Likes & Dislikes: The Product Edition

Anyone who has followed my blogs over the last couple years knows that I’m a very big fan of the like/dislike list. But I generally try to exclude products from my lists since they don’t have that “essence of life” quality that I’ve strived for in my lists.

But products are important, too. So here you have it: a like/dislike list dedicated to the products I use or have used. I’ll actually split this particular list into four levels of like because I can quantify more precision when it comes to products.


  • VMWare. Being able to seamlessly run Ubuntu & Win7 side-by-side (and have both of them performant) still feels like the coolest thing ever, even after doing it a year.
  • Rubymine. See: favorite Rails tools
  • New Relic. See: favorite Rails tools
  • Quora. Today it is very good. And if they don’t mess it up, next year it is going to be the oracle that has an intelligent answer for everything.
  • Google Search. So easy to take for granted, given how it is woven into every minute of our lives. But can you imagine a world without it? Try using any other search engine for solving programming problems if you want to remember why Google search deserves your love.


  • Windows 7. Terrible for programming Rails, great for UI/usability and productivity.
  • Ubuntu. Great for programming Rails, passable for usability and productivity (Gimp and Openoffice sure as hell ain’t no Photoshop and MS Office)
  • Microsoft Onenote. I have found no better tool for mapping whatever arbitrary structure/idea from my brain into tangible existence.
  • Firefox 4. It has Firebug.
  • Google Chrome. Introduced to the world the realization that we were browsing at half-speed. Low memory footprint.
  • Github. The world of open source programming could accurately be talked about in terms of “BG” and “AG”. It is not an overstatement to say that, along with Git (see below), Github has completely and utterly revolutionized the world’s ability to collaborate on complex projects. The residual impact of that change is hard to grasp.
  • Stackoverflow. Opportunity for them to move to “love” if ever they could build a half-decent search… I still use Google to find answers that I suspect are somewhere on Stackoverflow
  • Amazon. Like Google Search, above, it is such a part of our daily lives that it’s easy to take for granted. But also like Google, imagine shopping for commodities without it. Not to mention their efforts to lead the cloud computing movement.

Deeply Divided

  • Git. The “deeply divided” category exists specifically for git. On one hand, I love what it lets me do (effectively manage source control). On the other hand, I despise how unnecessarily arcane the syntax is, and how the documentation feels like it was written by a seemly unbathed newsgroup


  • Rhythmbox. Happy to remove them from this list if they can ever pull off the herculean feat of not considering the word “The” when sorting artists by name. Update: ho, shit! A hero!
  • Dell’s website. Inconsistent, buggy, hard to shop. Do like: Dell’s products, esp the pricing of them)
  • eMusic. Every company has a right to pivot and drop their early adopters — it is business. But the manner in which eMusic made this pivot (with an utter lack of advance notice and concerted effort to mask what was really happening) still rubs me the wrong way when I think about it.


  • Quicken. Everything feels like it takes 5x longer than necessary.
  • Microsoft Money. Try to use it sometime.
  • Playstation 3. Already hated their constant 45 minute system updates; and days after I wrote that blog post, they give away my CC and password to the Internet. Bang up job, guys.

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