Webapp Keyboard Focus Issues

I’ve found a pretty frequent problem with keyboard-enabled webapps. Gmail, Google Reader, Remember The Milk, and a whole bunch of other services (Google Calendar, for instance) all fit into this category. It seems that nearly all keyboard shortcut-enabled webapps have one big annoyance in common (no, not AJAX): The shortcuts lose focus in certain scenarios. The three apps I’m most concerned with are, of course, Gmail, Google Reader, and RTM. I do use them the most, after all. I’ve found tab-switching to be the number one cause of focus switching. Keyboard entry is sent to the browser chrome or something, …

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Funny Randomization: Google: Web 2.0?

Here’s a randomization from google.isyournewbicycle.com that is obviously untrue, this time about Google (): That’s really funny, considering that Gmail was one of the first major Web applications to use AJAX extensively. Google’s Calendar, Reader, and Docs services (among many others) also use AJAX as a fundamental part of their inner workings, so it’s even funnier in that case.

Google Reader Adds "Most Obscure" Tab to Trends, More Reading Space

Continuing from the data available on the Official Google Reader Blog, and so as not to make too long, here are the other changes to Google Reader. Aside from adding more languages (which is ongoing), the Reader team managed to find an extra 17 pixels, vertically, for content. They also added a small feature that shows which of your feeds have the fewest (Google) subscribers: It’s actually kind of neat to see how many sites I’ve subscribed to that have fewer than 10 readers on Google (right now I have five). Notice how my friend i80and’s blog is in there. …

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Google Reader Adds "Show Details" for Quick Stats

A while back, the Reader team added pop-up, tooltip-like windows to the timestamps of posts in the reading pane to that each post was published and added to Reader’s cache. Now there are easily-accessible statistics for each feed, visible after clicking a new “show details” link: *Click* The bar that pops up contains info on the average number of posts per week for that feed and the number of Google subscribers. In these screenshots, I’ve included a sample of what the stats look like for the feed from xkcd.com (a webcomic you may remember, as I wrote a while back). …

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Blogger Blogrolls and Bugfixes

In the last couple days, Google’s Blogger team added a new sidebar widget to Blogger In Draft for testing. It’s a “Blog List”, in essence a blogroll. It displays a list of blogs, and optionally titles of each blog’s latest post, snippets of the latest post, and how long it’s been since each blog was updated. Users can add sites either manually or by importing from Google Reader subscriptions. In other news, a list of bugfixes and enhancements were added to mainstream Blogger, including fixes for the label counts bugs (which I have never suffered from, AFAIK) and comment pagination …

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Google Reader Now Shows Publish and Retrieve Times

One persistent annoyance in Google Reader has always been that the item times shown are the time of pick-up by Google Feedfetcher, rather than the time the posts were published. Now, the Reader team has quietly launched a small new feature that shows you both when posts were published and when they were picked up by Reader’s crawler. “Quietly” meaning there’s no blog post about it, at least not yet. Google Operating System and Lifehacker both posted about it, though. To get the new info, you can hover your mouse over the timestamp in the upper right corner of any …

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Google Reader Just Doesn’t "Get It"

The latest post to the Official Google Reader Blog concerns the share-with-your-“friends”-automatically feature and the uproar it’s caused among the users. I myself have no real reason to care, since (sadly) nobody I know uses Google Reader, but I agree wholeheartedly that Google’s launch of the “feature” was, in its own way, worse than Facebook’s Beacon program. The fact that Google’s system assumes that anyone you talk to in Google Talk is a friend is the first part of the brokenness. Add to that the fact that you can’t turn it off and have just the feed, with nothing automatic. …

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Google Reader Shows Talk Friends’ Shared Items

Google must really want to become a giant social network. Last week (boy, am I late) they added Google Talk friends’ shared items to Google Reader, meaning you don’t have to subscribe to their feeds; you just get them automatically. Of course, that means all your Google Talk contacts also get to see your shared items. And people in your friends list aren’t necessarily your friends. I’m not sure how I feel about this new feature, mostly because I don’t share things (I star them, as you can see in the sidebar), and none of my friends have yet discovered …

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Google Reader Gets Recommendations and Drag-and-Drop

Everyone hide! It’s the attack of the interns! Well, that’s what the Google Reader Blog is calling it. Google Reader just got a couple new features today. In fact, it looks like they were just launched tonight, though I can’t tell when the post was published because they’ve disabled the time part of the timestamps. Anyway, Reader can now suggest additional feeds you might be interested in, based on your current subscriptions and Web History data. When I tried it, just a few minutes ago, it looks pretty good. It suggested several blogs similar to the ones I read already, …

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New Google Reader Feature: Blogroll Clip

Today, the Official Google Reader Blog announced a new feature developed by Steve Lacey in his “20% time” (a legendary Google practice) that allows placing a clip of the sites you’ve subscribed to and put in a certain tag. The tag must be public, of course, for a blogroll to show up, as with the starred and shared items. I’m planning to put one in my sidebar, near the Recently Starred Items module, but I first have to decide how to do it, i.e. create a new tag and share certain subscriptions, wait until they allow clipping all subscriptions, or …

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