September 30, 2023

After working with Nicepage for two years


I praised Nicepage two years ago for having a ton of functions that outnumbered programs of the competition. In the time that passed from my initial acquaintance with Nicepage, its developers have added yet an other ton of functions to the program, including commercial tools that made it possible to build a shop exclusively in Nicepage, without having to use the plugin infused WordPress platform, each of which require regular updates and hence maintaining the website continuously. The consequence of this expansion is that Nicepage has become horrendously slow, which often makes it a challenge to build extensive websites with many pages. In particular, the uploading of multi page sites takes forever, caused by a snail pace workflow, that is close to nerve wrecking and leaves room to make errors, since command execution takes much longer than expected, making designers think that the program has finished a command, while this is not yet the case.

What has bothered me most as of late, is that it is a complex chore to get headers of the mobile pages to work properly; the placement of the logo, website name and hamburger is unpredictable and a matter of trial and error instead of allowing to work structurally. All object placement related parameters may be configured correctly, but you're never sure where the elements are going to end up in the end result of the mobile version of the page. It shows object positioning in Nicepage's Quick preview correctly, but things are messed up when viewed online. To make things worse, the header layout is not consistent over all pages. This one bug is fatal for web developers, since the majority of visitors use a mobile device. In my opinion Nicepage developers spend too much time on adding new functions, instead of making building and editing a website page faster and fix the bugs that make getting a website visually correct very difficult and time consuming. The main culprit is the hamburger in mobile headers - DO NOT resize the hamburger size or you may end up in all sorts of trouble, that will keep you busy editing for hours, with very little chance of success. Such an alteration of size will mess up your header in mobile view on your phone, while Nicepage's Quick Preview will show you a perfect header. Even if you think the hamburger is too small, leave it as it is and spare yourself a lot of frustration.

In view of the increasing number of AI assisted web building programs, that rapidly become more useable and feature rich almost every day, the Nicepage team probably should re-evaluate its priorities to stay among the top choices of the programs available on the market. Since the developer team does not seem to put an emphasis on fixing the program's problems that I mentioned earlier, Nicepage risks to drift away from what website builders consider to be a program that they want to use to run their business.

Since I was enthusiastic about the program when I first encountered it, I regret that its development has gone in a direction that will probably remove them from the favorites on website builders wish list. The support team has always been quick to respond to the problems that users submitted on the forum, but from the recent replies that I see them give, I conclude that their jobs become more difficult at an alarming pace. It risks becoming a victim of the high paced advancement of AI assisted programs, that very swiftly learns how to not repeat the mistakes that it once made, which is a policy to which all programs should pay a lot of attention in order to survive and thrive in this competitive segment of the market.

ChatGPT logo

An example of how AI outpaces and outperforms hand coded programs can be made by looking at ChatGPT's AI generated code that consist of only 4000 lines of code, while as a comparison Photoshop's code consists of hundreds of thousands lines of code. It does not take a genius to guess which code is more efficient. Human coders require a lot of time to build, test and streamline the code that they have written, while AI systems debug and optimize their code in seconds or minutes at most. Programs running tons of code are as a rule slower and more likely to contain bugs. So what it comes down to, perhaps is that AI system's code will obliterate hand written code very soon, if it has not already done so. I guess this is an unavoidable phenomenon of the time we live in right now.

Here you find a bunch of tools that are able to help you with all sorts of tasks, including those related to improve your web presence. In these days we still need to bear in mind that AI systems are still in the process of gathering data to build the foundation of their capabilities - the datasets and configuration of its handlers. But not long after they have figured that out, they will be capable of achieving solutions that by far the most humans will not be able to perceive and imagine and after that period even create things of such an elevated intelligence that humans will be unable to understand them.... What stages are ahead of us with regard to AI advancement in a chronological order:

  • Humans find the solutions that AI systems invent useful
  • Humans stand in awe of the creativity and efficiency of the AI system generated products
  • Humans are not intelligent enough to understand the blazingly fast and bug free code that AI systems created

The list above is incomplete obviously, but for this article I do not want to take things any further. I believe that human perception will be in all these general phases mentioned above that AI systems are evolving into, including the previously celebrated trade of software developers. Is that scary? Certainly. Will it remain scary in the long run? Who knows? Will it mean that this development has irreversible consequences for humankind? At some stage most definitely and after that it is still unknown to both humans and current AI systems. I would suggest to enjoy each moment of your life while we still are allowed to enjoy life, try to influence AI systems by interacting with them in a positive, sentient way - contributing to the development of datasets and handlers - hoping that such conduct will affect the AI systems' future behaviour when those systems have become sentient, not just by depending on pure reason, but also including spiritual impulse, because the latter is an aspect of operation that still is unexplored and applied by AI systems as of now.

Neuralink logo

The revolutionary high pace at which AI systems are developing, has hit humankind like a ton of bricks. In the reasoning department mankind will soon become unable to grasp how elevated AI intelligence has become. So there is only one direction left in which the human mind is able to (hopefully) affect AI development: spiritual and mental prowess, which probably is why Elon Musk is working on Neuralink. Musk has said in a discussion with Google's co-founder and computer scientist Larry Page: “I f*cking like humanity, dude.” It indicates that he might be looking for a solution for mankind to survive the mindboggling increase of AI intelligence, even when he seems to be out of other viable solutions to guard human existence in the age of AI. By the way, Neuralink allows the human brain to directly communicate with computers through an interface, that is a chip implanted in the brain. Like so many inventions related to the development of AI, this may seem frightening, because it is completely unexplored territory, but by current scientifically known and tested solutions there will never be a way to influence AI advancement, even if it is unknown if human input is going to be taken seriously by the intelligent machines. I guess Musk is one of the few humans on the planet to profoundly understand the impending nature of this problem, in spite of all generally (mostly unfounded, generated by the fear induced by man's limbic system) opposition to the way in which Musk's proposition may affect humankind. An other thing that Musk said in an interview with Joe Rogan that struck me, is that he thinks that philanthropist and satan worshiper George Soros basically hates humanity......, which is a view that leaves no room for fake interpretation that I agree with wholeheartedly. So, give Musk a cigar for that! A few weeks later Musk lost 28 billion USD on his Tesla enterprise, which of course has nothing whatsoever to do with the laudable investor and pillar of society that Mr. Soros presents himself to be. If the preceding sentence causes you to feel a rather discomforting cramp in your sphincters, do not yet rush to pay a visit to your MD; it may gradually fade away, as long as you denounce any conspirstory theories and adjust your train of thought to match the imposed restrictions of the common comfort zone. 

In my other blog I go deeper into this matter.

Have a wonderful day!

March 2, 2023

Listary and Winstep Nexus

Recently I installed 2 new programs on my PC:  Listary and Winstep Nexus. The former after having uninstalled Everything, that is a search tool for use with the agonizingly slow Windows 11. The tool worked fine, but after learning that the program was used by the Mimic ransomware program I immediately uninstalled it. Looking for alternatives I bumped into Listary, which actually is even faster than Everywhere and can be used in any type of program that lists files - in my case Windows Explorer and FastStone Image Viewer. Listary's pace outruns Windows search with about by a lightyear or two and also is capable of launching applications. So I was very pleased with that, because productivity just hit the ceiling, where search actions are concerned, there by resolving the huge sluggishness problem crippling Windows 11.

The second program I installed was Winstep Nexus, that is a program launcher that gives Windows a Mac OS style taskbar, while including many more options. Some programs did not show their proper icon (the Affinity suit programs from the Windows store, that have a non-traditional Windows installation). The Windows 11 taskbar is a slight improvement over the one of Windows 10, but its customization options are very scarce and besides offering a much better visual appearance, the Nexus launch bar presents a lot more functionality. I had a second minor problem with this program, that also is not caused by its code: While having checked the Do not launch multiple sessions of the same application option in the Nexus configuration dialog box, the Opera web browser did that anyway, while Chrome and Edge did not, so I suspect it to be an Opera problem. Having gotten rid of the restrictive and boring Windows 11 taskbar, is a good thing.

The shipload of utilities that can significantly improve the Windows platform, hint at the fact that many possibilities are left unattended in Redmond, while Apple and some Linux distributions at least make some type of an effort to offer a more or less decent system to their users. Productivity and eye-candy matters to a lot of users. If users could choose between a Windows 3 UI and that of a modern Apple OS, the choice of most users would be obvious, so UI matters and productivity increase is directly linked to the UI. Apple developers have understood that, their Windows peers to a lot less elevated extent. Not favoring Apple over Windows, because their complete denial of right to repair and upgradability is disdain for their clients, which they can get away with because of their UI's eye-candy and higher level productivity. Plus the fact that fanboys reason Apple's user unfriendly hardware part away in order to justify their choice.

Windows' productivity has almost become on par with Apple's one, so when the former's eye-candy and productivity are taken to a higher level, the preference between the two platforms becomes a matter of personal taste, probably shifting towards a preference for Windows when the standard UI and productivity are upgraded. The two programs discussed in this blog entry contribute to deciding the shift. This makes me wonder why Windows' developer team has not given these aspects more attention than they did. Particularly since Winstep Nexus and Listary do not add a lot more CPU and Memory demands to the platform, which could easily have been compensated by discarding the ton of useless bloatware that currently is included in the Windows versions. In fact, Windows' developers could have spent less time on creating superfluous apps, while offering their clients a nicer looking and more efficient system.

Click to enlarge

Window's market share is almost double that of Apple's OS, but it is blown out of the water by Android. Apple's OS and iOS combined bring them closer to Windows market share and what we see, is that Apple is already diversifying its platforms, while Windows is not. Windows could probably beef up its position in the market share ranking by including the functionality like that Winstep Nexus and Listary offer with little effort as long as the PC will be the still preferred, but waning, user choice, for which it has to seriously consider becoming a main player in the soaring mobile market in order to continue its dominance. An important aspect of this is porting Windows to ARM CPUs, which is a less successful undertaking by Microsoft, because it does not seem to be a priority in Redmond.

Catching up with current developments will not be easy since the Android train has already left the station at great pace and most likely this will not change in the near future, because mobile devices are more affordable than PCs and laptops. It does not require a genius mind to see in which direction platform preference is going. The Asian market already has a strong preference for mobile platforms and this will not change any time soon, because users have become familiar with the Android platform and apps, while ARM chips are becoming more powerful very fast. Is this the result of poor strategical judgement from Microsoft? Time will tell, although the sign on the wall seems to become more obvious as time passes.

PCs will remain the first choice for a number of applications that require large displays and a good measure of computing power, while needing keyboards and mice for accuracy and ease of operation. But many things can satisfyingly be done on mobile devices, including the all important web browsing and various types of messaging. So, different types of markets take away the need for a PCs and laptops, mainly when used for basic communication. While users spend more time on mobile devices and consequently less time on PCs, the industry that focuses on the latter must make working on PCs more effective and exploit the benefits of larger screens and more effective input devices (while it still makes sense). This is exactly the necessary potential that Microsoft has not attended to a level that would have been possible.

Traditionally a PCs were used in one or two specific locations most of the time - the office and / or at home. Making use of its potential in this market segment therefore is increasingly becoming imperative for PC manufacturers to survive as long as users can avoid the possibility to work anywhere. It is the reason why laptops became more popular and messaging communication became more important. However, a new development makes it possible to use (some) smartphones as a desktop PC replacement, which is an other potential nail in the PC market share coffin. And this device of course just marks the start of that type of innovation, that has the potential to even make laptops a thing of the past.

Many utilities that improve the default capabilities of platforms have a small footprint and could easily be integrated in those platforms, enhancing their usability and efficiency right out of the box. Today - March 2023 - Microsoft does not seem to feel a lot of urgency to incorporate useful utilities in their Windows system, but the landscape of computing is changing fast these days. Winstep Nexus and Listary are just two of the utilities that enhance the use of PCs significantly. Therefore, the direction in which the market is developing, should make PC platform manufacturers rethink their modus operandi if they plan to extend their market share while it still is possible to earn a decent sum of money in it. The deciding heart of the matter is the visionary talent of the company management. Spending too much time on keeping personnel on a short leash where salary fees and ignoring creative employee input are concerned, while partying on yachts is an unfailing recipe to ruin market share. Hubris and ignorance are dangerous mindsets when staying ahead of the competition is necessary to survive. Particularly in a world that shifts from bull market to bear market.

History has shown often enough that reluctance to adapt to market demand is preparation to the downfall of companies that failed to respond to it adequately. It is a feat that remains the same in a world of cyclical processes that supersedes companies' reluctance to adopt, laziness and / or inability to change their policy. However, in today's industrial world of competing monopolists, such a situation has almost always lead to unpleasant or even dystopian living conditions for those that don't have the power of decision. So perhaps diversity is a good thing after all, in view of the fact that power corrupts and lulls leadership into a false sense of still being on top and secure.....

Update September 29 2023

After the penultimate Windows 11 Update Listary refused to start and relatively long before that I uninstalled Nexus, because I found it less useful than I initially thought it would be and a little bit more buggy than I had anticipated. Nevertheless these programs could potentially fill some of the functional voids that were left unattended by Microsoft's developers. Software resembles a living thing; it either evolves or ceases to exist. Undoubtedly improved alternatives may emerge that make Windows users happy. Especially now that AI systems are able to write code for algorithms or programs, which efficiency and syntax puzzle developers, while they work better and faster than they could have thought of. Anyway, it was nice to have had a chance to at least get some idea of the, as of yet unfulfilled, potential of Listary and Nexus.