Archives for category: Tech

WIRED has a collection of great quotes.

This excerpt moved me the most:

The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.

On my iPhone. I felt profoundly sad when I read those words.

I’ve been having a hell of a time lately. It’s a first world problem: I have blogs set up on WordPress, Tumblr, and Blogger. Mostly I’ve been using WordPress and using Tumblr and Blogger to park the names. But that’s been sitting uneasily with me—I felt I needed to settle  and concentrate on one.

Choosing among the three has taken more energy than it should have, as I go back and forth amongst all sorts of criteria. Then I decided to do something to break the tie. I decided to make the same post and post it to all three, and compare and contrast the experience for each service, and go with the one that was easiest/best/&c.

The clear winner is WordPress. Clear.

First, look at the same post on the three different services (links open to a new window)…

Here’s the WordPress post.

Here’s the Tumblr post.

Here’s the Blogger post.

The Blogger post was the worst experience of all three, by far. The composing window defaulted to HTML authoring, which didn’t account for line breaks when I pasted in my text. When I switched to the “Composition” window, the window was very tiny and I had to do an inordinate amount of scrolling to get to where I needed to go.

Ugh. The Blogger composition process was simply awful. I’m never using that terrible shite unless there’s some radical redesign.

The Tumblr post immediately presented an apparently insurmountable problem. I wanted to have text, then a picture, then more text. Apparently, this is impossible on Tumblr. See, you can begin with a “Text” post, and add pictures, or a “Picture” post, and add captions. But there’s no way to have text then a picture then more text.

You can do that if you first upload the image to an image service and then link to it. Um. I don’t want to jump through multiple hoops just to post a pic. Plus, getting a unique URL for just the pic is a pain in the ass for such services (they’re trying to drive views to their site, where the ads are, not just to host pics, so I understand).

I used the “picture post” since it was the only way to upload pictures from my desktop. I was hoping I could go back and edit the post by adding additional text. No-go.

The WordPress post was executed pretty much flawlessly from start to finish. I could write text, upload an image from my desktop, and add more text after that. The interface was clean and nice.

So, WordPress is the winner! Spell Rotation shall be there from now on, pending some other crazy new service that attracts me like a moth. But, if it’s going to, it’s going to have to have the simple ability to write text and post pictures at the same time.

Netflix logo

Here’s the thing…

I’ve a few points about the change.

1) This is going to save us money.

Right now, we have the one DVD at a time and unlimited streaming. We’ve watched one of those DVDs in probably three or four months. We’re not getting value out of the DVD. Worse, it’s an object we have to manage when it’s here.

Pure streaming is us.

2) No one should be surprised.

I can remember in February or March of last year Netflix saying that they were going to aggressively pursue streaming licenses over DVDs. What that tells everyone is “streaming is more important to us than DVDs.” Thus, it was only a matter of time before they started to price things to make streaming more attractive than DVDs. Probably a little at first. Then, a lot.

Right now, it’s a little.

This is not a surprise. It’s wildly more expensive for Netflix to store, organize, handle, and mail DVDs than it is to serve the same movie on a stream. It only makes sense that they would want to encourage more people to stream than DVD.

3) Netflix is offering what we want.

This is where we want to go: a-la-carte instant delivery of content we want, how we want it, on the devices we want.  I can watch Netflix on via my TiVo, Xbox, Wii, iPad, iPhone, computer, and who all knows what else.

As far as I know, no other service offers all of that at once.

So I’m supporting the thing I want to have happen. Getting good product at a good price. I have every reason to continue with Netflix.

4) Availability.

I watch Netflix every single day for one thing or another. (I really should GetGlue more often for that, come to think of it.) I encounter “not available” for both DVD and streaming at the same time far more often than I encounter “disc only” availability.

YMMV, but for how I use the service, it’s really not very often that I find something not available.

G+ iconI refer, of course, to Google+. It’s another social network. Why am I even bringing this up? I already have this blog, my Twitter feed, a LiveJournal, my mage blog, I sort of keep up updating GoodReads, have a Facebook account, and I read oodles of things via RSS. I’m full up on crazy, shop it somewhere else, because I need more of that like a hole in the head.

Right?

Well…

Google+ is actually a bit different and it’s different enough that even at this early stage I’ve decided to dump LiveJournal altogether, I’m prepared to not log on to Facebook again. If I can somehow link my Twitter feed with Google+ then I’d have everything all in one, practically.

What’s so hot about G+?

Asymmetry

The core of Google+ is circles. When you meet someone, you put them in one of your circles, like “Friends” or “Family” or “Assholes.” Then, when you post something, you decide which circle(s) to share that post to. In this way, you can tell everyone about how you got that red raccoon look by slipping on the ice and getting chili pepper in your eyes. But, when it comes time to totally bitch about that thing, you know?, you can share that only with people who Need to Know, namely, the people in your “Bitch Buddies” circle.

You get the idea.

One of the problems with Facebook is that it’s symmetrical. Whatever you post on Facebook is transmitted to everyone.

Also!

You don’t have to follow someone who’s following you. How many times has this happened to you on Facebook?

“Some Unknown Freak” wants to be your friend. Approve?

Who? I used to approve everyone because who cares? Facebook just mirrors what I put on Twitter anyway. But then I friended a spam bot and that was unpleasant—for everyone in my Facebook stream. With Google+, you don’t see other people posting to my stream. You only see what I post. If you’re in a circle with someone, and they comment on a post, of course you can see that comment. The whole idea of a circle is so we can all talk comfortably amongst each other without non-circle people automatically listening in. I think that helps all of us.

Speaking of posts

They’re editable. That right there is double plus good.

They’re long—as long as you want.

The design

Elegant. That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I started using it. Things were at the first place I looked. That’s kind of a powerful thing right there. If I want to change which circle someone is in, or add them to a new circle, or make a brand new circle with two people, it’s all clear where to go and what to do. Likewise, if I want to share a post with one circle, or five, or two circles plus these three individuals, or the entirety of the internet, it’s plain where to go and what to do.

This guy says:

From my comparison, G+ feels light, easy to read, and spacious, while Facebook feels cluttered, squished, and crowded.

Yup.

Making Extant Irrelevant

I found out, only upon reading about comparisons between Google+ and Facebook, that Facebook offers “lists” of people. If you want to post to just “Family,” for example, then you can do that. I did not know you could do that. But I have no idea where to go to start doing it. No one talks about using it. I wager most folks don’t know it’s there or, if they do, can’t tell you without looking where to go to set it up.

If a function is designed in the woods and no one uses it…then, no, it doesn’t exist.

But it’s the core of Google+. It’s impossible to miss, it’s the central function of the service, one might say. It doesn’t matter if Google+ duplicates features of another service, the fact that it makes it easy to use—and without clutter—is what makes it better.

Google+ is not the only social thingamajigger on the internets. Far from it.

But it’s better.