Amazon Instant Video Prime Nightmares

Dear Amazon:

I’ve ordered episodes and seasons of Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis, and Stargate Universe so many times in the past few months, it’s a wonder I don’t have the full collection. Ah, but I do. I own most of the Stargate series on VHS, DVD, and even BlueRay. That’s not the point. I wanted to watch them one after another as part of a nostalgic bent of mine lately, and I wanted to watch them as I was doing other things, so I started watching them on my phone and tablet.

Amazon Prime allows me to watch tons of shows and movies for free as a member, yet you still do not have a video watching app, and it can be tricky to set up your mobile device to watch the shows.

For those reading a home, to watch Amazon Prime Instant Videos on your phone or tablet, open your web browser and set it to Desktop Mode. Then prepare to spend too much time with Amazon Customer Support getting refunds for your accidental digital orders.

Amazon Instant Video Prime  - Poor Interface design allows purchases when pushing play buttons.

Call it “fat fingers” as Google recently did when they changed their Google Ad system to ask if you meant to click an ad instead of automatically billing the ad owner every time you accidentally clicked on an ad. Call it a slip of fingers. Call it poor UI. Whatever you want to call it, I’m sick of finding out that I bought an episode or the entire series when I did not mean to.

Come on, Amazon. The videos on Amazon Prime Instant Video are free. That’s part of our membership. Continue reading

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Dear Websites: Please Stop Using Interstitials, Popups, and Fix Your Bad Code

Dear Websites:

I’ve run across a few websites and blogs recently running interstitials (the modern term for “popup windows that overlay not pop) and a variety of scripts and bad code that cause browser errors.

Please stop this.

The reasons are many, but here are a few.

  1. We hate them.
  2. Interstitials require effort on our part to close which is not a good first impression.
  3. Interstitials work on the clueless not influencers, so check your stats to see if these are really turning into conversions or annoyance.
  4. Browser errors popup warnings in our faces, which is ridiculous in this day and age when it is easy to fix all these and prevent them.
  5. Update your site’s code regularly, for our sake but mostly your own, especially for security reasons. It makes us think bad things when your site is so out of date our browser warns us.
  6. If your site is out of date in look, feel, and functionality, what do you think that says about your content, purpose, and business?

Thank you for updating your sites and fixing all errors today.

Lorelle
The Tech Nag

Dear TED, Don’t Force Yourself Upon Us

Dear Ted:

When it comes to changing the world, few do so more than TED videos. Your tag line, ideas worth spreading, is a humble way of describing the power and influence of your presentations by amazing people.

However, when it comes to presenting your videos, please help improve the world by making your videos not play automatically.

I will often cruise through and open several tabs of TED videos in my browser, then life will charge back in and I’ll have to feed the cats, take a phone call, pay bills, and respond to the mundane life a tech nag leads. If perchance I have to close and restart my browser for a million different reasons, I have to plow through fifty or more tabs to find which ones have the TED videos on to stop them from playing. I’ll suddenly have 3 to 7 voices all talking at me and the video downloads will slow down my computer and browser, not to mention my horrible Internet connection.

While I’m not sure it’s a web standard yet, it is should be. Either way, TED, you exist to change the world. Please set an example for all to follow and give us our control back. Allow us to press PLAY to lose ourselves in the wisdom of others and don’t force yourselves upon us.

Thank you,

Lorelle
The Tech Nag

Dear Skype, Please Stop Crashing My Browser

Dear Skype:

I’ve put up with a ton of issues from Adobe Flash crashing my browsers. Now Skype is my main crash deviant.

I’ve put up with your terrible new reinstall that spawns web pages and took FOREVER recently.

You think I’m kidding.

I’ve had Skype installed since Skype began. I’m frequently teased as I’m “Lorelle” on Skype, not “Lorelle254” or some other silly name. I’m the first Lorelle that signed up for Skype, probably in your first 500-1000 registered users. I also pay for your service, so I’m qualified to rant and rave about your growing problems and my increasing frustration.

Logging in today, I was greeted by two confusing “Skype” disguised Internet Explorer browser windows. They were filled with ads but also with options and choices I had to make. I was in a hurry for a meeting and didn’t have time to mess around with reading all the stuff. I just needed to find my login.

It appeared that I would have to install Skype, so I did. Twenty minutes later, I’m now 15 minutes late for my online meeting and Skype is still not installed. Things are loading, whirling, clicking, and my state-of-the-art, powerful computer is locking up and dragging as it consumes memory and hard drive activity. Ten minutes later, it installs, but I’m still clicking around trying to just find a login. I finally find the familiar buttons and open it up, only to have those two damn Internet Explorer windows pop up, covering everything, selling me more Skype crap.

I apologize to the client and life goes on, both of us cursing Skype and browsers, and Internet software in general.

When I’m done, I’m so furious, I completely log out and quit Skype. Continue reading

Dear Browsers, Stop the Browser Hacks, Please.

Dear Browsers (and I’m talking to all of you):

I’m reading Paul Irish’s article on the Browser Market Pollution and it makes me ill.

As a web designer and developer, I hate when I have to create a new framework or revisit a current one and deal with browser hacks.

I’ve dealt with browser hacks going back to versions no one on the planet is using any more, even those prior to IE 6. I had hacks for Netscape, IE4, IE5, IE5.5, and so on. I even have hacks for current versions of IE7, IE8, and even IE9.

Oh, you other browsers, Safari, Opera, Firefox, I’ve had hacks for your versions as well, so don’t think you are getting out of this nag.

Irish explains that even as we go forward, the browser industry’s failure to maintain web standards and ridiculous need for proprietary crap that messes with web design, causing even more hacks, will continue and web designers will have to maintain multiple hacks and custom support for multiple browser versions on and on and on into the future.

I’m so tired of coverying your asses with my designs and fixing the designs by others for clients.

When Tim Berners-Lee and his team developed the web as we know it, the goal was to break down the code barriers that stopped the easy exchange of data and information so we could all communicate together. Browser hacks put burdens upon that tenuous web when you all should be reinforcing it with strength.

Please let us stop fixing your problems with browser hacks.

Thank you,

Lorelle
The Tech Nag