Since everyone was worried about their jobs in 2002, not a huge amount of attention has been paid to technology this year. This doesn’t excuse software developers from the following list of products/technologies I still CAN’T BELIEVE haven’t been done well. In the vein of Holy Shit Lists, this list could be considered a brief WHAT THE HELL? list.
The problem: The bookmark format has, essentially, not changed since Netscape 3.x – this an atrocity. In Internet Explorer 6, I’m still baffled about how to move one bookmark to another without firing up the tremendously useful “Organize Favorites” dialog.
Both IE and Mozilla variants have sidebar windows which present bookmarks/favorites in a more scalable, search form, but it’s STILL the same old boring bookmark format.
The glimmer of hope: I’m seriously hopped on RSS kool-aid as of recent which means I’m seeing all solutions to problems in terms of RSS, but I do think RSS feeds will totally replace bookmarks in the next several years. Why? They do what bookmarks should have done long ago – they’re dynamic. If I tell my RSS reader that I care about this feed, the reader regular checks that feed for new stuff and tells me where that new stuff is.
While RSS popularity growing, RSS readers while have the same issues of scale that bookmarks have/did. Fortunately, there are very bright people devoting entire applications to the cause.
Centralized, OS independent storage.
The problem: I’m officially a two operating system guy. I’m using XP half the time and Mac OS X the other. This means I’m reading and finding stuff on one machine that I must have on the other. There are a variety of nuts and bolts ways to do this (FTP, Network Home Directories, iDisk), but solutions tend to be OS dependant and when they try to bridge the gap, the integration bugs make them annoying to use.
Why it’s hard & the glimmer of hope: Both Microsoft and Apple spent the 90s and the early 00s fortifying their operating system fortresses against incursion making sure the inhabitants were content while blissfully ignoring other fortresses. Problem with that scenario is the inhabitants start to inbreed and then the offspring get weird. Thanks to the Net and the United States government, Microsoft appears to be open the portcullis and acknowledging that integration is a good thing. Meanwhile, as a survival tactic, Apple’s Jaguar has a bevy of bridge gapping features geared at making Mac’s useful in a Windows environment.
The worth-mentioning glimmer of hope: I haven’t used WebDAV, but “folks who know” claim it’s a step in the right direction. Great, so when are Microsoft and Apple going to build seamless access into the OS?
Centralized, OS independent identity caching.
Riding on the centralized storage idea, I’d also like a secure way to store my identity and preferences. Microsoft has blown millions on trying to do this with Passport, but, in my opinion, consumers (and, more importantly, businesses) have avoided it. Bright move.
Sun’s Liberty Alliance hasn’t been in on my radar for months, but a quick glimpse of their site shows they’ve got a FLASH demonstration of what their 1.0 specification will provide. Go Sun?
The glimmer of hope: Privacy advocates are justified in being concerned about identity caching mechanisms. I am happy they are super paranoid about this stuff because I just don’t have time to be rabid enough. Still, there is a solution out there and the personal productivity gains I’ll reap by not having to remember one of a dozen passwords I currently have in play are significant.
Ok, what’d I miss?