Chuq Von Rospach is a Silicon Valley veteran doing Technical Community Management and amateur photographer with a strong interest in birds, wildlife and landscapes. My goal is to explore the Western states and working to tell you the stories of the special places I've found. You can find out more on the About Page.
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Monthly Archives: March 2012
The Mac App Store has been a huge boon to Mac software developers, but has an enormous flaw: it needs to allow developers to charge existing customers a discounted price for major upgrades.
Right now developers selling through the Mac App Store face a lose/lose choice: either provide all major upgrades to existing customers for free (thus losing a quarter of our revenue), or create a â€œnewâ€ product for each major version (creating customer confusion) and charge existing customers full price again (creating customer anger). Why The Mac App Store is Nice
This was one of those things I got to talk about with developers a lot back in webOS land. All developers want this. No app store (with any significant audience, that I can findâ€¦) implementation provides it. Why the disconnect?
Behold the three stages of product manager hell:
- Okay, to make this date, what features do we absolutely positively have to have for launch? Upgrades? We can add that later. It waits.
- The SAP geeks say it’ll take eight months to add support to the back end for this. We need to launch in Botswana. It’ll have to wait.
- I know the developers are asking for this, but we seem to be doing pretty well without it. It just doesn’t seem to be a priority right now, not compared to [REDACTED].
Now, throw in a random “oh my god, do you know what this will do to our tax liability and reporting requirements in Lithuania?” and you get some sense of how you end up down this path. I’m sure no software developer has ever had discussions like this about their product, right?
My view on this: I see the developers pain. I see what the expectations users have for this. One of the things I asked for when we implemented coupons (aka promo codes) was the ability for a developer to send out discounts to existing users so they could release “Delicious Monster: TNG” at list and give existing users a code to upgrade at 20% off. Did I get it? (hollow laughter).
If you look at what Apple does (since it doesn’t actually say anything) and guess to their intentions, I’m guessing — based on what they’ve done with Aperture — that their model is moving forward without upgrade discounts. Instead, they’ve cut the cost of the product up front. What used to cost $200 now costs $79. When they release Aperture 4, it’ll cost $79. And Aperture 5 will cost $79. And if a user complains about paying full price for each release, Apple can ask if they’d rather go back Â to paying $200 for the package and getting upgrades for $99. it’s actually a persuasive argument, if your business plan can handle it and you don’t mind getting hit on the head a lot while explaining it.
And so, if you’re building product, that’s what I’d recommend you plan for. No upgrade discounts. Which implies setting your pricing scheme so that you can make a good “cost over the life of product” argument to users, and make sure each release has persuasive upgrade features (I’m looking at you, Adobe CS 5) or users will simply yawn and skip the release.
Honestly, as a user, I can live with that model. And yes, if I think a product is overpriced or the features of a release are not persuasive, I will skip it (he says, as a proud owner of CS 3; neener, Adobe, I spent my money elsewhere — but happily upgraded to Lightroom 4, because it was worth it. hint hint). It’s going to require retraining users who expect discounts. that will be painful. But I think Apple has set this standard, and I think that’s going to be what it is moving forward. I don’t see a persuasive reason for them to change their strategy.
And whether they admit it or not, I bet a lot of product managers for app stores on various platforms have the “if Apple isn’t doing it, why should I?” test for feature requests. And then they go off into a closet and come up with reasons for the powerpoint that don’t sound so, well, reactive and lame.
The Mac App Store has been a great new source of revenue for Delicious Monster â€” weâ€™ve seen almost double total sales of â€œDelicious Library 2â€ through it. And although paying ~â…“ of our gross to Apple is pretty steep, if Appleâ€™s finding new customers who wouldn’t have found us before the Mac App Store,
Of course, if you remember back to the good old daysâ€¦ Not the good old days of selling downloads on your own site, but the REAL good old days, if you could have gotten your software INTO a store like Best Buy, you’d have to pay for physical packaging and distribution, and deal with returns and all of the sales and management of your retail channels — and those channels would suck about 50% of your sale price off on top of it for THEIR margins.
And FWIW, that 30% margin they take is maybe break-even. they certainly aren’t paying for expensive cars in the parking lot with it. App stores aren’t cheap to run. Or so I hear.
In the post game, Ray Ratto and Drew got into it. I admit: I missed this live, because Laurie and I were so thrilled at the game, we turned off for a DVRed episode of Good Eats. No, really. Good Eats reruns.
Here’s my take on all of this. If you caught me on twitter during and after the game, you’ll know I pretty much wrote off the Sharks after this game. For once, Ray Ratto is right: this is not a playoff team. It hasn’t played like one since the start of the year. Last night, I saw a team working hard, but not working desperate.
I love Drew, he’s smart, fun to listen to and usually right, but last night, his attachment to the Sharks and to coaching got the best of him. He loves this team (and so do I), but his rant last night was more denial than explanation. Ratto nails it. Here in the Western Conference, which is a nasty ass conference, and the Pacific Division, which is a nasty division, the Sharks are not a playoff team. Even if they squeeze into the playoffs, I can’t see them getting past the first round.
After the game, Joe thornton said this team needed to win out and go 4-0 to close the season. Best case is 3-1 might get them in. Is the team that lost the last two games going to do that? I don’t’ see it. They’ll be lucky to go 1-3. Right now, I expect the Kings should sweep them.
How did we get to this point? That’s a tough, complicated question, one I’ve grappled with for a while. My current thinking is something like this:
First, and most important, the conference and division has gotten better around the Sharks. This is, first and foremost, not about the Sharks getting bad, but about the team being as good as it is and the rest of the league catching up. Did you see St. Louis getting as good as it has this year? No, me, neither. There are no soft teams in the west, and even “bad” teams like Edmonton can and will make you crazy. So the primary “failure” here is — parity.
Having said that, I think this team has had a “of course we’re a playoff team” mentality, perhaps leaning a bit too hard on “we just need to be ready for April” and planning to flip the switch. You can’t ever let the regular season be a tuneup for the real season, or, well, you hit the last ten games of the season in a dogfight for 8th, and lose that slot to a team that’s learned how to be desperate. This team maybe has coasted a bit on its belief that it will just be there when it really matters, and now that it’s really mattering, finding it’s not quite as easy as it thought.
I think injuries have taken a toll on this team; there have been enough to keep the roster in flux all season, and that’s kept this team from ever generating the kind of “on a roll” chemistry it’s shown in the past.
I’m am curious whether or not Marleau is playing with an injury. If he’s not — what the hell happened? Marleau has always had times when he’s gone into funks; it’s never been at crunch time and he’s always ended the season putting up the kind of numbers we expect from him. But honestly, right now I want to put his picture on a Â milk carton. I don’t see any reason why he’s been so — invisible — on the ice. Â He is the only top six forward I can call out as being a significant disappointment to me. It’s now the Joe and Joe and Logan and Ryan show out there, and all four get nothing but positives from me.
Drew’s support of the coaching staff is not misplaced. I share it. I don’t see this as something that puts either Doug Wilson or Coach McClellan’s job at risk. I do wonder — and I am completely unqualified to judge — how significant the loss of Trent Yawney from the staff for this season is affecting things, especially given the plummet in performance in special teams. Jay Woodcroft seems like a great person, but it seems to me this team might need a more seasoned and experienced voice helping McClellan (and let me emphasize that I’m not saying anything against Woodcroft other than maybe this team needs someone further down the career path; or maybe not — that’s something Doug Wilson will have to evaluate).
Wilson made some roster changes during the offseason. I like and continue to like the Brent Burns deal. It took him some time to acclimate, once he did, I’ve liked his play. Given setoguchi’s play in minnesota, a no-brainer. the Heatley deal for havlat got sidetracked by injuries, that was a known risk of the deal, and it’s a risk that we got hit by.
I look at Huskins in St. Louis, and I look at Ian White in Detroit, and then I look at Colin White here in San jose, and I think to myself — really? Sorry, Colin White was not an upgrade, not in any way, shape or form. This team would have been a lot better off keeping Ian White; I’m not a huge fan of Huskins, but he’s been put in a Â system where he’s been solid. Even so, Huskins would be a step up from Colin White.
That said — that’s a minor blip in the Doug Wilson track record.
The end result here? The better a team is, the harder it is to keep making it better. I think the Sharks ran into that this year. They plateaued. At a high level, but it’s still a plateau. I think the biggest off-season loss was Yawney on the coaching staff, and I think that needs to be looked at in the offseason. Injuries were never catastrophic (no Sydney Crosby injuries) but enough injuries happened to keep the roster from gelling and this team from ever building momentum or chemistry. It challenged the organization depth, and the depth is okay but only okay. And I think this team mentally got a bit complacent, and got into a mindset that what really mattered was being ready for the playoffs. And they did that in a conference full of teams hungry for the playoffs, and now — it’s on the outside wondering what happened.
And then there’s the mystical missing Marleau.
And perhaps missing the playoffs will make this team pissed again, and playing with that edge again. Which is something this team needs, and which I think was missing this year. And that will be good for this team — next season. It’s too late this year.
I don’t think this team needs major surgery. I do think changes need to be made, but that’s true every year.
For now, though, I’m just counting down the days to the playoffs, and I’m looking forward to seeing just how far the Blues can go, and how many team they’re going to scare along the wayâ€¦
(hat tip: Kukla)
63.6Â Awarded Goal – In the event that the goal post is displaced, either deliberately or accidentally, by a defending player, prior to the puck crossing the goal line between the normal position of the goalposts, the Referee may award a goal. In order to award a goal in this situation, the goal post must have been displaced by the actions a defending player or goalkeeper, the puck must have been shot (or the player must be in the act of shooting) at the goal prior to the goal post being displaced, and it must be determined that the puck would have entered the net between the normal position of the goal posts. When the goal post has been displaced deliberately by the defending team when their goalkeeper has been removed for an extra attacker thereby preventing an impending goal by the attacking team, the Referee shall award a goal to the attacking team. The goal frame is considered to be displaced if either or both goal pegs are no longer in their respective holes in the ice, or the net has come completely off one or both pegs, prior to or as the puck enters the goal.
So right now, twitter and the sharks broadcast are harping on the official call leading to the third goal. Here’s my take. Okay, two takes.
If you read the rule, the intent of what Boyle did means nothing. He knocked the goal off, whether he intended to is irrelevant. If the referee feels the puck would go in the net, then he was correct to call the awarded goal.
That was the incorrect interpretation, but if it took us three looks in slow-mo on replay, I’m going to cut the refs some slack on the call. It was fast, close, and a lot of moving parts. The puck missed by maybe an inch. Catching that at full speed in real time is tough at best.
There was a somewhat extended discussion with the situation room in Toronto, but the decision that matters (“the goal was going in, so the goal is awarded”) isn’t reviewable. Even if toronto tells the refs what happened, unless the refs on the ice can change that call, it won’t be changed. it looked to me like all four zebras huddled to see if someone had an angle on the call — and ultimately, the original call stood.
And so the goal did, too. That’s how it goes some times. The referees made the appropriate call on the ice. It wasn’t the right call, but it was a situation where the right call was almost impossible to make, and it was a call that Toronto’s situation room couldn’t correct on review. (whether we want even more interminable delays in the game for reviews is another argument. I lean towards coaches having one call a game in some situations, but honestly, I don’t want more time spent standing around wondering what Toronto is going to decide slowing down the game)
And frankly, this all misses the point completely.
it matters not at all whether the Sharks lose this game 2-1 or 3-1.
the Sharks still lost. And now are holding onto the playoffs with two fingernails and a prayer. They didn’t play badly, they didn’t play great. They needed great. And the Ducks are the difference this year between the sharks winning the division and maybe missing the playoffs. A team the sharks simply don’t match up well against, and it showed again tonight. Close, no cigar.
And the OTHER team the Sharks really don’t match up well against is — the Blues. And who are the sharks likely to see in the first round? And if not the first round, sometime in the playoffs? yup.
So to me, this non-controversy is even more non-controversial, because I still don’t see the Sharks going far if they do make the playoffs.
That’s how it goes sometimesâ€¦.
No, things arenâ€™t going well for the Sharks.
But theyâ€™re also on a stretch that has them playing nine games in 15 nights so Todd McLellan decided that his players needed time away from the rink more than they needed another practice.
Yes, I know, some of you would have bag-skated them after going 0-for-California at a time thatâ€™s crucial to their (fading?) playoff hopes.
It almost pains me to say it, but right now, the Sharks look to me to be missing the playoffs.
It’s hard to put a finger on what’s wrong. I don’t think the coaches know. I don’t think the players know. I sure don’t. But from watching them, it’s not that they’ve given up or stopped caring. They haven’t tuned out the coach. I like their work ethic. their conditioning seems fine. They’re trying hard. But at key moments, they don’t seem to try smart, and mistakes bury them.
And Â now they’re second guessing themselves. something goes wrong, and they falter. the textbook definition of “fragile”.
McLellan is right that bag skates is the wrong thing, especialy this time of year. Especially since it’s not lack of effort. That’s not sending a message or fixing the problem, that’s just revenge thinking. wrong idea.
Fact is, this team just isn’t clicking. In the West, there’s no margin of error, and this team is error prone. If I were to point at a single failure point, it’s the number of and timing of injuries — this team simply never got a roster set and in a rhythm. I think. Maybe.
right now, I think it’s too late. I suppose they can wake up and go on a run, but I don’t think they will. I’m not sure they should. Why cost ticket holders one round of playoff tickets? (that sound you just heard was Sharks ownership wincing). But unless this team really changes overnight (and it won’t), even if they squeak in, they aren’t going far.
I’m guessing they have company. Detroit and detroit’s goaltending looks to be joining the “what happened here?” club. I’m not seeing them go far, either.
God help whoever runs into St. Louis in the first round. they’ll need it.
I could, I guess, get up some righteous anger at the Sharks, but you know? Some years, it just never happens to plan. I think we’re seeing a glimpse of what might have happened if Havlat had stayed healthy.
I know there’s been some rumblings about the Minnesota trades during the offseason, but to be honest? I think the Sharks won those trades. Heatley/Setoguchi are at 77 points for the season, but Burns and Havlat are at 56; not that far behind, and Havlat only played 30 games. If he played 70 at close to that rate, this pair well outscored the former sharks. And heatley and seto are a combined -19 vs +14. And look at where the Sharks are in the standings vs. the wild. I’ll take what we have vs. what we gave up.
So for me, it’s about playing out the string and seeing how this team fights through the rest of the season. I don’t think sharks fans need to panic. I do think they need to realize that sometimes, an engine throws a rod, and by the time you fix it, the race is over. That’s the Sharks this year. But I’m unconvinced you need to throw out the engine or the drive for next year’s race. (but replace a few parts? definitely. But that’s for laterâ€¦ there’s still hockey to complain aboutâ€¦)
Each new social media service that crosses the threshold of public awareness sees two things: brands and celebrities rushing in to find out if they can use the service to their advantage and, right before that, squatters and jokers who got to the brand name first. The latest to experience this Wild West phenomenon is the visual bulletin board service, Pinterest, which recently announced aÂ briefÂ policy statement on usernames that hardly clears things up for companies, celebrities, and satirists alike.
We have something like 35 years of history and experience here on the internet now. Along the way, we’ve made pretty much every mistake we can make, usually multiple times.
But I really don’t know why startups ignore this history and keep getting hit from behind by things they should know are coming.
A basic reality: when you’re small and nobody knows about you, “be nice and act like mature adults” works. As soon as you get some visibility and growth, every service should know that there are common problems that are going to show up that need to be dealt with:
- trolls and griefers, abusive jerks in general
- Name grabbers and impersonators
The list goes on. The reality is, every site that succeeds at some level has to deal with them. And most of them, it seems, waits until they actually show up and create problems to sit down and go “we need to do something. What?”
I don’t understand why, either. They’re coming — unless you fail up front. So why not plan for these up front in your policies and your systems and controls? Maybe you won’t get it right the first time, but you’ll have a leg up over “now what?”
Pinterest seems to have missed the implications of copyright issues on their site. They’ve had their first wave of porn and spam, the impersonators are moving in. They seem to be reacting well, but some of these things (like the impersonators) they shouldn’t have to adapt their T&Cs to; it should have been there at launch.
Even worse is google; I swear 40-50% or more of the people circling me these days aren’t really people, they’re empty spam hubs waiting to activate. And a good 20% of the names are clearly failures of the real name policies they claim are so important. Taht’s the problem with making a priority of policies that don’t scale in enforcement, I guess.
To sites looking to launch into these social worlds: study what’s happened to sites that came before, and learn from them. It’s a lot less painful than learning on the fly.
Or ask advice of someone who’s been through the wars; at least they can tell you where the troll lairs are likely to be foundâ€¦
Itâ€™s rather less legitimate to label Mr. Cameron a â€œpestilent toad,â€ because, well. He seems pretty clean. But more to the point, calling him a pestilent toad doesnâ€™t really do much other than call him a name. One may argue that he spreads the pestilence of intolerance and that his antipathy toward gays is positively amphibian, but you have to explain it and it seems the long way around, sort of like suggesting how â€œunnaturalâ€ really refers to philosophical concepts pioneered by Aquinas. It might be better to keep things simple, or if not simple, then immediately relatable to the subject on hand.
Now, ironically, should Mr. Cameron ever attempt to sue me for libel, my defense would be marginally better if I did refer to him as a pestilent toad than an ignorant bigot, because I could claim â€œpestilent toadâ€ as an example of hyperbole, since I donâ€™t really believe heâ€™s an actual pestilent toad, whereas I suspect he may be an actual ignorant bigot. But this goes back to the whole â€œpublic figureâ€ thing.
I’ve written before that I like John Scalzi as an author. Every book of his I’ve read I’ve loved. He’s not just an author, he’s a thinker. And he’s got a rather unique sense of humor.
But it’s stuff like this that makes his blog a gem, too. If you aren’t reading Whatever, you should be.
First of all, readers arenâ€™t going to learn what those symbols mean. The distinction between them is also unnecessary and will lead to more confusion: Iâ€™ve been running a hybrid articles-and-links blog here (â†¬DF) for a while, I wrote the function that added â€œviaâ€ links to billions of reblogged posts on Tumblr, and I didnâ€™t even know the difference between â€œviaâ€ and â€œhat tipâ€ until today.
But the inscrutability of these little symbols is irrelevant, because most writers arenâ€™t going to use them.
The problems with online attribution arenâ€™t due to a lack of syntax: theyâ€™re due to the economics and realities of online publishing.
Marco brings up problems with Curator’s Code, an attempt to define a way to standardize and encourage the “hat tip” attributions that go on from site to site (or should).
Now, I always try to give proper attribution. I’m not perfect, but I think it’s an important aspect of the ecosystem of the web. I thought about the proposal in Curator’s Code, and honestly, I’m not that impressed, for the reasons Marco states. But at least someone is starting this conversation, and it’s a conversation we should encourage (and link to).
I think there are a couple of problems with Marco’s argument, though.
First, while the codes may seem inscrutable, if they are adopted and evangelized, we can get past that inscrutability. This same argument could be waged against Creative Commons, and yet, it seems to have become fairly well understood (but with far from 100% awareness; this is the internet, of course). That’s one reason why I’ve tried with my Creative Commons licensing to not just use it, but to pro-actively explain what it is and what my philosophy for using it is. These codes would need similar treatment over time to become really useful, but I think it can be done.
Another aspect that Marco seems to miss is that even if the reader misses these completely — the search engines won’t (unless a site is doing their via/hat-tip links with “nofollow”, which seems like it’d be a wanker action and seriously disingenuous). So even if the person misses the attribution, the Google wouldn’t, and that in itself helps.
But for a situation like that, tying this into some kind of micro format would seem even more useful; and if we were going to push to adopt something like this, we should do it in a way that works both for the human and the machine ready. That seems to be missing here completely, and that’s a big reason why I’ve decided to not adopt this.
Consider a typical post on The Verge, a widely respected tech blog:
while I like the Verge, Marco is dead right here. Their attribution is a nasty example of design over usability. It’s basically impossible to find, even when looking for it. Which seems to be the point of what they did — it’s hidden in plain sight, which is too bad.
So, let’s take this another step or two. Let’s tie it into a microformat, make sure that it’s done in a way that works for sane web designs for both readers and spiders. This was a nice start to the discussion, but this proposal isn’t going far enough, or what’s really needed.
The NHL GM meetings are going on, and as usual, they’re considering rule changes.
It’s been a slow process, but it looks like hybrid icing is finally winning their approval.
Seven NHL general managers who discussed a change to the icing rule on Monday at their semi-annual meetings came away in unanimous agreement that the league should move to the type of hybrid icing now used in the NCAA and USHL.
The rule will now go to all 30 general managers over the course of the next two days and will need the support of two-thirds of them in order to be sent to the competition committee.
The idea of hybrid icing is to keep the chase to break up the icing call in the game, but in a way that removes some of the risk of the catastrophic injuries that have happened when that chase puts a player into the boards hard and fast. Think Marco Sturm, Kurtis Foster bad.
I’ve been generally supportive of the status quo, but the current proposed change makes sense, and seems to walk that compromise between doing nothing and going to full automatic icing, which bores the crap out of me in college and international hockey. So I support this change; and it’s another instance where I think the league should get some credit for taking the time to get it right when people around them are screaming for a fast “easy” decision that really isn’t.
The Brian Burke “bearhug” rule got shot down hard, again. The idea here is to allow some limited obstruction/holding in some specific situations to give defenseman an alternative to pinning a player to the boards like a bug, in hopes of limiting some of the injuries. I sympathize somewhat with Burke, but nobody seems convinced that’s the right solution — including me.
Darryl Reaugh brings up some of the other issues up before the GMs. I agree with much of what he says. But of course, not all..
RAZOR’S INAUGURAL 16th ANNUAL 10 THINGS THAT NEED TO GO:
1.) Elimination of the Redline Brett Hull was right. The worst, most anti-skill play in hockey, the one where a d-man slap-passes the puck to a forward just over center-ice and he angles his stick to tip the puck deep into the other end of the rink, is about 90% of what the decision to remove the redline has produced â€“ and it suuuuuucccckkkkks.
I like the removal of the red line. there’s been discussion of putting it back to try to reduce some of the injuries we’ve seen with people flying down the ice and the inability to protect a defenseman against a physical forecheck. I don’t think the red line is the solution to that, just as nobody seems to think the bear hug is, either.
But the center-ice tip to clear the puck and avoid icing? Reaugh is right; it sucks, and it’s not helping the game. But don’t put the red line back in. Instead, force the player in center ice to take control of the puck. Use the same standards we use today for whistling down a delayed penalty. If the player doesn’t stop the puck and then shoot it down in a separate motion, then call icing on it. I definitely want to see this tip play pulled back out of the game, but I think the way to do it is to require a higher skill play to replace it, not simply put the red line back in.
2.) Trapezoidal Areas It never worked. Whoever came up with it didnâ€™t understand geometry, or modern goaltenders, or game flow.
The Brodeur rule. And it’s time for it to go. But, we need a couple of other things here as well. One is that goalies outside the crease and behind the goal line aren’t eligible for the kind of “goalie interference” calls they get today. And they can’t be allowed to do the moving wall of goalie trick to wall off an opposing player — that should be called interference, just as it would be if a real skater tried it.
3.) Kicking Motion This needs to be rewritten to say, â€œâ€¦as long as the players skate never leaves the ice, good goalâ€
I have never liked the “distinct kicking motion” rule. it’s just too arbitrary, and it’s one of those things where you HAVE to let the war room in toronto decide. Oh, sorry. “situation room”. These kinds of situational things make it too ambiguous and open to criticism. I say, either you allow pucks going off the skates to count, or you don’t. I vote for “don’t”, but going one way or another is preferable to this “guessing intent” call.
4.) Illegal Hand Pass No one can explain to me why a hand pass should be allowed in the defensive zone only. Unless, the league secretly wants to aid defense and bridle offense, which I know isnâ€™t the case
6.) Overtime Necessary for playoffs, unnecessary for the regular season. For the first 82 lets just play 60 minutes for two points and then, if tied, go straight to a 5-man Shootout. Save some wear and tear, and save our fans from more intermissions and confusing standings.
I’m no great fan of the shoot-out, but yeah. let’s just go straight to it.
8.) Permitted Icing During Penalty Kills A team should be fully penalized for an infraction, not â€˜partiallyâ€™. You canâ€™t ice it during even strength play so why permit it when youâ€™ve done something delinquent?! Duh.
again, yes. after all, this league IS troubled by too much scoring, right? so let’s look for some simple ways to inhibit the defenders that won’t materially impact the game.
In other news, it’s good to see that according to the data, the number of concussions in the league has flattened out. The number of man games lost to concussions has gone up, but as much as anything, this is more about really starting to understand the implications of the concussion and being more strict and careful about letting players come back — more time off and being more paranoid about their health. That also, to me, is a really good thing to see, although for the players suffering (especially Chris Pronger, who may be done), it still sucks. That, however, is what they’re trying to deal with. Â It seems we’re making progress here.