Blogger Changes for Worst

Ok, I admit it! I use Blogger, actually i use it on 2 of my sites (this site! and on ecchi), the reason for that is mostly legacy, that and they are 2 fanboyish sites, where i randomly post random stuff, so there is no big need for more control or whatnot, they exist mostly as scraps and places to vent, after all thats why sites like Blogger, Tumblr or exist, to make it easy as pie to publish content, or so it would seem.

So why am im not enjoying the new Blogger? its a much needed refresh after mostly years of neglect! True, and change in my view is mostly always a good thing, but this new blogger feels and seems like change for the sake of change, like when Adoble launches a new product line or Firefox launches a new version (both have a tendency to instead of improving the old to push the new), so what are my gripes?

The Blogger Dashboard

Clearly the new dashboard is a remake of the old one, thats fine with me, also there are some good things about it, showing some micro stats and some quick links (although those were also on the old layout), thats good! if you have 2 blogs, but if you have 20, its pretty shitty! the whole design, is so wide and white that you are lost in it, it takes so much room that only 5 blogs appear.

Also the new dashboard is incredibly slow, everything takes a couple more than it should, Google sees html as slow, AJAX is the way of the future, everything updates itself, its all seamless and awesome!!! well No! Not really, the whole thing is a mess, its like when you click on a link on a html site you feel the microseconds to jump to the next page, its like a snap feeling (page refreshes to show a new page), here you have the slow drag feeling, the page doesn't refresh but it loads... eventually.

Also whoever designed this was high on orange and on wasting space, from the top down, first grey bar you have the blogger logo and on the other side my nickname and some links to edit my profile or google account... great use of space, especially on 2 features that... humm everyone uses all the time?

Second bar you have my nickname again and the title! my blogs! oh how sweetly irrelevant, on the other side of the bar you get 2 drop-downs, one for language (something i like to see all the time and change constantly to keep myself fresh) and options, of course all of these options are absolutely positively super duper handy! Here they are:
  • Blogger Help - The first option? I think this needs no further comment.
  • Send Feedback - Hum? Im seeing double, in the bottom there is a button saying the exact same thing, hell that button is on every page!
  • Connect to Google+ - Yes we all know Google hates Orkut.
  • Old Blogger Interface - My favorite option! i think it should have its own button and be called "Go back to the new new blogger, its the same as the old but still better than the new", ohh maybe thats too much text for a button, but im glad it made it into this crowded options menu.
  • About New Look - For when "Blogger Help" and "Send Feedback" is just not enough!
Then you get the blogs displayed, of course to create a new blog, you just click the button "New Blog" you cant miss it, cause that tiny button is taking a 1\3 column on the left side, I also like the responsive design tweaks, but just if you have 1024px or lower screen, if you go higher you just get extra empty space... how responsive of you.

They also decided to continue including the reading pane (basically a poor man's google reader), who uses this? Let me think of a time i needed to get into my blogging software to read other peoples shit? hummm suffice to say its not practical, its not nice, its basically throwing random feeds at you. Ohh and of course it takes half the screen and there is no way of minimising or closing it, you just have to try and use a bit of imagination, and think of a blogger dashboard without that oversized rss widget!

The new dashboard also hangs/goes into a infinite loop if you try to login forcing https, yeah, who wants encrypted logins... what do you have to hide, blogger guy! no one reads your cat blog anyways!

The Blogger Editor

Did i say the dashboard was slow? sorry i mean everything is slow, its slow in firefox, safari and even google's chrome, its slow by design, if you concentrate and listen... listen really well... you can actually hear the screams of javascript dying, thats how slow, unresponsive and obnoxious it is!

But when it eventually loads something, you are greeted with even more white and orange, its like writing in a Sunnny D comercial, its so refreshing that im actually becoming orange blind.

Here however there is a somewhat better use of the white space, but still their "responsive design" leaves a lot to be desired, their sidebar on the left side only minimizes if your screen is small, if its large its always open, no choice, also on the "Compose" side of things you have a tiny tiny box to write, while on the "HTML" you have a large box, and going back and forth actually loses formatting (a space written on html is not translated into compose, you literally have to put the html tag for space or paragraph), thats just silly, the HTML part on a editor is not really to edit html its to tweak the code of a post...

Also your infinite image posting options, not that its a bad thing, i prefer more than too few, its just a bit confusing, like you dont know if you are posting images on Picasa or Blogger (or is that gone?) from Picasa or from Google+ or from your webcam, where do those go? into Picasa or Google+, i dont know... maybe i shouldn't touch it more!

The New Themes / Dynamic Views

Should i mention those weirdly, barely functional, cooliris wannabe clones (being cooliris kinda a apple coverflowish clone), javascript infilled, bloat hazardous new themes?

Who had this great ideia? Hummm? I bet it was the same guy that designed the new blogger, he just went nuts on a power-trip, the new themes are simply not good, they break a lot of function and usability for the sake of fancy effects, blogs are to be read and enjoyed, not to be wowed by fancy sliding effects, although nice, they add little to nothing for the reader/visitor, it actually makes it worst.
  • These new themes are slow! - You betcha, a theme that has a loading icon is already a sign of bad things to come (like a software with a splash screen), especially when blogger staff says they load 40% faster... what? ohh you mean after the long loading signs it becomes faster? ohhh no? it must be one of those "perceived faster", or maybe a sidebar is 40% of the design, if we kill a sidebar... 40% faster! by the way the screenshot on top of a dynamic view loading was super easy to take, no need to hurry before it finished loading...
  • These new themes are not easy to navigate! - They aren't! Sure the fonts are nice and readable, but you can choose any font for your blog, but try and navigate anywhere on a dynamic view...  let this scrolling quest begin!
  • These new themes are all basically the same! - They are and half of them aren't even that nice, and most are made for a specific kind of formated posts, so any average blog will look like shit in them!
  • These new themes have crippled search! - Try it on a average sized blog... i dare you! ... to find anything...
  • These new themes have no sidebar! - So they basically want to push oversized, slow jazzed up tumblr themes on everyone... nice...
We all know Google quit the "Dont be evil" some time ago, and although i still use some Google products i cant say i trust them all that much, for sure me, like most of you will stay very clear from things like Google+ and Google Drive, as i would never sign up my cat to Google+ , if not the subpar facebook clone, the risk of his account getting banned and all his cute kitty pictures being lost forever... NOOOOO!

But when did Google stop making clean, simple and fast designs? Google Search is as bloated as ever, sometimes i have difficulty searching cause im writing something and instant is firing off and pages are loading and i realise that i cant even concentrate on what i was searching (and yes i know you can disable it, but how many times have i disabled instant or safe filter to have them show back on later on, even when im logged in!), what happen to the mili-second clean pages of search? what happen to clean, simple UI's and focused design on one thing that does one job awesomely well!

Well, yeah the new updated Blogger sucks, its slow, buggier, way more complicated than it should be, not that user-friendly and overall a disappointment, and most likely when this new blogger turns into the official one, ill have to pack my bags and move over to tumblr, apparently the only sensible offering on the market today.

Note: Why no, well I also have some minor issues with since they seem in comparison with blogger and tumblr, the ones that offer less options and flexibility, ohh and worst! they are way more picky about the kind of content they let you publish (the 2 blogs i had there were "suspended" at one point or another), yes i know its their choice and platform, and yes they eventually un-suspended me, but that just makes me stay away.

Note 2: As I wrote this post on Gmail and copy pasted to Blogger, im sure Google tracked that action down, later today some Google manager will look at that log and think ... humm this should be on the next Gmail build! so just after the Gmail+, Google will launch the brand new Gmailer+ hey and its a success already, from day 1 it has a bazzilion users! Blogging right from your Google+ i mean Gmail, ahhh you know what that means! Humm now that i think about it... at least it would be a better Blogger!

Apache OpenOffice 3.4 Vs LibreOffice 3.5.3

So I've been using LibreOffice on multiple computers on the office, as an obvious alternative to Microsoft's Office, now the reason for moving from OpenOffice to LibreOffice was purely because Oracle is probably the most untrustworthy company in the world (i joke, i joke, but they surely seem a very anti-opensource company), so with the spin-off LibreOffice and especially because they were joining with Go-oo, i thought the move to LibreOffice was the right one!

See my main concerns (and probably like most other users) with Office software are:

  • I need basic Office Functions (Writer/Calc/Presentation);
  • I need compatibility with Microsoft Office documents;
  • I need Performance (Opening fast, closing fast, editing fast, if possible low memory and low cpu)!

What i noticed first with my change to Libreoffice is that it was slightly slower than OpenOffice, i thought it was a bit strange since Go-oo was a bit faster than OpenOffice, still the difference dint seem much at the time and i put if off as the excuse from the LibreOffice camp that the focus right then was on code clean up.

So now that OpenOffice practically died off at the hands of Oracle and was handed down to the Apache foundation to try and become a more open source project again, i kinda would like to give it a go, at least to see how the performance is, so with OpenOffice 3.4 just coming out, lets make a comparison!

Basic Office Functions between OpenOffice 3.4 and LibreOffice 3.5.3

Well there are already a lot, especially on the LibreOffice side of things, but not all are for the better, sure LibreOffice has more tricks and features, but most are to my view (the view of someone that wants a basic office software for a business) mostly irrelevant, also Libreoffice color change is kinda obnoxious, who wants fluorescent green/blue/yellow documents icons? Besides that, i would say in basic office functions OpenOffice and LibreOffice are on par.

Office Compatibility between OpenOffice 3.4 and LibreOffice 3.5.3

Well almost the same, even tough here i kinda have to give a nudge to LibreOffice, since it has way less warnings and quiz options while opening Microsoft Office Documents, the OpenOffice "oh jesus christ i see a macro" warnings are a bit of a overkill and annoying, but yeah they both work pretty good with Microsoft Office documents.

Performance between OpenOffice 3.4 and LibreOffice 3.5.3

I'm using pretty modern computers (multiple core cpus, 4GB ram, fast 7200rpm hard drives), one with Windows XP the other with Windows 7, yes  I'm  not going to compare on the Mac or Linux cause  I'm  not using them on the business side, also although this isn't all that scientific,  I'm  going to take some precautions, my scheme will be installing/rebooting, running cold/running hot, also  I'm  not tweaking any of them for performance, this is out of the box performance, on both  I'm  only installing the writer/spreadsheet/presentation programs, on both  I'm  disabling quick start.

The small.doc is 40KB, the large.doc is 25MB with plenty of formatting and embedded images and graphs, the small.xls is 45KB and the large.xls is 4MB with 20 sheets lots of calculations and graphs.

Note: I've removed the cold start, since they both acted pretty much the same, if starting cold, it adds around 16 seconds whatever the document and whatever the software (that sucks on both software's). I also removed the Windows XP graphic cause it was kinda the same, although all a bit slower than on Windows 7, but that computer is also a bit slower than the Windows 7.

So as we can see, OpenOffice has better performance once warmed up, especially on the large.doc, the difference in opening is huge! Almost half the time to open, and with smaller files it also consistently outperformed LibreOffice, also OpenOffice was very responsive on the Large.doc, while LibreOffice kept hanging while i was scrolling or editing, also for the same document Libreoffice used 43MB of RAM, while OpenOffice used 35MB of RAM.

So now i'm not sure if i should move all my computers back to OpenOffice or if i should wait for LibreOffice 3.6 in a month's time, but i do hope that both distributions start focusing on performance, i think if OpenOffice keeps improving its performance like this, that it really doesn't matter the clean code and all the nice bells and whistles of LibreOffice, most business will make the decision on performance (literally the biggest reason to buy Microsoft Office is performance) to stay with OpenOffice or go back to it, just like me.

Note 1: Seems i should have published the documents i used in this comparison, sorry about that, my fault! but like i said in the comments they were random office documents, i promisse ill make a better comparison when LibreOffice 3.6 comes out!

Note 2: Also the Windows XP computer has Microsoft Office 2003 (the only office i have ever bought) and all of the files i tested open INSTANTLY! and in COLD START! even the huge 25MB file, although it seems in that one it only loads the first 6 pages, but scrolling down it keeps showing the rest pretty quickly and smoothly, soo i would add that in the performance department LibreOffice and OpenOffice have still a long Long LONG way to go, even in 2012 they are no comparison in performance to a 2003 software.