more coming eventually
You will find a huge number of reviews here. Pick any topic, then build a tag off of it.
Some are fairly minimal, and I call those "glances". Unfortunately the tagging isn't particularly good, as I've often tagged something as both "reviews" and "glances".
I've done a lot of work elsewhere in the wide world of software. Some of the notes are in scattered archives of email, paper notes or random textfiles. When I get around to finding and tidying up notes, they'll eventually find themselves here.
On software reviews ∞
- This was old even when I first hobbled this together in the early 2000s from even earlier sources.
TODO - Discuss software going through phases of being good and being bad.
- The first impression of a piece of software is always delivered by third-party bias. Generally speaking, a piece of software is compared to it's peers and examined by reviewers and archives.
- The second impression is given by the main website itself: News, information, screenshots, self-reviews, self-comparison to peers, etc.
The third impression is finally granted when the item in question is sought out for download and installed and the last impression is when it is run and examined.
Quite frankly, I don't want to review crap anyways, so (these days) bias will usually block my looking at a piece of software in the first place.
- First Impression
Often based on what libraries something uses, or what competition is out there, or how much I really need to change what tool I use. Sometimes I have to care because there isn't much competition for solving my problem.
- Second Impression
TODO - Link to the webmastery text and rants of crappy websites.. also discuss problems with compatibility with crap Flash sites etc.
- Simplicity and ease of use
- Self review with screenshots
- Comparison to it's peers
- Especially a version number and date, because it's really annoying to learn that a project has basically been abandoned.
- Bug list
- Todo list
User bug / todo submissions / author contact
- Third Impression
Acquiring and Installing
TODO - discuss problems with downloading with java downloads or with other things which aren't download-manager friendly.
TODO - discuss one-file programs, how reliance on outside libraries sucks, ease of installation relocation and uninstallation.
- Fourth Impression
- Look and feel, speed
- Expected functions and hotkeys - is anything blatantly missing
- The ability to remove bloat and improve speed
TODO - also discuss availability / compatibility to other platforms / OS'.
I am sick and tired of software; from operating systems right on down to "productivity software", they are all pieces of steaming dung. /tag/reviews is devoted to my jaded opinions on software. I doubt anyone on earth would be able to implement my various ideas.. but there are real gems in some of my comments. If you are a software developer with godlike skill / resources and don't know what to work on, or want to make yourself legendary - talk to me, we can make music.
When I first started doing reviews I would contact and work with developers on issues, with some inspiring and informing both major and minor changes.
There are a number of problems with software:
- They are nice, but aren't user-friendly, and are therefore effectively useless.
They are great, but get updated out of existence.
Software which has built-in obsolescence.
- Most consumer products are built to outlive their warranty, but just barely. They break down ON PURPOSE. Yes, that's right, cars can be built to never rust, and require nearly no maintenance, but noo.. that just wouldn't be profitable, would it? Well software is built around a conspiracy of upgrading.. coinciding with hardware which is just able to keep up to the latest fashion. On top of that, software is specifically targeted to go out of date by not being compatible with upcoming hardware and software, not having available drivers, compatibility issues with newer stuff.. How well supported is WordPerfect for DOS? Microsoft Word for DOS? Sure there's a userbase, even a technically inclined one.. but what happens when you can't pull up a DOS box in Windows 2999? You're forced to ditch the software, or go through extreme measures to use perfectly functional software which was earmarked for obsolescence (like Virtualization). Warranties, technical support, product updates, bugfixes, drivers, etc.. they are all ignored after a fashion. Not because the software is no longer useful mind you, but because they don't generate as much money as the latest GUI POS program. Remember, you can get functionality out of drawing in dirt if you know how. Old hardware and software shouldn't put a dent in their raw functionality. Focus on content.
- Software which requires other software, or what I call "computer for the computer" -- just how much hell do you have to wade through before you can get Windows to work properly? There are tweaks to get "unsupported" (how handy) features which should have been hard-coded that way in the first place. Drivers are one thing, but having to fiddle time and time again to get something to look just right defeats the purpose of computers -- saving time. What happens when you're hard drive gets fried (somehow) -- reinstall Windows.. oh great, that takes a month for a competent power user. Restore from backups? Hmm.. tougher than it seems bucko.
Software which get so "feature-rich" as to become hopelessly useless. Duplication of features (two ways to do the same thing) are common in programs like Microsoft Excel - and help to bloat the code so much as to virtually guarantee incompatibility with older hardware. Adding in unwanted features, and having them on by default is another great way to guarantee that it won't run on anything older than a year.
Another bad thing about software is that much of the time, the defaults are badly set up. (Windows, 4DOS (and take command), Microsoft Office software, Microsoft Excel). Often the settings are so poor as to make the software crippling to use. A powerhouse of a computer has trouble doing basic stuff in Excel unless certain functions are made optional (autocalculation for example). [ 2 ] Yes, back in the day this was the case.
Funny that if you buy a software upgrade, you may find that your previous license to use the older software is terminated.
All review projects should be based around UI - computer-human interaction. Keyboards, Displays, chairs, etc.. then getting into necessary software: Operating Systems, Text editors, access software, Entertainment (Games and Reading), Education etc...
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|1.||^||As in DOS programs which worked fine in the Windows console.|
|2.||^||Yes, back in the day this was the case.|