9cays: A small review

For the last month some collegues and I were using Pete Yandell’s great 9cays service. It allows everyone to create a small and more or less private mailing list. The new thing about that is, that at its heart there is an HTML page where everyone who knows the URL can see the whole conversation and also download all the attachments posted to this “list”. Done run away screaming “privacy” though: The URL is randomized, so it’s probably as enjoyable as password cracking to get the URL of a specific list.

First of all: Why 9cays? Well, we needed a small (and I mean really small) and simple communication platform. Forums normally don’t really make that much sense for groups of just 5 people, the communication should be handled via e-mail. Settings up a full fetched mailinglist also was too much hassle and 9cays was just lunched 2 months or so before that so I wanted to give it a try under normal work-conditions and no one had anything against that ;) Another advantage of 9cays is, that it stores the attachments centrally so that you can also access the whole list archive and all the files using a webbrowser. If you have an account on 9cays (which isn’t required for participating on a conversation) you can also post at least text to the list.

I also want to take this opportunity and thank Pete Yandell very much first for 9cays and second for helping us so fast when we had some problems. Yes, we had some problems which were esp. related to ISO8859-15 vs. UTF-8. During the weekend Pete and I tried to nail down this problem with having a workaround after IIRC 2 mails and the problem completely resolved by the next Monday.

Another problem was probably caused by a too large attachment but I’ve heard from one of my collegues, that this seems to be solved now :)

We also have some suggestions that might be able to improve 9cays even more :)

  1. It should be possible to reverse the order of mails displayed on the conversation page, so that the latest mail is on top
  2. A separated page for all the attachments would be nice
  3. Inlining images is IMO not such a good idea (but since they are scaled down it at least doesn’t hurt ;))
  4. It would be nice if one could also post attachment via the conversation page.
  5. … gravatars :D