Who in their right mind does a major software update on an organizational app three days before Christmas? Even if there are no problems with the update and everything goes perfectly, the update process alone could result in cranky users. Just imagine for a moment that you’re using Wunderlist to, oh, the Tech Curmudgeon doesn’t know, keep track of your Christmas shopping. How much would you like discovering that you have to update your app when you’re standing in line trying to check off the items you’re about to pay for? The Tech Curmudgeon knows he’d be a tad… annoyed.
Wunderlist’s update process didn’t actually update as such, it added. As in when the Tech Curmudgeon downloaded the new Wunderlist app, it didn’t replace the old one and automatically import all his settings like any properly designed app will do, it simply installed the new version of the app alongside the old one. Oh, and the icons were nearly identical, making figuring out which version was the correct version a guessing game the first times the Tech Curmudgeon used it.
Then the Tech Curmudgeon discovered that the new app had crashed Wunderlist’s server, so he couldn’t sync his to-do list with his wife’s. And when the servers came back a day or two later (yes, that would be Christmas Eve – the Tech Curmudgeon lost track of when they actually came back, since by then he’d largely abandoned the useless app in favor of pencil and paper), there was an
undocumented feature bug that prevented the app on one smartphone (an iPhone) from syncing with the app on another smartphone (a Samsung Android phone). So much for the Tech Curmudgeon’s wife being able to check things off on one phone and having them show up as complete on his.
The Wunderlist desktop apps were just as screwed up as the smartphone apps, since they didn’t sync correctly either. Oh, and the Tech Curmudgeon had to download and install a second app instead of simply running an update for the original. Oh, and let us not forget that there wasn’t even an iPad app at all when Wunderlist released the so-called “update.”
And the problems didn’t end there. The original Wunderlist hid your completed items so that they didn’t clutter up your entire screen with useless junk. But the new-and-improved Wunderlist GUI made them all visible but faded. And if you happened to like the original GUI as the Tech Curmudgeon did, you were probably delighted to discover that there wasn’t even an option to hide the completed items anymore. The Tech Curmudgeon personally adores visually distracting GUIs – don’t you?
And while it never mattered in the original Wunderlist, if you wanted to clear away all that screen clutter, you had to delete each task. One. At. A. Time. No bulk delete option. No ability to select multiple tasks and delete all selected. Nada. If you’re like the Tech Curmudgeon, and you used Wunderlist for your grocery list, then you probably had hundreds of entries under the Grocery folder that you would have to delete. One. At. A. Time.
You know, if Wunderlist was made in a part of the world where Christmas isn’t widely celebrated, the Tech Curmudgeon could probably forgive the abysmally poor timing of the update. But Wunderlist is produced by a company in Germany, and last the Tech Curmudgeon heard they celebrate Christmas there too.
What the Tech Curmudgeon can’t forgive, however, is the combination of rock-stupid timing, releasing an update before all the platforms were ready, forcing him to install an entirely new app and uninstall the old one, failing to anticipate the server load, busting the sync for several days, and turning a clean GUI into pure screen clutter without even providing an option to revert to the old interface.
Sure, the app’s free, but so are most of Wunderlist’s major competitors like Remember The Milk and Astrid. And even if Wunderlist had paid upgrades like its competitors do, after this debacle the Tech Curmudgeon wouldn’t trust Wunderlist’s makers with someone else’s money, never mind his own. The sheer lack of customer awareness – no, make that basic consciousness – exhibited by Wunderlist’s makers demonstrates that any paid upgrades would certainly be a waste of money.
Bye bye, Wunderlist. And by all means let the door launch you onto the sidewalk on the way out.