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The Pop-Up is Dead. Long Live the Pop-Up.

Many years ago, most web browser makers killed the ability for web pages to spawn annoying pop-up windows. You know, those irritating windows that just appeared out of nowhere without anyone asking you if you wanted to open a new window. Advertisers were the main cause of this obtrusive practice which they employed relentlessly to grab your attention while you were leisurely browsing the web. While this annoyance is largely dead, the 2012 equivalent of it is alive and well. Enter the equally annoying, in your face “read more”.  Continue reading “The Pop-Up is Dead. Long Live the Pop-Up.”

I Predict That Windows 8 Will Be A Colossal Turd

Microsoft recently announced that they were dropping the Aero UI from their next version of Windows. Add to this the fact that Windows 8 seems squarely targeted at tablets over desktops and laptops with its Metro UI, and that Windows 7, a worthy successor to Windows XP (suck it Vista), is still what I would consider new and very usable OS; I predict that most consumers and businesses will ignore Windows 8. You can count on Microsoft touting sales figures when it does come out, which (if you look closely enough) will come primarily from sales of new PCs that will have Windows 8 forced onto it. XP was good. 7 is good. 8 looks like a mess. Need more proof? Read this.

Things that Google has recently changed that have pissed me off

(In no particular order)

Stopped support and development of their toolbar for Firefox
Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but I have to believe that this was done to get more people to switch to Chrome. I mean why else would they do this? The only public mention of this by Google says that Firefox now has most of the toolbar’s functionality built-in to the browser. Well sure, if you take the time to install a bunch of add-ons and create new bookmarks.
Removed the plus (+) as a search modifier
It used to be that when you required a word or phrase in a search term, you could just slap a + in front of it (e.g. don’t be +evil). In what looks like a move related to pushing Google+, Google has removed this functionality and now requires you to place quotes around any words or terms you require (e.g. don’t be “evil”). Google says that this is an improvement but I disagree.
Changed the look and functionality of Google reader
I don’t really care about the social features of Google Reader changing (I never used them), and Google shifting them to be more integrated with Google+, but I don’t like the new look. I’m sure I’ll get used to it in time, but what’s the deal with this new weird spacing they’re introducing? Did everyone at Google get giant new monitors to work with? Continue reading “Things that Google has recently changed that have pissed me off”

Thought of the Day: Fixed position elements are the 2011 equivalent of 1990’s frames

More and more I’m seeing the use of fixed positioning in websites to the point of it becoming a distraction. Let me give you two examples. First, the New York Times. Unfortunately I can’t give you a link because this example involved an ad, and the ads on the Times’ pages are dynamic. But what I saw today involved a large ad in the right sidebar of an article that at first glance looked normal. Then I began reading the story and like a normal person I had to scroll down the page to continue. As I did, the ad scrolled up the page with the text until the top of the ad bumped up against the top of my browser’s viewport, at which point it stopped and decided to hang around. Wtf? I scrolled up and down to make sure something wasn’t wrong and low and behold, the positioning of the ad went from relative to fixed based on whether the ad was going to be scrolled above the viewport or not. It felt a bit like walking down the street, seeing a homeless guy, passing him only to have him get up and start walking next to you until you get to the end of the block. Walk backwards and he still follows.
My other two examples are pretty much the same annoying example of positioning, but here they act exactly like frames. Both the new Twitter layout and the God awful new Gawker network layout (gizmodo, lifehacker, etc.) use a fixed positioned element on the right side of the page. This fixed element is essentially the equivalent of the old frame layouts we saw back in the 1990’s. The content on the left will follow your scroll bar while the content on the right is stuck in place. What’s especially annoying in the Gawker network of sites is that this fixed sidebar takes up valuable screen real estate that would normally be available to content. Collapsing it would be great; unfortunately it’s not an option. I’m sure there are plenty of other examples of this but these were just a recent few that caught my eye. My question is why? Why are Designers doing this? Shitty ad placement aside, let me decide whether I want a fixed sidebar. For you ads I’ll just stick with AdBlock.

What’s Up With the Google Toolbar?

The Google toolbar is pretty much the only toolbar I add to my browser.  I’ve used it since it came out but recently I noticed two annoying changes. First, the theme changed and now all my toolbar icons look like they were designed by third graders. With the new pastel colors and soft rounded look the icons feel like something you’d see on Playskool toys. Second, my weather button has been deprecated. This used to be an easy way of getting the current conditions and a three day forecast. WTF?