02 May 2008

Things that bomb my computer: Flash 9 and Technorati

Flash 9

I'm getting urged more and frequently to "upgrade" to the latest version of Flash, because something or other won't display unless I have the latest version.

I've actually installed it a couple of times, and have regretted it immediately, and done a "system restore" on the same day to get rid of it.

The trouble is, the things I might want to use it for are still quite rare, while the things that it breaks on my computer are things I use every day. With Telkom's bandwidth caps, I never watch videos on the web, and as soon as a blog or other web site starts playing songs I navigate away from it a quickly as possible for the same reason (and also because, when I'm on the computer at 2:00 am I don't want to wake up the rest of the family with sudden bursts of loud music). No matter how interesting the stuff I'm reading, having the site consume my bandwidth at a rapid rate while I'm reading means it's just not worth it.

But what Flash 9 appears to break is the batch files I use every day to back up important data on to a flash drive, and copy it between my desktop and laptop and vice versa. There is something in the Flash 9 installation program that overwrites the autoexec.bat file without simply adding its own requirements to what is already there. Any program that does that is badly behaved, and I don't want it on my computer.


Technorati is (or was until recently) a useful blog search tool.

It was useful for finding blog posts on particular topics. I often used it before or after writing something in my blog to see what others were saying about the topic. If someone had already said some good things, I could link my post to theirs, and so on.

A few months ago, however, the Technorati people changed their navigation system to make it far more difficult to use, and split stuff between several different pages. No doubt this increases their advertising revenue, since if you have to look at four pages to find the information you could previously get on one page, you'll be exposed to more ads, and by making the information you are looking for harder to find, you'll take several wrong turnings nagigating through the maze, and so be exposed to even more ads. I suspect that this will be counterproductive in the end, as most people will find it too much bother, and some who, like me, have bandwidth concerns, will just spend as little time on Technorati as possible.

But the latest "feature" takes the cake.

Over the last week, every time I've gone to Technorati, my computer freezes. I can be typing something -- like the URL of a blog I want it to ping, and suddenly the letters no longer appear on the screen. The mouse does not respond. And the hard disk light stays on for a minute, two minutes or more. I've never actually timed it, because I usually simply switch the computer off and start again, or at least attempt to exit the browser. But it doesn't respond to those clicks for a minute or more either, and when it eventually does respond and close the browser, the next time I open the browser, it tells me that the last session terminated abnormally.

Has anyone else noticed this kind of behaviour with Technorati?

It makes me suspect a virus or trojan being installed on my computer from the site.


Matt Stone said...

No, haven't had that problem but I will say I am using the Google blog search function more often than technorati these days.

I have noticed a change though. What technorati display on the first page of every search now seems to be a mix n match of top ranked sites and completely obscure sites, so its usefulness for finding top ranked sites seems compromised.

Steve Hayes said...


Technotati still lets you set how you want it to search -- by specifying how much "authority" you want blogs to have that are included in the search. The "authority" is based on the number of links to the blog over the last 90 days. I usually search blogs with "some" authority, because what I'm after is not popularity, but relevance to the topic.

I find Google is a lot less reliable these days -- perhaps that's because most of the SEO merchants play their games with it, and sometimes the most relevant results for a search come after pages and pages of links to sites that are just collections of nonsense words. I've gone back to using Altavista for a lot of searches.


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