Cool stuff in upcoming WordPress 3.6

WordPress 3.6 is not too far away, with the first beta already released last week.   WordPress VIP blog did a very nice and very visual overview of the changes and new features in the release.  For me personally, these are the highlights: log out notifications, better autosave, and a new look for post formats.

WordPress logout notification

Things that I still hope to see one day in WordPress are: some sort of standard for post formats (cross-theme support, mobile app support, etc), and easier way of development and deployment across multiple environments (dev/test/live servers, etc).  Regardless of my pending wishes, WordPress is still an awesome piece of software, which gets even more awesome with each release.

Annoying software

Slashdot is running the post about annoying software.  The fact that Slashdot crowd mostly consists of computer geeks is sort of a guarantee for some interesting comments.

With my Fedora 9 saga I had to review and try a lot of new software.  Needless to say, I found quite a few annoying bits.  Here is a brief list, just to give you an idea:

  • Clock applet in Gnome. It shows calendar with Sunday being first day of the week.  If you don’t like it, you’ll have to recompile your locale to change it. This one is cancelled out though by an excellent support of Google Calendar (or, for that matter, any other web published calendar).
  • Metacity window manager in Gnome. Window titles are displayed in the middle.  This is really annoying for those of us who are used to seeing them on the left.  There is no option to change this setting either in GUI or in GConf.
  • Pidgin new message notification. I once had it popping up nice looking bubbles, but I don’t remember how I managed to do it.  I also don’t remember how I managed to break it.  And I have no idea to bring them back.  I really miss them though.
  • WordPress 2.5 post editing screen. It has been much reworked in the latest version and looks and feels so much better. However, the list of categories was moved from a really convenient location on the right of the screen to a really inconvenient location at the bottom of the screen.
  • FileZilla FTP manager. This one drives me nuts with server connections.  It either disconnects every 40 seconds when being idle.  Or it keeps multiple connections open forever and most FTP servers block me out temporary.
  • Request Tracker (RT3). Works perfectly with queues and tickets, but annoys the heck out of me when I need to do something with users.  Users aren’t first level citizens, like tickets.
  • SugarCRM. Excellent business tool, with lots of small annoyances, like not being able to set default user role, disable theme selector everywhere, change logos to company ones, lock down the functionality, etc.  Most of these are easily fixable.  But some aren’t as trivial as they may sound or seem.
  • Google Reader. This one annoys me a bit (but often) when I want to leave a few items in the feed unread and go deeper into archives.  Somehow it keeps marking everything I passed as read.

Now, what piece of software were you annoyed with recently?

Hope to see more language controls in Google Reader

If you read this blog even for a short while, you probably know that I depend on many Google tools, such Gmail and Google Reader. As a power user, I believe I know pretty much everything these services have to offer. I also know a few things that these services don’t have on offer yet, but which I’d gladly welcomed.

I already mentioned a sharing of interesting items in Google Reader with your contacts. That’s a really nice feature. And you can even control which users you see shared items from. However, one important thing is missing in that functionality – language control.

You see, I don’t have that many friends who are using Google Reader and share items, but even those few that I have speak a total of 7 languages (Russian, English, Greek, French, Ukrainian, Dutch, and German). Not only they speak this languages, but they also share a lot of items in those languages. That is sort of useless, since I only know two languages – Russian and English. These two are enough to provide the common ground for communications with all of my friends.

So, what I would really like to see in Google Reader, is a new setting which would let me filter my friends’ shared items to only those languages that I can understand. I know this can be a bit tricky to implement (how does the system know in which language the shared item is? or, even, what should it do if shared item is in more than one language?), but it would be really helpful functionality. And a huge time saver too, since then I wouldn’t have to go through all those items that I have no understanding off and marking them as read.

Should such a feature appear, I’d like to see it taken to extreme. I should be able to automatically tag or do searches on content in specific language. This will give me a useful tool of comparing hype about the same topic in different language communities.

Gmail filter activity feature wish

Since my Gmail account gets all my mail from all my email address, I have a huge list of filters configured to sort all that mail the way I want.  After reading this post, I got a bit worried and went to check if there were any filters in my account that I haven’t created.

That was the moment when I got this idea for a new feature – filter activity report. This should work similar to how feed activity works in Google Reader.  With a tiny bit of statistics it easy to drop inactive feeds to clear up the  list of your subscriptions.  The same way, it should be easy to drop old and inactive filters from Gmail.  It should be pretty trivial to do.  Even interface-wise it should be pretty easy with something like “Last used on [insert date here]” indication near each filter in the filter management screen.

Passing forward with Google Reader

One of the cool things that can be done with the Google Reader (now that it integrates with Gtalk contacts), is proxying of items from one set of people to another via a common connection.  Consider, for example, my contact list with Person A and Person B, both of who don’t know each other, but share a common interest.  Person A is subscribed to Mega Feed RSS, which neither me, nor Person B is subscribed to.  One day there is a really cool post in the Mega Feed RSS, which Person A markes as “shared”.  Since Person A is in my contact list and I decided to see his shared items too, that item will popup in my Google Reader.  I’ll read it, and then decide that it is indeed a great post which some of my other contacts might be interested in.  Instead of annoying them all with an email, I’ll just mark it as “Shared” in my Google Reader, and this item will appear in Person B’s items from friends.

Here are the nice parts of the above process:

  • One news channel for everything – your news, and news from your friends.  No mixing of RSS items with emails and IMs.
  • No data duplication.  We don’t copy-paste and send the item over and over again.  Instead, we just share the same piece of data.
  • Control of the incoming streams in user hands.  If you don’t like the items someone is sharing, just “hide” the user via “Settings”.  Nobody is annoying anybody.
  • People in your contact list help you find the sources and content that you might be interested in.