Tag Archives: goddamnit

NewTwitter Makes Babies Cry

(The following is more entertaining when you imagine it’s being read by someone with a snooty English accent.)

Preliminary thoughts on the new Twitter design: fail. The favorite and retweet emblems at the top-left of each tweet are awkward-looking and less-obvious than in the previous design. While technically handy, having profile icons for each and every tweet quickly becomes repetitive. Oh, and clicking a username in the timeline opens a sidebar instead of taking me directly to the user’s profile. Doesn’t the arrow in the upper-right corner of each tweet perform a very similar function? In my mind clicking a user’s name should take me the fuck to their page; this new setup adds an extra click to the process…which really only adds an extra layer of protection when I accidentally click the username of a zombie sex fetishist. Then there’s the fact that you now have to manually refresh your profile page if you want to see your latest tweets. But I’m not going to throw a fit over that. I am going to throw a fit over Twitter’s design crew throwing the rule of thirds out the window.

See, the problem with New Coke—I mean, New Twitter—isn’t that it’s more cluttered or overly complicated. It only looks that way because it’s not following the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is one of your basic design / composition techniques. Not only does it make the best of potential white space, it gives your eyes an immediate focus upon first looking at a picture, a video, a Web page, etc. Before, when you visited a Twitter profile, your eyes were immediately drawn to the tweeter’s most recent tweet, right up there at the top of the easily distinguishable “main” column in big, bold letters. NewTwitter presents you with two columns of nearly identical width; your eyes don’t quite know where to look at first. For that split second you’re thinking, “Who am I? What am I doing here? Should I switch to PornTube?” There’s no main focus. NewTwitter pages look too busy, even though they’re really not. It’s an optical illusion of the worst kind.

It’s like the Gap design crew got drunk, crashed a Twitter slumber party, and fucked with their master files. Gap fixed its own mistake. Will Twitter do the same?

The Coming Solar Fart

The Barman responds to tomorrow's announced CME

Outside my taking the ten minutes to back up my work folder to a DVD this afternoon, I swear I’m not an alarmist. Tomorrow’s light show would have to cause a lot of other unsightly problems before it wipes our hard drives clean. And even then, I’d probably adapt like the rest of you, apply my Farmville skills to the real world and start a vegetable aisle (that’s what it’s called, right?) in my backyard…though, thinks Paranoid News, that’s probably easier said than done:

It so happens that 99.99% of my life depends on technology. I need microwave ovens and cellphones to give me brain tumors, I need telephones to get annoyed with telemarketing phone calls, I need the Internet [to download industrial amounts of porn]…

And I need the Internet to watch entertaining What If? specials like this one, from the Discovery Channel (watch it while you still can):

Samus’ Power Suit Can Run Ubuntu

Metroid sucks morph balls

Thanks, Sal, for the image and blog post title. Neither has much to do with window buttons, but that’s okay. I like them both anyway.

Regarding window buttons, I just got a peek at the forthcoming Ubuntu 10.04 release, and I no likie the left-oriented window buttons. The new layout brings to mind a long-standing GNOME usability quirk involving window title bars being so close to the default top panel (regardless of whether the window buttons are on the left or the right) that you risk accidentally closing, maximizing, or minimizing the active window whenever you interact with the panel. Particularly if you’re in a hurry. For this reason I always remove the top panel whenever I do a GNOME install. Two horizontal bars stacked together is bound to result in accidents.

Say what you will about Windows, but Microsoft has at least gotten their button placement “likely” over the years. What I mean by that is each corner of your screen has a likely purpose. The top-right area is strictly for minimizing, maximizing / restoring, and closing your program windows; the top-left is for menu entries; down below, your Start bar holds its own, out of the way and yet easily accessible, with the bottom-left of your screen reserved for the Start menu, and the bottom-right for notification items. A place for everything and everything in its place. If your cursor is in any given corner, it’s there for a particular reason. What the new Ubuntu layout has done is give multiple purposes for a single area. Great for consolidation fans, but, in my opinion, a disregarding of the hard-won convention that each corner of a user’s screen space is reserved for a specific function.

Of course, this won’t be an issue if GNOME moves its application menubars elsewhere. But for the time being left-aligned window buttons are just too close to the menubar for my taste. Here’s to hacking the config file and reclaiming my “rights,” so to speak. ;)

Ugh…

Jesse: No new nothing from me until next week. Hopefully. It’s like The Stand around here. Buzzards are collecting outside my bedroom window. One of them chiseled the initials R.F. in the bark of a nearby tree. I’m screwed.

Theo: Oh. Well…feel better, I guess.

Eva: Yeah, feel better, Jesse.

Jan: Ditto.

(A moment of silence.)

Ernie: Fuck.

Pretty Women Dumbify the Male Sex

What's my name?

What's my name?

This Telegraph article isn’t telling us anything we don’t already know. The basic finding is that men use up so much of their brain juice trying to impress attractive chicas that they have little left to perform other mental tasks simultaneously. I can vouch for this. Pretty women make me dumb(er). Plus, they smell nice. How do they do it? Peggy Bundy once explained it: “You see, nature played a very cruel joke on [men]. It gave them a source of pleasure, but in order for it to work, the blood has to leave the brain…it leaves them confused, disoriented and eager to enter into negotiations. Because the brain wants that blood back…it needs it to go to work to pay for all those things it agreed to only moments before.”

One line in the article I don’t agree with, though:

Women, however, were not affected by chatting to a handsome man.

This is untrue. Women who talk to a handsome man are 50% more likely to tune me out mid-sentence, especially if the three of us are sitting together in a night club setting. Also, women dating / married to handsome men are more likely to suspect adultery than those involved with less handsome men (ie: computer geeks or basement trolls).

To simplify: Pretty women make men stupid, handsome men make women jealous.

Thanks, but No Thanks

I usually just delete spam whenever I spot it in my queue, but this offer, posted to the Time Chaser book page, warranted special attention. Read carefully:

Is not spam, it is only my commercial offer. Sorry if i mistake of topic!

Buy Chlamydia – Best testimonials. Buy now. Satisfaction is guaranteed.
Best price for brand and generic medications.
From $0.60 per item. Free Airmail shipping for Chlamydia 100mg 90 tabs and save $135 on order!

Testimonials or not, I most certainly will not be taking advantage of this offer. One, I’m really not interested in 100mg tabs of Chlamydia at the moment; two, I just hate e-mails that begin with the line, “Is not spam, it is only my commercial offer.” That’s almost as bad as, “I don’t mean to offend you, but [insert offensive statement here].” If you’re going to sell me Chlamydia, just come out and say, “I’d like to extend a special Chlamydia offer to you!” Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t try sneaking into an X-rated movie if you’re twelve and wearing a really cheesy beard. Don’t forget to spell-check your spam before you expel it from your rectum.

FMyLife: I Have to Go Potty

Someone just recently introduced me to FMyLife.com, and I have to say it’s a fabulous way to burn time. Since I’m too fat and lazy to register for an account, here’s my FML contribution. There’s this cute-as-hell, totally-in-shape gal in my neighborhood who goes jogging every day with her dog. I go for walks every afternoon, so it’s inevitable that we’ve crossed paths several times before. Usually we just smile and say “hello” to each other, but the other day she actually stops to make smalltalk while she takes a breather. At last! My chance to get to know her a little better! Trouble is, I’d gotten a major urge to drop anchor five minutes earlier, and so was literally walking like some random Shaun of the Dead extra, legs squished together, spine bent in all the wrong places, hands stuffed in my pockets and grasping the edges of my underwear, sweat dribbling down my forehead, noxious gasses escaping my every orifice. My jogger angel jogs up to me, smiles prettily, asks me how I’m doing—and I just blast past her, mumbling, “I’m fine” out of the corner of my mouth. FML.

Besides shitting my pants in the presence of beautiful women, I’ve been quietly working on a new screenplay, this one about oatmeal. Pulsar Pictures is turning it into an independent film. You’ll never see another screenplay with as much fiber packed into a hundred pages. ;) That’s about all I can say right now. Some old Colossal Theatre buds will be in it. More info. when I’m allowed to blab…

Fake It or Break It

An interesting comment on ABC’s new show, Make It or Break It:

Initially, I laughed at it too, as there’s not a shred of muscle on these girls that resembles an elite gymnast. And I even thought, considering all the thousands of wannabe-starlets in Hollywood, surely some of those actresses are athletic, and surely a small portion of them are small enough that they could plausibly be gymnasts, and surely all of them can act well enough to say these lines.

But then I remembered we’re talking about a TV teen drama, and not a show competing for Emmy awards. So what is most important to these producers? Accuracy, or viewership?

Easy answer, as the poster outlines in their comment. You can’t reach a teen-girl TV viewership without the boys, dating, and sex formula, and you can’t have a circa-2008 Shawn Johnson enacting that formula in the backseat of her boyfriend’s Mazda. Sex sells, and anything in prime time needs a little of it (either that or some violence). So, rather than cast a group of actual elite gymnasts who could bring a layer of credibility to Make It or Break It, the producers are using sexuality and assumed stereotypes regarding girls and sports. Kind of sad that they think the only way a show like this will survive is if it’s got some Bring It On or Stick It in the mix. But if it does, at the very least, it will mean career boosts for the actors and actresses involved, as well as publicity for a sport that is usually only noticed every four years.

I took a gamble when I wrote Heroes’ Day and decided to focus on social issues and exaggerated Olympic trends rather than making Monica old enough to flirt / blackmail her way to the top. I’d love to see Heroes’ Day as a movie, and I’d love to see it cast with a team of actual 13–14-year-olds because I know there’s an audience out there for a movie with strong female protagonists not relegated to relying on their boobs for attention. Not necessarily a Mighty Ducks thing, but something that doesn’t bombard you with shampoo and tampon commercials while you watch it. :D

The New iPod Stifle

Neowin.net is just one of many tech sites posting news on Apple’s new iPod Shuffle and how it’s going to tell your current earphones to fuck off:

Most of you will know that Apple recently unveiled their new iPod Shuffle, much to everyone’s surprise. Well, it appears that there have been some dirty secrets uncovered about the new device: according to iLounge, Apple has put DRM in the hardware to prevent you from using any earphones that you want.

I’ve never been an Apple fan. Almost was, as my first computer was actually a donated Macintosh—before it was reclaimed by the original owner’s daughter a week later. My next was a PC with Windows 95 and Microsoft Word on it. I learned on the Windows platform, so that’s what I’ve stuck with these last twelve years, only recently moving to Linux on a permanent basis. But for the price, I don’t see what’s so spectacular about a Mac. If it’s all about interface, that’s fine. Anything’s better than Vista (why oh why must it automatically shuffle my folder views every few days?). However, I’m not vain enough to pay big bucks for something that the Ubuntu 8.x series has given me for a far more attractive price. I’m also not willing to sacrifice comfort for brand name approval. What if I don’t like Apple’s array of earbuds? Is it blasphemy to want to plug in a pair of Sony V150s into my iPod? Not that those are the most comfortable headphones in the world, mind you. They’ve merely grown on me.

As for MP3 players, it’s all about the iAUDIO. Now that’s a baby I’d pay big bucks for…if I hadn’t already settled for a Sansa e260 (a high-end mediocre player with above-average sound quality) in 2008. The iAUDIO plays MP3, Ogg, FLAC, among others. It’s dead sexy. And it doesn’t need the latest version of iTunes in order to sync tracks with your PC. Copy and paste, as God intended. :D

Andorian Flu

The new Pepsi logo

My sinuses feel like the new Pepsi logo (interpretation) looks: a bulging sac of snot ready to explode all over some poor pedestrian’s face. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating; I don’t feel that bad. But I don’t exactly feel all that good either. Hence my not updating my blog in a while.

The new Amazon Kindle is out. An optimistic quote from the POD People blog:

Now, with the sale of e-books on the rise, I think it’s worth the effort for authors to get their books to readers in whatever format is available, more options means more readers. Plus, I can offer the book at a cut-rate cost since there are no production dollars associated with the end product. Readers are more willing to take a chance on a new or self-published author if the investment is minimal.

I’ve had several of my books available as Kindle e-books for a while now, but haven’t yet added the proper links to my site. That’ll come later in the week, after I’ve learned to taste and smell again. ;) Anyone have any home remedies for the flu that don’t involve witchcraft or voodoo?