Saturday, December 19, 2009

instant messengers & social sites & blogging Oh MY!

The last few weeks had been making me pull my hair out.
First things first I'm not every one,  different people use the web & various web apps in different ways.  Me I love to share links & news articles i love to write reviews in my blog, and I like to stay in touch with my friends.  Sounds simple right?





Three main players on the market in my mind
Digsby
Pidgin
Yoono

I used Pidgin years ago,  I love that it's open source, it supported all the IM protocols I liked (back before site like twitter and Facebook were a concern)  but it had one serious problem.  The developers were assholes and hated their users.  No I'm serious.  See Pidgin uses a Window dressing set called GTK, this is in use by many many other apps, including my favorite Image editing platform The Gimp.  Here's the problem , they way in which pidgen used to implement GTK they insisted it be central on the system, not restricted to pidgin, and they used an outdated version.  so if you install pidgin, suddenly gimp would cease to function, and if you reinstalled Gimp, pidgen would no longer function. 

The Develops answer to the outcry on the forums from their users was essentially "tough shit"   That bothered me... a LOT.  I can understand not bending to the whim & every little complaint of every single user, but this is a bit different.  Time passed, GTK issue eventually got  resolved.. but it took too long for my tastes and the disposition of the developer really set me off.   To add flame to the fire, most pidgen users have been hearing "voice and Video support will be in the next version"  for about 3 years now.   This is not a HUGE concern of mine,  I don't do Video much , I do voice a lot when I can,  but it seemed like they were lying to their user base just to string people along.,  again  it's a matter of attitude more than the functionality of the software

so I switched

I used to use Digsby a lot.  Digsby Had some problems recently of a public relations nature,  This didn't disuade me from the client so much,  people make mistakes, and they were quick to admit they were in error, and fix it.  my problem is the App's sluggishness and hoggish resource usage.  Now part of this is because I'm on a nearly 11 year old crappy laptop, But even so, seeing an IM app take up over 80MB of Ram seemed a bit much, There were memory leaks... often...  As a general rule, any tiime  had the app open more than 40 min-ish  it would lock up. betweein it's leak and my system having jejust ss than 512MB of RAM (perm shared vid memory yuck) it created an app that I couldn't really use. 

Time passed, I got more active in facebook and Twitter,  yoono appears on the scene.
I used to LOVE this app, it's newer, it's like the youngest kid on the block IMO, but it does things nice,  first available as a Firefox plug-in, and eventually  a desktop app.  I still prefer the plug-in version.   it sits in the sidebar of Firefox, and uses Tabs to separate the various IM networks and features.  and had a wonderfully designed "easy share" button.  Many toosl like google toolbar, you click "share" and it simply opens up the web page of the desired site, in a small new window.  there is NO DIFFERENCE between clicking "share" on the google toolbar, and actually going to your twitter hompeage for instance.

Yoono did things different, they took the time to *gasp* create a user interface for sharing links, allowing you to type once, in one window, and share hat exact post to multiple resources.  it allowed you to CHOOSE in it's preferences exactly which URL shorteening and image uploading services you wanted to use. moreover, isntead of sharing a page, you could highlight elements of a page, and share just those parts. it was perfect for me.  Till the bugs came out.  They were not many, but they were big,  such ass my share button simply not working on many sites.  And my Friends list frequently disappearing.

Yoono roleld out a major update, to which I was abeta tester.  The release version had differences from what I tested.  Yoono 7.0 hit the streets with new features, a slicker look, cleaner interface.  the main problem is that it's slow as hell now.  Previously, removiugn a twweeyt (marking it as read) was instant, you click the "X" it goes away.  Now with the new interface, I click the X, or god forbid it I select "remove all"  and a fun cute, well designed, rotating circle comes up with the test "refreshing" next to it... as in refreshing my display... as in , "please wait 5 minutes and be unable to use our product while we do nothing more complex that clearing the screen of text"

Hell.  there goes that.  the app is now almost un-usable to me.  as I was offline for a day, and the tweets & facebook messages built up,  so now if I open it,  I have tons & tons of un-read items, and attempting to mark them as read, even a few at a time, invariably crashes to app.


So here I sit, Trying to communicate with the world, with my friends, trying to let my voice be heard, and feeling frustrated, that I cant get things to just simply work.  Checking back on pidgin  they have cleaned up their act quite a bit, but oh,  wait,  Twitter and facebook, not really a priority for them ,and getting them to work is a hassle and does not support more than half the features I use on these services.

Yoono seems too busy shamelessly promoting itself in every online poll to address the issues, And digsby, has gotten a lot better, but makes it tough to share links/pictures/etc.

there's no elegant solution to my dilemma.  I'm not a programmer, I can't roll-my-own IM client.  so I do what I know how to do best.  I talk.  I let people know what's going on, and hopefully bring a little attention to the issue




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