Why I Still Don’t Use Bing For Searching

Microsoft continue to reinvent themselves for the 21st Century but Bing lags behind compared to its competition.

Whilst Microsoft seem to continue to reinvent themselves for the 21st Century and are coming out with some excellent products and services that are far more reactive to the views of their customers, there is one product that still lags far behind the competition – at least if you are not in the USA.

The Bing search engine.

With my recent move to a Surface Pro 4 and various recent updates to Windows 10, I thought it a good idea to revisit using Edge as my default browser and to try to stick with Bing as the default search.

But I’m sorry Microsoft, it doesn’t work! Even when not logged in to Google, it consistently returns far more relevant answers as evidenced by the following search for the latest Raspberry Pi flavoured version of the Scratch programming environment “NuScratch”.

Search in Google vs Bing
Search in Google vs Bing

Need to do better!

Low-cost Information Management, Communications and Collaberation Tools

Although much of the work I do is for very large organisations and extremely costly projects, being an adopted Yorkshire-man, I’ve always an eye open for a bargain! More seriously, there are many small to medium sized businesses and charities that cannot afford big IT budgets but that still are crying out for good information management, communications and collaboration tools. In this article, I’ve tried to highlight a few tools that I think are worth looking at.

I’ve not included anything in this article that requires a monthly or annual cost. All the tools here are available for free at least with limited features. The feature lists given are for the free versions with paid-for key features noted where appropriate. I also note if any of the web sites are blocked by typical enterprise firewalls.

There is a lot more than what I’ve shared here, I’ll try to update this article from time-to-time. Continue reading “Low-cost Information Management, Communications and Collaberation Tools”

Coping With Google Reader Changes

If you are a Google Reader user, you will have noticed the latest design change and probably been amazed at how poor the new layout is. What you may not have immediately noticed is just what you’ve lost.

In this article I look at what has been lost and what you might be able to do about it, at least in the short term. Continue reading “Coping With Google Reader Changes”

Microsoft’s Facebook Docs.com fails at the first hurdle

Had my first test for Microsoft’s new docs.com this week – and it failed badly.

In case you don’t know, Microsoft recently announced a new beta Office Live link-up with Facebook. You can log in using your Facebook login instead of a Microsoft Live Id.

So you would think that it would be possible to use docs.com as a collaborative document editor and I suspect that you are supposed to be able to – as long as your documents don’t contain anything complex – such as comments!

My wife wanted to share a spreadsheet with some friends – very simple – just a few lines to help them schedule some transport for the kids during an upcoming dance show. Docs.com seemed ideal for this as they are all on Facebook so it should be much easier than using Google docs.

  • The first problem is that docs.com doesn’t always pick up your existing Facebook login so you have to log in again.
  • The second problem is that even when you are logged in, there is a large banner asking you to sign up for the Beta programme – very confusing.
  • The third problem is that the interface does not work correctly with Firefox – there is no warning of this but there are some things, such as adding viewers and editors, that fail with no proper explanatory error message.
  • The fourth problem is that only the original creator can add other editors or viewers, there is no way of delegating this.
  • The fifth, and most serious, problem comes from using cell comments to annotate cells. Apparently Microsoft’s shiny new online Office suite cannot cope with this. Not only does it not show them on the web page, it will no longer let you edit the spreadsheet online! To compound the problem, when someone else (who has been given edit rights) then downloads the sheet as instructed – there is no way to get the edited sheet back online!!

OUCH – it is, in fact, much easier to simply email the document back and forth.

Of course, we could have used Google docs for this. In fact, Google docs seems to have much better compatibility with Microsoft Office than Microsoft do!! It had no problem with cell comments. You can also set the document to not require a login, handy as many people don’t have Google logins. But by this time, the audience had lost patience with the technology and done things a different way.

It may only be in Beta but Microsoft seem to be determined to demonstrate that they don’t understand user interactions in a collaborative sense nor do they have any comprehension it seems for the need for simplicity. 1 out of 10 for docs.com then – must try better!

UPDATE 2010-06-18: Tried again, this time with Google docs. I set the document so that anyone can edit it (without needing a Google login), shared the link using Facebook messages and everyone is happy. You can even work on the document together, you actually see other people updating the document. Given that it also supports more useful features than docs.com, Google docs gets the thumbs up – 10/10

PS: Sorry about comments, I’ve updated the Blogger theme and it seems to have broken the old comments. If you are desperate to get in touch, feel free to use my comment form. I’ll put any comments on here manually.