Monday, December 1, 2008

software: desktop apps are hopelessly primitive

Against my better judgment I installed the free update to Norton 360 2.0. At one point it showed a dialog

What is a subscription?

You have 140 days of subscription remaining.

You can sign in to your Norton Account at any time by visiting www.myNortonAccount.com

Let's count the ways that this fails:
  • I can't hover over the "What is" link to see where it goes
  • I can't right-click on the link to get a context menu to copy the link location
  • So there's no way to determine if clicking that link will open a new window or replace the current one, and no way to control what happens
  • I can't zoom the text
  • I can't View > Source the text
  • I can't save the HTML of the dialog as a record of my subscription status
  • I can't select and copy the text to record my subscription status
I'd get all this for free if the application was a Web application, or Powered by Mozilla.

I cringe every time I run software that doesn't run in the browser.

Now's a good time to remind people you don't need MS Office. Write your next letter or presentation or spreadsheet on the web, in your browser, for free, using Google Docs or one of its competitors.

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