Friday, April 20, 2012

Dear Blogger

Your new menus and 'Compose' screen layout look just HORRIBLE.

Why move all the buttons over to the side, when we've been used to them being at the bottom for 6 years?? WHY???

The new homepage screen is IDIOTIC too. How is it better to have to hunt around in a sub-menu under a not-terribly-obvious-what-it-is picture tab, instead of just having all the options you might want to access clearly labelled WITH A WORD each?

Are you trying to create a blogging platform for people who are ILLITERATE??

These changes aren't just unnecessary, pointless, and irritating - they are actually CHANGES FOR THE WORSE. It is BEYOND STUPID.

I think I am going to migrate to Wordpress unless you allow us to revert to the old-style user interface.


John said...

People rarely like change, of anything but the I.T. and design departments have got to make a living somehow. Such is life in such a ridiculous sector of employment. (It's a conspiracy)

JES said...

I use Blogger very little anymore, but still have to for one side project or another. And The Missus uses it most days of the week. Neither of us can understand what was going through Google's head when they remade the interface. (I myself particularly hate the weirdness in the way it interprets carriage returns/line breaks/paragraph breaks.) And because I'm responsible for maintaining numerous templates, I really hate the way they've sort of dumbed-down (or mucked-up) the page-design features.

There seems to be something going on behind the scenes at Google in general, forcing these (and other) kinds of changes. I sort of go along with a lot of their social-networking "enhancements," in which every Google product is tied to every other -- it's the path of least resistance -- but find it all rather disquieting. It's all well and good for a company to (claim to) be noble and, by default, well-intentioned. But at some point the founders leave. The board of directors rotates out. New faces come aboard in the offices and the development teams. How good can it be to have Google (and its offspring) hold the keys to my email, my newsreader, my online mapping and GPS information, my (occasional) blogging platform...? Creepy.

Froog said...

I am less concerned with the functionality issues than the appearance of Blogger pages I have to navigate through. How are UGLY and NON-INTUITIVE virtues in website design now?

This seems to be part of a wider malaise. The latest update of Yahoo Mail (which I've somehow managed to sidestep in my main account, but was forced on me in all my back-ups) is also guilty of using what-the-hell-is-that? icons instead of words on most of the function buttons. IT spods don't like WORDS??

John said...

I never said they were good changes (although we all have our own opinions don't forget) but as for Yahoo! Mail- you can change back to the old design (which I prefer too from a functionality standpoint); let me know if you want to know how.

John said...

Actually, turns out there's an easier way- log-in to the account you want to change and go here:
Read the small print and find the link that says "No thanks...".

Also while I remember, I wanted to discuss further what we were talking about in the other thread. I was thinking about the concept that morality might take a more important role in a person's life in a country where the rule of law is subverted so much. You may have been under the impression that I never pirate anything but you'd be wrong. It dawned on me therefore that even though I believe that piracy is wrong (although probably legally more than morally) I still do it when I choose. It made me realise (pre-emptively) that morality (mine or anyone else's) is irrelevant in a country where the rule of law is more or less sound (UK). It also of course brings up the debate as to the differences in the types of theft but that's a whole new branch of discussion again.
Morality should be a guiding principle in a person's life but that isn't so much the case for me living here; my point was that living in country like China may increase the relevance of morality in deciding a person's actions and life choices. Then again, in both China and the UK it's highly unlikely that anyone is going to get arrested for piracy on such a tiny scale; someone who shares a great deal, a more likely target for the authorities. It was actually you discussing your magazine article that started me thinking about this rather than your DVD collection as theft by a publication is certainly something that wouldn't stand here.
Anyway, I'm still undecided on the whole thing so I won't go into too much depth here, it's the wrong thread anyway!

Froog said...

Morality is never irrelevant, because it necessarily informs a country's legal institutions and helps them to operate. It also supplements them, because the strongest legal system in the world is going to have its shortcomings - whether oversights in provision or practical limitations on supervision and enforcement. We all get tempted to do something naughty if we're confident we couldn't possibly be found out. Moral systems evolved to restrict the pursuit of narrowly (and perhaps mistakenly) conceived self-interest in favour of wider social good.

Personal morality becomes more important where the legal and social institutions upholding ethical behaviour are weak, but it also becomes less likely to be able to meet the challenge: again, if we know we can get away with something, it can be hard to resist the temptation. There's an element of cultural conformity as well: if everybody else is doing it, I might as well too. I've encountered places where everybody fare-dodges on public transport, or everybody disables their electricity meter.

These examples are somewhat akin to the DVD issue. It's a fairly trivial 'offence', it is economically driven (such practices only tend to become widespread when a basic commodity is unaffordably priced for a low-income community), and there's a failure on the part of the 'authority' concerned which seems to invite or deserve the abuse. Film studios ought to be able to produce DVDs much more cheaply than black marketeers (all kinds of economies of scale, particularly in the distribution chain). And people would probably be willing to pay slightly more for a 'legitimate' and superior quality product. But in markets like China, 'official' DVDs are priced completely unrealistically - creating the black market opportunity.

The film industry had to accept that there was nothing it could do to control home recording on VHS (and more recently on systems like Tivo), and that this would undermine its secondary revenues from videotape/DVD (although perhaps with some compensatory increase in the value of TV rights). I think these guys will now have to grow up and accept that digital reproduction and distribution of their product online is outside of their effective control too. Instead of whining and whingeing about it, they need to focus on salvaging what they can from this secondary market (making DVDs as cheap as possible to stay competitive with free or nearly-free online streaming; providing their own cheap-or-free online streaming [can still make money from ad placements on a high-traffic site like YouTube], with added value - faster speeds, better UI, superior sound and picture quality, extra features) while maximising profits from their primary market (cinema screenings).

The digital media age is much more of a problem for the music industry, where the primary market (live shows) is usually probably of much less value than the secondary market (recordings).

Froog said...

The overlap with the sphere of writing is a problem for me. I suppose I feel that authors need more protection, because I value books and writing so highly, and because writers are particularly vulnerable in that their only revenue resides in a medium that is very easily copyable (large-screen cinemas and concert performances might in theory be 'copyable' to some extent too; but in practice, with such prominent public events, supervision and enforcement is fairly easy).

For something relatively unsubstantial - a short piece of journalism like this, rather than a book - I can't reasonably expect to maintain any control over it, once it's been published. In fact, my reason for publishing this piece here was to undermine any potential value it might have to the untrustworthy magazine. I'd have no objection to anyone reprinting my work, certainly not online, nor even, I think, in hard copy media - so long as they give me an attribution. I feel, though, that as a matter of honour and decency, if they are a significant commercial concern, they ought to pay me something for reusing my work.

And yes, I feel that too about the DVD pirates. Of course they ought to pay the movie studios something for reusing their products as they do. But it would only be a very small amount of money. And no mechanism exists for collecting it. The studios would probably refuse to accept it anyway, intent as they are on demonizing the pirates as criminals, and trying to drive them out of business.

With my magazine, the situation is rather different because we have had a direct relationship. I only sent them the article because we had agreed to enter into a contractual relationship to establish me as one of their regular contributors; they had agreed to pay me for anything of mine they published ('oral contracts' do sometimes count for something!). It would therefore be a breach of trust or perhaps a breach of implied contract for them to publish it without my permission. And under any reasonable system of morality, it would obviously be naughty. But if they can do it without getting called to account for it...

John said...

Thanks for your input Froog, always good to read. I'm still on the fence about the whole matter myself however; I mean there are people out there who aren't sheep and whose morals prevent them from even petty crime but then on the other hand we have Anders Behring Breivik.