Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Feature request: a partial solution to phishing

Simple: sign your messages. If eBay, PayPal, CitiBank, and friends just signed their messages, it would be easy to check if it really was sent by accounts@paypal.com and if that link really is to paypal. Additionally, it makes it easier to catch the sender of the messages. It wouldn't be perfect, but it could help.

Phishing aside, start giving me the option to get my emails encrypted. I'd rather not have receipts sent in plain text.

Lindsay Lohan

The Wikipedia article lists Lohan as an actress and pop singer. What's strange is that she doesn't do much acting or singing, these days. She's in the news for drugs more than she's on the radio, and in the courtroom more than in movies. She brings new meaning to "career criminal."

If someone's going to be more known for serial DUIs and rehab than what made her famous in the first place, let's do our job and acknowledge what she's known for: A list addict, C list actress.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Starbucks raises prices, MSN invites users to complain

Starbucks is going to raise their prices about $0.09 per cup. Not letting pageviews slip away, MSN provided a forum for people to debate if it's worth $0.09 more.

Let's say you pay $3.50 for coffee, and the price goes up by $0.09. That's a 3.6% increase. The last price increase was around 9 months ago, so that's 4.8% over a year. Inflation-adjusted, that's 2.1%.

Who cares? Inflation figures are questionable, and the part that wasn't attributed to 2.7% inflation is $0.04. There are economists that claim we'd save money by abandoning the penny. I have better things to worry about.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Clinton, lesbians, and ignorant writers

There's this surprisingly lame viral video going around supporting Clinton for president. They screwed up on so many levels. The lesbian suggestions were too obvious to be clever double entendres, but too subtle to court the lesbian-loving 20-35 male demographic. The, uh, well, umm... OK, that was the only selling point of video.

The writers made a mistake. Clinton is already on Capitol Hill; she serves as a senator.

This clearly wasn't a call for her to spend more time doing her job and less time campaigning. They just got it very wrong.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Props to South Park

I read an article this morning on Priuses. I turns out that 57% of people buy them because it "makes a statement about me." Not the carpool lane or potential savings, but to look like someone who cares.

Props to Trey and Matt. They knew exactly who buys Priuses and why they buy them, and aimed their attack them.

Prius owners: you're on my smack list.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Song rant: "1985"

Back in the '90's, there was a song by SR-71 called "Right Now." No one remembers the name, but it's still a staple in soundtracks for teen movies (e.g. "Harold and Kumar").

The band's a one hit wonder. Normally, I'm fine with that, but they wrote a second hit: "1985," a song made famous by Bowling for Soup.

Most bands never write a hit. A few lucky ones write just one and are labeled one hit wonders. It's sad to see a band get so close to a second hit and remain a one hit wonder.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Song rant: "Working Class Hero"

Forward: I'm not a Lennon fan. I think McCartney is a better song writer.

The song sucks. It's typical of Lennon; it's mostly political, and people appreciated Lennon for that. But Lennon's no Bob Dylan. Dylan's protest songs are catchier, his voice fits them well, and they generally have a more positive outlook. Rolling Stone's list of the top 100 songs supports this. As a solo act, Lennon had one song, Dylan had 4, 5 if you could Hendrix's cover of "All Along the Watchtower."

And how does this apply to Darfur, again? Why a Lennon CD for Darfur? And two covers of "Imagine" on the same compilation?

As a solo act, Lennon's overrated, and the "Instant...Darfur" album is proof.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Feature request: Stop the Flash ads

There are two major crimes of Flash ads on websites: sound and CPU usage. I thought we outgrew sound on web pages. Seriously- having a MIDI on a web page was circa 1996, and we stopped doing it because it was annoying, could cause problems with those nearby, an just in bad tasted. I don't want to mouse-over and hear a sound.

The bigger annoyance, though, is Flash ads on a laptop. Even when my laptop's plugged in, Flash runs Firefox's CPU usage up to 100% and the laptop gets hot. When it's not plugged in, the same thing happens, only now the battery drains in the event I want to whack a mole so I can get a "prize."

I installed the Flash blocker, but I'd websites respect my computer and just simpler ads.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Isn't it cool? Visual effects

Apple has done some very good things for design. Recently, their switch from the rounded clamshell laptops to sleeker designs, and the sleeker design of the iPhone, shows that the novelty novelty of cool looking designs is wearing off.

Isn't this always the case? When something new come out, be it a music genre, visual effect, or construction style, people become obsessed with and blinded by the novelty, oblivious to how riddulous it is. The 80s, a decade known for excess in everything, has many YouTube clips showing this.

Isn't it cool that we've reached the point where we can use visual effects because we want to, and not to show simply them off? They're becoming more artistic and less rubber stamped.

Compare these two videos:

The effects in the Paul McCartney one are more complex technically, but they don't feel forced--effects for the sake of effects--like the second. Confusing fades, pointless zooms, and a complex title animation sequence all feel forced.

Using modern technology can be good, but use it where it's appropriate, not for the sake of using it.