Despite many months of pleas from suffering users, Google still won’t let us switch back to the classic interface for Google News. It’s even interfered with remedies. Aren’t you sick of companies dumbing down software—in Google’s case, by reducing the number of headlines you can see at once even on a big-screen desktop? Wouldn’t it be great if Google made a New Year’s resolution to treat us better? Of course, it won’t, so I’ll helpfully make one for Google. In case you’re late to the party, here’s yet another way, Fixer for Google News, to mitigate the pain just a little (thanks, Andrew).
Moving on to another company, Amazon should resolve to consider the long-term antitrust advantages of finally letting Kindle devices and apps read the ePub standard format natively. And it also should press aggressively for watermarking in place of proprietary DRM. Jeff Bezos, like it or not, you and others are making ebooks harder to enjoy than they would be otherwise. In usability, Amazon apps and devices have come a long way, thank you, but readers still need to be able to choose their own favorite e-reading apps rather than remain your captives. Financially, how much difference would this make to a company with the market cap of some $700 billion and ownership of such large percentages of both the device and content markets? Oh, and by the way, the return of usable text to speech for nonblind users of E Ink Kindles also would help.
At Amazon competitor Rakuten Kobo, CEO Michael Tamblyn and crew should resolve to catch up with Amazon and allow easy email export of notes and highlights from ebooks. Kobo depicts itself as serving serious readers, so why can’t it offer these basics for users of its devices? Amazon caught up with Kobo by finally allowing E Ink Kindle users to display all-text boldface without any fuss. Now Kobo needs to return the favor in its own way. I love the eight-inch screen and many other glories of my new Forma, but thanks to the simple lack of email export, I’m not using it nearly as much as I would like to.
Rakuten OverDrive, Kobo sister company within the same conglomerate, likewise needs to resolve to care more about easy email export of notes and highlights—for users of Libby library software. Libby is such a beauty in so many ways, but that’s no substitute for this AWOL must. Allowing Libby to use phone volume controls to “turn” pages would also help. Same for trying harder to get Amazon to release a Fire version of Libby. Of course, the main problem is Amazon itself.
For Apple, the needed resolutions are screamingly obvious. Please vow to cut back on the price gouges for iPad Pro and also do something about the company’s third-rate speech recognition. Believe me, the accuracy of iPad dictation really sucks. I’ve been using Google-related alternatives—such as SpeechnotesX Voice-typing on a Chomebook– enough. I hate Apple’s writer-hostile contentment with the status quo. I’m taking the trouble to beat up on the company because iPads in most respects are so good. Oh, wait. I need to mention the need for mouse capabilities.
Microsoft? Do something about the never-ending need for frequent Windows updates. I’m dreaming. And meanwhile I’m using my Windows desktop less and less and my Chrome devices more and more. Yes, Chrome updates come regularly. But they tend to be a lot more useful to me than Microsoft’s and I certainly can make them—at chosen times—with fewer hassles.
For now, happiest of New Years to readers and vendors alike! What are your own resolutions for the above companies and others?