A few months ago I criticised Google's upcoming interface design for Gmail as being bland and not user friendly. It seems in the past week that in rolling out this design across all their products Google has taken the remodelling knife to my beloved Google Reader.
I've loved using Google Reader for over five years as my main web and RSS aggregator, but their recent update has really irked me. I was expecting the colour-washed interface (which is still terrible btw), but to the point of making link colours the same as normal text, terrible text-size scaling, and the horrid use of screen real-estate just screams of bad interface design.
Edit 11:30pm: it seems that the Reader team might have been reading my blog. Barely an hour after I posted this they have at least changed the links back to a different colour (blue).
What's equally as troubling is that they have neutered all of the old sharing regime. I understand the new integration with Google Plus and easier Facebook and Twitter sharing, but one of the truly great features was being able to publicly share items with one click and have clips of shared items on your own website.
The "What I'm reading..." section in this blog's right column uses that, and now seems frozen in time and destined for the trash bin. There doesn't seem to be any way in the new Reader to achieve the same effect.
Moving on; In anticipation of having a solid wired network throughout our upcoming new house, I have purchased a new NAS (Network Attached Storage). The old cheap D-Link one we've been using for the past few years just wasn't cutting in terms of transfer speeds, and the fan was just too noisy.
I decided to get the Synology DS211+, which is so much quieter and has really good transfer speeds for such a relatively cheap price. It's like night-and-day comparing it to the old NAS, and the price is too, but it should be worth it for the NAS to function as the central place for accessing and streaming photos and movies over the network.
Accompanying the NAS we've also gotten the newly released WD TV Live Streaming media player. Our old WDTV has served us well for almost 3 years, but the new model allows us to play stuff off the network (i.e. the NAS), and the built-in Wifi means that we're using it at the moment in the existing house.
The two devices are saving us a heap of time and effort not having to get the external drive and take it to and from the computer to display stuff on the TV, and although we'll be using it with the wired network in the new house, i have been impressed by how it's coped with playing HD stuff over the wireless network.