Apple to create Feedback Forum.

Recently I’ve submitted a few suggestions to iTunes support forum. But I was informed, that for suggestions I have to use http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html form.
I feel slightly uncomfortable, that I can’t check later, what I submitted. 

So I proposed to Apple to create Feedback Forum.

    

 It will be good to have a forum for feedback similar to what you have for support.
 1.It will allow me as a customer  to check what I suggested and edit/append new considerations. 
 2.It will allow othe customers to read my suggestions and vote if they like/ dislike the idea, as well as add more details to the idea.
 3.It will allow you to provide information about status the idea, is it accepted and when it will be implemented.

Case insensitive StringHelper.EnsureEndsWith

I’ve created an extension  method for string 
     
public static string EnsureEndsWith(this string str,string sEndValue,bool ignoreCase=true)
        {
            if (!str.EndsWith(sEndValue, ignoreCase, CultureInfo.InvariantCulture))
            {
                str = str + sEndValue;
            }
            return str;
        }

I stopped to use GoogleDrive in favor to EverNote.


For a long time I’ve used Google Docs to write different notes, collect links for search and drafts of my posts.

Later on IPad I’ve started to use EverNote. The main advantage for me was that EverNote allows to create new notes when offline and even for normal account usually allow access existing notes (but sometimes telling that a note is not available). And since EverNote implemented auto save on IPad, I stopped using Google Drive. I am able to use EverNote Desktop on home and work PCs, from different browsers, from IPad and Windows Phone.

Additional very convenient tool on IPad is EverClip ( http://clip.ignition.hk/?locale=en&utm_source=homepage ), that copies text together with the URL(from Browser page) to notes. I am missing similar facility in PC browsers.

Yesterday I’ve copied one of my old documents to Evernote and found, that links in the document are broken and cause error like the following:

404. That’s an error.
The requested URL /http%3A%2F%2Fstackoverflow.com%2Fquestions%2F3110456%2Fpostsharp-build-targets-not-running-when-using-debug-configuration was not found on this server. That’s all we know.

So Google Drive stores URL in encoded format, which making harder to copy texts with links. It’s easy to fix, but annoying. Hopefully I would not need to copy many files from Google Drive.v

From Pocket to Instapaper

Some time ago I’ve described the issues that I’ve had since a new version of Read It Later, named Pocket, was introduced.
I’ve waited with hope for a new upgrade, but I had a huge disappointment with the latest version 16 June 2012. It didn’t fixed any of the two major problems, that I  experienced since new Pocket was introduced-

 

1. iPad app still didn’t show many of the saved links.


2. ability to rename articles on iPad still wasn’t restored.
I’ve posted the message into their forum. They did not show my comment on their forum( I would name it censorship, not moderation), but a few days ago I’ve received an email, recommending
“try logging out of the app on your iPad, and back in again.” Their suggestion helped,  but I don’t understand, why it is not posted as a recommendation on their support site.

So I decided to try InstAPaper on my iPad, Previously I’ve used it for Kindle. I never considered it before on iPad, because there were no free demo and I was very satisfied with RIL free and then RIL Pro. Currently InstAPaper cost $3, so the price is not an issue.

I’ve checked that it has most of features that I am using(e.g. renaming, folders) and I am quite happy with it now. Actually I am using Pocket (or RIL free) for old bookmarks( I have 1000+ stored on my iPad) and for new bookmarks I am using InstAPaper.

Having a solid experience with RIL/Pocket I’ve created a list of suggestions to Marco Arment to implement.
1. Some pages stored in InstAPaper have removed essential sections of the text. E.g in many blogs comments are not stored in  InstAPaper.
Some pages lost almost all of important links (e.g. http://www.lib.rus.ec/a/32416 -sorry, in Russian). RIL/Pocket has 2 modes to store offline- Web view and Article view. Web View includes all links/images of the original page, but it’s very reliable. Article view suppose to strip unrelated information, but often corrupts the content. I prefer to use offline Web view.
InstAPaper should also support offline Web view, in case if stripped view removes important part of content.

2.  Black full screen Saving on iPad Safari is very annoying. After user pressed a bookmark, the saving has some delay and then for a few seconds prevents from reading the text.Would be better to show as message on the top part(as in Pocket ). I am surprised, that  a full screen popup was  implemented recently as a desired feature.

3.There are no comments allowed on http://blog.instapaper.com/. I would prefer to post some of these notes as comments on http://blog.instapaper.com/ rather than write them in my blog and then send link to Marco.(I found recommendation how to add support of comments on tumblr at http://www.tumblr.com/help, but then realized that Marko was the lead developer ofTumblr.)

4. Also there is no support forum. I understand that maintenance of the forum ican be a hassle, but stackexchange fSome time ago I’ve described the issues that I’ve had since a new version of Read It Later, named Pocket, was introduced.
I’ve waited with hope for a new upgrade, but I had a huge disappointment with the latest version 16 June 2012. It didn’t fixed any of the two major problems, that I  experienced since new Pocket was introduced-
orums can be referred on  http://www.instapaper.com/main/support page, i.e.
http://webapps.stackexchange.com/search?q=Instapaper  or http://apple.stackexchange.com/search?q=Instapaper

5. Tags are more convenient than folders. i.e. an ability for the same article to have more than one tag. Also creating of new folders is not supported offline, which is an annoying limitation.

6. I would like to have a narrow list – additionally to existing list modes have a subject only list or subject+site list to show more list items on a screen.
7. Limit of 500 offline articles sounds quite big, but my RIL list exceeded 1000, so it could be a issue in the future.
8. Search button on iPad version is visible, but doesn’t work- it forces to buy Premium subscription. I think, that it’s not correct. If the button in a paid version is visible and enabled, it should  provide  a working functionality, e.g. search in article names only. And leave full-text search for the premium support.
9..Copy URL is an important operation and deserves to be in a first level of Action menu, rather than in Share sub-menu.


I’ve also have comment re post http://www.marco.org/2011/04/28/removed-instapaper-free. Marco Arment  explained, why he doesn’t provide free version of Instapaper.  I believe that he is loosing essential part of his customers. When I decided which of iPad application to choose, I’ve selected RIL, because I was able to play with free version, and I liked it. I didn’t have a chance to compare RIL and InstAPaper on iPad, so I’ve bought  RIL pro. For a user there is no point to pay even $3 , if there are similar free product, that user can try and see, is it suitable for him/her.


I’ve also played with Readability. It doesn’t have folders or tags(which is very important for me), but nicely supports full text search

“Read It Later Pro” has been ruined into Pocket, but RIL Free is still usable.

I loved RIL Pro for iPad and used it every day, but about a month ago I was forced to upgrade to new version, named Pocket.
The new version has so many problems, that it’s almost unusable.
The main issue is that iPad app doesn’t show many of the saved links. 
I’ve posted my opinion that it would be better to have  Pocket as a new separate application and recommend users to install it side by side with RIL Pro and try before replace at Pocket forum  APR 20, 2012 
I found that there a many other threads that report different issues with a new version and I’ve posted a few comments, supporting suggestions to fix the issues, that were broken by the Pocket.(e.g. here)
 Pocket agents answered only a  small number of questions, and many of their answers were unreasonable- like “We removed this feature because it is not convenient for our future plans”
Example of this is still stored in Google cache

24Apr I’ve posted a request to restore RIL Pro in AppStore until they will fix the problems in pocket.
From 27 April they introduced moderation on the public forum and stopped show new posts.
Actually “moderation” is not a correct work, it’s converted the forum into Q&A site, where they show only posts with answers that they like.
Furthermore they removed many discussion threads that existed on the forum before the “moderation”.
When I pointed to this in email, the answer was un-reasonable-that their forum is actually not a forum, but “a helpful support site where users can get their questions answered”
In fact users post public questions and do not see them posted for a week or forever.
For couple of my questions I received email starting with the words
    “An agent has responded to your question (Link to Question<http://readitlater.assistly.com/customer/portal/questions/306173-sync-in-ril-free-stopped-working>).”
But the link is not working, because they deleted the discussion from the forum.
At the beginning of May Pocket support answered that the  “known issue with a partial list sync” is addressed and will be in the next upgrade.
Despite the statement in upgrade notes, next upgrade didn’t help with the problem(at least for me).
Support  replied to me, that  “it seems as though a small handful of users are still experiencing this sync discrepancy.”
27Apr I’ve reported that “Sync in RIL Free stopped working” and it was on forum at least until 6 May(according Google cache)
10 May I received a reply via email(but post has been removed from the forum)
“The fix is to log out of Read It Later Free, and then log back in. Although your local cache will be cleared, the app will go through your list and re-download your items.”
 It was the first useful advice after introducing Pocket. Now I am able to use RIL Free. With all it’s limitation RIL Free is in much more workable conditions, than Pocket. It shows all articles that I’ve saved and it allowed to rename titles. The only feature from RIL Pro, that I really missing, is the ability to filter only untagged articles.
So now I can read all my saved articles in RIL Free and wait until they will fix the Pocket.
The conclusion I’ve had is that the Pocket company doesn’t respect their customers, and I should not rely on their products too much. However the application is quite convenient, and I am familiar with it, so I will continue to use it. 
The company’s  behaviour reminds me how Google changed layout of iGoogle tabs and ignored hundreds of complains. Note that recently (4 years later) Google returned to layout similar to original.


Put reusable code into libraries to share between projects

I’ve recently read the post The Mooney Project » Reusable Code Is Bad.

Also I disagree with the title of the post, most of the issues in the text are valid and important.
Mike Mooney is mostly talking of creating customizable applications, that have hundreds of configuration settings.
Most close to my opinion is a comment from Geoff H
 

Design libraries for reuse, glue code to bind together, and logic code to call libraries through the glue.

When I am writing  an individual method, I am asking myself, how generic is the logic, is it only be useful for this feature, or to different parts of my application, or can be used as an extension of .Net framework.  Depending on this , I will move the common logic to one or another of my libraries. Sometimes, when I will looking to which class/dll should I add this new method, I will recognize, that our library already has the same or very similar method, and I don’t need to write it again.

Google Documents have very limited table support

I am using Google Documents for text editing and generally it works quite well.

However I’ve found, that table support is very limited.
I’ve tried to copy and paste single row of the table, but didn’t found how to do it properly.(the issue was reported to Google almost 3 years ago)
I’ve switched to Google new spreadsheet and done my table quite easy.
However when I tried to paste it to Google doc, it was copied as plain text, not as a table(the issue also was reported more than 2 years ago).
Finally I’ve pasted Google spreadsheet into MS Word(it also was copied as plain text),in MS Word converted text to table, then copied the table from MS Word document and posted it to Google Document.
 
It is a long way to copy table from one Google application to another with the help of MS Word.

I’ve reported the problem http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Docs/thread?tid=78095efa3f482655&hl=en but I do not expect an answer.

It’s funny that Google Docs Known Issues are listed on 1 small page (only 8 known issues.