East of the Sun, West of the Moon

2009/8/4

What were they thinking?

Filed under: OS X,Software — Erwin @ 3:45 pm

86327111-C9D5-4845-B653-C451262D0653.jpgI’m annoyed and confused about NewsGator/NetNewsWire’s recent actions.

For starters, I’ve been a happy NetNewsWire user for several years. It was recommended to me when I started with OS X on a Mac Mini (the original PPC version) when it was still developed independently and had a lite and full (for pay) version. I paid for the full version.

When Brent joined forces with NewsGator, not much changed for me, I just continued to use it and enjoy occasional updates. Later on NewsGator decided to give away the clients for free and just charge for premium services, which I couldn’t exactly complain about.

Then the iPhone came along and Brent released a NNW version for it. After some trial and error I found the best way for me to use it was to sync my feed list to the NewsGator servers, let them deal with the feed-checks (except for a few local-only feeds), have some feeds only visible on the desktop version and the rest on the iPhone version, and push entries to the desktop for later reading or sharing with the clippings feature.

Along comes this blog entry: NewsGator Consumer RSS Reader Product Changes & Google Sync

They’re trying to spin this as an improvement, but so far it’s all downgrades as far as I can tell:

  • The new beta release of NNW has ads and a premium version will be created but isn’t available yet.
  • Users will have to create an account with Google Reader.
  • They are discontinuing their own sync service.
  • They are discontinuing support for syncing with mobile.me (and if you want to continue to use a version that does support that, you can never upgrade).
  • They give a deadline of one month.
  • The iPhone version doesn’t seem to be ready yet, let alone approved or available in the iTunes store.
  • The clippings feature will be discontinued because Google Reader doesn’t have something that matches it.
  • Google Reader apparently doesn’t support authenticated feeds either, which is something else I need.

What were they thinking?!

  1. The client versions are unfinished or not even available and you give us a month to switch?
  2. Have these people not dealt with software development before? Testing and bug fixing always takes longer than you want/expect.
  3. Have these people not worked with the iPhone App store before? Approval times have been unreliable/unpredictable, you can’t set such deadlines unless your app has actually already been approved.
  4. Removing one feature before the replacement (such as it is) has even been finished, polished?

Obviously they’ve been receiving a lot of similarly sounding feedback and it seems they’re scrambling to fix a few of these issues but it really feels like this was an incredibly poorly thought out rush job.

Their blog post started out with You spoke and we listened: In response to customer demand … but I certainly don’t recall ever asking for essential features to be ripped out like this. What are they not telling us?

I like NNW, and I like the openness with which Brent has been developing it but it this is really the direction that they’re going, I guess I’ll have to move on to something else.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress