All Music Guide Redesign Sucks

I used to visit All Music Guide all the time; it’s quite simply the best reference for music on the Web that I’ve come across. Unfortunately, they launched their redesigned site yesterday, and I’m very disappointed. In a nutshell, the redesign sucks, and I’m not the only one that thinks so. Andy Baio at sums things up nicely:

…when I heard they were redesigning, I was excited to see if they’d fix my laundry list of complaints with the existing site: the inadequate search engine, their convoluted URL structure, inaccessible and confusing Javascript tricks (like showing/hiding biography text and blocking right-click URL copying), and the frequent server timeouts.

Their redesign launched moments ago. (The old site can still be viewed here.) They not only failed to fix any of my complaints, but they made it worse. Much worse.

Most frustrating, the site only displays properly in Internet Explorer. (In Firefox, you get a big banner warning that the site is IE-only.) Worse, display bugs make many features of the site unreadable and unuseable in other browsers. All tables are broken, like the search results, track listings and discographies. Some pages, like the New Releases, reposition content off the screen. I can’t tell what’s a hyperlink, because the cursor doesn’t change in anything except Internet Explorer.

The problems aren’t limited to display bugs. The URLs are worse than before, now so long that they can’t be sent by e-mail. Biographies, discographies and album reviews are no longer a single page, so you’re forced to click through to multiple pages to view the content you want. And the site’s slower than ever, and I’m periodically getting server timeouts and connection delay error messages. (Oh, and the spinning Flash navigation is a waste of space.)

What a disappointment. As an early beta tester, I sent them a long e-mail outlining my new complaints. Let’s hope they listen. Does anyone know anyone on staff at AMG? I’d love to ask their web guys a few questions.

Luckily I recently finished ripping all of my CDs onto my hard drive as MP3s in preparation for converting HAL5 to a jukebox linked to my stereo (woo hoo!). This would have been a lot more difficult with the new All Music site, since Tag & Rename, the excellent MP3 ID3 tag application I use, directly interfaces with All Music to embed artist and track info, cover art, and more into the MP3 file via ID3V2 tags. It looks like this interface is broken right now, but it’s so slow that it wouldn’t be worth it anyway. This sucks…

It looks like I may have to look for a replacement for All Music, although I’m holding out hope that they will realize how badly they botched their redesign. Any suggestions?

Update: All Music has posted a response to the widespread criticism over its new design. It seems as if they are addressing some of the major complaints, but only time will tell whether the site will be as useful as it once was. I guess I can be patient while they work out the bugs, but I do have my limits. By the way, you can no longer access the “original” site; it now redirects to the redesigned site.

Security Fix For Mozilla Products

MozillaSlashdot and NewsForge report on a security vulnerability that affects Firefox, Thunderbird, and Mozilla running under Windows. This link explains the vulnerability and contains instructions on installing the patch (an extension that disables the shell: external protocol handler) or downloading a new release (unnecessary unless you still haven’t upgraded to Firefox 0.9.x, Thunderbird 0.7.x, or Mozilla 1.7.x).

I know that I just railed against Micro$oft for security issues with Internet Explorer (IE), but there is a difference here. Mozilla offered a patch the same day as the disclosure of the security flaw, and new releases were available less than a day after that. In contrast, as NewsForge points out, the recent patch for the serious IE flaw took over a week to be released, and it was still not properly fixed upon its release. Additionally, this vulnerability is actually a flaw in Windows itself: “Windows XP Service Pack 1 was supposed to have closed this hole, but apparently it is still functioning and leaving Windows systems open to remote attack.”

I was a little dismayed to see this news at first, but the speed and efficiency with which this issue was resolved bolsters my confidence in the open-source development model that Mozilla products follow. It also makes me feel that much uneasier about Micro$oft products…

The History Of Pac-Man

Pac-ManI remember the first time I played Pac-Man. It was back in the early ‘80s in some arcade on the Wildwood boardwalk, and I remember triumphantly figuring out what turned the ghosts blue. Since then, there have been dozens of different variants and sequels to the popular game, all of them thoroughly documented in this History of Pac-Man. Another good resource with lots of fun downloads is the 1st Church of Pac-Man. I think my favorite version is still the “cocktail” version of Ms. Pac-Man…

Worst Song Ever?

At a concert last week Aimee Mann (formerly of ‘til tuesday fame) and her band declared that the worst song ever is “Ebony And Ivory” by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, narrowly beating out “Lady In Red” by Chris DeBurgh. The song made #10 on a recent widely-circulated list compiled by Blender magazine (their #1 was “We Built This City” by Starship). I’m somewhat indignant about a couple of the ’80s songs they included on their list, although I guess I’ll eventually have to admit that some of them deserve to be on there. But not just yet… :-p

So what do you think is the “worst song ever?” I’ll have to think about this for a bit before I weigh in, although I have a couple in mind already…