Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Onaswarm sounds like it has potential, but it falls short for me

I read the review Onaswarm Gives FriendFeed a Run For Its Money on Mashable which I found from Louis Gray's Google Reader Shared Items (and proceeded to share myself).

I'm already a big fan of Louis Gray, even having just found his blog when reading a review of Shyftr on April 12th. Louis if you read this, I also have been a big fan of your shared items, sharing 21 items in the last week or so since I subscribed to your shared items, now at the top of my most shared items.

Ryan S shared item trends on Google Reader

I was happy to see the praise of how easy it was to sign up. I was also interested in exactly how well these location based "swarms" are progressing.

Unfortunately I ran into a problem on the first form.

Onaswarm registration process error: password is too long

That's right, there is an arbitrary limit on the size of my password, which I'm annoyed by, but I'll continue on. Also, notice there is no password confirmation box, a single typo and you will lose those users forever, because they can't access their accounts immediately.

I'm presented with a text box which says

"Enter 1 to 4 Account Names/User IDs that you use (on blogger, buzznet, delicious, digg, flickr, jaiku, lastfm, livejournal, msnspaces, myspace, picasa, pownce, soup, stumbleupon, twitter, typepad, tumblr, upcoming, wordpress, vimeo, youtube, vox) and we'll try to find your networks."
I really only "ryansv" for most sites, so I enter that and click go. The process is interesting at first, quickly finding a few sites that I use, (and some that aren't me), as well as reporting that I was not found on certain services.

The one main problem here is that it took almost a whole minute. It doesn't sound that long but when you're sitting there looking at a dimmed page with a spinner for a minute, it's unacceptable.

It also used ryansv.blogpot.com, which I don't use. I guessing it can't pick up group blogs based on the user names of the contributors. I can't edit it once it has been imported, which is frustrating. I have to delete it, and add a new Blogger "identity" duffsdevice, to trick it into finding this blog. I'm sure this could lead to problems with duplicate items just like on FriendFeed.

I signed up for the Worcester, MA swarm which by the title of it looks auto generated, but I'm glad it's there. Unfortunately I'm now the sole member of the group. I didn't see any way to casually browse for popular swarms, so I couldn't find any others to join.

I tried importing contacts from GMail, but no one was found. The only other option is a name search, which isn't too appealing to me.

So, my opinion of the site is, it's no more useful than friendfeed currently, and I repeatedly had trouble finding out where to navigate to, so I gave up and left fairly quickly. I saw the full list on the home page, but that's the only place I saw content that wasn't mine. Also, I'm not fond of the UI, it's unnecessarily sprayed with AJAX, and maybe it's the color scheme, but there's something I cant easily define which distracts me from the content constantly.


louisgray said...

Not only did I read this, but I commented. Anything else I can do for you? :-)

Thanks for the nice notes.

Ryan S said...

Thanks for leaving a comment, I all too often don't comment since I read almost everything in a feed reader now.

It must be weird to all of a sudden have so many more people paying attention to you. I'm happy you still care enough to comment on a blog that doesn't have a fan base.

Now I'm going to have to actually keep posting here. Thanks for the encouragement. :)