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The DiaryMaster

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OD 4.0 and Some Questions Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Hello everybody,

As many of you know, I had intended to release OD 4.0 this week - however, after talking with the people doing the testing I am going to give it a few more days of shakedown cruise before I let it out (insert comments about vaporware and bugware and swisscheeseware here).

One of our testers found an extremely convoluted way to bypass part of the system security - it is something that has never been done, and something I had never (and would never have) thought of. However, I do want to spend some time rewriting that part of the security code to eliminate any potential problem. I honestly don't believe anybody else would have ever found this problem (that's why I like my testers), but better safe than sorry, I think.

I'll keep you up to date, but I would think the new coding is going to take me a couple days, and then there will be a few days of retesting. In the meantime, I've had a lot of questions about what this release will include. So here's a short list of some of the enhancements (there are more that I'm going to save as surprises):

1) Cross-Browser Compatible - our new navigation system has been tested with all major browsers, and delivers full functionality with IE, Navigator, Opera, Safari, Mozilla, and almost every other browser (something this version does not).

2) Entry Manager - we have a new utility that allows block manipulation of many entries at a time, including deleting and setting privacy options.

3) Entry Templates - allow you to save a template of HTML tags or other text that will automatically be loaded into each of your entries as you create them.

4) Private Notes - you can set your diary to accept private notes, meaning that only you and the person who left the note will be able to see them. You can choose to accept private and public notes, or private notes only. (I admit, I made this one mostly for me - I want to be able to open my diary to notes again, and having them private eliminates the problems that made me turn my notes off.)

5) Diarist Interests - this new feature allows you to list interests of yours (like "nature photography", or "alpenhorn music") in your diarist profile (another new feature) that can be searched and browsed by other people. You can create your own interests, and share interests with others.

6) Custom Images and Colors - you will be able to set your own images for your diary background, in addition to the images we already offer. Also, you can create custom colors through use of hexadecimal color codes, in addition to the standard OD palette.

7) WYSIWYG Editor - OD 4.0 includes an optional WYSIWYG entry editor, which lets you use a Microsoft Word-like toolbar to format your text (fonts, sizes, bold, color, italics, tables, etc.), and displays the formatted entry as you type it. Sorry, but at the moment this one will only be available to IE users.

8) Problem Reporting - there is an entirely new system for reporting technical problems and Rules violations. This system feeds directly into our database, making it easier and quicker for us to respond and fix any problems that might arise.

9) Enhanced Favorites - there are several improvements to how favorites are handled, including better notification of updates, and allowing you to set your diary to only be readable by people on your Favorites list.

10) Diary Search - you will be able to search diary entries and titles in a diary.

There are many more changes and enhancements, some big and some small - but I think you can appreciate the scope of this upgrade. Which is why I want to make sure everything is well-tested before we release it.

You will still find the new OD familiar and comfortable, I think, since I'm not making any sweeping changes to the actual look and feel of the site.

If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me.

The DiaryMaster

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