The total lack of branding for Google Reader shown above I think sums up the level of effort that Google have been willing put into the product in the last few years (and possibly longer). Really, it has been the red-headed step child; a science fair project gone bad. And while the infamous “Beta” tag doesn’t seem to be present, it surely feels like that’s how it has been viewed internally, which may explain why the Google Reader web interface is so lacking.
You wouldn’t think then that anybody would care if this product were killed off, yet when Google announced the imminent demise of Google Reader, the Twitterverse went crazy; the bloggers complained, and pages started popping up all over the place answering the question “What is the best alternative to Google Reader?”
So why do so many people seem to love this criminally under-maintained product?
This isn’t a typical topic for me, but if you are running a website or blog and you don’t know what apple-touch-icon is, you really need to read on as you’re missing a key part of your website branding.
I had the pleasure this weekend of being one of the judges for my county’s Educational Technology Fair (the winners of which then feed up to the state Educational Tech Fair). Students from across the county bring their creations to the hosting school and get a chance to show off what they’ve created – things like Web 2.0, animated multimedia, 3D computer modelling, robotics, digital photography, programming, and more – the same categories that are used in the Georgia Educational Technology Fair. Different from a Science Fair where the end project is what’s being judged, Tech Fair judges interview the students about the projects and what they learned in the process – which also gives us a chance to understand how deeply the student understands their project.
I have been a judge for the last four years now – it’s exhausting mentally, verbally, and physically, but it’s wonderful to see some of the amazing ideas that children have, and the things they can create. You might not think that kids in grades 3-12 would be capable of writing Python scripts, mastering Photoshop or building complex robotic devices, but I’m amazed every year at how advanced some of the projects are.
Behind every great person – to paraphrase the common saying – is another person. So, with enough wisdom to firmly discount the word “great”, I’d like to offer up a sincere New Year’s toast to all those who patiently support us selfish idiots in the networking industry.
I’m stating the obvious here perhaps, but every time a temporary solution to a network problem is proposed, I feel morally obliged to laugh and say “And by ‘Temporary’, you mean ‘Permanent’.” This usually leads to a round of indignation about how of course it doesn’t mean that, and in a few weeks they will go back and clean up whatever the temporary solution was and put in the more complex long term solution.
But you and I both know that won’t happen, don’t we?