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Buzzword
November 8, 2007 8:40 AM   Subscribe

Buzzword is a fancy new online word processor by Adobe. (flash based)
posted by blue_beetle (52 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
While this is cool, it would be great if Adobe would concentratr on making existing products, like Illustrator, work properly and then make flashy Flash experiments.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:45 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Or Flash on Linux, amirite?
posted by DU at 8:52 AM on November 8, 2007


Replace the "shiny" tag with "shitty", please. That is, unless they stop using Flash and fix their browser detection so it understands Camino exists. (You know, since it's part of the Mozilla universe.)

Also:

Web 2.0 means a Flash app now? Not so much.
posted by Mikey-San at 8:54 AM on November 8, 2007


Slower than treacle, annoying slidy effects.

Erk.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:55 AM on November 8, 2007


Considers Safari on Leopard "unsupported". Makes me create an account to even see it.

Flash?

DO NOT WANT.
posted by mkultra at 9:05 AM on November 8, 2007


Adobe isn't putting developers on Buzzword, Adobe bought buzzword and the company that was making it, Virtual Ubiquity.

http://blog.virtub.com/?p=29
posted by illovich at 9:06 AM on November 8, 2007


Just what I want! A word processor that runs inside flash, which runs inside Firefox, which runs inside a single thread on my operating system...

The only thing that can make it better is more client side JavaScript!
posted by SweetJesus at 9:06 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


"DO NOT WANT."

Then you no has buzzwordz.
posted by illovich at 9:07 AM on November 8, 2007


All these justifiably negative responses make me think, is there anyone out there who actually uses this for day-to-day word processing? There must be, I guess, since Adobe saw it fit to purchase, but I'd much, much rather use TextEdit/Wordpad than this.
posted by tepidmonkey at 9:10 AM on November 8, 2007


I clicked the 'sign up' button and nothing happened. And I have no idea why or what's going on because it's inside the flash app.

Has anyone mentioned yet that Flash sucks? Just wanted to get that out there.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:11 AM on November 8, 2007


Man people love to get their Flash hate on. The program seems nice enough.
posted by chunking express at 9:11 AM on November 8, 2007


I can hardly wait until there's a CPU that understand flash p-code (or whatever it compiles to) natively.
posted by GuyZero at 9:12 AM on November 8, 2007


...is there anyone out there who actually uses this for day-to-day word processing? There must be, I guess, since Adobe saw it fit to purchase...

I take it you were born some time after 2001.
posted by DU at 9:15 AM on November 8, 2007


Yesterday, actually.
posted by tepidmonkey at 9:16 AM on November 8, 2007


That crashed every Adobe Ap I had running on my machine.
posted by tkchrist at 9:17 AM on November 8, 2007


I do think that web-based apps are going to slowly replace desktop based applications, at least for common "easy" tasks like word processing. However, I don't think it's going to be flash-based.
posted by drezdn at 9:17 AM on November 8, 2007


This is about making a point, not a usable product. The point is "rich internet applications are here." For a long time, flash apps have been seen as kids stuff, for vector animations, not "serious" applications.

Adobe is trying to change that perception.

However, it's not working on me because while I'd be willing to play around for a few seconds to see if it's any good, I really can't be bothered to sign up with my email, wait for a response, give them my name, etc, etc, etc. why do people still require that stuff? Do they even keep metrics on how many people visit the site and don't bother to enter or type in their email address?

Gah.
posted by delmoi at 9:23 AM on November 8, 2007


If I can't link someone directly to my document, it's not an "internet application" no matter how many spinning pumpkins you animate it with.
posted by DU at 9:30 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


I've been waiting for about seven years for someone to come out with a Flash-based word processor. It's been just around the corner and the next logical thing ever since then.

That it hasn't happened, I take as a sign of Macromedia's strategic ineptitude.

Having just spent about three hours banging my head against the gelled and packaged incompetence that is Adobe's web presence (mirabile dictu, downloads just magically and mysteriously appear! and disappear! in your My Downloads listing, and you're never quite sure where a Home or List All button is going to take you -- just for a very super high leve introduction to my current frustration) [DEEP INHALE], I have very, very little confidence in their ability to produce a scalable and usable online application.

Looking back, it astonishes me how well the Adobe and Macromedia cultures have gelled into a single turgid mass. Who would have known that together, they would attain such heights of bureaucratistic mediocritude!
posted by lodurr at 9:31 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is why folks are so keen on Web2.bleeeeeargh rather than Flash (or browser-side Java): They can do most of the useful things that Flash can do that traditional HTML couldn't do, without being bound to a single vendor and a nested applet behaving as if it's a userspace unique to the browser containing it.

Also, Adobe's support of Flash on the Mac is apparently a pretty low priority -- more important than on Linux, but there is clearly no love there on the executive level. I've got a brand-new MacBook Pro and Buzzword is slow as sludge.

I don't have to put up with this when Google Office has been out there for a while. Unlike Buzzword, it's ugly. Unlike Buzzword, it's useful.
posted by ardgedee at 9:35 AM on November 8, 2007


I have no use for this product.

Of course, that never stopped a developer.
posted by Muddler at 9:37 AM on November 8, 2007


... and you know what, that you can't even get into the front page of the fucking demo site without loading a full-screen Flash movie is just pathetic.

Oooo! I've got a GREAT IDEA! Let's make people LOAD A WHOLE NEW BROWSER, INSIDE THEIR BROWSER, EVERY TIME THEY COME TO OUR PAGE!!!!

(I actually think there's terrific potential in Flash. But I have never, ever seen it realized in anything commercial. Aside from Macromedia being inept, I got nothin' on that one.)
posted by lodurr at 9:38 AM on November 8, 2007


I agree with delmoi. Flash has gotten a really bad reputation because it has been used to make crappy Flash ads and crappy Flash splash pages and crappy all-Flash websites. But it's really not a terrible platform for web applications.

However, I've not seen what they've done with this app because I agree with delmoi on his second point as well: I'm not going to sign up to yet another website just to fool around with a demo.
posted by moonbiter at 9:39 AM on November 8, 2007


[suggested edit: ... support of Flash everything on the Mac is apparently a pretty low priority]

This nice couplet bear's repeating: Unlike Buzzword, it's ugly. Unlike Buzzword, it's useful.

You might have a song lyric there.
posted by lodurr at 9:40 AM on November 8, 2007


As has been pointed out, Buzzword is from Virtual Ubiquity (Waltham, MA) [Founded by a friend/former colleague]. They have been working on Buzzword for the past year. Adobe purchased them last month.

The product has received some very favorable press. Example:
"This is a REALLY sweet word processor... It may well just be the slickest word processor I've seen anywhere."

-- Tim O'Reilly
posted by ericb at 9:40 AM on November 8, 2007


I like Google Docs, but they're still at the level of Microsoft Wordpad. I'd like to do some more sophisticiated word processing online, and at least Buzzwords hints that a richer experience is possible, even if it's not quite there yet.

I guess it's just one more solution to the wrong problem. We need a free virtual internet-based drive that works across multiple platforms (that is official supported), then I could use whatever editor I wanted on the client machine to edit the files. So far I haven't seen it. Amazon is almost there, there are rumors of a gDrive... but nothing yet.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:43 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like Google Docs, but they're still at the level of Microsoft Wordpad.

"The user experience it promised was truly breathtaking. Buzzword made google docs looks like your grandpas word processing app."*
posted by ericb at 9:47 AM on November 8, 2007


Oh, dear god, I think my head is going to explode from all the self-important CRAP on that Buzzword site. Just a smattering from their home page:
Buzzword, the first real [the others were imaginary] word processor for the web [... which doesn't let you link to documents and requires a proprietary runtime environment...], is a breakthrough in collaborative authoring for documents that matter [... because, of course, they don't matter unless they're on BUZZWORD!].

We're capturing some of our thoughts related to on-line rich authoring [because who gives a shit about poor authoring!] and collaboration....

We're pleased to announce that Virtual Ubiquity has agreed to become part of Adobe Systems. ["Well, since you're asking so nicely, we've decided we'll grace you with our wondrously magical and hip karma. Oh, and, just shove those moneybags under the desk, eh?"]
posted by lodurr at 9:48 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree with blue_beetle that Google Docs is still not all that snazzy when it comes to online word processing. Zoho's not bad, but it's got a lot of bugs. This Adobe thing is a little more bells-and-whistles than substance, and I wouldn't use it for everyday needs, but it's still kind of nifty.

That said, I haven't yet tried to use it on my Mac, and if it's as slow on the Mac as people say, then it's fairly useless as far as I'm concerned.
posted by blucevalo at 9:52 AM on November 8, 2007


I'm not sure why someone would want to write a word processor in Flash. The vast number of kludges necessary to deal with Flash's piss poor text handling would be mind boggling. From a technical standpoint, this is pretty good, even though I would never use it.
posted by ryoshu at 10:09 AM on November 8, 2007


DU writes "Or Flash on Linux, amirite?"

It would be nice. Or native support for FreeBSD (which isn't that different from Linux).
posted by krinklyfig at 10:21 AM on November 8, 2007


I tried it out. I don't love the UI; keep trying to use keyboard shortcuts or right-click context menus that don't exist, and somehow managed to bork the app while trying to upload an image (there's now a weird menu panel drifting around behind whatever that is in the lower right-hand corner, and paragraphs of my text randomly appear and disappear while I type.

Maybe I could get used to the UI, and they could fix whatever bug I just stumbled across. But what kills it for me is: ok, so I have a buzzword document. Now what? Can I export it to HTML? no. Plain text? no. RTF? no. Anything at all? no. I can print it out, or I can look at it on the buzzword site. That's it. Useless.
posted by ook at 10:35 AM on November 8, 2007


Why the fuck is the signup form in Flash?
posted by kirkaracha at 10:44 AM on November 8, 2007


Why the fuck is the signup form in Flash?

It smells like a Flex app.
posted by ryoshu at 10:55 AM on November 8, 2007


So, ook, is it fair to say you would not consider it a Real Word Processor™?
posted by lodurr at 10:59 AM on November 8, 2007


blue_beetle is right that all this stuff answers the wrong problem.

The problem has never been not having access to applications. The problem has always been not having access to your data.

Give us a place where we can put our data, such that we can always access it from applications, let us put it there in a reasonably portable format (HTML, RTF, DOC, XLS), and then let us use one of the many pieces of software that edit those formats to edit them.

That would be revolutionary. Making us use their fuckign applications -- that's positively saurian. I'm amazed that people like O'Reilly, who builds his whole image on cluetrain-styled "cluefulness", can so amazingly miss the point that Google Docs, Zoho, Buzzword [fuck, the damn name even makes me shiver with revulsion], Office Live, and anything else like it just engender fucking lockin.

They are inherently anti-cluetrain.

Not that I ever respected the cluetrain manifesto to begin with, but this just proves to me once again that it was a naive piece of crap that that it will always be new boss / old boss as soon as the old boss gets his feet back under him. And even when you get someone who looks superficially like a new boss -- give that dude a haircut, you'll see the button down collar once you clear the long hair away.
posted by lodurr at 11:08 AM on November 8, 2007


Nail, meet head, lodurr; well put.
posted by ook at 11:12 AM on November 8, 2007


Zoho is hilarious...
posted by SweetJesus at 11:19 AM on November 8, 2007


Making us use their fuckign applications -- that's positively saurian. I'm amazed that people like O'Reilly, who builds his whole image on cluetrain-styled "cluefulness", can so amazingly miss the point that Google Docs, Zoho, Buzzword [fuck, the damn name even makes me shiver with revulsion], Office Live, and anything else like it just engender fucking lockin.

I agree with your basic premise but doesn't GoogleDocs allow you export/save to a number of standard formats like .txt, .doc, and .rtf? Or am I missing the point? I never felt "locked in with GoogleDocs, just...limited.
posted by Challahtronix at 11:42 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


*sniff sniff* oho! I smell the blood of a company besieged by marketers and idiot managers.
posted by bonaldi at 11:46 AM on November 8, 2007


The point is "rich internet applications are here."
Actually, the point appears to be "we're big and wealthy and we can't make rich internet applications work either!"
posted by bonaldi at 11:47 AM on November 8, 2007


blue_beetle : I like Google Docs, but they're still at the level of Microsoft Wordpad.

Agreed. Although I suspect that like myself, most people's needs for word-processing are met by these simple feature sets.

I applaud Adobe for trying to take the technology a step further, but for my needs, it's going to have to surpass docs.google which currently gives me browser and platform independence, and the ability to get access to my files from anywhere that has an internet connection, without the need to install anything additional.
posted by quin at 11:48 AM on November 8, 2007


that has an internet connection and a recent browser, without the need to install anything additional.
Fixed.
posted by bonaldi at 12:03 PM on November 8, 2007


I like how all the cool-kid fonts show up at the top of the list. And how Gandhi is the icon for "Insert Image...".

However: In the Preview release, spell checking uses only the rules of U.S. English. In upcoming releases, this feature will be expanded to include other languages.

To me (of course), that's pretty damning.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:15 PM on November 8, 2007


Mikey-San writes "Web 2.0 means a Flash app now? Not so much."

It does when the parent company owns Flash. Which, honestly, is sorta lame. Good web apps shouldn't require plugins.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:42 PM on November 8, 2007


It does when the parent company owns Flash. Which, honestly, is sorta lame. Good web apps shouldn't require plugins.

I think this can be forgiven when the plugin has a 99.1% penetration rate.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:57 PM on November 8, 2007


"...rich internet applications are here."
"...on-line rich authoring and collaboration...


Why, whenever I hear the word "rich" I immediately think "happy-shiny-buggy tech, chock-full o worthless bells and whistles"?
posted by Thorzdad at 1:04 PM on November 8, 2007


In related news: Online Photoshop Coming This Year -- "A beta version of the image tool should make its Internet debut by year's end, as Adobe aims for a wider audience in a Web 2.0 world."
posted by ericb at 3:42 PM on November 8, 2007


Why is everyone complaining about this app? I tried it, seems awesome. I've been using Google Docs (was: Writely) for a couple years now but this thing is so much more beautiful.

Almost everyone has Flash. Almost everyone needs a word processor with about 10% of the features of Word and its ilk.

I was up and running in one minute. Yes, I had to give up my e-mail address, big woo. But I didn't even have to confirm or anything.

The docs are stored in the cloud, where I can get to them from just about anywhere, even my grandmother's house on her computer. No need to do backups. And I can share the files and have others edit with me.

And its free. Thanks for the link, blue_beetle, I'll be using this quite a bit.
posted by iconjack at 8:52 PM on November 8, 2007


I have my own issues with Google Docs, but it does pretty much work. They've even pulled their heads out of their lunch and gotten Google Notebook to integrate with it.

My comments above weren't meant to indicate that I think it's bad or useless -- quite the contrary, I do use it sometimes -- but that it's ass-backwards as an approach. Much of what Google Docs does can be done on any random PC or Mac (the spreadsheets I can't answer in this way, you'd have me there). So it seems to me inherently contrary to the spirit of "loose coupling". A good "loose coupling" approach would be to have a readily accessible drive on the Net (WebDAV would be fine) where you could store your stuff and edit it with whatever you want. You'd better be able to integrate the stuff you do at home with the stuff you want to take elsewhere.

Now, Google might do that tomorrow (probably not as a featur of Docs, for document compatability reasons), but probably not, I think, because then they lose the ability to track your usage patterns and networking behaviors. They're positively OCD about that.

Put another way: Google wants you to do everything in their cloud, for one overt and one not so overt reason: Overtly, because It Would Be Better For You (Because We Have Your Best Interests At Heart); less overtly (but not at all hidden), because they want to know what you're doing all the time, because knowledge is power gives them the ability to better Keep Your Best Interests At Heart.

So, for example, if I want to keep all my notes organized, Google wants me to do it by keeping them in Google Docs, not by keeping them in MacJournal or Yojimbo or DevonThink. Because it's a real nuisance getting anything from Google Docs re-integrated into your offline document workflow.

(Another aspect of this, which can be argued to cancel out the "loose coupling" aesthetic, is that Google Docs happens on the Net, and is Therefore Good. "Offline = bad" is the unspoken baseline assumption of the vast majority of kewl peeps on teh Net. Anyone daring to challenge that equation is at substantial risk of being written off as a LUDDITE. But I digress.)

When (not IF) Google Docs "goes offline", that will address the convenience issues, but it will make the Information Is Power issue even more squickie for a lot of people. They won't say anything, though, for the most part, because it would be inconvenient to actually pay attention to the squickie feeling that it gives them to willingly hand over the tracking of everything they do on the Net (which, let's face it, for much the Neterati is or is intimately interconnected with pretty much everything that they think is important about their lives) to a large corporation who's most binding committment to privacy amounts to "just trust us, OK? OK!"
posted by lodurr at 3:50 AM on November 9, 2007


... Oh, and: Online Photoshop? Um, no. Never work. Not with Photoshop as we know it. Online image editing in general, sure, no real problems there. But not Photoshop.

Maybe something they call Photoshop, but nothing that really approximates what Photoshop is actually good for. I mean, christ, I routinely get PS files from designers that are 15-30MB . And there would be just no responsiveness at all.

... unless by "online" Adobe means "you cache [i.e., install] it locally and it's only usable when you're connected to our server so we can stick you for a subscription fee versus our outrageous retail price." Yeh, maybe that "online" Photoshop has a shot.
posted by lodurr at 3:56 AM on November 9, 2007


And, I can't wait until AJAX hits the same wall that we hit with X11 many years ago. After you've downloaded all of the application logic that you need to do complicated document editing in the form of browser JavaScript or Flash ActionScript, your application starts looking and performing like a thick client. I have to say that I'm underimpressed that AJAX looks and feels like motif 10 years ago.

The second big problem with AJAX at the moment is that we are in a new period of browser war and browser lockout. I don't think that a Gecko monoculture is much better than an MSIE monoculture.

quin writes: I applaud Adobe for trying to take the technology a step further, but for my needs, it's going to have to surpass docs.google which currently gives me browser and platform independence,

Huh? Google Docs only supports two of the five main browser rendering engines, and appears to have little concern with standards compliance.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:45 PM on November 9, 2007


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