the context of this discussion, was more than a little ironic.


    Quote Originally Posted by uminchu View Post
    He offers you a free copy of his efforts, and you thank him with disrespect, then come into his thread and link to it, just to make sure he and the rest of us know that you've rubbed his nose in it.
    There was absolutely no disrespect intended at all. It's not disrespectful to point out serious flaws in a work product, especially one that's in progress. Apps here ARE in beta, right? If anything it's just the opposite. It's arguably disrespectful NOT to point out any and every problem with any and every app that gets posted here, so that the authors can find and fix any and all issues BEFORE the apps go main. Notice I did take the time to offer some suggestions for how to deal with the problem at hand. That's why.

    In any case, not every review has to be positive. In my own work as a digital artist, I create content for video games, virtual worlds, print media, film/video, and audio productions. You've probably seen some of what I've produced. You better believe I've had my share of reviews, both good and bad, over the course of my career. But I'm even-keeled enough to accept and understand that none of it, neither the positives nor the negatives, reflect on me personally. My work is what I do, not who I am.

    Further, "rubbing his nose in it", again as you put it, was not part of the equation. I'd like to think we can all be a little more mature about these things than that, can't we? I have no idea your age or background, but such is the stuff of children, not of reasonable adults.

    As I said, the reason I posted in the review section last night was simply because this thread did not yet exist then. At that time, I had no way of knowing whether an official discussion thread on the app would ever get created or not. So I did what the operators of this site quite often ask all of us to do, which was post an honest review.

    When I stumbled across this thread today, I figured the next correct step to take would be to post a link, precisely so that there would be no need to repeat any of the comments. Your assumption of any motive beyond that is your own.

    I can't pretend to know what you're thinking and feeling, but evidence would seem to suggest that you'd do well not to be so suspicious. People can criticize each others' work without attacking the actual person, and that's exactly what I did. There's nothing wrong with it.


    Quote Originally Posted by uminchu View Post
    You could have:

    a) Made your point and moved on, rather than abrasively repeating the same criticism again and again, ad nauseum,
    Actually, I only said it twice: once in the review, then once again here (and the second time was nothing more than a very brief reference to the first). That's hardly "again and again, ad nauseum".

    In the review, I made a point of being as descriptive as I could in my challenge of the "fact" in question, simply to make it clear that the disputed information was indeed untrue. Had I done any less, there would no doubt be a long drawn out debate going on right now about whether elephants can indeed jump, and/or about whether any other creatures can or cannot, which would be pointless. I was quite deliberately thorough enough to nip that in the bud (hopefully). Once again, there's certainly nothing wrong with that.


    If you really want me to go on, though, I could. The elephant thing is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, just now it told me three times as many students are studying Latin as are studying Arabic. According to whom? There's no citation whatsoever. What schools were surveyed in order to make that determination? That's not a fact; it's a political cartoon, in verbal form.

    I hit Refresh, and now it's telling me no one in Greece has memorized all 158 versus of their national anthem. How on Earth could it possibly know whether or not that's true? There are over 11 million people in Greece. I'd be willing to bet at least one or two have managed to commit to memory the equivalent of a couple of sheets of paper. But of course, I haven't asked every single person in Greece, so I can't know. At least I can admit it.

    The truth is that many of the so-called "facts" this app presents simply are not facts at all. They're conjectural possibilities at best, and falsehoods at worst. I'm certainly not in the wrong to call that to question.

    Were the app called "Fun Somewhat True Information" or "Fun Reading" or "Fun Stuff Someone Put in a Database", or something along those lines, there'd be no problem. But "Fun Facts" is not a fair descriptor, no matter how nice the alliteration might sound.


    Quote Originally Posted by uminchu View Post
    b) Quietly PM'd the author with your objections rather than publicly throwing him under the bus,
    Again, not every review has to be positive. No one "threw anyone under the bus." I didn't say anything at all about the author's personal merit. In fact, I even publicly apologized for being the bearer what would probably be received as less than happy news. There was no reason to keep it quiet.

    I could even argue that there's very good reason to keep the discussion public. First, anyone who might not have realized on their own that these "facts" are not all true deserves fair warning. Second, it's entirely possible that this sort of discussion could illicit suggestions from the participants, which could vastly improve the app. Perhaps there are ways to filter for true facts that neither I nor the author might think of on our own. That sort of thing IS why we have a community here, after all.


    Quote Originally Posted by uminchu View Post
    c) Found at least one positive thing to say,
    I would really have loved to have been able to do that, but seriously, what could I have said? "Well, it doesn't seem to crash."? Or how about "Ooh, it's got pictures."? Or maybe "Nice choice in going with a black background instead of a white one."? Come on. Its purpose is to present the reader with facts, and it doesn't reliably do that. What positive is there to be found in that?


    Quote Originally Posted by uminchu View Post
    d) Simply deleted the app if you didn't like it and gone on with your life.
    That's precisely what I did, in addition to sharing my findings. You're the one who chose to keep it going, and to make an issue of it. (Note, I installed it again, just to grab those two other examples I posted a minute ago, and now I'm about to delete it again.)

    I would invite you to consider that for every one of your points, I could apply the exact same ones to your own response. You could have simply said, "Hey, I don't think your review was quite fair, for the following reasons...", rather than seemingly going on the offensive, as you did. Or you could have quietly PM'ed me instead of turning this into a public debate. Or you could have found at least one positive thing to say about the review, even though you apparently disagree with it. Or you could have closed your browser window, and "gone on with your life".

    But you didn't do any of that. Why not? Again, I don't pretend to know your thoughts and feelings, but I can hazard some guesses.

    The most likely the reason you didn't PM me privately was you felt that what you had to say was important, and that all who may have been concerned deserved a chance to read it. Well, that's exactly how I felt about my review. Neither of us was wrong in that regard.

    And I can only surmise that the reason your post reads as so aggressive is that you lack, or at least were temporarily lacking at the moment of your writing, the very tact you accused me of having failed to employ, myself. So if either of us was wrong on that front, then we both must have been.


    Quote Originally Posted by uminchu View Post
    May any/all of your projects and the effort you put into them, offered at no charge, be received with somewhat more courtesy, gratitude, and respect than you've seen fit offer. Sorry, just being honest.
    Look, just because I challenged the value of an app that fails to do what its title suggests doesn't mean I was discourteous, ungrateful, or disrespectful in any way. Again, a person is not his work.

    I once published an absolutely scathing review of Final Fantasy XI, portions of which you may have read, since much of it was chopped up and inserted (in most cases, without permission) into a ton of more 'official' reviews. The flaws I found in that game in no way diminished my respect for its development company, Square, who happens to employ some of my most talented colleagues in the industry. The fact was there were many aspects of that game that they implemented poorly, so I said so. They still remained just as talented, though, and I'm happy to say that as well, although I didn't feel any particular need to say it in the review.

    And for a counter example, I don't mind giving Sprint's data network, and their pricing structure an absolutely glowing review, even though Sprint is probably my least favorite company on Earth right now.

    In this case, just like in those, I did not make any assertions at all, either positive or negative, about the author's worth as a programmer, as a human being, or in any other capacity. I simply pointed out in no uncertain terms that the app, not the person, doesn't do what it claims to do. Once again, there's nothing wrong with that.
    Last edited by ABBlockhead; 08/12/2009 at 09:30 PM.
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by socca1157 View Post
    @ABBlockhead: Thanks for the very thorough review of this application. As uminchu pointed out, unfortunately it is not my database to moderate. This application is just my version of a program I miss from WM6.

    This is for entertainment only, use at your own risk. I do not take responsibility if anyone fails a quiz using my information. I will update the screenshot to something factual. Thank you for pointing out this error.
    You're welcome, and thank YOU for the thoughtful and positive reply.
  11. dcigary's Avatar
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    #11  
    I don't have any problems with the app or the fact database. What I do have a problem with is the Google ad in the app. But, I guess you gotta make a living somehow since the app itself is free!
  12. #12  
    nice app dont worry about the guy knocking on the facts, if it makes someone google one of the facts then the app does its job whether its accurate or not... funny this is that i've been working on a Facts app for the past 2 weeks now. i was going to release the beta verson within a few days but you beat me to the punch. awesome app i like the layout. ill have mine out in a day or two...
  13. #13  
    i'm having way too much fun with this app. i think im annoying people on twitter.
    the UI needs improvement. but overall, great!
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by krisnicaj View Post
    nice app dont worry about the guy knocking on the facts, if it makes someone google one of the facts then the app does its job whether its accurate or not... funny this is that i've been working on a Facts app for the past 2 weeks now. i was going to release the beta verson within a few days but you beat me to the punch. awesome app i like the layout. ill have mine out in a day or two...
    krisnicaj,

    Please release yours as well!

    - Craig
  15. uminchu's Avatar
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    #15  
    @ABBlockhead: Normally I'd quote your post, but the length of your rebuttal is such that doing so would create an even greater distraction to this thread, which we're both plenty guilty of already. You maintain that your review intended no disrespect. I've reread both your review and your original post, twice, endeavoring to do so with objective eyes. I'm sad to say that I still find that the overall nature and tone of your posts imply general arrogance and disrespect. You go to great lengths to insist that your criticism of the app is in no way an attack on the author. Ok, fine, but at the very least, it comes off as highly insensitive. IMO, your response, under the lens of your review and your announcement of it, simply doesn't pass the smell test. Maybe we can agree to disagree and leave it at that.

    I do agree with you that I too had the option of a PM over flaming your posts. In retrospect, I wish I had done so. While my opinion of the attitude expressed in your review has not changed, I very much regret the lack of tact on my part, immediately after criticizing yours. My public response toward you is at least as wrong as (IMO) yours toward him. I apologize for that.

    I hold the author's response to your review in great respect. IMO, his tact and diplomacy put both of us to shame.
  16.    #16  
    For anyone curious: 13,384 "facts" have been generated since I released this application at the time of this post.

    All my apps have a little counter built in so I can track the use.
  17. #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by uminchu View Post
    @ABBlockhead: Normally I'd quote your post, but the length of your rebuttal is such that doing so would create an even greater distraction to this thread, which we're both plenty guilty of already. You maintain that your review intended no disrespect. I've reread both your review and your original post, twice, endeavoring to do so with objective eyes. I'm sad to say that I still find that the overall nature and tone of your posts imply general arrogance and disrespect. You go to great lengths to insist that your criticism of the app is in no way an attack on the author. Ok, fine, but at the very least, it comes off as highly insensitive. IMO, your response, under the lens of your review and your announcement of it, simply doesn't pass the smell test. Maybe we can agree to disagree and leave it at that.

    I do agree with you that I too had the option of a PM over flaming your posts. In retrospect, I wish I had done so. While my opinion of the attitude expressed in your review has not changed, I very much regret the lack of tact on my part, immediately after criticizing yours. My public response toward you is at least as wrong as (IMO) yours toward him. I apologize for that.

    I hold the author's response to your review in great respect. IMO, his tact and diplomacy put both of us to shame.
    I agree with you

    "But as it's plainly evident that it contains falsehood(s), there is unfortunately little if any value in it"

    and "I'm sorry to have to say. Urban myths and childhood playground riddles are not facts"

    and lastly "Until then, I can't see it as useful, not even for entertainment"

    All was just not needed

    However lets move on and help make this app great

    Well I don't know if the facts are 100% accurate but they are entertaining. I would like to see the ability to send to people via Email, SMS or Twitter. I plan to use this daily on my twitter as a Fact or Not post .

    You think you can add in the share function?

    Great work and thanks.
  18. #18  
    Here's a fun fact (from 30 Rock):

    What's the world's only egg-laying mammal?



    A: the Easter Bunny.
  19. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by uminchu View Post
    Maybe we can agree to disagree and leave it at that.
    I guess that's what we'll have to do then. I'm sorry that you won't simply take my word for it that what I meant is what I meant. The written word is often such a disastrously incomplete means of communication. The "tone" of a writing, as you put it, usually has far more to do with the inclinations of the reader than the intentions of the author, especially on the Internet, where brevity is king.

    Believe what you want. I've said what I feel needed to be said here. If you can't bring yourself to take me at my word, that's your prerogative.

    I would invite you to ponder this, though: If my intention truly were to insult, what possible motivation would I have had to spend as much time as I did responding to your post, point by point by point? It took me well over an hour to write that reply, an effort inspired by nothing more than the hope of clearing up a misunderstanding with a complete stranger. In your experience, is that the kind of thing a person whose intent is to insult other people would do? Wouldn't it have been far easier for me just to tell you to **** off, and be done with the whole thing?

    No need for you to reply. Just consider please consider it for the next time you decide you know what someone is thinking and feeling better than they do, based on nothing more than an easily misinterpretable piece of text on an Internet forum.
    Last edited by ABBlockhead; 08/13/2009 at 08:48 PM.
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by ABBlockhead View Post
    No need for you to reply. Just consider please consider it for the next time you decide you know what someone is thinking and feeling better than they do, based on nothing more than an easily misinterpretable piece of text on an Internet forum.
    Your use of terms such as "this app fails" naturally leads one to interpret your intentions as less than respectful.

    Perhaps if you have such difficulty in expressing yourself, writing reviews may not be for you.
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