Monthly Archives: December 2007

Google “Friends” = Worst Idea Ever

Maybe I’m just in a bad mood this week. Or maybe software is just getting ridiculously stupid.

I use Google Reader as an RSS Feed reader. They recently introduced a “feature” where you can see stuff from your “friend’s” RSS subscriptions. Google has the idiotic idea that anyone you chat with on Gtalk or email is a friend.

Google doesn’t ask you who you friends are, they just have some algorithm to determine it. An algorithm. To determine who your friends are.

While I am very confident in certain algorithms (like say, Dijkstra’s Shortest Path Algorithm), I believe it’s quite easy to figure out who one’s friends are by FUCKING ASKING THE PERSON!

The worst part is, in order to remove these stupid stories, you must delete these people from your contacts list. So really, there’s an extreme binary relationship: either you are someone’s friend and you email them, or you are not their friend and you will never email them, ever.

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Google will not be able to beat Facebook at social software if they can’t figure out how to ask someone who their friends are. This move shows an utter lack of understanding of human nature. Google thinks they can solve things mathematically when asking a user will completely suffice. The algorithm-worship there has seriously got to stop.

A Tirade Against Vista, Norton, Logitech, Et Alia

I got my mom a new Inspiron 531S from Dell, and I’m setting it up right now. Okay, actually, I just sorta got the computer when I bought my 24-inch monitor, and my mom needed a computer, so I brought it over.

It has Windows Vista installed. I haven’t really ever used Vista, but I’ve been bombarded with frustration since roughtly 8:30am, so enjoy my stream of consciousness tirade while I get my mom’s computer working the way it should!

Vista: Get your act together, man! You know the first thing that happened after my mom created her admin account? “Windows Explorer is not responding, do you want to [end process] [wait] [uninstall Vista].” I would’ve chosen the tertiary, if it had existed.

Dell: What’s up with all this crap pre-installed on my system? I don’t want Google Toolbar or Google Desktop! I don’t want random Dell crap using my resources, I don’t want…

Norton Internet Security: WTF!? You’ll protect my mom’s computer for 30 days? And then stop protecting it? This seriously amounts to some kind of extortion. And why does it take 10 years to finally uninstall all of you!? And…

Vista: Why do you need my permission to do anything and everything!? Would you like my permission to change contexts? Load up the kernel? Reference and dereference memory? Because I could hit “okay” all day if you wanted me to. Okay, I’ve disabled this in the control panel. Yet I needed to restart to get it to work. Though when I restarted, Vista decided to install a bunch of security updates without asking me first. Hey, Vista, don’t assume I have all day to wait for you to install these security holes that you shouldn’t have shipped with in the first place! Oh man, I’m getting angry… At least it didn’t just restart randomly, like my own desktop has been doing lately (I disabled that, too).

Okay, so now stuff is sort of working properly. Except that Vista is actually slower than XP was before. Or maybe it’s this AMD chip that’s somehow found its way into my mom’s computer. (Full disclosure, my mom works at Intel).

Well, now to install some drivers, like the…

LOGITECH KEYBOARD AND MOUSE DRIVERS: WHY THE FUCK DO YOU TAKE UP 53.1MB!? SERIOUSLY, ARE YOU A MULTIMEDIA EXTRAVAGANZA!? AND NO, I DON’T WANT TO INSTALL YAHOO TOOLBAR!!!

To be continued…

Ingrid Michaelson in Ann Arbor! (12/12/07)

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So my friend Krystle made it clear on Monday that she wanted to see someone named Ingrid Michaelson in concert on Wednesday. I had no idea who this person was, so I checked out her website and listened to a few songs. Apparently she’s had quite a few songs appear in Grey’s Anatomy and in TV commercials like Old Navy.

I thought she sounded pretty good, but what about live!? Now, a lot of times, an artist will sound good on a CD merely by virtue of having a good sound guy to tweak the pitches to perfection. But after seeing a clip of her sing the Old Navy commercial song live, I was convinced. She sounded even better live!

So three of us went to the concert on Wednesday, almost freezing to death in line due to a sloth-like ticket ripper dude at The Blind Pig. This guy was seriously doing like, one ticket a minute. It’s a good thing Krystle got the tickets early, because they apparently sold out while we were in line.

The set started out with some stuff by Allie Moss, who also serves as Ingrid’s backup guitar and vocals. It’s a very economic setup. Allie was actually quite good. But everyone was kind of ready to hear Ingrid after a few songs. And once Ingrid started singing, it was apparent why Allie is the sideman and Ingrid is the headliner. Her voice is freakin’ awesome! Basically, Ingrid can do pretty much whatever she wants vocally as far as range and other weird things that people learn in voice training.

While some of her songs are a bit simplistic and “funky” in terms of arrangement, I think her voice really makes up for her lack of anything else. Ooh, strange cognitive dissonance: Right before she came on, the DJ dude or whoever asked everyone to stop smoking because she’s sensitive. But the lyric in her song says “If you need a light, I’ll find a match!” I know it’s just a lyric, but hey, come on!

Ummm what else? The Old Navy song (The Way I Am) and the Breakable song were really good. I mean, mostly everything was good. Also, it felt like VH1 storytellers because we’d get the story behind a bunch of songs, which works well when you don’t have a bunch of songs to fill up a set. Ingrid had a good stage presence, seeming very humble. Though perhaps it was well rehearsed humbleness!!! I don’t really doubt her humbleness though, she seemed really nice. Like she’d get happy when people knew what song she was playing. Also, she told a story about how she was doing a promo event at Borders and said “Thanks to Barnes and Noble for having me!” Oh, and she pointed out that there’s a live version of a song on her Myspace page where, at the end, she says “thanksss~~~” and it sounds really funny.

There were also a bunch of covers thrown in for good measure. She played Mele Kalikimaka, a naughty Christmas song called “Trim Your Tree,” (in fact, here it is!) and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” I probably sound like I’m enamored now, but seriously, anything her voice touches turns to GOLD!

So yeah, it was a good show, and it was cool to see her before she eventually becomes stinkin’ famous. Hopefully she’ll come around the Ann Arbor area again some time soon.

SOCHI Google Android Design Challenge

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So the SOCHI group at Michigan had a fun Google Android Design Challenge thingy last week. SOCHI is the student organization for computer-human interaction. I guess I should’ve capitalized all those words… Oh, and Android is the OHA’s new mobile development platform.

Basically, we all had a brainstorming session with ideas for fun new mobile apps. There were a lot of cool ideas thrown out. Afterwards, we all got into smaller groups and developed some app ideas. Our group came up with this sensor that tells you if you’re in close proximity to someone really often. I believe there was some study done where people wore these RFID things and it turned out that they were in close proximity to complete strangers very often (like at the bus stop or grocery store or something). So the app could say, “hey, you’re together often, maybe you should be friends” or something.

The coolest part of the meetup was that it was partly sponsored by Google, which means there was free pizza, drinks, and most importantly, Google cups. They were the same as that one red Google cup I got as my consolation prize (the grand prize being a job at Google). I picked up one of each color (blue, green, yellow and red) since I didn’t know if they’d go to waste afterwards. I guess SOCHI just sorta stows them away until another Google sponsored event. Oops!

Writing this post is also a way for me to procrastinate on my business plan which is due tomorrow for my entrepreneur class. The business? A software development company specializing in mobile applications on the Android platform. Which it wasn’t at the beginning of the semester, but that’s a whole other story…