Kim Ludvigsen

Postby Kim Ludvigsen » Sat Nov 06, 2004 7:02 pm

Your program irritated me so much, I removed it after two minutes.

I was looking for a RSS Reader to include in a magazine cd with a circulation of almost 200.000 copies. Sorry to say, it will not be your program.

Your yellow pop ups in the System Tray is not very funny, and I simply can't give our readers a program with such a "feature". Also it is too much trouble to add a new feed. It should be one click to subscribe.

I don't know how your program actually works, because I didn't get past the subscription process and the pop ups. Well I saw, that the newsfeed can only be updated once every hour - that's a bit of a let down also.

Sorry to say, I won't see your response to this. I just needed to blow some steam off after closing all the pop ups.

Regards Kim Ludvigsen

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Postby support » Sun Nov 07, 2004 2:40 am

Kim Ludvigsen wrote:Your yellow pop ups in the System Tray is not very funny, and I simply can't give our readers a program with such a "feature".


These are not popups. They are system tray alerts and are quite common in many programs (e.g. most instant messaging programs when somebody logins or wants to talk to you). Unlike popups, they go away after a short time. They can also be turned off if you want.

Kim Ludvigsen wrote:Also it is too much trouble to add a new feed. It should be one click to subscribe.


We agree but for this to happen, web publishers need to set up their web pages in such a way that any feed reader (not just Awasu) can respond to a click. The de facto standard for this is to use the feed:// protocol and Awasu supports this. There is also another technique described here and while this is reader-specific, Awasu recognizes the format used by several different other readers.

There is also something known as "auto-discovery" that lets web sites advertise the fact that they have an RSS feed which Awasu also recognizes and gives you the option to subscribe. Again, it requires web site publishers to make some very minor changes to their web pages.

Also, if you use Internet Explorer, you can right-click on a link and there is a new "Subscribe in Awasu" option.

Kim Ludvigsen wrote:I don't know how your program actually works, because I didn't get past the subscription process and the pop ups. Well I saw, that the newsfeed can only be updated once every hour - that's a bit of a let down also.


Channels can be updated at most once per hour in the free version but can be updated more frequently in the paid versions. Indeed, there are very few channels that update more than a few times a day and so configuring your reader to update them every 5 minutes is a huge waste of bandwidth. And that's the publisher's bandwidth (who has to pay for it), not yours.

Kim Ludvigsen wrote:I just needed to blow some steam off after closing all the pop ups.


As described earlier, the notifications close themselves and can be turned off if you wish.

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Postby squeg » Tue Nov 09, 2004 1:40 am

I don't think I can even express how angry I am that you could come to a public forum and write such utter crap without making any kind of real effort to 1. understand the software or 2. offer constructive criticism.

I'm a very satisfied Awasu user. It's relatively easy to use and highly customizable. Though I will say that I like awasu because of its power, not it's simplicity. Most any software worth bothering with is going to take more than two minutes to figure out how to use it properly. The basics should be (and are) easy to follow along with by default, but you should always spend a little time either fiddling or reading the directions to make sure you're using it to it's full power. By saying "I uninstalled this in two minutes" you're telling us that you didn't bother to read any of the directions nor did you bother to see if you could configure the software to behave in the way *you* (not necessarily other users) wanted it to.

Equally as important is the kind of feedback you can get when you have a problem. Awasu's support is unquestionably superb. I've recieved much less timely and/or accurate support for much more expensive products.

I hope you find the product that meets your needs. There are several that serve as nothing more than glorified news tickers, but at least they're easy to set up.

If the care you put into your magazine is anything like the care you obviously did not put into reviewing this product, then I feel sorry for your readers. I trust someone else must be doing the real work that keeps the subscribers paying.

Have a nice freaking day.

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Postby support » Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:50 am

Uh oh :-)

I was going to post something here to let people know how things transpired but I've been absolutely flat out on other stuff.

We managed to contact Mr. Ludvigsen by email and suggested that he check out our response. He was "really impressed" by it and the lengths to which we went to let him know. We exchanged several emails discussing the points that he raised, albeit in a slightly less steam-blowing manner :-), and while he stood by the essence of what he said, I would have to agree that some of it had merit.

In particular, having notification balloons on by default can be, and was, a source of confusion for people not used to them. In this case, the first item in the Awasu feed was this one and so it's understandable that someone could be annoyed by a program apparently popping up a ballon that said "Still having fun!" :-) :roll:

I explained that balloons have, in the past, been on until someone complained and so I turned them off. Then some other people complained so I turned them back on. This little incident has convinced me to turn them off and keep them off :-)

Yes, maybe he could've spent a bit of time exploring how the program worked but as we've said often enough, novice users are as much part of our target audience as hard-core power users and if he does things like this, it's a safe bet that others will too. For the record, he went with this one which is certainly a much simpler program. My feeling about programs like this is that while they may be fine for absolute novices at first, even absolute novices are likely to outgrow them fairly quickly. I think we all know how addictive RSS is, especially when you start to realize it can do a lot more than just bring you the day's Dilbert.

Having said all that, thanks so much for the support. It really is gratifying to know that people like our work enough to stand up like this and defend it. <small>The cheque's in the mail... :wink:</small>

mark

Postby mark » Wed Nov 10, 2004 2:26 pm

I agree. It took me 45 minutes to just figure out how to add a new feed. This program is nothing but a mass of confusion.

Mark

Postby Mark » Wed Nov 10, 2004 3:16 pm

I really have to make a few comments to squeg. I had exactly the same experience as Kim. Once I got past the pop-up that allowed a person to add some preconfigured channels, I was completely baffled. Naturally the first thing I wanted to do was add the channel I downloaded the Awasu program for. I couldn't find one thing that said "add new channel" or "add new feed". I was stumped. This should have been the first thing in the tool bar menu. After 45 minutes I finally stumbled upon the phrase "add new channel" in the custom menu. There were no instruction, but I finally tried dragging and dropping the commend onto the tool bar, which worked, and then I was finally able to add my own channel. I had tried going to the help center, but found only "Problems that can occur when subscribing to channels"; there was nothing about how to just simply add a channel. There also wasn't a search feature to look for topics, nor a direct email address to request assistance. I'll have to say that I feel exactly the same way Kim did. I want a program that will be easy to use for visitors to my website for viewing my own feed, and just don't see how I can refer them to Awasu.

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Postby squeg » Wed Nov 10, 2004 4:53 pm

I'm glad things turned more civil. I understand that Awasu has a ways to go before it becomes the perfect program for every user. (What program doesn't?) But it's a great program for many people, myself included. The first post was an attack without substance backing it up, made by a user that said flat out he hadn't really spent any time trying to work out his problem. It should have either been made privately where it could be addressed directly, or it should have contained a bit more information as to the nature of the problems encountered and a little less bile.

I understand that people get frustrated and don't always express that well. However, If I'd been in the original poster's shoes, i'd have sent the first message privately. I think the fact that the program's author was able to glean useful program advice from the situation goes a long way toward demonstrating why I think this is such a great product.

Mark, I understand that the program is complicated. And I know full well that there are things that can and will make the program better. I wasn't offended that fault had been found with the program. I was offended that someone who hadn't really bothered to expend any effort publicly criticized the program without giving a clear picture of what problems had been encountered. There was no chance of addressing the issues to fix them.

Still, I have to disagree about RSS feeds being difficult to add. Perhaps they are if you or your users are not familiar with the standard windows interface. I'll admit I'm a computer programmer and I've been using computers for 20-ish years, so I may be more likely to pick things up than the average novice user. Feel free to use the word "biased." But "file/new" is used in pretty much every application ever written on both the macintosh and windows platforms. So I'm not sure why anyone would have to spend very long at all figuring out how to add a feed.

But if someone went to the feature suggestion board (or wherever) and said, hey, I'm a new user and "I can't figure out how to add a feed, could you please make it simpler," I'd consider that valid criticism and advocate thinking about ways it could be made easier. I'm fully aware that just because I think everyone *should* know how to do "x," doesn't mean everyone will. In either case, I hope you can see how describing a problem you had with the software is different than saying this program is a heap of trash i can't be bothered to deal with.

Taka, Mr. Ludvigsen congratulations on working out your differences. I look forward to the continued evolution of a great product. It keeps getting better.

Mr. Ludvigsen I do hope you're able to find the software that works the way you want it to. At the rate things are going, a few months from now, this one may be it.

Mark

Postby Mark » Wed Nov 10, 2004 9:42 pm

I hate to beleaguer this issue. I mean it's just a program that has caused at least a couple some frustration. However, I must mention that the one thing that I was waiting for in your reply was for you to tell me that I was mistaken and there was an easy and obvious way to add a feed, but there was no such comment. It certainly wouldn't have been the first time that I had missed the obvious. There apparently is, in fact, no way to add a feed without customizing the tool bar first, and if this is so, it's simply inexcusable. It's like selling a car with the ignition switch "key hold" hidden or supplied as a custom feature. The most important thing wasn't to be found!

I'll have to say that it is certainly an amazing program it what it can do (now that I have had a little time to compare it to others). I may continue using it myself, but if I refer others to it I don't want them to get frustrated and give up before subscribing to my feed from my website, which for my purposes is the whole idea.

As far as Kim (or I) sending a private message, as I mentioned, I could not find a direct email to support, so requiring people to use a support forum is just asking for trouble. I now see that there is "PM's" at the top of this forum, so I'll assume that stands for "Private Messages's". But, being an abbreviation, it doesn't stand out and the meaning is not obvious.

I'll just add one more comment. After having difficulty with this program, I tried another and it said "Add Feed ..." right at the top, first thing in the tool bar, just as I had previously mentioned this program should have had, and I made my comment before having seen any other RSS reader program. In all fairness, I should mention that the other RSS reader program had some of its own short comings, and didn't nearly measure up to this one in it's level of sophistication.

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Postby squeg » Thu Nov 11, 2004 12:39 am

File menu: New Channel

or

Cntrl + N

both of those are windows standards for adding new things in an application.

I will agree though, Adding a "new" button as the first thing on the toolbar is a good suggestion.

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Postby support » Thu Nov 11, 2004 12:49 am

squeg wrote:File menu: New Channel

I will agree though, Adding a "new" button as the first thing on the toolbar is a good suggestion.


Yes, while File|New is standard, it's hard for techies to remember sometimes how mouse jockies work i.e. much more dependent on toolbars.

A button to create a new channel wasn't put there because I think only (very) commonly used functions should be in a toolbar. A toolbar with a squillion buttons is worse than no toolbar at all.

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Postby squeg » Thu Nov 11, 2004 1:05 am

support wrote:A button to create a new channel wasn't put there because I think only (very) commonly used functions should be in a toolbar. A toolbar with a squillion buttons is worse than no toolbar at all.


I generally agree with that, too. But sometimes I find that very important features deserve a button even if they're not used every day. Just to avoid something like this, I suppose. You can always pull it off once you get to know the program better. After all you do have a button for "about" which "everyone" knows is under help/about anyway and it's rarely something you push a button for. There are some other buttons on there (show plugins is one) that I think are both rarely used and not terribly important if you don't see them.

I guess my final argument for clarity would be that most applications have a new button on the toolbar. Now most applications are document based and have something that you create "new" instances of all the time. Which you may not feel applies to awasu. But in the first few days of owning the software, one of the most common tasks is adding new feeds. After that, if you've paid enough attention to learn how to modify things and you're annoyed by the button, you can always pull it off. Otherwise, it just continues to sit there and be occassionally useful. No harm in that.

Consider yourself lucky that I didn't ask for words on the buttons :) I actually prefer text on buttons when I start with a new program because it's faster to tell what to press than waiting for tool tips. (I hate waiting for tool tips. I favor instant response). Again, it's something you can generally turn off once you're comfortable with things, but it helps with the learning.

Anyway, just more opinions to sift through. :)

Mark

Postby Mark » Thu Nov 11, 2004 3:44 am

I'm glad to see that squeg has come over to my position and supports the idea of adding a new channel button to the tool bar. I really have to mention to both support and squeg that the "New channel..." in the file menu wasn't showing. It just said "open" "close" "synchronization" and "exit". I was just playing with it now and "New channel..." was still not showing, but showed only when the menu was extended by clicking the down arrows at the bottom. After opening and closing the File menu about 10 times it finally started showing at the top without having to extend the menu. So, I really don't know what's going on here causing the "New channel..." being reluctant to show. As I mentioned, when I first down loaded the program the only place I could find "New channel..." was in the "Customize" section and I dragged it over to the tool bar. I'm certainly not so inept that I wouldn't have clicked on the "File" menu. I did (many times), but "New channel..." simply wasn't there. There appears to be a glitch somewhere in the display of menu commands.

Another good place to have put a "New channel" button would have been the "My channels" section in what is called the "Control Center", thus consolidating the channel functions in an area where everyone must go to use the channels.

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Postby support » Thu Nov 11, 2004 8:51 am

Mark wrote:After opening and closing the File menu about 10 times it finally started showing at the top without having to extend the menu. So, I really don't know what's going on here causing the "New channel..." being reluctant to show.


Sigh... :-( This is another thing that has been on and off in the past. This is a new-fangled Microsoft thing where apps like to hide menu items that are rarely used. Personally I can't stand it but it's prevalent in MS apps. I'll turn that off as well.

You can turn this feature off by going to the Tools|Customize dialog, Options tab. Then turn off personalized menus. There are a bunch of menu items that Awasu forces to be always present - I'm not sure why File|New wasn't appearing in your case. Once we make our first million, we'll be able to spend the dough on usability testing that Microsoft does... :-) :roll:

Mark wrote:Another good place to have put a "New channel" button would have been the "My channels" section in what is called the "Control Center", thus consolidating the channel functions in an area where everyone must go to use the channels.


"New channel" is available in the right-click menu in the My Channels window. My Channels will be extended soon to have its own mini toolbar and yep, "New channel" will be right in there :-)

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Postby support » Sat Nov 13, 2004 11:40 am

Mark wrote: I could not find a direct email to support, so requiring people to use a support forum is just asking for trouble.


There is a email link in the left-hand navigation bar on every page in the main website. Admittedly, there's no link in the forums but if you're in the forums already, you can just post something there :-)).

While we don't require people to use the forums, we certainly encourage it. Given the amount of email I receive every day, using email would definitely be asking for trouble :roll: And indeed, for a program that people get for free, insisting on personal email support is perhaps asking a bit much.

There are also items in Awasu's help menu that links here to the forums, FAQ and help. There used to be one for email but as I said above, email support is just unworkable these days. So I would say there are plenty of (easily accesible) channels to finding out how things work and asking questions :-)

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Postby squeg » Tue Nov 16, 2004 12:56 am

I"m afraid he's responding to me there, as I suggested that it would be more appropriate to post what sounded non-constructive flaming in a private manner rather than publicly on the board. But that's really my just based on my own opinions concerning propriety and fair play. I'd never post a flaming rant unless I'd exhausted my other options and legitimately thought that other users should be warned. Honestly, that was a big reason for my ire. But I suppose I could be old fashioned. :)


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