two big disappointments this weekThe first is the rollout of Movable Type 3.0.
I read Mena's Corner: It's About Time to find out the details about Movable Type 3.0 -- this was after going to the MT site to check out the forum for an answer I've been waiting for (had to really work hard to even FIND the forum!) and was shocked at the new pricing model. Really shocked.
Do I think it's perfectly reasonable to ask for a fee for using MT? Absolutely. We've donated at least $100 to MT to fund development. Do I think $70 is unreasonable for this type of application? That depends. Is this formerly free application spiffed up, polished, super-duperized? Nope. So why would I pay the $70 for something I already have for nothing (well, for $20)? To get the comment registration. What a load of crap that is.
If MT had added just a couple of the long begged-for features, such as sub-categories and a photoblog or moblog built in, and had they NOT added the insane author/weblogs restrictions, I would pay up. But the author/weblog restrictions are the deal breaker for me. For some installations, it doesn't matter since there will always be only one author and one weblog. For others, most of them, it does matter. MT 3.0 offers less than I have now, so why would I pay?
For the commercial version, the minimum amount I would have to pay for the installation is $700. I wouldn't even consider that an unreasonable amount IF MT 3.0 actually did what I needed it to do and if the restrictions on the number of weblogs didn't exist. But it doesn't and they do.
This was another stupid move on the part of Movable Type. The first was dropping development of MT Pro. The second was the months of delays with no communication about what to expect. The third was ignoring the wish list of the community of thousands that supported them one PayPal donation at a time. The fourth was reneging on their promise that MT 3.0 would be free.
Then there's the plugin developer contest. For chump change.
Ah, it's depressing. I don't trust them to do the right thing anymore, and I think they've made one too many mistakes -- I hope I'm wrong, but I think they'll go down the tubes once business at TypePad settles into post-blogmania norms and after MT 3.0 bombs.
The other disappointment was the other long-awaited development: the re-design of Digital Web Magazine. I mean, here's a publication that I actually donated money to because I've found a lot of good info there over the years. Been reading about the pending redesign for a while. It definitely needed a back-end rework since finding stuff there was difficult. I always kind of liked the visual design. At any rate, I was anticipating seeing something smashing because there was so much talent going into the redesign process.
Well, the content is there. And it's definitely an improvement over the old design as far as the information architecture and navigation goes -- except I never really know if I'm on the home page or not so I guess I'd really like to see more of a wayfinder function (such as the use of the word "HOME" perchance?)
But the visual design? Yuck. It's soooo boooorrriiiinnnggg. Muddy, muted colors, crappy contrast. It looks like a thousand other sites -- that standards-compliant blog look. The crappy contrast and the dull design make the content seem soporific. Visual design matters. There's no more excitement here. Oh, I know what it looks like: Boxes and Arrows! Hmm, look at those names, they're all the same ... same anal logo ... same tabs. Snore.
I still keep going back to Zen Garden for inspiration. There is so much you can do with CSS -- that I want to learn how to do. Digital Web's redesign looks like they just slapped on a template because it was the last thing they needed to do to just get the damn thing relaunched already ...