Flaccidware (v.1)


Something happened to software while I’ve been away. See, for instance, I don’t use Microsoft. I loathe Windows because whatever it is you think you’re doing, that is second priority to Microsoft, at best; it’s probably more accurate to say whatever you intend to do, wherever you intend to go today, Microsoft wishes to disrupt you along the way.

I actually had to ask where Notepad was. Then again, I don’t feel too stupid, since apparently a lot of people asked. The Microsoft support response was written in Second-Language English; we can tell how much Redmond cares.

Then again, Windows might be the great failure, but it is hardly alone. Turns out the malfunctioning whatever the hell that was mounted on the seat in front of me on the flight to Japan was Linux, which is unfortunate since it takes effort to fuck up like that, but I should also remember to avoid the hell out of software when my friends tell me how much I need it. To wit, I still don’t get what is so cool about Gogo. It’s terrible software that served me exactly none on the flight. Indeed, it was worse than nothing because I foolishly forgot myself for a moment and apparently expected it to work.

Still, I haven’t used Microsoft much in recent years, and figured the fact that it is actually painful to look at was just a result of the users I happened to know. No, no … it’s Windows. This OS looks like shit. It’s slow. Its first purpose seems to be advertising and promotion. I actually wonder if anyone in software is capable of writing a program that does what it is supposed to do. And then some days I remember of course they can, since all any software is intended to accomplish these days is advertising and revenue collection.

And this godawful “Nextbook” thing I’m trying to use? It forgets itself, can’t wake up properly, and is pretty much a disaster. Its two upsides are that I didn’t buy it, and I won’t be obliged by circumstance to use it.

Death & Habit


Durarara!!

The death of the click, as such, sounds dramatic:

For the past 10 years, we’ve operated on the premise that the most important digital metric is the click that refers a person to a website. That click usually comes from a social distribution channel, like Facebook or Twitter, or a search engine, like Google or Bing. But according to industry experts, the click referral is becoming an idea of the past, soon to be replaced by content exposure.

It would behoove us to pay attention. To the one, it is already happening. To the other … er … ah … well, yeah, there is, in fact, a point to wondering what the big deal is. But that’s the thing. As the Axios report explains:

Clicks look like a high-performing tactic, but a lot of work is done to get you to type something into a search bar to begin with,” AdRoll President Adam Berke tells Axios. Marketers are starting to attribute marketing success towards content exposure that drives you to click something, instead of the click itself. Two key formats increase content exposure: video and passive scrolling. Google and Facebook are investing heavily in products that embody these formats: YouTube and Instagram.

The bottom line is that your daily habit isn’t going to change for evolving necessity; rather, how you interact with the world will become more and more bound to theses of behavioral economics applied within a marketing context intended to backfill its justification post hoc―that is to say, your behavior will change to suit someone else’s business model.

And, yeah, that might sound a bit dramatic, but most people probably won’t notice, except to grumble a bit, like they did with Apple and … I don’t know, that dating app.

Meanwhile, for the business community the definition of success becomes even hazier. Good enough for government work, is better redefined as, Good enough for the tech sector. Then again, the definition of government work might well be unsettled for the momemt, as well, so … you know.

Whatever.

____________________

Fischer, Sara. “The death of the click”. Axios. 20 February 2017.

e-Commerce


MEMORANDUM

To: Amazon.com

re: Communication breakdown

This is pretty straightforward: Once upon a time I ordered something from Amazon. The seller sent the item. The item arrived. All is good in the world. Right?

Okay, so, big deal, right? But it’s a few months later and this order still registers as shipped, but not delivered. Here’s the good news: It was delivered. All is good in the world. Right?

It seemed worth telling the seller. Indeed, I know what happened. At the end of the day, the product was delivered on time by a guy driving a twenty year old Ford Taurus, bearing credentials from a courier I hadn’t encountered before. Big deal, right? The item I ordered is here: It is the right product; it is undamaged; it is on time; I am satisfied. All is good in the world. Right?

All I want to do is communicate directly with the seller, to advise them to close the book on this one. What I do not understand is why that is so difficult. I’m sorry, but what I need to tell them does not fit any of your pre-selected suggestions. You do not have an easily identified pathway to allow this communication.

So, you know. Whatever. Maybe the only way to let the seller know is to explain in a bad review. It seems a lot easier to simply drop a line to say, “Hey, by the way, I got this; you can log it as delivered.”

But that’s just not the Amazon way, is it?

No, really. The product purchased arrived on time and in good condition. For the sake of a bureaucratic omission somewhere in the chain of custody, this is not logged in the Amazon delivery record. I would like to advise the seller that this is taken care of, but there are far too many hoops to jump through just to find out I’m in the wrong place. It’s actually quite astounding what effort you have put into making certain nobody can actually communicate with anybody else.

Look, whenever I grumble about Amazon, someone I know reminds that the company is constantly rated for the highest customer satisfaction in this or that exactly meaningless survey. Those surveys would probably count more if they were capable of accounting for this kind of dissatisfaction: Amazon is so hostile to consumers that we cannot even help satisfactory sellers make certain their book is up to date.

For whatever reason, we seem to take this out on politicians. Go figure.

Dear BuzzFeed: No


MEMORANDUM

To: BuzzFeed

re: Do you really need the explanation

23 Pictures That Really Need To Be Deleted From The Internet (BuzzFeed)I figure I am being pedantic. That must be it, right? I mean, it’s true that I occasionally mistake BuzzFeed for a news organization, mostly because whenever I encounter it someone purports to be telling me something about the news. It is, of course, my own fault for taking you seriously; thank you for correcting that erroneous notion.

No, seriously, as fatally ironic metahumor goes, I suppose someone, somewhere needed to try that one. And I do confess my curiosity as to just how many clicks that tease accrues. Still, though, I think the problem is that the only thing funny about it is the fact of someone wasting their time trying.

Were you hazing the intern? Taking bets on who could most embarrass their own mother for the fact of their own birth? (No, really, who won, and how?)

Still, though, God works in mysterious ways; you can always use that for an excuse.

____________________

Image note: “23 Pictures That Really Need To Be Deleted From The Internet” ― Sidebar offering from Buzzfeed.com, 3 November 2016.

On Death and Hairballs


Detail of FLCL episode 3, "Marquis de Carabas".

“If they really wanted to kill us, don’t you think it would have happened?”

Mikel Delgado

Look, I know it’s (ahem!) just a cat but, really, she’s nineteen years old, and do you think maybe, just maybe there might be a better time to talk about how her age peer’s health declined shortly before death, and how awful that other cat looked right before it died, and how we’re going to change the room we’re sitting in after the cat is dead than while you’re holding the cat in your lap?

Yeah, you know, it might be one of those stupidities of capitalist press, but I really did like the suggestion that cats want us dead. There are, after all, days when we shouldn’t wonder why.

____________________

Image note: Meow ― Detail of frame from FLCL, episode 3, “Marquis de Carabas”.

Hanson, Hilary. “No, A Study Did NOT Find That Your Cat Wants To Kill You”. The Huffington Post. 5 November 2015.

Memo to Google: Why You’re Horrible People


To: Google

re: Just admit you suck

As we go from computer to computer, resetting our passwords because you want us to, the question also arises why you won’t let us.

Yeah, we know you “weren’t hacked”, but you are being a bunch of incompetent, insulting assholes.

In the first place, don’t tell us it’s something suspicious about us. Until every last account is verified and you no longer feel the need to demand we jump through these hoops, the message should not be that there is something suspicious about your users. Just tell the truth: “Sorry, but we at Google really, really fucked everything up and we’re really, really sorry for putting you through all of this bullshit like asking to to reset your password on every computer you ever use to get your email, which in turn is why we still like to pretend that you’re suspicious. After all, we’re Google, and we just proved ourselves incompetent, and we recognize that it is really, really wrong of us to treat you like that just because we can’t do our jobs properly.”

And, you know, honesty might help your image. I mean, it’s not like this makes Google employees terrible people. No, that would be the candy-named, botched-up operating system on “smart” (ha!) phones.

Of course, that much you can blame on users; after all, the hideously mistaken decision to trade out an iPhone for an Android was my own, and I damn well should have known better.

But it’s true. Google’s inability to do its job as relates to account management does not make the company’s employees horrible people. Rather, the OS should do the trick. And, you know, in the end, so does the fact that they work for Google.

Your users would be considerably less annoyed with your fuckups if you would just be an honest, decent (corporate) person for once.

That, however, is something we recognize is beyond your faculties. Which, in turn, is why you suck.

Dear Comcast: Serve the Internet, Do Your Job, and No Excuses


To: Comcast XFINITY

re: #STFI — Serve the Fucking Internet!

Comcast XFINITY — Serving the Internet Since Who Knows When and Whenever the Hell We Feel Like ItHey!

What’s wrong with you?

No, seriously, what is your goddamn problem?

Hey, we pay for internet service. If we’re paying for “internet service when Comcast feels like serving the fucking internet”, then put that in the damn contract!

Get your heads out. #SERVEtheFUCKINGINTERNET!

Seriously, stop dicking your customers around and do your fucking jobs!

#STFI

____________________

This post is served to you via Comcast XFINITY, since they felt like serving the fucking internet this evening. No, really, what’s up with the rolling blackouts?