Oddpost makes me sad

2004-06-24

Just as I go post about how I use Oddpost everyday they go and fudge it up 😞

Oddpost used to treat RSS feeds just like an e−mail folder. The folder appear as a normal folder just like Inbox, Sent Items, etc. It showed the number of unread entries just like an email folder. Selecting the folder showed the list of entries on the top right pane (just like an e−mail folder). If you selected an entry its excerpt would appear in the preview pane (just like an e−mail). The title back in the list would be bold if you had not read that item yet (just like e−mail). You could select titles and mark them as read/unread or delete them (just like e−mail). All that as changed yesterday.

I'm sure they thought they were doing a good thing but they changed how it works. Now, each feed only has a dot solid or not solid. Solid means there are unread headlines. There is no count of unread messages anymore. If this was such a good idea why didn't they do the same for e−mail folders? Maybe because it's NOT a good idea. 😞

Even worse, they assume if I've opened the folder I've read everything in it. Before if I had only read 2 or 3 items out of 5 the remaining items would still be bold (unread) and the folder would still show a count of unread messages so I would know where to pick up when I came back to the folder. With the new interface, as soon as I switch to any other folder they assume I've read everything in it. Gee, maybe they should do this for e−mail too. Just opening your Inbox marks everything as read. Clearly that's a bad idea and so it is for the RSS folders as well 😞

Then, instead of having the upper right pane be a list of titles (just like e−mail) they changed it to a generated webpage showing each title and its excerpt. So, where as I used to be able to see 40−50 titles and just click on the 2 or 3 that sounded interesting, now I can only see about 3 titles since the excerts take up 5 − 6 lines each. I can no longer at a glance see the 2 or 3 items I might be interested in. I have to scroll down the page 😞

As they are also no longer presented as a list I can no longer delete them. I liked deleting them. It made me feel like I had cleaned up and finished looking at them, etc. It also meant I could leave some items unread. The new way if I look at the feed it's assumed I read all of it. 😞

Then, they automatically load up the page in the bottom pane. There are all kinds of problems with that not the least of which being that some pages are unstable based on the ads they serve or the Javascript in the page which could take down the oddpost window. But, worse, it's slow since it has to load up the page. 😞

Also, I don't even have the option to open them in another browser window. So much for reading more than one article at once, something I did quite often. I might open a link, read 1/2 of it, decide I want to come back later, open some other link. The way I remember to go read the second half of that article is there's still a browser window open with it sitting around. The new way oddpost works I'll have to write myself a postit to remember to back to that link 😞

Hopefully they will change it back or at least make it an option. As it is I will no longer be using Oddpost for reading it's RSS features. That makes me really sad. It was so convienient before, now it's just not useful for me 😞

It also points out a problem with web based apps. If this was a desktop app I could just not install the new version and stick with the old one. I could hope they come out with an upgrade that adds the old features back and until that time I could keep using the old version. But, with a web based app they are in total control. If they want to remove or change a feature they can do it at any time and I have no recourse except to stop using their service. Imagine if there was an online word processor and the company changed something that made it impossible to access your data the day before a big presentation.

At the same time they did fix a bunch of bugs (though I never ran into them) and they added blogging from Oddpost (although it's a feature I'll never use).

:−(

Comments
Diet Wars
Japanese Spiderman