Radio Userland is Awful Software

I have had absolutely no time right now for about a week to go into details, but seriously: Radio Userland has been pumped up to be the best thing since sliced bread, but when you download and install it, it lays a huge big fat stinky egg.

And it doesn’t stop stinking for a VERY long time.

Many reviews and technical people that I know seem to revere Radio Userland as an incredible app that does amazing things.

Frankly, I think it sucks hard.

You download Radio, install it, and start the app. What happens? Apparently nothing. A little window opens up on your desktop. What is it? The About Radio UserLand window. Hello!?

In this little window is a little arrow. Clicking the little arrow displays 6 options (most of which have odd names like ‘asynchRPC’). 3 of them appear to give you information. Three of them appear to do nothing. Hello!?

What else happens?

Well, your web browser pops open a window, inviting you to enter your name. The idea is that you’ll configure your weblog clientside – in a web browser. Well, the clientside is nice because it makes sense in a sometimes connected world. But the web browser? I thought this was clientside software? I love browsers, but they are not the best creation tools.

The actual Radio app has the strangest commands in its menus, as well. Such as these (see image). What the heck do they do? (And no, it doesn’t get any clearer when you actually click on them.)

Adding images to your posts appears to be equally obtuse. Instead of simply indicating when creating a post that you would like to place an image in the post, Radio wants you to a) save the image to a folder on your computer, b) set up that folder to sync with a folder in the Radio root (also on your computer), which will then c) give you some HTML to paste in the post, and finally d) actually upload the image to your webserver.

It can’t actually be that complicated, can it? Yes, amazingly, it can.

Adding categories is another oddity. You can’t even find them in the standard interface. Help has a link to them, though. But don’t bother – adding categories does not actually add them to your template as links to secondary pages on your site. No, Radio seems to think that a category is actually an entirely different site, and needs to be published separately. Come on, you say. You must be joking. I only wish I was. (Scroll way down on that page.)

Everything in Radio seems to be trying to make you do things second-hand, through an extra interface, another layer of abstraction, like the surgeon who has to operate on the patient in the isolation chamber by sticking his hands in those gloves that are built into the plastic box.

There is a huge amount of puff on the Radio site, and on other sites, about how any idiot can use Radio to publish a website:

Dan Shafer, Founder of CNET’s “[Radio UserLand] is the Great Democratizer of Web Publishing. There is no longer a reason why anyone who wishes to do so cannot put their viewpoints online for everyone to see. My father could do this. He can’t (won’t) learn HTML or futz around with FTP or even site tools like GeoCities where he doesn’t have that much to learn. But Radio 8 is the Web’s Typewriter.”

Bullshit. I personally think you’d have to be an idiot to put up with such crappy software.

You want a typewriter for the web? Here it is.

1 CommentLeave a comment

  • *cough*MT*cough*
    MT3 is going to be sweet, I’ll show you my setup (on the beta team) if you want. Also NNW has some new stuff coming out as well (on the beta team there too) which I can show you if you want 🙂