Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Apple details all 300+ Leopard features

300+ new features in Apple's new operating system? Unconvinced? Apple has set up a web page that details each feature. While most of the features have already been discovered and previewed on other websites, this is a good way for those of us who haven't been paying a lot of attention to catch up. I found out quite a few useful features that I hadn't heard about before like Automator's UI recording and playback and Spotlight's web history search.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Blogger, why the popups?

I have used Blogger to manage most of my blogs over the years and have been mostly satisfied with the site. For the most part, the site is very easy to use.

Blogger likes to use pop up windows. For example, when you click the image icon (to upload an image) a pop up window guides you through the process. I generally dislike pop up windows but tolerate them. That all changed today... I decided to put a list of links up on this blog. It was easy enough to figure out–I just go to the template tab and add a new "links" element... Arggh, a pop up window...thats okay, I'll just fill this form out and add the links. 5 minutes later–I'm done! Okay, press "save changes".

Your request could not be processed. Please try again.

No! Seven valuable minutes wasted. [closes window]...Try again, with fewer links. Same error. Try again. And again. Boom! Works. Finally, the popup window says it works. [go back to template section]...


There are three link elements. The first list was gone but the second, third, and fourth lists all went through (even though the pop up window said "try again"). Why all the confusion? Because of the pop up window. Popups provide desynchronization, interface disconnect (what if I close the "templates" window?), and usually a slower interface. Blogger, could you quit using them so extensively?

Apologies for the rant.

UPDATE: Solution

Since Blogger has already committed to javascript, why not go all the way and let me edit my link list inline in the template window? Why not let me add elements right there on the page instead of opening up an unreliable popup window? Blogger devs, if you want a mock up of what I'm talking about, I'd be obliged. There may be something I am overlooking here but it just doesn't make sense to use popups in the way Blogger is using them and it seems old fashioned and sluggish in this ajaxy age that we live in.

I'm going to contact Blogger and let them know about my problems with popups (I know they care what their users think). If enough people contact them, maybe they'll do something about it.

Starting up a start up

My family has been working on a Homeschooling related startup for a few months now. We are getting semi-close to launch time so we are about to begin telling people about the website publicly. I've been working on the blog and teaser page for the last two days (I'll post the links here very soon).

I recently re-read 37 Signal's Getting Real book (a great read) which inspired me to do a "hollywood" launch (with a teaser site, then a preview site before launch so that when launch comes, you have a database of email addresses to which you can announce the site's launch). So I've been scouring the web for experiences and techniques from people who have actually used this tactic (most "web 2.0" websites). I could barely find anything. Maybe I just need to learn what key words to use, but any how, I'll do my best to blog the my experiences (from developing the pre-launch site to what the reaction is like).