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Apr 2, 2008

Internet Mash-Up Progress - What's Not Working

As a blogger, publisher, enterprise marketeer, developer, or other heavy user of the Internet, we can mash blogs, feeds, social networks, maps, widgets, social media, and other emerging tools. This open society is wonderful - feeding daily innovations and democratization of self expression.

What frustrates is the hundreds of daily bugs. Here is a few:

Microsoft Windows
  • Spyware - can't stop them despite tools from Yahoo, Google, Symantec, McAfee, and Microsoft. Now the viruses invade the safe mode of the operating system and can't be removed using tools or manual deletion. Only a reload of the operating system fixes the problem - which costs more than a day to backup and download all the needed tools. Why are these spyware companies still around? Which companies are supporting them with ads? Why can't Microsoft fix this problem?
  • Reboot - Windows XP continues to have problems. Reboots are needed. Why?
  • Reporting problems - XP has a bug reporting process. It's buggy - leaving a repeating dialog on the screen. Using MSconfig to remove the start up process is a silly solution to the bug.
  • Internet Explorer 6 is no longer supported by many web 2.0 sites. It's time to move on.
  • IE 7 and Firefox are both targeted by ad spys. Safari seems to be more resilient to spys.
  • IE7 fails to block pop-ups and restricted sites.
  • Firefox2 restores the last set of pages. Nice touch. Safari allows you a folder of bookmarks and opening of the entire folder - but most users would not find the feature. How does Alexa, comscore, compete, Neilson, and Quantcast adjust their metrics for power users who open a dozen tabs at a time??
  • Firefox2 does not support pgup, pgdn, and arrow keys for reading a page. Safari and IE7 does.
  • The cursor disappears on Firefox2.
  • Safari Version 3.1 goes into an infinite loop - freezing the machine. Time to reboot Safari.
  • Safari has a client-side spelling checker. Nice. Beats the server-side checkers at Blogger, Typepad, and Wordpress.
  • The Safari scroll bar disappears.
  • Safari's default blocks cookies from ad servers. How does this affect metrics counting? And behavior targeting?
  • Every browser has it's own flavor for handling CSS during copy and paste. What a disaster. Can't we copy the text, anchors, images, and basic formatting only? The style should be controlled by the CSS choice of the author; not the source. Clipmark populates with localized tags and event handlers that don't work.
  • The Myspace blog is a simple HTML editor and widget poor. They should replace with Facebook's import of RSS feeds. Better to do one thing well - rather than be all things to all people.
  • Facebook has a simple HTML editor. Facebook handles copy-paste; and import well.
  • With 5 ad channels/zones, 3 of the 5 often don't work. This applies to AdSense, Feedburner, and Adbrite. 
  • The Slide Show, AddThis, and Feedburner widgets often don't work.
RSS Feeds
  • MyYahoo is my primary reader. It does not allow name change for a panel. It sometimes freezes when you drag and drop panels. The link pop-up can block other text and won't go away. The click pop-up is blocked by the spot ad - which is a higher layer. Most annoyingly, the close box is covered by the ad. The refresh does not work. Feeds from Yahoo Group fails. Feeds from other sites fail randomly. Images in a feed often fail.
  • The Safari and Firefox RSS readers don't have enough options for display and formatting. 
  • When Google or Techmeme sends large feeds, the front window freezes - waiting for the download.
  • When changing feed settings, beware that the blogger and feedburner both control the process. The blog feeds XML to feedburner when requested; and feedburner feeds to subscribers when requested. Synchronize settings to deliver the right result. Feedburner does have a ping to immediately get the latest feed. The RSS reader process is asynchronous with different refresh frequency - especially annoying when the refresh option is not working.
  • Yahoo Mail has RSS feeds. There is a long latency from changing subscriptions at the My Yahoo page to showing results at Mail. 
Social Networks
  • The new privacy controls at Facebook has bugs causing the screen to freeze.
  • The RSS reader panel from a third party fails frequently. Blogfriend never worked and has stopped service. 
  • The Facebook RSS reader imports the latest posts as notes. It does not synchronize for post changes. It has problems with images, sometimes. It does not report imports to the newsfeed.
  • Technorati, Techmeme, Digg, StumbleUpon, and others fail to deliver filtered rivers. My test is that many relevant posts don't show; and garbage feeds overwhelm. Each become just another RSS feed to MyYahoo. Each delivers the same 1 of 10 relevant posts - which is the average across hundreds of received feeds. 
  • Widgets for ads, feeds, services fail occasionally. AS is most annoying.
  • Google Analytics, Feedburner, AdSense, Facebook pages, Alexa, Compete, Addthis, JTfeed, and Mybloglog never agree on the numbers. We are truly "blind men with the elephant."

Feels better to dump this quick list to paper. What daily bugs annoy you?
HOW-TO: Ten Basic New Media Skills Journalists Need to Know

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