Google’s New Seach Suggestions Is Really Annoying and Not Blind Friendly

May 25, 2009

Google’s search has this new drop down search suggestions box at their site. It’s very annoying because it intercepts the key presses on my keyboard. I’m a keyboard person, using Opera. I often use Opera’s Shift+Arrow keys to move up and down the search list and then hit the ENTER key to select the item on the search results to go to that site. With Google’s search suggestions javascript intercepting my keystrokes, the ENTER key no longer works.

Even though I search from Opera’s search toolbar, the suggestions JS still comes back to bite me, because I can’t actually get to the page linked from the results. Not unless I use the mouse anyway. What happens to blind people who are totally reliant on the keyboard?

It’s very irritating. I initially disabled JavaScript for Google at first, since Opera makes it easy to disable JavaScript on a site-by-site basis. Then I found that I couldn’t log into my Google Accounts because the latter uses JavaScript (how stupid).

I can’t stand this new seach suggestion thingy. Please get rid of it.

Filed in Outraged, Opinion, Web Design.


Microsoft Office 2007 SP2: So Much for ODF Compatibility

May 5, 2009

Rob Weir did some tests of the new Microsoft Office 2007 SP2, which is supposed to provide support for the Open Document Format, ODF, out of the box. From his tests of an ODF spreadsheet, ODF files created by Office 2007 SP2 can be interpreted only by Office 2007 SP2 and no other application that supports ODF. And Office 2007 SP2 cannot read/interpret ODF files created by any other application. And we’re talking about a large number of applications here: OpenOffice, Google Docs, KSpread, IBM Symphony, Sun’s ODF Plugin, and the CleverAge ODF plugin.

Interestingly, all the other applications are able to create ODF spreadsheets that are readable by each other, except in the case of the old version of KSpread, which the reviewer used for reasons given in the article. So it’s not the case that the ODF format does not give enough details for spreadsheet formulas to be properly interpreted. Everybody else managed to implement it correctly.

Is this a case of Microsoft paying lip service to standards, so that they can gain inroads into governments’ procurement systems that demand open standard document support? If so, it means that they think all government officials are suckers and idiots.

If that’s not the case, then you’ll have to blame the Microsoft developers: are they so imcompetent that they cannot implement an open standard when everyone else and their grandmother has implemented it correctly? And it’s not as though they cannot see how the others have implemented it: OpenOffice is open source after all. Perhaps they will say ODF is not clear where spreadsheet formulas are concerned. Then how is it every other application is able to implement it correctly?

Filed in Outraged, Opinon, News, Software, Windows.


Google’s Greatest Fear and Archilles’ Heel: New Developments

November 20, 2008

Google’s archilles’ heel is its dependence on links to indicate authority of a website. Which is why it makes so much noise about paid links, whereas the other search engines don’t really care.

The newest fracas came about as a result of the formation of a new company that promises to connect link buyers with link sellers. Predictably, this brought out Matt Cutts, Google’s part time mouthpiece and full time web spam engineer, who denounced the practice as illegal or some such thing. In response, others like Jeremy Schoemaker, of Shoemoney fame, called out Google’s hypocrisy in the whole thing. It’s illegal when others do it, but when Google does it, and it still does it till this day, it’s not illegal.

I think everyone knows that Google is no longer the company it set out to be a few years ago. There is widespread sentiment that it’s now a monopoly abusing its power and engaging in the same bullying tactics we saw from Microsoft in its heyday.

Filed in Outraged, Opinion, Web Design, Advertising.


Monopolies: The Google Abuse of Power

October 22, 2008

Blogoscoped is on the rampage to expose a couple of what they regard as Google’s unfair practices as a monopoly:

  • Google Uses Public Service Ads to Link to Own Election Page – where Google uses other websites’ advertising space to advertise its election biases without paying them. They abuse a feature designed for other purposes to this end.
  • Another one where Google gets webmasters to treat Google specially while hypocritically saying that webmasters are to treat all visitors and bots the same.

They are not the first to try to expose Google’s hypocrisies. There are other examples having to do with how Google favors big companies by allowing them to spam the search engine index but penalizes small websites.

Filed in Outraged, Opinion, Advertising, Web Design.


Why Blu-Ray is in Decline

September 23, 2008

There’s a report that Blu-Ray is in decline, and the Blu-Ray backers are trying to boost its market share by giving away free Blu-Ray discs.

I have my personal computer-centric theory about why Blu-Ray can’t take off the way DVDs do. The software for Blu-Ray drives only work on Vista and not on XP. Look at the web statistics from all the sites. 2 or more years after Vista’s release, XP is still going strong and Vista is still bumping along the bottom of the barrel. This is in spite of the fact that Vista is installed on all new machines.

I’m personally not going to buy a Blu-Ray disc because I can only play it in a special Blu-Ray player attached to my TV. I can’t play it on my computer where I’m logged in most of the time. I don’t use Vista. Maybe there’re a lot of people out there like me.

Maybe they should take away the DRM from Blu-Ray so that the drives can work on XP and Linux. Then all the geeks and new computer owners will start buying Blu-Ray. And when the geeks start using something, you know they’ll influence the people around them.

Look what happened to Vista. Do you think it’s the computer n00bs that pan Vista? They don’t know any better. It’s the geeks that pan Vista. And that has a tremendous effect. Vista now has a horrendously bad reputation that Microsoft is struggling to undo. The geeks are the information guardians and movers in the modern Internet world.

You need the geeks.

And geeks don’t like DRM. And if they can’t run their free software to play Blu-Ray discs on their free OS like Linux or favorite OS like XP, they aren’t going to be buying Blu-Ray discs. And neither are those whom they influence.

Filed in News, Opinion, Entertainment.


RIAA Fears the Truth Coming Out

September 19, 2008

Most people following the questionable RIAA tactics will have heard of Ray Beckerman’s blog Recording Industry vs The People where he exposes the RIAA for what they really are. Ars Technica tells of a recent filing by RIAA accusing Ray of “vexatious litigation” saying that this is like the pot calling the kettle black. They quote EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann as saying “I find it a little perplexing that the recording industry would be complaining about Ray giving the other side of the story.”

But doesn’t that just show the flaws in RIAA’s case? If they were wholly operating aboveboard, they will have nothing to fear from other people given their side of the story. But when someone’s modus operandi is questionable, exposure is something they are afraid of. Their actions speak louder than words.

Other Posts on RIAA:

Filed in Outraged, Opinion, News, Entertainment.


Security and Administrative Problems with Google Chrome

September 6, 2008

My Review of Google Chrome

As implied in my previous post, I was going to try Chrome when it was released. Well I just did.

Impressions

  1. As a browser, it’s okay. I didn’t try many sites, but those I did rendered okay. I didn’t try to log into my account at Gmail or other AJAX intensive sites, but I guess Gmail should work fine, since it comes from the same company. But its JavaScript execution is supposed to be faster than the other browsers.

  2. There’s nothing ground-breaking about Chrome. Its features have been in Opera for a long time, so I guess I don’t have much to say about it. It doesn’t seem as configurable as Opera. Its options dialog box are sort of limited. And some options are scattered all over the place. For example, the only way you can configure the search engine list is to right click the address bar. You can’t find it in the Options dialog. Not very organized.

  3. I couldn’t test out the search box addition thing, mentioned in the Chrome tips for webmasters, on my blog, because (*sob*) I don’t have a search box on my blog. Now that I know about that, I’ll add the search widget to my blog when I have more time although I don’t even know if Chrome is going to be popular enough to warrant the effort.

Problems

  1. What I find interesting is that Gmail installs into “c:\Documents and Settings\YOUR-USERNAME\Local Settings\Application Data”. Yeah. The program, data, and everything. Look into “Program Files” and you’ll see nothing. Weirdest place for the installation of a program I ever saw. I’m sure Windows administrators will have something to grumble about. Imagine a shared office machine with 100 users. You’ll have to install 100 copies of Chrome just for each of them to use. Not to mention that installing in that directory circumvents the “Deny write” policies that administrators have for the “Program Files” directory, to protect the machine and users from themselves.

  2. Others have been saying that Chrome lends itself to the same carpet bombing security hole that plagues Safari. I’ve not tested it myself, but the basic idea is that websites can code their websites so as to make Chrome download any executable they want onto your system. Since the default download directory is the desktop, if they name an executable “My Computer” with the explorer icon, unsuspecting users may double-click it and install the virus on their system.

  3. Do you know that the installer sets up a Windows schedule so that Google Updater runs every 10 minutes? It runs whether or not Chrome is running. Every 10 minutes! Don’t believe me? Check your Windows scheduler.

  4. When I got tired of playing, I tried uninstalling it. Well, guess what. The Google Updater cannot be uninstalled. Or maybe it just got overlooked by the uninstaller. So even when Chrome is gone, the Updater still runs every 10 minutes.

Verdict

Chrome is good if all you’ve ever experienced is Internet Explorer and the default Firefox install. It probably won’t convert anyone using a Firefox with lots of extensions installed, or anyone using Opera. Those people are probably hard-core browser users with lots of customizations and depend heavily on the features of those browsers.

Chrome also has its flaws, but I guess Google is still new to the desktop application business, so I suppose the kinks will be worked out eventually.

Filed in Browsers, Software, Opinion.