Web Apps That Don’t Seem to Work

While I do have lots of fun learning how to use new web tools, I also spend a lot of time frustrated with things that don’t work for me. But the beauty of that is that I can spend time learning the hard way, and turn around and tell my readers and clients what I’ve learned without them spending that time. So in such a spirit, I thought I’d write today about some things I’ve found that don’t seem to work.

Now I recognize that starting a new web service is hard, success can be a bandwidth problem and there’s so many factors to take into consideration. So no hard feelings, I just don’t want my clients and friends to have to spend as much time being frustrated with the services discussed below as I did. Maybe they will be improved soon and we’ll all fall in love with them. But for now, here are three new services that I have not been able to make work.

  • Pod-o-Matic a free service that will allow you to record, mix and host up to 250 MB worth of podcasts. Interesting concept for sure. With some minor trouble shooting I was able to record a one minute talk, chose from their 10 preselected intro-outro clips and posted it. Unfortunately: the sound quality was bad, long sections of the file were cut out and it doesn’t appear that you can edit the files. Bummer. Guess I’ll have to stay with the fat-client, desktop-apps for podcasting for now. Particularly Audacity. Also worth looking into is Castblaster.
  • Ning.com says it’s a “playground” you can use to build your own web applications. Powerful idea. Has major login problems that persisted for me after the company blog said they were fixed. You have to get an account and log in to use the applications other people have created (things like a different version of Craig’s List). But you have to have a “Beta developers’ account” in order to develop your own applications, and who knows how long it takes for one of those to arrive. So it’s unusable for me right now at least. That’s a shame, because I’d really like to try and find a way to build a good cross-platform tag search engine like TagCentral.net Update: I have a beta developer invite now, but haven’t had the time to figure out wether the php involved is over my head or not. So the invite took about 24 hours, just so you know.
  • Blinklist a social bookmarking system that I have been unable to use. The site in unclear as to what’s different here from del.icio.us or Furl.net or any other online service. I tried to import my archive from Del.icio.us and got an error mssg, though a company rep emailed me and said he wasn’t having any problems doing it. Once I finally got logged in this morning the site recognized I was using Safari, but neither bookmarklet to tag an item does anything. Yes I’ve got my pop-up blocker turned off, and yes my other javascript bookmarklets are working just fine. The User Interface is pretty, but I can’t use the thing at all. For now I’ll stick with social bookmarking services Furl.net, Spurl.net and Del.icio.us.

I hope this has been useful, perhaps as feedback to said companies, perhaps as a time saver for other users and perhaps as informative regarding the kinds of problems that new web applications sometimes have. In other words, if things don’t work for you it is quite possible that it’s not your fault. Few things work perfectly the first time, and I’m up for figuring out what a lot of problems are and how to solve them, but I think it’s time for me to move on from the above three services and dive back into the incredible stream of Web2.0 developments that just keep coming. Perhaps I’ll see these three again later when I can actually use them.

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