Posts tagged facebook

Facebook chat; re-defining the lowest common denominator for chat clients


Ever since I’ve rejoined facebook, I’ve found a very annoying feature that they have, one that seems to be chaotic when it comes to deciding if it wants to work or not, one that is even more annoying then the barrage of game updates that receive in your news feed.

I’m talking about facebook chat.

Now the first thing that anyone that bothers to read this is going to think is that you get what you pay for. And while for some things, that is true, it still doesn’t explain the level of suck that this piece of software achieves. First off, you never truly know if someone is actually online or not. Oh sure it says so on the chat client itself, and the left hand sidebar as well, but half the time, they never match up in which ones that they think are online. And if it if does indicate that someone you want to chat with is online, it’s not always true. Ever had it where you message someone and as soon as you hit enter it says they’ve gone offline, or even better a very descriptive “an error has occurred” message pops up? Always handy, especially when you’ve just finished a small novel. Fixing this issue alone would at least make facebook chat tolerable, or at least remove the large chasm of suck that divides it from MSN, yahoo, and skype, among other mainstream offerings.

Another annoyance that crops up often enough is that facebook will randomly decide it’s not going to deliver your messages, or let you receive any. A few times I’ve logged into facebook to have the bottom bar light up and that popping noise sound like a cartoonist machine gun go off to show the messages that were sent last night, but never were delivered. Add to this that the icon that says someone is typing will stay on for as long as you wait there when this behaviour is occurring and it makes for very aggravating experiences.

And just because two items isn’t enough, another fun feature is if you happen to refresh the page, guess what happens to your conversation? Why it’s wiped clean of course. Very convenient to try and remember what you were talking about. I realize that webpages are stateless technologies, but a way to have it so that you dont’ have to write down what you’re talking about should a refresh of the page need to be done to find out if facebook is no longer sending your messages would be a nice touch.

I realize that coding is not exactly the easiest profession in the world, but these features pretty much make facebook chat on the edge of unusable. With it being THE flagship for social networking, having a chat client that didn’t suck might just get folks to move from the chat clients that are the front runners in the industry (MSN, skype, google, etc) and let folks do everything at one site, hence more buy-in. And with over three hundred million in revenue in 2008, they can afford to hire folks that know how to code ajax based apps, instead of what looked like someone doing a school project that never learned the meaning of QA. Considering that facebook has redesigned their site at least twice in the last eighteen months or so, they might want to have a look at this section of it next time, if not right now.

And hopefully soon. I’m tired of having three different chat clients open all the time.

So ya I’m back…


…on facebook that is. Figure it’ll save me bothering with individually answering emails from various folks back home, which I’m finding is more annoying to remember nowadays. And might help down the road. We’ll see about the latter.

Now if only I could have it so that I dont’ get notified when Joe Schmo gets a new level in Dumb Game X or today’s latest cause to get all up in arms for by posting something in your headline to keep popping up in my news. That alone would probably improve my page load time by 33%.

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