Tag Archives: technology

Instant frustration

Noticing the large number of desirable titles available to stream Instantly from the big A (Amazon, not Apple – keep up!), I thought I would test the service by viewing a trailer at home on my desktop (Firefox on CentOS 7). Got the infamous Install Adobe Flash message. Went straight for the Feedback link and shared my feedback. Some emails back and forth followed, leading to more frustration (they lie!) and eventually to a chat session with the gracious help at Amazon.

Here’s the transcript:

transcript of the chat, highlighting conflicting information

Yes and no mean the same thing, right?

If, for some reason the image is not convenient for you, or you don’t want to zoom in that far, here’s the highlight (paraphrased):

Amazon: You can stream the videos without Silverlight or Adobe Flash.

Me: How?

Amazon: You need Silverlight and Adobe Flash.

Think I’ll stick with Netflix for now anyway. At least I know where I stand with them.

Another tech news story

We’re all familiar with the Adobe scandal by now. I received some emails from various companies stating my passwords had been reset. I have no problem with extra caution on the part of these companies – I even appreciate it. But this article from the BBC causes me some concern. Whereas the non-adobe company which reset my password stated people sometimes reuse passwords across different sites as the reasoning behind their policy decision to reset passwords of accounts with emails matching those found in the adobe booty stash, the above linked article states Facebook is specifically resetting passwords found to match email/password combos determined to have been compromised. The article then states the same actions are occurring at other companies. Something is wrong here. I never use the same password twice, yet my password for an undisclosed website was reset, so I figure one of three things is happening here:

  1. The article is mistaken. Facebook may be actively matching passwords from the stash to their active users’ accounts, but other companies are finding email addresses found in the adobe dump and resetting passwords for accounts using the same email address regardless of password match. I think this is the most likely.
  2. The article is mistaken, but deliberately so in an effort to bring awareness of the dangers of reusing passwords, especially online. Thanks big brother, what would we do without you?
  3. Alternately, and most disheartening, the article is drummed up fear mongering with the set intent of selling commercial password managers. I don’t know about this, because I would never even so much as research the existence of any potential commercial password manager, much less purchase or use one, but the paranoid in me has to mention it as a possibility.

So in closing, don’t reuse passwords, close your Facebook account, use open source software alternatives to adobe products, and don’t drink the water 😉

Yahoo sucks worse than ever

Trying to create a Yahoo account but they insist on a valid mobile number to create an account. I do not have a mobile number and wouldn’t give it to them if I did. Guess they’re not overly concerned with gaining new users… Yahoo, you JOKE! do you really think you’re relevant as it is? Thanks for nothing.

Holiday Gift Review

For starters, this is a private blog – not some corporate shell of a blog masquerading as a real person’s blog. I am not affiliated with any corporate interests, nor am I employed by any corporation or entity responsible for the creation or commercial availability of any products mentioned in this post.

What I am is stubborn. I try to flow with change, and sometimes it’s easy, but sometimes these corporate sculptors of society just seem determined to move in directions somewhat cliffward if you ask me; somewhat in a direction not parallel to correct; the wrong damn way! is where I’m trying to say they?/we? are headed.

I have just returned from a trip to the (famed) Fifth Avenue Apple Store in Manhattan [linked to only to see if I can get anyone from Apple to pay attention to my grievances – not actually encouraging anyone to shop Apple – you shop where ever you want or not at all, for all I care. FAO Schwarz is nearby if Apple isn’t your cup of tea]. Synchronously, (meaning with synchronicity, just to be clear in case I’m making up words here or using existing ones incorrectly) the main entrance was closed for some kind of maintenance (it was 2 in the morning – they have to do these things sometime!) and we had to use a bowel-like back entrance past the smelly toilets to enter the shop. I used to love visiting Apple stores. I’d head straight for the latest laptops and download Firefox. Then I’d tool around to my heart’s content and eventually convince myself I couldn’t live without it. Prime example of Apple’s genius, if you ask me. But that was in the past. This evening (morning, technically) I discovered that along with this newfangled Mountain Lion crap they’re pushing, all the computers are locked down. No more Firefox installs for me. [Although I did have fun setting several precisely timed (and aptly named) alarms with the new Clock feature on all the iPad minis in the store – more on that later.]

Now, here’s the actually semi-relevant part: I actually did want to acquire knowledge about the new operating system – I don’t want to Luddite my way through life, and I figured I’d open my mind with knowledge so that I could eventually open my heart to this new-yet-strangely-inferior operating system. One of my (admittedly minor) annoyances when playing with friend’s laptops is the loss of the comfortable three-finger swipe to go back when browsing online. I’ve read here and there about work-arounds, and, not wanting to be embarrassingly obstinate, figured maybe I’ll even learn to live with some new gestures… But I can’t even download Firefox in the store to have the otherwise helpful employees show me the ins and outs of the new system. The psychology experts Apple (formerly?) employed knew about letting grown children play in the stores – no better way to make the toy an indispensable part of one’s life. This trip felt like a trip to fascistLand – total lock-down, like Mommy and Daddy weren’t letting me have any fun at all. Not a great way to sell your toys. I left the store feeling completely frustrated and not at all like parting with several thousand dollars for a laptop that may very well end up giving me grief at every step. [I’ve left out a lot of grievances I have with Mountain Lion – just take my word for it: if Mountain Lion is fine for you, so would be iOS. If you truly utilize the Mac’s capabilities and power, Snow Leopard is almost a thousand times better. No hyperbole;) ]

I asked about the no-Firefox thing and got some nonsense about competitor browsers blah yadda blah. No one in the history of Apple ever bought a Mac for Safari and Firefox is a free, open source browser unaffiliated with any particular platform, so where competition comes in is beyond me. Then something else was mentioned about Firefox add-ons being security hazards… Yeah right. Threats to corporate interests, maybe. Anyway, I can sort of see why you might not want members of the public randomly downloading and installing software on demo computers, but realistically speaking, the freedom and joy of unlimited access to the computers is what has always sold those computers to the otherwise unsure. They are only demo computers after all… and supposedly secure ones – what are you so afraid of, Apple? Set up the demos with permissions to download and install software like before – let us enjoy our computers!

The only bright spot was having my first hands on experience with the new iPad mini. It truly is impressive to behold. Perfect weight and size. Just a true joy.

Now, those of you who read my blog regularly know better than to actually expect any holiday gift review from me. Go buy your loved ones whatever the hell they want and don’t be stingy! It’s not about you – make them happy! Merry Happy Holidays and be well 🙂

Venus Project

Jacques Fresco is the smartest man on Earth. Maybe…, but it’s not debatable he’s got some really great ideas that need to be enacted immediately!

Please sign this petition and get this man’s ideas into action: http://wh.gov/98xb

Something to watch:

If you’re into Netflix, be sure to watch “Future By Design“. Most inspiring video I’ve ever watched. Fun, too!

Duck you Google

Fuck you Google

So you’re going commercial, Google? Thanks for the honesty at last!

Duck Duck Go baby! That’s all I have to say to or about a (finally honest about it) commercial Google.

Why I’m frustrated with the current state of computerLand

There are two main reasons I’m currently pissed off with the current state of affairs in computer land. The first is that Apple is starting to suck, and it’s getting worse every day. And the second reason is that, somehow, Apple is still better than all the rest. I sincerely hope either Apple starts to get back on track, or else that someone else will pick up the slack and start putting out some good products and services. And don’t give me that shareholder crap: yes Apple’s decisions have made it a very strong company and there is currently only a smidgen of dark cloud on the horizon, but look carefully at the big picture and the long view, if you can without throwing up or glazing over in a catatonic state from fear, and tell me truthfully that what you see is good, for Apple or society.

Now, here’s a breakdown of just what I’m ranting about today:

First off:

Even long dead dictators are pissed about Apple removing the “Save As” feature from OSX. Despite all the justification and explanation given by those in whose eyes Apple can do no wrong, this is a bone headed move. Duplicate is a longer, more convoluted way of doing something very basic and in effect fixes (or fails to fix) what was not broken. I know this is old news for many of you, but it is yet another reason I refuse to upgrade to the newer versions of OSX (I’ll keep my Snow Leopard until this Mac dies, at which point I may have to buy a dreaded non-Apple computer just to make a point – Apple, I will not continue to buy your increasingly inferior products out of loyalty: make them great again!). And I don’t need all these mobile device specific “non-improvements” on my desktop computer. Reminders? Notifications? Why would I want these when I’m hard at work on a project? That is called distraction, and it is bad for you. I can receive these much more usefully on my mobile device thank you.

While I don’t agree 100% with everything the creator of this video says, I feel he hits the mark pretty squarely with what feels so wrong about Apple abandoning their pro users:

Now, as for mobile devices, I ran into a strange thing today. I keep a tally of my current balance on my laundry card in my Notes app on the iPhone. For some reason, today when I wanted to edit the text in the Notes app, I could not insert the carat. I could only type over selected text… The dreaded insert vs. type-over debate! When and why did this happen? I could not find anything online and called Apple to inquire. After finally reaching a customer service agent (AKA human being) and describing the problem, he asked for the serial number of my device whist simultaneously hanging up on me. The phone did not say dropped call, as it does when a call is dropped, it went back to the number pad as it does when a call is terminated by the other party. I may be paranoid: maybe it was an accident? My gut tells me no. I am refraining from destroying your screen with all bold caps here, but I was pissed! Beyond words (well okay, I’m finding a few…). Fuck You Apple.

Going all the way back the the iPod, I bought one about six or seven years ago to listen to my CDs on the go. Worked great for a few months until they stopped playing. Brought the iPod back to Apple since I bought their expensive warranty plan. They replaced it. New device had the same problem. Fuck you Apple, I’m never buying another iPod again. Fast forward several years, I get an email (excerpted here, emphasis added by yours truly):

United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Case No. C-05-00037-JW
TO: All Persons or Entities in the United States Who Purchased One of the Listed Ipod Models Directly from Apple Between September 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009 (the “Class”).
Please Read this Notice Carefully and in its Entirety.
Your Rights May Be Affected by Proceedings in this Litigation.
This Notice has been sent to you pursuant to an Order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The purpose of this Notice is to inform you that you have been identified as a potential member of the Class described above so that you can decide whether to remain a Class Member or to exclude yourself or your company from the Class. If you want to stay in this Class Action, you need not do anything now, and you will be bound by the Court’s rulings in the lawsuit. If you do not want to participate in this Class Action or have your rights affected by it, you must request exclusion as described in this Notice by July 30, 2012.
This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.
This Notice is not an expression of any opinion by the Court about the merits of any of the claims or defenses asserted by any party to this litigation. The Court has not decided whether Defendant Apple Inc. (“Apple”) has done anything wrong. Apple has not been ordered to pay any money. There has been no settlement.
Apple sells iPods directly to customers through its online and retail stores and directly to Apple authorized resellers. The lawsuit claims that Apple violated federal and state laws by issuing software updates in 2006 for its iPod that prevented iPods from playing songs not purchased on iTunes. The lawsuit claims that the software updates caused iPod prices to be higher than they otherwise would have been. Apple denies that it did anything wrong and asserts that the software updates challenged by Plaintiffs improved its products, were good for consumers, and had no effect on iPod prices. The Court has not yet decided whether Plaintiffs or Apple is correct.
On November 22, 2011, the Court allowed the case to proceed as a class action for all persons and entities that purchased certain iPod models between September 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009. The specific models of iPods covered by the Class Definition can be found at www.ipodlawsuit.com.
The Court appointed Plaintiffs as Class representatives, appointed Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP as Class Counsel, and directed that this Notice be sent to potential Class Members informing them of the pending litigation. […]
So at least now I know why my CDs no longer played back on my iPod… Fuck YOU Apple.  Reading from the above again: the updates were good for consumers… Oh really?
FUCK YOU Apple!!!! FUCK YOU!!!!
Sorry folks, had to let that out. Now, as for the rest? I haven’t had too much experience with those other phones out there yet. Truthfully, the few times my coworkers have asked me to help them with their Google phones, it was a real head scratching experience. Not very user friendly they seemed to me (pardon the Yoda-speak). But I’m looking. Because when I’m ready (hopefully I’ve got at least a few years left out of my phone and computer) my next purchases may very well be from Sony and Google if Apple doesn’t cut the crap, and all indications are they are going forward, full crap ahead 😦