Google News Redesign is Horrible

So, what do you think of the Google News redesign?

You like it???  Tell me where you live so I can come hit you on the head a couple of times with a tack hammer…we’ll see if that jars anything loose.  All kidding aside (no I don’t want to hit anyone on the head with a tack hammer), there is plenty of negative feedback on the redesign.  If you’re not sure what changed, the original Google News Blog announcement is here (with screenshots) and you can also see it on your own computer (for now…they may roll it out to other countries besides the US soon so this may not work perpetually) here is how to check:

  1. Login to your google account.  Go to http://google.com/news
  2. Now visit this link in a new tab:  http://www.google.ca/news

The difference initially looks subtle but once you start scrolling it blares like a fog horn in your head.  I’m not the only one who thinks the redesign sucks.  The original announcement is filled with negative comments about the redesign.  Look on the right hand column of the announcement to see related posts and you’ll quickly see there are plenty of people who despise this ‘improvement’.  Even looking in the google news general forum results in the most popular threads being discussions about how bad the redesign actually is.

People have even begun to label this redesign as the “New Coke” of Google products.  I’m thinking they may be right.  Don’t remember the New Coke snafu?

How Can We Tell Google Their Redesign Sucks?

Most people have been going to the support area for Google news.  In my opinion, this is ABSOLUTELY the wrong area.  Instead, head over to the blog announcement page and you’ll see a link to the Help Center.  Once there, on the top right hand corner of the announcement is a link to comments. As of the writing of this article there were about 15 comments on this change.

It is my theory that Google is only paying attention to this comments section and not to the thousands upon thousands of posts taking place inside their support forums.  Afterall, is complaining that the redesign sucks really a support issue?  Make your voice known by visiting the Help Center and dropping a comment via the comments link there.  Clicking this link opens up a sidewiki comment system.  Make sure you are signed into your google account when leaving a comment.

So what are the problems with Google News?

Tailored News – Google said the new redesign is “tailored to your interests” aka “news for you”.  Here’s the thing…I don’t want news tailored to my interests.  I want unedited and unfiltered news.  The reason I liked Google News in the first place was because I didn’t have paid sponsors results jockying to the front of the page.  I could read liberal and conservative news side by side.  I could get one side of the story and the other side of the story.

Now, I get only the side that interests me.  This doesn’t make for a well informed, rounded individual.  In other words, I want to see EVERYTHING and decide what to read…I don’t want that taken away from me at the beginning.

Scrolling – Congratulations Google!  It now takes me 6 pages of scrolling to see the same amount of news I used to be able to read in 2.  Boy I would have loved to be a fly in the wall on the meeting where the ‘stream’ concept was discussed…a big, monsterous fly so that I could have fly puked right on whoever thought it was a good idea.

Google news is now a facebook stream of news.  I don’t want that.  If I wanted a facebook stream of news, I’d create a facebook account and friend all the news agencies out there and wait for the news to stream to me.

It now takes me three to four times longer to read news than it did in the past.  I’m also getting a poor sample of the news.  I’m missing tons of articles I got in the past and headlines don’t pop like they used to.  It’s also HARDER to read when you’re scrolling 5000 lines of text.  For this reason alone the redesign is 20lbs of crap poured into a 10lb bag.

Local News – Local news went from having its own section to having 3 headlines.  Thanks for reducing my local news Google…I really appreciate that.  Good to know that I don’t need to be reading what’s happening right outside my window.

Fast Flip Reduction – Remember when fast flip was 3-4 wide across the bottom of your google news page?  Now it’s 1 article on the small right hand column.  WORTHLESS.  And of course, there is no way to get rid of it from your google news page.

Spotlight – What the heck is this section for?  What do these articles have in them that allows them to have a spotlight shined on them?  Do publications pay Google to be included in this section?  Why can’t I remove this section if I want to?

Most Popular - These articles are the most popular according to whom?  Am I just supposed to trust Google that they are the most popular ones out there?  Do publications pay Google to be included on this section?  Why can’t I remove it?

A good article that includes many of the reasons I discussed above can be found here.

The Squeekiest Wheel?? Alternatives??

So, if we complain en masse, will Google listen?  Does the squeekiest wheel get the most oil?  I hope so.

Until then, I won’t be using Google News. A suitable and tolerable substitution can be found at Ask.com…for those of you saying “Try Bing!” I did and it sucks.  Ask.com’s News Page is simple and doesn’t require me to scroll 40 times just to read news.  Thanks for keeping it simple Ask!  You’ve got a new supporter!

What do you think of the new google news?  Please let me know with a comment below.  The redesign hasn’t been rolled out in all areas yet so you may not see it in your location…however, be warned that it is probably coming.  Hopefully, Google will realize this move is the New Coke Snafu and backtrack to their original design…not because the features they want to implement suck, but because when implementing them, they made reading the news MUCH harder than it should be.

Apple Denies Linux Access To Its Movie Trailers

Apple has decided to block streaming content from http://apple.com/trailers/ for Linux users.  I say this because tonight I went to view a few of the upcoming movie trailers and was told to “Get the Latest Quicktime” in order to watch and I was denied the ability to watch them.

I hit the forums to see if others have the same problems that I have and I’ve found that many people have begun reporting the problem from around May of this year.  Not being one to give up, I decided to test things a bit to see what apple.com was doing.

I installed the useragent switcher on Firefox and switched my agent to Windows Vista and IE7.  I then watched headers as apple once again denied me despite my agent being accepted by it.  It seems that it is looking for an actual install of Quicktime on your system (I can’t tell you for sure, I just know that useragent isn’t what it is sniffing for).

How does one circumvent?  Pretty simple.  When you are given that denied message “Get the Latest Quicktime”, go to View >> Page Source.  Look for a URL that ends in .mov.  Copy that URL and paste it into a new tab.  That’s it,  you’re now watching the trailer.

I want to thank Apple for being exclusionary to Linux users when you benefit so greatly from Open Source software.  It sets a great example and shows what is really important to you as a company…and that is forcing your software onto everyone similar to Microsoft.

UPDATE:  I wanted to let everyone know my platform since everyone seems to think I’m silly enough to blog about this without installing the proper codecs.  I use PCLinuxOS 2007 as my main workhorse distro.  The apple trailers site worked for me previously until I recently checked it.  I’ve updated this
to current and have all codecs installed (w32codecs, mplayer, xine,
gstreamer, etc.).  I have uninstalled, reinstalled, and tweaked
everything I can think of tweaking to get this working.  Nothing thus
far works.  I should note that this is with Firefox 3 and I’m not sure
if that has anything to do with things.

Google Reader, You Suck

UPDATE:  Google Reader has changed their behavior as of late.  This post no longer applies as the behavior I wanted has been integrated.  Thanks for reading Google! :)

When I’m not using BlogBridge (that is, when I’m checking my feeds from someone elses computer) I check via Google Reader. It’s been quite nice for me to check out what’s happening in the world of Linux while away from my standard feed reading environment.

Recently though, they have changed the default behavior. Now when I want to mark an entire feed read (feeds with a large number of unread feeds), an annoying confirmation dialog box pops up and I have to confirm that I truly do want to mark all of my feeds as read (in true Microsoftian-esque style mind you).

Whoever enabled this needs to be sentenced to a life of annoying popup dialog boxes. Make their primary desktop be Vista and make them turn on the UAC and make them do their normal job. Sentence them to an entire year of stupid annoying popups. I despise popup dialogs…the demon brain children of the department of redundancy department… (a department google must now have created…and here I thought Microsoft was the only company that had one of these!) more than anything in computing.

Please google reader, take out that stupid dialog! Or at least give us a checkbox option. This type of behavior is frustrating, redundant, and lame.  I cry suckage google reader >:|

Penguin Pete’s Blog, your source for FUD about YALB

If any of you read Penguin Pete’s last two blog entries [1] [2]…you’ll find two of the most FUD filled posts about YALB on the web. He’s on the warpath…for no reason at all and has begun a smear campaign against me here. I haven’t done anything to attack him personally…yet that’s exactly what he’s done with his latest blog entries. Pete claims I’m a partner with the tux500.com project and that helios from Blog of helios and I are perpetuating this as a scam
across the web. Let’s get some facts on this topic immediately:

  1. I am not part of this project
  2. I do not collect money or have access to collected money on this project
  3. I will not be part of this project as my plate is full
  4. I’ve posted a single blog entry about said project that was syndicated at various places around the web…this is normal…there are many sites that mirror YALB such as Swik and the Linux Blog Aggregator.
  5. I submitted this single blog entry on Lxer.com who published it
  6. Tuxmachines.org also published this same post
  7. The project is being tracked monetarily by Linux Today’s editor, Brian Proffitt, and Lxer.com’s editor-in-chief, Don Parris. (why hasn’t Pete went to them on this? Are they part of the scam too?)
  8. Ken aka helios is my personal friend and I posted my previous entry as support of his project like any good friend would do.
  9. If I found out the project was a SCAM, I’d shut it down. I host lobby4linux.com and could snipe it out in one fell swoop. If anyone has concrete evidence that it is a scam other than pure speculation, please email me devnet at mypclinuxos.com

So Pete is trying to draw major correlation between me and this project so that he can lump me in as part of his theory about it. I wouldn’t normally care, but it seems that he can’t stand up to the criticism he’s getting as he’s disabled comments. The interesting thing is he’s referring to it as comment SPAM when he has captcha enabled…which means he was getting a ton of comments he didn’t like and shut them down. He could also turn on moderation (I have automoderation after a specific time here) so that he could catch the offending spammers and publish everything else. I do that here as well.

See, when I blog, I open myself up to positive perspectives like those from avid readers. But I also open myself up to negative perspectives like those from Mr. Pete. That’s fine..he’s welcome to post anytime on this website’s comment system. He’s welcome to trash any topic of discussion I post about. I’ll never disable comments on any article because I do not have to censor anything anyone says to fit my message or make me appear to be right. If someone has a problem with a post…by me posting it publically, I have opened myself up to what they have to say. People are free to respond as they see fit to whatever topic of discussion I post about. It seems that by shutting down comments to his latest posts, Pete proves that he does not have these standards for freedom that I do.

So bookmark it folks…those two entries in Penguin Pete’s blogs can say whatever they want about the Tux500 project…that’s his right. But trying to lump me in with it is an outright lie. It’s untrue libel and FUD. Those two posts are your helping of FUD for the week. Hopefully, you see past it. Comments are open on this post and I’ll answer whatever questions readers have.

Old Hard Drive, Bad

I’ve had some trouble brewing at home. Had a 120 GB Share go down 2 weeks ago and I’ve had major problems trying to get my much needed data back from the drive. I lost almost everything as far as settings, passwords, games, etc. But, life goes on right? The only problem is that I’ve had to order a new drive to use for Linux since I’m using the old Linux drive for my main computer which, due to work, must run Win XP. So I’m down and out and have been for about 2 weeks now. I ordered a hard drive and it came in this past week so it shouldn’t be too much longer before I’m able to get back into things. Unfortunately, not having a working computer for about a week and not having the info I needed put me in a fix for Kapps and articles. Look for entries to resume on a more normal schedule this next week. Thanks for reading and sorry for the lack of articles.