It's certainly not every day that you see people from "opposite sides" stopping to give a flying fuck about wars, conflict, who's the enemy and all that political bullshit that's going on in the region. Instead, they just go to a party, they dance, have fun, and celebrate! Nobody's killing anybody, nobody's throwing rocks or shooting rubber bullets and tear gas. There's no one injured or carried out in a gurney, there's no aggression, and that's the way it should bloody be!
This story will very shortly be buried underneath more "pressing" matters, like the ones with Syria, but hopefully, it made a few people out there stop and think for a second (or even two!) as to what had just happened...
Hopefully, it's in much better hands now!
Dedicated to privacy and security, however, Tresorit made this little feature to be more than just a regular public file sharing we've known from GDrive or Dropbox - the shares are actually encrypted and seem to be decrypted on the browser's end when you click "Download" and before you click "Save". How secure this is against middle men - I don't possess the skills to know, but I certainly like to know that such methods of secure transfer are possible and available instead of just being something people talk about conceptually.
Unfortunately, there's a catch to this toy, and thus, we can't quite compare it to the "Public" folder in Dropbox, or the sharing features other cloud services offer today (at least not yet): checking their pricing plans at https://tresorit.com/plans, it seems like you can only have 10 such CryptoLinks a month using the "basic" (free) plan, and while I don't mind other limitations on this feature, 10/month is a bit too restrictive to be useful for me...
Another issue (that I think Tresorit will iron out soon enough) is sharing folders. So far, I only see a way to share files within a tresor (synchronized folder), but not entire folders, so that's even more limiting...
I certainly hope that the guys behind this service are considering an approach to a more "public" sharing in addition to the secure one, for there are more than 10 things a month out there that I don't mind being shared "insecurely", but for that I've got 12.4GB of Dropbox for now.
Tags: #Tresorit #CryptoLink #Dropbox
In the end, the security of the data you share seems to largely depend on how you share that URL with the decryption key built in and, of course, the security of sending and receiving machines.
Using the hashtag like that is a nifty idea, actually...
tl;dr: Brace yourselves... The #Google #playstore website now gives us a 7" touchscreen tablet experience on our 15~24" non-touch computer screens...
So guess what I just found out when I wanted to access the Play Store on my browser! It's been "UPGRADED"! Now I hate to be that "rebel against the new" guy and all, but quite frankly, whoever designed the new layout probably wasn't aware that he was actually making the website for a PC with a landscape-oriented screen.
I mean there has to be a good reason why:
1. Half of my laptop screen is wasted to display a gigantic app icon, its name in large font, then company and rating in small font?
2. My other "primary" half of the laptop screen is wasted to display TWO huge landscape-oriented screenshots of the app.
3. The page HAS to be scrolled if you wish to read the app description.
4. Said description takes 100% width on a widescreen? (it gets harder to read text when you pass certain line width, and I didn't even take any design class to realize that)
5. The `What's New` area is at the bottom half of the PAGE (not the screen!) and has to be scrolled down to as opposed to.. like.. you know.. interactive buttons? That "skip to" URL hashtag thing that used to be popular in the 90ies?..
6. Use gigantic LEFT/RIGHT arrows on the OPPOSITE SIDES of my widescreen to scroll through reviews and screenshots (using a buggy scroller that doesn't do it right, but at least corrects itself when the mouse moves) INSTEAD of.. you know.. a scroll wheel or a touchpad?.. Those things you have in PCs to do the scrolling?..
Isn't it a bit too early to assume that PCs are all equipped with a 1920x1080 portrait-oriented touchscreen, can flip-scroll and have a degraded precision of a finger vs. a pointer to require huge button space and an exotic scroll method?..
What the hell is going on with you, Google?..
Whoever that person is - they have to go, and if they don't go, they have to get their ass kicked out, because if G+ would've actually been done with the regular folks in mind, and not just one or two people, it could beat Facebook hands down very quickly.
There are many platforms and places out there that are brilliant, yet they struggle getting people interested and keeping them there long enough, and they die because of that. G+ doesn't have that problem - they already have high-quality people - they don't need to work for that, yet somehow, they manage to screw up the platform and lose people over something so simple and stupid...
This post has been lingering in draft form in Do Share, rethought and reworded countless times — for months — as I have such mixed feelings about it. So this is a long post, but I promise it will be worth the read.
Rather than take a short hiatus as I originally planned, it is time to put myself out of Google+'s misery. At the least, I'm going to have to take many months off and see where things go, say, next year. Maybe. If I'm lucky, there may even be a public API offered in the interim, so that we can build our own presentation clients that aren't fundamentally damaged in so many ways.
The saddest part is that I wasn't always so disappointed in this place; rather, for the great majority of the time I have been on G+, I have absolutely adored being here. In many ways, I still do. Not because of the platform itself or its structure, but because of its people. No other social platform out there compares when it comes to the levels of intelligence, interaction, and compassion shown by the majority of the people here on Google+. (And I do intend to thank many of these people, further down, but you'll have to get through the rest of this post to make it to there.)
Warning: just a smidgen of vented anger and coarse language follows this sentence, through the majority of this post!
I just can't take teh stupid any longer. I have to take some significant time away to see whether those driving Google+ can drum up a whit of intelligence in the face of all the missteps taken in the past year and change. I sure hope that , , et al., actually pay some attention for once. Because right now, I'm having a hard time not considering the Google+ leadership to be outright fuckwits. And I know that's not the case, so could you please prove it, finally?
The worst offenders first: the Web UI...
Google, either your UI/graphical designers, or the people telling them what to do, are (1) fucking idiots, (2) completely oblivious to the real world, or (3) both. (The level of idiocy seems to be getting progressively worse over time, too.) And since I'm tired of submitting quiet feedback amongst the hordes of other folks pointing out the same damned problems over and over, I'm just going to tell you the fundamental flaws to your face, and you can either listen to reason, or ignore it and continue to bleed worthwhile users.
1. Providing no consistency in display of profile images means that creating profile photos is non-deterministic and outright hostile to brands. Further, it has changed more than once already, meaning that previous carefully created profile images have to be reworked to your new aesthetic. When will it change again? What shape will it be next, an ellipse? An octagon? A cardioid? What was wrong with squares (optionally with rounded corners) like every other site on the Internet uses to great success?
2. Forcing everyone, whether they have an eye for visual design or not, to have a fucking huge, 16x9 aspect ratio cover photo, puts people who are better at content — that means text, you blind-ass graphical designer types — than pictures into a very difficult position of doing something they're already bad at doing: creating images.
3. Speaking of text, continual de-emphasizing of text (the amount of displayed text has shrunk a little more with every one of the last three major refreshes) really fucking pisses me off. I don't know what you people have against content that actually makes people think and want to interact, but not everyone wants to thumb through photo albums all the time. Hell, G+ already has a photo album component; the whole platform doesn't need to become a photo album. Now people are forced to put much of their text and thoughts into images just to be noticed — which, by the way, means that visually impaired people cannot read them at all.
4. Using low-contrast grey-on-grey text for comments, with no way to tweak it for those who have a hard time reading it, means less interaction by people with less-than-perfect eyesight. It gives people real-world headaches. And it gets worse for a completely different set of users; stark colors can be bad for them too, and there's no way to dull the contrast either. Other Google services like the long-lived Gmail offer color tuning capabilities; why not Google+?
5. Adopting a WebFont without adequately testing it on
6. Aligning content into a narrow vertical strip (I'm not even going into the multi-column display as it's at least switchable, and works for some but not others) is a waste of visual space in an age of widescreen displays — particularly those on laptop computers, where vertical space is at a premium. At one time, you got this partly right with sidebar navigation. You should have continued that concept, gradually shrinking the top bar further until it was a very compact visual element with no wasted space. (Take a guess which social platform gets this perfectly right.)
7. Making a major UI element, outside of main visual focus, move in response to indirect stimulus is a huge problem for many folks with susceptibility to visual motion strain (or worse, migraine, like it causes me). Of course, I'm talking about the bouncing top navbar from hell here. There is no fucking reason to make the top bar morph on page movement — with different elements moving in three completely different directions, no less! — when it's not the direct object of interaction. Can someone fucking explain "PUNCH THE MONKEY" to these newbie designers so they can learn from history rather than repeat it? (By the way, that disappearing notify box issue people keep complaining about? Stop the pointless top bar motion altogether, and that bug will disappear automatically.)
8. Offering a vague "accessibility" option, that has no documentation and does barely anything (and doesn't even work properly with screen readers as advertised), is nothing more than a big "fuck you" to people with real-world disabilities. It certainly hasn't gone unnoticed by such people.
9. Last but very not least, adding all this eye candy may look good on your very own Chromebook Pixel, or your high-powered development workstations, but the rest of us using more contemporary hardware have a desktop experience that is getting slower and s-l-o-w-e-r and s...l...o...w...e...r (on top of greatly increasing memory usage). In the words of Matt Inman: Fuck. That. Shit. Take a guess which social network is still snappy on most hardware, and as of today, uses less than half the memory footprint compared to Google+ in both Chrome and Firefox.
In my not-fucking-humble-at-all opinion, both the graphical designers and coders behind G+ should be forced to test their creations on a single-core 700MHz Windows system with no more than 1GB RAM total, inside a virtual machine not residing on the same physical computer. Do that for a few weeks, THEN come back and tell me all this eye candy was worth implementing. While you're at it, load up Facebook in that same environment and see what's different about the experience.
I don't even bother to refer to extensions or other workarounds for any of these issues. I decided to swear off implementing user-side changes because I believe every single one of the aspects above to be fucking broken. I cannot expect every other user of G+ to have the same workarounds installed, just to make this place usable by actual humans, so I choose to experience the site the way most users do. FIX IT; don't require us to go work around your braindead, and in many cases unusable, designs.
No, I haven't mentioned mobile apps here. Why? Because they're actually usable, even on resource-limited, "slow" devices! (Well, the Android version, in my experience anyway.) You web UI folks could learn a lot from the mobile apps' simplicity.
Then the deeper stuff...
As if user interface problems weren't enough, there's an ongoing dilution of content in the place where a consumer's preferences should be most important: the Home stream. While I won't rag on What's Hot or the former Suggested User List — they get enough flack all on their own — there are some things that continue to piss off users; some old and some newer. Since I ranted so much about the UI, I'll limit the points highlighted in this section.
1. De-duplication of reshares: maybe the oldest requested feature on G+. If I have the person who posted an original share in my circles, why should I see six to ten reshares of it from other people in my circles? Sure, there's a valid argument for making more popular splinter threads visible, but no real reason for showing simple reshares over and over.
2. Non-deterministic ordering: who came up with this shit? Even Facebook had to backpedal and offer a chronological sort option for posts after trying this by default. We already know that posts may or may not show up by weighting, but why show me 12-hour-old posts in between two 12-minute-old posts?
3. Show Me All Posts By X: the missing volume control. There's very good reason for wanting to see all posts by a given source, without getting notified for all of them. Right now, the highest volume slider level is "more"; there is no "all".
4. No control over the types of notifications which show up in the notify box: "AIEEE, it's at 99+ again!" Yes, we can control what notifications arrive via e-mail and mobile via a flexible and granular array of options. We love that! But the lack of fine-tuning for the notify popup has led to the practice informally known as plusfucking, which (while sometimes taken as amusing) can get annoying very-fucking-fast. The new "infiniscroll" notify box helps, but not when hit by as much as a hundred +1s in a short period of time, interleaved with notifications actually worth seeing. (How about just add another notify prefs column for the notify box, hmm?)
5. The recent "+1 in the stream" crap: Sure, let's spam irrelevant content by default! Those of us who have been on Google+ for more than a few months have worked hard to curate our personal circles to present content we actually want to see, either original shares or reshares. Resharing is an explicit action that states, "I want others to see this!", along with the target audience selector right there. The +1 action has, since the start of Google+, been an informal indication of "I like this!", and a great behind-the-scenes measure of the popularity of content. Just because one person likes a piece of content does not imply that everyone who has that user circled gives a shit about it. So you gave us the ability to opt-out (not opt-in!?) of spamming our friends; great! Where's the option to ask to receive no spam?
The last one above is the most recent evidence of serious lack of forethought in feature design, because we know that it wasn't rushed to meet some major event like Google I/O. There's no reason for it to go out half-baked like that.
Please, people, look before you leap. Assume that your use cases aren't the only ones. Look for corner cases. In other words — so that you don't eventually end up on thedailywtf.com — PLAN!
Now, I don't want to end on a sour note...
So I have to give some important well wishes. I'm going to miss a whole lot of you folks...
...the early #nymwars veterans like , , , , , , , , , and .
...masters of snark like , , and .
...champions of a better society, in spite of many differences of opinion, like , , , , , and .
...thought provokers and those with a penchant for insightful commentary like , , and .
...those who have blessed me with personal stories of their own ups and downs in life, like and .
...people who push the boundaries of humanity like , , , , and .
...founts of fantastic content, both new and (re)discovered, like , , , , and .
...folks who know how to have a good time without being either mundane or repetitive, like , , , and .
...technologists and geeks with great enthusiasm for G+ or Google products, like , , , and .
...lest I forget, people caught in the crosshairs of all this change, most especially .
...and this doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the 800-plus people in my personal content reading circle, all of whom I'd consider worth knowing a lot better, had I met you in person. I know I've missed people I wanted to name outright here. It's not even possible to categorize most of you, because this is one of the most fantastic, diverse places I've experienced in my travels on the Internet.
Thank you for enriching the past two years of my life... at a time when I really needed it, too.
As of this moment, I'm headed back to Facebook for my social interaction. Even though the atmosphere there is largely vapid, and finding good interaction is much more difficult than here, Facebook is now, functionally, the better social platform.
If you want to stay in touch with me via any other medium, my e-mail address and other contact info bits are in my G+ profile here. Don't worry, I plan on at least leaving this G+ profile open (so as not to erase all my old interactions and make old threads confusing), but don't expect me to post or comment again for a very long while.
I simply cannot believe it has finally come to this. I haven't even hit Share yet, and I already miss you all.
#googleplusupdate #tehstupiditburns #scrollolol #headache
- Ben Gurion University of the NegevSoftware Engineering, 2012 - present
- Dragon's Eye ProductionsTechnical Support & Web-Programmer, 2005 - presenta) Troubleshooting and technical support for the Furcadia MMO software ; b) Investigating user bug reports and either logging the results for the appropriate programmer, or fixing said bugs if relevant to my current area ; and c) Participating in the development of various projects for the Furcadia web-services, as well as performing certain sysadmin-related tasks for the game.
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