So here we are in 2010 and Microsoft SkyDrive is still sitting around not doing much. Yes, you can now edit Excel and PowerPoint files online, but Word, the tool that most of the world still has to use, is still unavailable for editing. Also, when you view your Documents folder, you have no option to select multiple files at the same time and perform an action to all of the files at once….in 2010…from the biggest software company ever.
They must be devoting a paltry amount of money and time to this service. Then, there is Office Live Workspace, which offers a better view of files, albeit one that looks like SharePoint in the cloud. Still, there is no ability to edit the document outside of Word on your local PC. What is the deal? Google Docs, which does not have as good an interface as Word, is still able to do all these things and has been for some time.
The issue can’t be ability, because Microsoft has to have the capabilities to do these seemingly simple tasks. Is Microsoft undergoing internal debates about how user-friendly to make these services and thereby taking forever to improve them? After all, who would really want to pay for Office anymore if we have the ability to do everything on SkyDrive, Office Live or some future combination of all these weird services in combination with free stuff like OpenOffice, Adobe Acrobat.com and Google Apps? But that is the future, whether Microsoft fights it or plays along. If they don’t want to make it available, Google will just keep cleaning their clock, even though Google’s interface and icons are corny and cartoonish at this point.
Either way, looking at SkyDrive and all of Windows Live you get the feel of 2004 or so. It looks like no one has thought about it much, it doesn’t work well, it seems poorly designed and it is ugly. Maybe this will all change. I hope so because I’d like to use it more.
Since I have a little used Sky Drive account I checked to see if I qualified for the roll-out today of Office Live (Office 10 online) which competes with Google Docs and Acrobat.com (Buzzword). I also have an Office Live Spaces account which I only use to see what it does. Anyway, I do indeed have an invite to use Office Live. Right now I can only create and edit Powerpoint and Excel files. All I want to do is edit Word files, so I’m impatient to see how that works.
I think Adobe might also be doing a Buzzword update tonight, and I find that more interesting right now. It makes sense however that Office Live will use Skydrive as storage and Spaces as a kind of online SharePoint.
There’s a lot of talk out there about the fate of newspapers, how we get our news, and things like that. I go to Drudge for my first pass at news, then to the NY Times. Why read the Times? Not because I like it or agree with it, I don’t. Their coverage is awful and their inherent anti-Jesus bias shines through all the time. The reason I read their stuff is simply because I find their site the easiest to use and the most like what I want an online paper to look like.
Every other news site that I look at suffers from horrible design and an ugly interface. I occasionally look at the Washington Post, but it’s an awful site. Bad colors, links all over the place in an illogical order, and bad flash content. The Washington Times is worse, with too much static content, bad pictures and overwhelming adds. The Wall Street Journal is dark, heavy and hard to navigate. Some of the London papers are ok and the Financial Times is ok if you can get past the color scheme.
But the NY Times has a simple, clean design. The stories are grouped logically by section and the whole homepage looks like a paper, with the pictures in the middle acting as the fold of a printed newspaper. I know where everything is and it stays there. The pictures and photo essays are superb and I love looking at them. I hate their politics and their point of view, but it’s usable. That’s the only reason I read it.
If these papers want to flourish online, they need to invest some serious time and money in design. If they get clean designs and usable sites, they will have a chance to flourish online. I don’t know about the printed versions surviving, but maybe the e-plastic reader or some other form of digital ink will save them in time.
If you have an account with Adobe online and you want to delete it, you’ll find no instructions on how to do so. At least, I didn’t find any. So I asked about it, and here is how you do it:
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the email, include the following:
Customer First and Last Name:
Customer ID Number: [if you know it]
Customer email address:
They should get it done within a week or so.