Tech Frustrations

I'm sitting here in pieces, and you're having delusions of grandeur!I hate it when I become dependent on a piece of technology and its creator decides to stop updating it. I feel kind of lost and directionless. I have been frustrated trying to find methods of keeping up with replies to comments I leave on blogs without subscribing to a bunch of comment RSS feeds that will clog up my feed reader. So as a result, I feel like I have just dropped out of the conversations I start. I used coComment‘s Firefox extension. It was great. Every time someone replied to a comment thread in which I had left a comment, the little coComment button turned orange. New comments! I could easily go check them and see if any of the replies were to me, and I could continue the discussion if they were. After Firefox 4.0 came out, coComment was broken. It’s been like that since March, and despite several comments in their help forums, no one representing coComment has said whether they intend to update the extension or let it die. And I can’t find an alternative. You know of one? If so, please, please tell me about it. Some folks allow you to subscribe to replies via email, but not everyone has that feature enabled on their blogs.

Another frustration: I used to use a WordPress plugin called Apture to add links to all kinds of content. I could click on a button in my post editor, and I could search for information on the Web using a variety of search engines and easily link to books on Amazon or Wikipedia articles. I thought it was great because it made writing posts a snap. Then Apture decided not enough people were using the plugin, and they pulled it. It didn’t even work if you already had it installed. I was not alone in my frustration on this one, but it looks like the folks at Apture felt that what users liked most was the Apture Highlights, which allow readers to highlight text and search right from your page without leaving it. Well, I don’t care because I can always open a new tab rather than leave a site. What I liked was the ability to easily create posts that had links to relevant material. I found a great Amazon plugin called WordPress Amazon Associate that enables me to easily link to books and other items for sale at Amazon the same way that Apture did, but there is not another plugin that does everything Apture did.

I think a lot of Delicious users had a similar panic attack when it was announced that Yahoo intended to “sunset” Delicious. After Chad Hurley and Steve Chen acquired Delicious, users had a reprieve from losing a social bookmarking service they loved (I had moved on to Diigo and cross-posted links at Delicious so that anyone subscribing to my Delicious bookmarks would still receive them).

It is anyone’s prerogative to take their toys and go home, I guess, but I just find it frustrating when I really enjoyed playing with those toys and can’t find any like them to have for my own. I also don’t know how to build them myself—which is a fixable problem, but a one that will not be fixed without a whole lot of work.

Creative Commons License photo credit: pinkpurse

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4 thoughts on “Tech Frustrations

  1. I use grading software called Easy Grade pro. It's a great program that does a gradebook elegantly. It also has a mobile component where you can collect grades from a mobile device then sync it with your computer. What mobile devices do they support? Six years ago the proudly supported Windows CE and Palm OS (pre Web OS) and I used a Palm computer for this function. What mobile devices do they support now? Windows CE and Palm OS.

    What annoys me is that the program has moved on in other ways. I've pestered these people about an iPhone/iPad version and they keep saying, “One is in development.” Holly mackerel, what are they waiting for, the market to mature? Meanwhile, I still have to carry an ancient Palm computer in my pocket. (Hey, it plays Minefield!)

  2. It's particularly irksome for those of us in education who frequently make tech-related decisions based on what will help us help others. For tech companies, decisions are based on dollars. When altruism and capitalism butt heads … well, I don't want to say it.

    • Loud and clear, Gary. Very frustrating. What I find particularly frustrating about Apture is that several people offered to take on the plugin or pay for it, and Apture just wasn't willing to entertain it as an option. I don't know what coComment's deal is.

      Actually, you made me think about Ning. Same kinds of issues.

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