Friday, March 15, 2013

Microsoft. Still sucky after all these years.

I've got a few minutes on my hand because I'm waiting for Office 2013 to finish installing. My wife got a deal from work for it for $10 and that seemed like a fair deal. Of course, it's been installing for about 30 minutes now, so maybe I paid a bit too much. In any case, that's only the most recent of my issues this evening, as I've spent the better part of the last 3 hours setting up a new Asus VivoBook x202e for my wife's new business venture. It's been a while since I got a new computer and had to install updates (4 of them from Asus tonight, each one critical, each one requiring a restart), uninstall unwanted apps (innumerable Asus apps I'm afraid to remove and McAfee which is utterly unnecessary with Windows 8 I understand), install apps (30 mins and counting for Office), and install updates again (Windows itself has upwards of 80 waiting for me after Office wraps up). Ugh. Will Microsoft ever figure this out, or is it utterly unsolvable at this point? I'm honestly not sure, but what I am sure about, and what nearly every other American is sure about at this point, is that this process is unnecessary (or at least much faster) on iPads and Android tablets, and Chromebooks for sure. It's probably even unnecessary on Windows 8 phones, although I've no experience with them. No wonder PCs are dying and Windows 8 sales are in the dumps. This is a terrible way to greet a new customer, and tarnishes the feeling of excitement at getting a new device at a cost of several hundred dollars. Until this issue is resolved, I can't see how Microsoft gains back any lost ground. We'll see how the wife feels after a few days with the thing I guess.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Official Google Reader Blog: Powering Down Google Reader

Well, it's been a good run. According to my Reader account, "Since March 20, 2007 you have read a total of 151,876 items". I don't know what I'm going to do without it. When I first heard about RSS and feed readers I couldn't really understand the value. Of course, once I jumped in and found a few popular feeds, it was game over. One of my first feeds was, back when Digg junkies laughed at all the lame Reddit losers. With a few other favorites like the Sports Guy., Ars Technica, and Thomas Friedman, I was easily over 100 articles a day.

When I was dating my wife, Reader nearly caused us to break up. I was spending too much time reading articles and too little time with her she claimed. I had to cut Digg and a few others from the feed list and, upon noticing this action didn't have the traumatizing effect I thought it would, I made pruning my feeds a bi-annual event.

Recently I found an article on Ars Technica that reviewed a few Internet comics. As good as that site is, and it is my favorite blog of all, the community is probably even better. As such I read through all the comments and found half a dozen new comics to follow, including my new favorite, The Perry Bible Fellowship. If it weren't for Reader I'd probably forget to check that site every so often to see if a new comic had been posted, but with Reader I'm immediately notified when some new hilarity is available to enjoy.

I've just now read an article highlighting the best replacement readers. What a sad, sad picture is painted. These impostors all try to capitalize on fancy visuals and layouts, minimizing the content I'm there to consume in the hopes of suckering me into following the latest food porn site. Fine fodder for some I suppose, but I'll take the thousand words over the picture any day.

All in all, I suppose I can't be too angry. Over the past six years I've gained immeasurably from something I've never even paid for. Actually, that gives me an idea. I would happily, HAPPILY! pay $20 annually to keep my Reader account. Perhaps some enterprising chap will reverse engineer the site, make it available for a subscription, and part me from my hard earned wages. One can always hope. Until then, RIP Reader. You will be missed.

Official Google Reader Blog: Powering Down Google Reader: Posted by Alan Green, Software Engineer We have just announced on the Official Google Blog that we will soon retire Google Reader (the...