Thursday, August 31, 2006

web app reviews + book review

If there is one book every person must read this summer - or, er, fall - it's Freakonomics. If you've already read it, read it again. I'll be quoting from this book in future blogs, there are some really fascinating excerpts to digest. The premise is basically that conventional wisdom doesn't explain reality - human self-interest does, and the numbers prove it. Go. Read. This. Book. Now.

I like Gmail but have not migrated to it as my primary mail client, mainly because Y! Mail is just good enough and I'm too lazy to make the transition. However, some migrations are worthwhile, more on that below.

New Y! Mail Beta
I've tried the new Y! Mail Beta and while I think it's nice that it's following the "Outlook UI" (clean and powerful)... it's just too damn slow. Within a few days I had switched back to the old Y! Mail. Why? Because of performance. The new UI isn't worth the slow performance hit.

Google Calendar
The most impressive user interface I've used in a long, long time. I'm not the most savvy web calendar user, so maybe there are some great internet calendar apps out there that are better or that Google is copping from, but this thing blew me away. Love the color labelling mutliple calendar feature and it's a very straightforward UI. Can't say enough good things. One drawback is my general complaint on Ajax - yes, it's fast but it can be buggy and sometimes I'm not sure if something has been stored or not. Makes for some annoying run arounds. But I was so impressed with this product that I manually transferred all my datebook data from my Palm Desktop app to Google Calendar. And it's already worth it.

Firefox 2.0b2
Two steps foward, no steps back. The new icons are nice, but so were the old ones. At least it wasn't a step down, but not a huge improvement either. (When it comes to icon design my motto is "as long as it doesn't suck." Harder said than done.) Fading out the tabs is brilliant - it differentiates them from the browser chrome. Giving each individual tab a delete "x" button is a no-brainer, allowing for users to delete a tab they're not presently viewing. Also nice is if you click on a link that opens a new tab, then deleting that tab pops you back to the original tab. If you don't know what I mean, too bad, I don't want to try to explain it any better.
I'm a recent convert to Digg. Apparently it's a brand new web design which is also quite nice.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Agree that Freakonomics is a great read. But I think my "must read" book of the last couple years is Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared Diamond. Check it out sometime.