Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Fixing what isn't really broken.

Blah, so Google have decided they're going to mess up another of their products for me.

I've already stopped using the web interface to gmail - I just use pop and thunderbird - and now they're playing with blogger.

Blogger's existing interface is pretty crap - but it's simple and it's fast and easy to use. But the 'improvements' hardly seem improvements to me.


First, the composer. About the only 'good' thing is that the editing area is bigger - not much difference to me - and that it is a fixed size - that's the nicest bit.

But it's now more difficult to attach labels to posts as you need to click on the labels tab first - it seems like a simple thing, but the old interface is very simple if you use a few common labels most of the time. The post options 'pane' in general is pretty pants, it somehow manages to take up about 4x as much space as the previous one while only showing 1/4 as much information at a time.

They've broken the 'preview' feature - ok, it was always fairly broken - but now it's a full stylised preview which takes quite a while to load on a separate page/tab. The old in-line quick preview was much more useful to me than the full preview just to review the content of the text when proof-reading and editing and trying to get the paragraph white-space right. What used to take no time now takes a second and a tab switch.


The stats pages now no longer fit in my browser, and they seem to take longer to load. Too many annoying tooltips and popups as well.

The settings/dashboard is weird in general - everything is double-spaced, and a huge chunk of the top of the window is dedicated to a fixed area that doesn't really add anything useful by being fixed. For some reason people seem to love this kind of crap but it just gives me the shits.

For me blogger is just another tab of dozens - not a stand-alone full-screen application. Everyone seems to want to move away from being able to put stuff in a window which doesn't take up the whole screen - you know, to multi-task?

Apple had a reason to force full-screen applications - first in macos which had a shit multi-tasking system, and then on iphone/itab since the machines aren't that powerful. Microsoft did the same with windows - the OS was really just a glorified application switcher. But I thought those days were long gone ...

Slower & Hotter

One reason I dropped gmail is that it was starting to make my laptop hot - firefox was busy all the time doing pointless shit you couldn't see or would rather not. It will be interesting to see if this new interface on blogger is also heavier than the old one. Whilst typing this post i've already noticed a bunch of pauses and freezes which I can't recall having occured in the previous incarnation.

This could be a real deal-breaker for me, although the stats are fun to watch, by far the most time I ever use in blogger is simply writing blog posts. If that becomes too painful (and I have to say, 1/2 a second cursor pause every 20 seconds gets tiring VERY VERY fast) then I wont be too pleased. The pause seems to get longer the more you write too ...

For now i'll go back to the old blogger, and I provided some feedback, for what little that will be worth. But I know eventually i'll be forced onto something I don't really want.

(this sort of forced-upgrade stuff is the sort of thing that scares me about firefox's 'no version' plans. I'm still using an 'old' firefox because the new ones are not to my liking, and in any event aren't packaged for my distro - but at least I can use an old version if I so want).

Update And in a further twist, the 'no i'd rather go back to the old interface' feedback form failed to work.


Sankar said...

Oh, No, The father of Camel is using Thunderbird !? :-) (and that too via POP and not IMAP) *surprise* :)

I too feel that blogger has screwed up their interface with the recent UI changes.

There is a nice tool which works offline and lets you to publish blogs, by a much simpler interface and without burning CPU much. You can give it a try. If you have a winblows machine, you can try MSFT's offline blogging editor which I have heard is much powerful and can publish to blogger also.

NotZed said...

Yeah - Thunderbird pretty much sucks too. It just feels so 90's. But I don't really want to use Evolution for various reasons. I'd rather use POP so I have the mail locally.

I'll stick to blogger until i'm forced to `upgrade' and then consider my options.

A suggestion to use a microsoft tool on windows - are you serious?

Sankar said...

The blogtk one is python and gtk. so it should work fine on linux also. Yes, I shouldn't have suggested the winblows one :)

mbien said...

i am running my blog on a ~15 years old 512mb workstation using apache roller, glassfish etc. lots of fun.

NotZed said...

With the tiny amount of traffic I have here I could run it off one of my beagleboards no sweat (probably beefier than a 15yo workstation for that matter :).

But apart from a bit of maintenance work, the hassles are the networking costs to do that properly here in australia.

Every now and then I look at various 'hosting' options, but everything here is aimed at businesses who have money to waste in tax avoidance, so nothing is cheap. It's not like I couldn't afford it, I just dont like getting ripped off!

Still, it's another idea to consider that I hadn't.