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#121
Tim Baigent

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It's difficult to know whether or how to respond to the latter parts of this thread, which are uninformed and misleading.

I'd urge anyone who has a serious enquiry about the future of Manifold to get in touch with the company and ask directly.

Development information at Manifold is readily available to people prepared to attend a briefing on a confidential basis, but not otherwise. (And it shows.)

Not everyone likes that way of doing business, but those inside the tent do tend to see the point.

It's also possible to breach the business relationship seriously enough to find oneself standing on the outside and feeling bitter, as one contributor to this thread knows, and demonstrates here.

The first point of contact for anyone wanting to enquire about technology briefings is sales@manifold.net.

#122
tonyw

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Development information at Manifold is readily available to people prepared to attend a briefing on a confidential basis, but not otherwise. (And it shows.)


Thanks Tim,
For me to travel internationally (not to mention even out of city) to attend a user meeting is not feasible in time or money. However if you've attended a user meeting (understood it's under a NDA) and you are optimistic about Manifold's future, then that gives me hope.

The fact that I check the Manifold user forum almost daily shows I'm still interested in the software and do hope Manifold GIS survives.

Cheers.

#123
NicKV

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It's difficult to know whether or how to respond to the latter parts of this thread, which are uninformed and misleading.

I'd urge anyone who has a serious enquiry about the future of Manifold to get in touch with the company and ask directly.

Development information at Manifold is readily available to people prepared to attend a briefing on a confidential basis, but not otherwise. (And it shows.)

Not everyone likes that way of doing business, but those inside the tent do tend to see the point.

It's also possible to breach the business relationship seriously enough to find oneself standing on the outside and feeling bitter, as one contributor to this thread knows, and demonstrates here.

The first point of contact for anyone wanting to enquire about technology briefings is sales@manifold.net.


I have been to several Manifold user meetings in the UK and have received briefings on development plans under NDA. which i have always fully respected. Those meeting used to be openly advertised and were usually very productive for all. They suddenly stopped in 2009. It is an enduring mystery why they no longer happen, although I have a few ideas.

If Manifold Software does not not now have the courtesy to inform its users and potential customers of it plans, then it is not one any serious business that performs due diligence would consider doing business with. The usage of Manifold by major businesses is minimal despite what you hear. Most who use GISs have never heard of it. This should tell you something.
It is like no other software business, I know of. It is secretive to the point of being paranoid. It thinks it is being very clever. Instead it looks suspicious and suggests it has something to hide. Everything that has come to light affirms this conclusion.

As to your point about about breaching a business relationship. There never was a business relationship between me and Manifold Software, beyond that of a customer purchasing a software license. However, there was a complete breakdown of trust and respect. This is why:

A few years ago, Manifold software's user forum was being used as a vehicle for Dimitri Rotow to trumpet his moronic and extreme rightwing views on one of the most appalling and illegal breaches of data privacy in UK history and to smear the reputations of the scientists whose emails had been stolen. In a thread, you naively started, I might add. He was told by me in no uncertain terms that his views were wrong, baseless and hypocritical. Because at the time I was researching and composing suggestions for Manifold, this was one reason why I took the decision I was no longer going to do any more for a company that publicly expounded such irrational and unscientific, indeed anti-science, views on the most important issue of our time and denigrated the those researching it.

I also took the decision because of the complete lack of any gratitude or feedback from the company, together with the obstructive, negative, indeed destructive, input of some users with respect to what I had proposed to that point. I am afraid to say that you were one of the main culprits in the latter. By your comments you showed you evidently did not understand what was being proposed by me and why, that you do not understand arrayed scientific information, how it is generated, analysed, visualised and the constraints this must impose on how it has to be handled by software, to correctly process, analyse, visualise and interpret it. You certainly do not understand the very complex processes of the collection of remote sensing data, correctly processing it to a useful product, then the procedures employed for visualising analysing and interpreting it. Nor did you understand the amount of effort I had put into preparing the proposals I submitted and you certainly did not try and comprehend the bigger picture I was working towards.

The final straw, was to be so rudely treated on the forum by Mike Fisher, who I suspect is an alias of Rotow. I was told by Fisher to RTFM (which is generally understood when used in the context it was used, to mean Read The F***ing Manual) after I had pointed out to a new user that Manifold's arrayed data model was fundamentally flawed and could lead to systematic errors if such data was imported and worked with. This is because Manifold considers the field values of arrayed information imported into it, to always be those of cells, even if they are point values valid at their respective points only. This was not he first time I had pointed out this issue to them. More specifically, one out of many problems this conflation causes, is that it prevents accurate volumetric calculations using established double integral methods to be performed (volumetrics was the subject of the thread and question). Fisher had the gall to suggest that I submit a new feature suggestion for this major shortcoming, not knowing how much effort that would involve and after I had already done so much for them for no result, even now (It is not an exaggeration to say, I could literally spend all my waking time researching and writing new feature suggestions for that company to fix and improve its product, fundamental work they should be doing). I was profane in my reply to Fisher, but he made my blood boil. He was told to go RTFL - Read The F***ing Literature. I should point out I am not referring to some obscure arcane method here. Double integral methods for determining the volume of irregular volumes were known to the ancient Greeks, probably the ancient Egyptians too and are taught in secondary schools, even in Russia. Developing the next generation of your product so that it can make use of GPUs is rather pointless, if its information model is so naive it cannot perform operations using the most accurate method as a result or get inaccurate results if it does.

I expect your obsequious cheerleading has been noted. Creating an unquestioning, uncritical cult following is what this company relies on. But this is not a cult over the latest mobile phone, this is one about software that may be used to solve problems and make critical decisions that may have potentially major financial, human and environmental consequences if the software produces the wrong answer. There is no place for such a cult culture in such circumstances.

Edited by NicKV, 05 July 2012 - 04:56 PM.


#124
rudy

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Well, I can see that we have entered some rough waters here.

Not being a party to all that has gone on and not wanting to choose sides with anyone or declare that someone is right or someone is wrong, this is what I can say. I believe that most users or potential users of Manifold are in the same situation as me: we know of the product, we have used the product, most of what we've experienced with the product has been good, we like the price BUT we are getting increasingly frustrated by delays in the next release of the software. Tim - you've encouraged us to contact the company to find out what is going on but in reality it is the company's responsibility to share with its community what is happening with its software. All we have heard is that the next version is coming . . . but that's been said repeatedly for the past 4 years. Even now, there is little/no news from the company as to why the delays, how the next version will be improved, etc.

I think Manifold 8 is still a great piece of software but I wouldn't recommend it to any serious organization that has to look to the future and rely on a secretive and sometimes hostile company for the future of its GIS. For such organizations, that is just too much to ask. As in any business, it is important to keep your customers happy. Manifold currently does not seem to put too much effort in doing that.

This is not to say that things might change. A fantastic new version might soon be available. But right now, none of us really know, do we, if or when that is coming out.

#125
Dale A

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Well, I can see that we have entered some rough waters here.

Not being a party to all that has gone on and not wanting to choose sides with anyone or declare that someone is right or someone is wrong, this is what I can say. I believe that most users or potential users of Manifold are in the same situation as me: we know of the product, we have used the product, most of what we've experienced with the product has been good, we like the price BUT we are getting increasingly frustrated by delays in the next release of the software. Tim - you've encouraged us to contact the company to find out what is going on but in reality it is the company's responsibility to share with its community what is happening with its software. All we have heard is that the next version is coming . . . but that's been said repeatedly for the past 4 years. Even now, there is little/no news from the company as to why the delays, how the next version will be improved, etc.

I think Manifold 8 is still a great piece of software but I wouldn't recommend it to any serious organization that has to look to the future and rely on a secretive and sometimes hostile company for the future of its GIS. For such organizations, that is just too much to ask. As in any business, it is important to keep your customers happy. Manifold currently does not seem to put too much effort in doing that.

This is not to say that things might change. A fantastic new version might soon be available. But right now, none of us really know, do we, if or when that is coming out.


As a matter of interest what sort of response did you get from sales asking about future plans or potential to be involved in briefings under NDA?

Quirky Manifold may be, but there is a clear avenue as Tim has stated to gain an understanding. There are no swarms of company reps pushing branded drink bottles, bags and conferences. The company expects you to make an effort, hence the price.

The more polite and considered posters on this thread have hinted at reasons for the delay.

As you have stated, Manifold 8 is indeed a great piece of software at a price that makes it a no brainer. In my area of work, it remains the heavy hauler. The lack of the next version is not causing any critical failures or loss of functionality. I've seen enough not under NDA to know that when and if a new version is released it will have enormous performance gains. That would suit me just fine!

#126
rudy

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As a matter of interest what sort of response did you get from sales asking about future plans or potential to be involved in briefings under NDA?


I am still awaiting a response.

I've seen enough not under NDA to know that when and if a new version is released it will have enormous performance gains.


. . . "when and if" . . . . That is the critical question we would all like to know the answer to.

#127
rudy

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Here is the response I got from Manifold

Hello,

Thanks for writing.

It is always flattering to get questions on new products that may be in the
pipeline. We appreciate your inquiry.

Manifold provides public comments on new features or new products only after
they have shipped in a production release to customers. Private, advance
business and technical information is available to qualified partners and
users under non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in settings which assure
confidentiality and quality information exchange. All disclosures of
advance business and technical information are intense working sessions for
highly qualified attendees who have a legitimate need to know.

The best way to qualify for access to confidential information depends upon
your relationship with Manifold.

Technology Partners or Large Volume Customers

Manifold provides advance information to technology partners and large
volume customers through designated contacts. If you work for a Manifold
technology partner or for a large volume Manifold customer, please arrange
for technology information through the person your organization has assigned
as a liaison to Manifold. This will assure that any such disclosure follows
the confidentiality policies and procedures your organization has
established together with Manifold.

Manifold Users

If you are a Manifold user other than a technology partner or large volume
customer there are four possibilities to get confidential information on new
features or new products:

1. Attend a meeting at which Manifold personnel give "roadmap" presentations
under NDA. NDA presentations are very detailed, typically lasting for hours
and including hundreds of slides presented by Manifold technical and
marketing personnel with extensive question and answer sessions. NDA
presentations for travel convenience may be scheduled at industry
conferences of interest to Manifold customers. In such cases the event
organizers will provide the first level of screening to qualify possible
attendees, usually by sending emails to event registrants who they believe
may qualify. Manifold will then pre-screen respondents for attendance and
issue invitations accompanied by an NDA that must be completed and returned
in advance of the meeting. If your organization plans to host a conference
or meeting at which an NDA presentation may be appropriate, please notify
Manifold four months in advance of your scheduled event for possible
consideration.

2. In addition to NDA meetings that may coincide with other events, Manifold
also hosts confidential meetings and workshops to provide detailed
technology information for selected attendees. Such meetings provide
maximum disclosure for technical experts and are intensive sessions held in
locations convenient to attendees. Although such meetings are normally
aimed at technology partners and large volume customers and are subject to
their requirements, invitations are often sent out to users in the immediate
area who have established a close relationship with the Manifold team by
sending in expert suggestions. Please note that such invitations may be
subject to the approval of other attendees who may have confidentiality or
security requirements requiring pre-clearance of ad hoc invitees. If you
have received an invitation, please make sure to RSVP promptly to reserve
your place at the meeting and to begin the approval process if such is
required by other attendees.

NDA meetings, either at public conferences or by invitation, are the best
way to get advance information. In recent months NDA meetings have been
held in London, Frankfurt, Moscow, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou,
Novosibirsk, Beijing and Shanghai. Attendees are welcome to attend more
than one meeting to keep up with the latest developments.

3. Apply to be a beta tester if a public call goes out for beta testers for
a new release. Although beta testers are usually recruited via private
invitations, sometimes a call will go out for new beta testers. Not all
applicants will be selected, but those who are will get a preview of where
the company is going and will also have exceptional influence on the
process. New beta testers are drawn from the ranks of highly experienced
Manifold users who have shown exceptional technical skill, often displayed
by sending in expert suggestions or by assisting other users in public
settings.

4. Study the Suggestions page and submit carefully-honed, razor-sharp
suggestions to influence the evolution of the product. Although responses
to a suggestion should not be expected, it does happen that Manifold
technical personnel may follow up on a suggestion and may provide
information from the roadmap. Good suggestions also lead to a close
relationship with manifold.net and may lead to invitations to confidential
meetings or for participation in beta test programs. See
http://www.manifold....ggestions.shtml for tips on the suggestions
process.

We understand that attending NDA meetings in person is not possible for all
users. However, the density and sophistication of the material presented
requires significant commitment by the user to match that of the company. In
addition, the material disclosed is extremely valuable confidential
information that we do not wish to provide to competitors. If someone
cannot attend a detailed briefing to receive highly confidential and
important information, we do not have other methods for disclosure which
also protect the confidentiality of such extremely valuable information.

All transmission of confidential information is highly selective and is made
at Manifold's sole discretion based upon whatever confidential factors in
its sole and exclusive judgment Manifold deems relevant. Manifold
respectfully declines to explain to any applicant why access to confidential
information is not granted, however, as general guidelines applicants for
disclosure are normally evaluated based upon technical and business criteria
relevant to confidential new product development, but other factors such as
limited space in sessions, a desire for a compatible mix of attendees, or
limited availability of sponsoring personnel may also apply.

In closing, it is important to emphasize that Manifold authorizes no third
party to disclose confidential information. The above NDA information
channels are the only way to obtain accurate confidential information
regarding new Manifold products or plans. In general attendees do not
disclose what they have learned in public; therefore, a rule of thumb is
that anyone other than a Manifold employee providing "information" about
futures in public is almost certainly not an insider. The path to accurate
inside information is to take advantage of the above information channels.

We very much appreciate your interest in Manifold and hope the above guide
to obtaining confidential information is useful to you.


In others words, no details on anything in the new software with signing an NDA (understandable) and no word on when the next release is coming out (which I think they should at least provide).

#128
rudy

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In response ot my follow-up query as to when we can expect the new version of the software to come out, this is what the Manifold folks had to say:

Hello,

Thank you for following up.

We regret to inform you that we must respectfully decline to provide to you
any confidential information.

Should your interest in obtaining confidential information continue in the
future we encourage you to read carefully the prior reply sent to you and to
apply the guidance it provides. To assure a level playing field for all
Manifold licensees that same guidance is provided to all and is the only
advice offered.

We wish you the best in your GIS activities.

Sincerely,

Manifold Online Sales Team


In other words, they got nothing.

#129
geozap

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I tried yesterday and today a few times and manifold site doesn't respond. Are they up to something, or manifold.net got out of bussines? :unsure:
Does anyone know something?

#130
mika

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it happens from time to time ;-) They're back
maps made easy - www.cartomatic.pl

#131
GISRox

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Does anyone know something?


Looks like they are putting a full team together to try and figure out the website problem. Perhaps the same team can find version 9? B)



#132
Dale A

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Manifold are seeking applications for participation in their Radian test platform. You need to be a long standing Manifold user and licensee, amongst other things.  

 

All the details over on the georeference forum

 

"The Radian test platform is a technology platform designed to test retail GIS applications of Manifold's parallelized data access OEM engines and associated technologies, collectively known as the Radian engine."






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