Everybody hates Firefox updates (3)

“After years of aspiring to improve software usability, I’ve come to the extremely humbling realization athat the single best thing most companies could do to improve usability is to stop changing the UI so often! Let it remain stable long enough for us to learn it and get good at it. There’s no UI better than one you already know, and no UI worse than one you thought you knew but now have to relearn.”

Evil Brain Jono’s Natural Log

Just go and read the damn thing. In fact, if you’re developer, print it, frame it and stick it on your office room.

Everybody hates Firefox updates (2)

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the fundamental disconnect between the developers and the users. I think it comes down to: Software developers have a perverse habit of thinking of updates/new releases as a good thing.

It’s hard to convince a software developer otherwise: their salary depends on outputting a constant stream of updates, so of course they think updates are good.I used to believe it. Only after I heard from dozens of different users that the rapid release process had ruined Firefox did I finally get it through my thick skull: releasing an update is practically an act of aggression against your users. The developer perspective is ‘You guys are going to love this new update we’ve been working on!’ The user perspective is ‘Oh god here comes another update, is there any way I can postpone the agony for a few more days?'”

Evil Brain Jono’s Natural Log

I’m reading this post and thinking that is just too good to not quote. ((Can i copy an entire post or would that be too rude?))

Also related with this previous post.

Everybody hates Firefox updates

“I’ve heard this story a lot in the last year.

I used to be proud to say I worked (or had worked) for Mozilla, but a careful listener might detect a certain sheepish quality that has crept into my voice lately when I name-check my former employer. And this is why. Even on the opposite side of the world, it’s always the same story: ‘I used to love Firefox’, but ‘I switched to Chrome because my extensions stopped working’ or ‘I switched to chrome because Firefox kept asking me to restart’.

I’ve had this conversation with dozens of people across three continents. Not one person has had anything good to say about the rapid release process. Nearly 100% of my highly unscientific survey volunteered the information — unasked, unprompted — that the rapid release process had ruined Firefox for them.”

Evil Brain Jono’s Natural Log


I still have to understand what’s these “features” that were supposed to get to the users faster. Hey Mozilla, Firefox’s features are the Extensions!!! I keep upgrading firefox, breaking compatibility, disabling extensions and i haven’t found a single “new feature” to talk about.

The new Microsoft

Proposed design for Microsoft

Andrew Kim – Minimally Minimal

I find this proposal amazing. Very well conceived, it doesn’t completely deviate from the past but it is definitely light-years ahead.

What i find most interesting is that i’ve seen a dozen or so of new design proposals for Microsoft or Microsoft products in the last 6 months. That means two things i think: a) everyone “senses” that Microsoft is in trouble and fighting to stay relevant; b) that most of its products need a serious redesign to remove clutter, excess decoration and garish colours and just simply be more friendly. What i find most amazing is how that message has managed to miss Redmond completely. Don’t they browse the web sometimes?

The Brooks Review paywall

But an ad supported site is, ultimately, not the site I want to run — so before I go any further I thought it prudent to craft the kind of site that I actually want to run, or as is actually the case: a site much closer to the one I want to run.

I want a direct relationship with you, my readers.

So starting today the business model becomes even more clear 1 :

  • You pay me.
  • I write.

Ben Brooks

There are usually two ways of getting paid for your non-fiction non-journalist writing:

  1. It’s called teaching. You write an article or book teaching me how to do something.

  2. You’re a respected member of some technical area (philosophy, politics, science, etc) and you write an essay reflecting, interpreting, explaining (( also called teaching, it’s point 1 again )) on your area future / present / interaction with society. It’s usually presented and sold as a printed book.

Most “personal tech blogs” don’t fall on two these categories neither on the other possible categories of written works. I started this site mainly as my personal international/english-speaking soap-box AND as way of teaching mac “newbies” how to do stuff in the mac. (( I failed miserably at the second point as i got sidetracked by other stuff… )) Most “personal tech blogs” are simple “opinions” of lay man of the general tech world, random links to something they thought was cool and the occasional “people’s perspective” on some issue. Not writings of “grand players” of such world, or by big “experts” of such technologies. Regular folks, like you and me. Interested, opinionated, knowledgable but still mostly “sofa managers”. (( from the portuguese expression “treinador de bancada”, the strongest faith that every football fan has (americans call it soccer) that he is the really knowledgable team manager and the single one that knows all what the team needs to do in order to win, right from his kitchen dinner table… ))

I like most of what Ben writes or links to and i have read him since i started this blog, but i fail to see what added-value his writing really have to offer me. Think of it like this, if his website would vanish tomorrow would you really miss it? And from all of the websites that you check daily, which ones would you really miss and strive to recover back from?

If a developer would write a really good blog about the Apple developer experience and know-how, and if i was a developer, i could see the point in paying. A single person wouldn’t be able to keep the high volume needed to keep interest and payers, so it would evolve to a team. And then into a newspaper/magazine : “The Apple Developer world! – everything you need to know”. I could also see why one would pay to get the incredible insightful analysis of Asymco.

Now, if a guy writes or links to interesting pieces about general stuff or his random opinions but he is not really from the “area” or doesn’t have anything to add apart from his “interested regular joe” perspective, which i also have, then what exactly does his writing provides me that i should spend money on it?

I fail to see the answer to this in most blogs/sites that i check every day. Some i’m reading more now, others i’ve read in the past, many are just short-term playgrounds for the author. (( as i must also admit, is this one. )) What i do see is that some value their modest input as having a far greater value than what it really has.

I don’t think the “ad subsidized” model is perfect, or great, but it is a working solution that is good enough for the average to low quality of most works out there. Paywalls do work, but you need to really provide great content. Don’t think 99% of the blogs, news sites and others fall even near that valuable 1%. (( and in case i didn’t make it clear, i know that neither is this site, unfortunately. ))

So if you just want to write stuff and “opinionate” baselessly, adjust your expectations.

No, that’s not “it” for Thunderbird…

“Thunderbird is not dead.

Not by a long shot.

Please don’t overreact.

We’re simply not going to pour resources into trying to ‘innovate’ on Thunderbird. Users will still be getting an email client that answers to nobody but them. Users will still benefit from stability, performance and security updates from Mozilla. And their mail will continue to land in their inbox, just as it always has.”

Mike Conley’s Blog

Mozilla to cease development on Thunderbird

“Mozilla has announced it’s ceasing development on Thunderbird; one more version will be released, and it’ll be security updates from then on. ‘Most Thunderbird users seem happy with the basic email feature set. In parallel, we have seen the rising popularity of Web-based forms of communications representing email alternatives to a desktop solution. Given this, focusing on stability for Thunderbird and driving innovation through other offerings seems a natural choice.'”


Actually, although a bit sad for this “much dear friend”, this is good news!

I’ve been realizing that the most proclaimed and loved “quality” of open-source is simultaneously it’s worst enemy and the single major reason why, unfortunately, open-source software is usually not an option. I mean this referring solely at “end-user software”, not open-source libraries or small UNIX-style programs/packages.

The driving feature of open-source is it’s community passion and desire to program something new and exciting. Something that “scratches their itch”. So, as result open-source “new programs and projects” spring everywhere and for all things.

But a mature, robust software is not that very exciting. Simple bug correcting and security updates (the kind that Mozilla says that are the only ones they will be doing for thunderbird) is probably a PITA and dull as hell. I know i would probably hate it.

So, to keep developer momentum and joy, as soon as the program is mainly stable and stuff is just chugging along the way, some need comes along so that we just have to rewrite the entire stuff, or add a revolutionary new interface or just go in another completely absurd direction.

I’ve first experienced this when i changed to linux back in 2007/2008. Switched a lot, try a dozen distros and finally decided i was really comfortable with KDE. Highly polished, highly usable Graphic environment. I assume there was some fundamental need for something different/security/touch/sound/fireworks in the sky or diamonds on strawberry hills and “they” had to change do KDE4. which was utterly unusable back those days, and a complete departure from everything i liked about KDE3.

Switched to gnome after a lot of teeth grinding and adjusting, and when i was getting comfortable using and thought that a good “enterprise class” (stable, robust, simple and clean) product could probably be built on it, “they” had to build something different for security/usability/diamonds or the fireworks or whatever, and then came Gnome3 and/or Unity. And guess what, they’re still pretty much a mess…

I’ve been realizing that of all the open-source software that i use, eventually they all either die in “abandonment” when they are in the “good-enough”/robust phase and all that’s left is some boring maintenance and some loooooong development cycles; or they all got sent back to square one for a complete, utterly unusable, refit/redraw of the whole thing. There’s some exceptions off course but on the whole that ‘s been my general experience.

So unfortunately, i’ve been unconsciously changing (i’ve realized later) to paid software (or backed by some big corporation/foundation) because it allows me my “found something that does what i want, how i want, then i don’t ever change it and just keep using it as i want” behaviour. Which is also the behaviour of most people out there.

I don’t see how this can be fixed in a voluntary driven environment, so i’m kind of pleased that mozilla decided to took this step. The truth is that Thunderbird is already good enough for most, so instead of killing it by abandonment or just dropping the whole thing and starting over, they are just slowly keeping it updated and working for us folks that just want use it and never thinking about it.

I would love that it had some new features though (as a more Mac OS integration or a slightly simpler and slightly cleaner interface) but on the whole the entire thing is pretty much everything you could expect from a multi-platform, free mail client and it’s hard to find a reason to complain strongly about it.

So thanks Mozilla! And may Thundebird keep working along, silently and efficiently for a long, long time!

Windows 8: New UI, but old-school Microsoft

“The integration with the classic desktop though? Wow. It’s. Completely. Fucking. Insane.

The combination is jarring, confusing and ultimately unusable. I can’t even respect it as an interesting attempt, as it just simply doesn’t work. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Metro UI and apps should have been set off in a ‘mode’ – similar to how the Windows Media Center works. The fact that the Metro UI has been integrated in wholesale with the old-school WIMP interface is ridiculous, and more to the point, represents incredible cynicism on Microsoft’s part.

Make no mistake, this is Microsoft falling back on old-school monopolistic tactics to take on an upcoming challenger to their OS dominance. It’s like 1997 all over again, when Microsoft jammed Internet Explorer into Windows in places it didn’t really need to be in order to compete with Netscape. Remember when the entire *desktop* used to be an IE Window? Remember all the security and performance problems that came as a result? Remember U.S. vs. Microsoft? Why in the world do they think this tactic which failed so spectacularly before will work now? Are they psychotic?”

Russell Beattie