lovehate: Digg Obsession

Okay, I like Digg... I guess you could say I dig Digg, mostly because I can often find stuff that's kind of interesting while only wading through 90% crap instead of 99.9%, but there's a certain point where one just has to give up on thinking that any type of aggregator, whether user-driven or automated by some crazy algorithm, is responsible for some sort of journalistic integrity.  I really couldn't care less whether I ever get an article on the front page of Digg or not.  Sure, I've sent in a couple of things in fits of boredom, but linking people to an article with an accompanying blurb isn't reporting or publishing or being creative.  In fact, me getting my ya-yas out rambling and ranting about things I love and hate barely meets that threshold (but it helps keep the cobwebs out).  If submitting a link to Digg becomes anything more than a hobby and studying back issues of the New York Post to come up with the perfectly crafted, yet scandalous headline becomes a second job - take a critical look at yourself in the mirror, then go lie down and listen to Timewind by Klaus Schulze.

People are sending open letters to Kevin Rose about how Digg's algorithm is somehow part of some vast conspiracy to shut certain people out.  Guess what? If I send a letter to the New York Times, they don't have to publish it. In the same way, Digg doesn't have to "front page" anything it doesn't want to.  The Dark Tipper came up with a great idea to make money on the web, and he's doing just that.  Digg is not an autonomous collective where anyone and everyone gets a say about everything.  Sure, you'll get to vote on things, but face it folks, Digg is a business.  If they can generate a front page that will drive more banner ad pops, that's what they're going to do. More power to them. If you don't like it, code your own social news aggregator.

I know this isn't a new phenomenon.  Our ancestors were bickering about media gatekeepers back to when fights broke out over who got the biggest piece of charred driftwood to draw on the best-lit section of the cave wall.  Why should Digg be any different than any radio or television station that you don't like? If you think the Digg algorithm is conspiratorial, delete your bookmark and spend your time in a more noble pursuit: finding any mass medium that is unbiased.  When it comes to obsession over expected integrity of Digg or mass media in general...

HATE

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thinglets: bacon

A casual flirtation with the wireless mouse incites drop-down menus and radial buttons and pop-up advertisements about male enhancements while I ponder an inexhaustible list of options upon choices upon combinations made even more exasperating by the 56"-inch television that's insisting upon a choice between a sappy police drama or the PIP baseball game that's going to the seventh-inning stretch when I finally punch the send button and am devastated twenty minutes later when my large pizza has bacon instead of Italian sausage.

lovehate: Concept Cars

"An air-car you could see in 2009"

So I know that I'm supposed to be all "Rah-Rah" for vehicles that reduce my carbon footprint... or skid mark... or whatever the hell it's called when a BF Goodrich steel-belted radial is involved.  And it's not that I don't think a car that runs on air or water or manure or vinegar or corn isn't a good idea.  I was born, grew up and still live in a city where people have to throw out their ice cream because of toxic particles descending from the heavens. I breathe in more crap before 8am than an Olympic athlete in Beijing... well... maybe 10am.

And it's not that all of my sci-fi geek hopes were dashed when the writer of the article had me believing for at least the 5 seconds I was waiting for the page to load that I was going to be able to fly the particle-filled skies like George Jetson.

What it really is the time that gets wasted every year filling my head with the promise that these bizarrely-shaped vehicles will ever make it to the road.  No, it's not that I don't believe some of the technology will not incorporated into the average 2009 coupe. It's just that the focus of every car show are these crazy, bubble-shaped, alien fishhooks that we drool over on lame CNN reports by Miles O'Brien with an accompanying piece on the threats of future vehicle lumbar support by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. They've been showcasing these concept cars for years on revolving gameshow turntables while vacuous models strike weather-vane poses to the drones of Yello's "Oh Yeah".  I've never seen one of these death traps on the street. 

And for all of you Car and Driver aficionados who achieve post-coital shudder whenever there's a back cover fold-out ad for the new Ford Mustang, don't get all up in arms and quip "that's why they call them concept cars". Maybe you'll be exciting to test pilot the new "concept" food additive yet-to-be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.  Maybe you'd like to mount the turntable while the aforementioned "vacuous model" injects you a new "concept" Viagra that may or may not make your testicles fall off.  Maybe you'd like to buy front row seat at a test range in the Nevada desert as they try out a new "concept" warhead.

If they can make a car that runs on air - MAKE IT! Don't get my hopes up then dash them as I'm still inhaling petroleum exhaust 20 years from now.

Until then, I'm waiting for The Homer by Powell Motors.

HATE

lovehate: Las Vegas

The waste is absolutely incredible.

They've got a lightbulb that planes can see from Los Angeles. They've killed thousands of trees a year to produce laminated cards that seedy characters whack on their leg, advertising silicon-laden escorts that'll do the macarena or the Dirty Sanchez. They've totally thrown scale to the wind by creating hotel/casinos that are measured in square miles and when the MGM Grand's 5000 rooms seemed insurmountable, the Venetian built a second tower (The Palazzo) to bring its total to a mere 7000!

You can lose your 20, 50, or 100 dollar bill in the time it takes to steal a glance at the scantilly-clad cocktail waitress that is bringing your free mojito as the blackjack dealer draws a 5 on her 16 after you've doubled down your 11 and pulled a 9.  You inhale the second hand smoke from an entire carton of Kools while walking 10 feet through the Gold Spike's penny slot aisles. You can play golf at an 18 hole course ON THE FREAKIN' STRIP while over the property wall homeless Las Vegans beg for change.

The city is a sauna.  This Friday it's going to be 40 degrees celsius. That's like a billion degrees fahrenheit! You better be gambling and drinking free or you'll end up looking like Phyllis Diller after traipsing nary a block down the Strip.

There is no quick way to get up and down the Strip unless you're willing to walk six blocks to and from near vacant Monorail stations reminiscent of Brockway, North Haverbrook and Ogdenville.

There's so much wrong with the place that for the sake of the residents I would like to say I "like" Las Vegas - instead...

LOVE!


lovehate: New Facebook Profiles

While Twitter has achieved a certain mainstream appeal in the geek-savvy community, the omnipresent whale stands to make players out of Friendfeed, Plurk, Pownce, while denying Twitter any hope of crossing into general societal mainstream use.  The same mainstream use that Facebook has had for some time now – put it this way, if one of your parents, aunts, uncles, or grandparents has a Facebook profile, you know we've "crossed the breach".

While I've certainly loved the open approach that Facebook has taken with letting developers create some fantastic (and a whole slew of absolutely craptastic) apps and profile boxes, my biggest complaint for the past year has been wading through the endless Fun Walls, Super Walls, Scrabulous stats, Compare People lists, Super Pokes, and ILike icons to find something on MY OWN PROFILE. (Yeah, I know I could click those little icons up at the top left to get to the widget I want, but I've got half of them buried)

The preview build of the new Facebook profile template has become more portal-like, reminding me of i-Google ability to have tabs for different content, allowing for the front page to contain your wall and some of the other vital profile stats.  While I'm sure there will be some purists who will complain that their friends will now have to expend energies that extend beyond a scrollwheel to "give you more cowbell", the redesign is sure to cure some of my persistent scrolling headaches.  I don't know how customizable they plan on making the tabs, but I'm betting that Facebook (with its MS funding) is going to try and take a run at being your new homepage/portal.  When they make it simple to create your own RSS feed widget, like in I-Google, the game will be afoot.

LOVE

thinglets: nuts

In a 4 a.m. parking lot swathed by legions of fluorescent tubes permeating a translucent rainbow of logos cascading over a backdrop of office supply and toy stores, the fast food drive-thru teems with stolid brake lights and bassthumpers vibrating some indiscriminate synthdrone that cannot drown out the pubescent intercom squelch that asks if I'd like nuts for my sundae.

lovehate: Bill C-61 (Canada's Omnibus DRM Threat)

Sure, it's justified that artists and craftworkers want to get paid for their particular brand of art or craft, that said, if you're selling something and I buy it, don't make me launch into a Chuck Heston tirade to express my anger whe you try to make me BUY IT AGAIN!

Even the mere concept of having to pay a music company hard-earned dollars MORE THAN ONCE for the same song just so they can screw over another young band that's struggling to make a buck is not only insulting to me, but the artists themselves.

And while Sith Lord Jim Prentice tries to appease the US lobbyist Evil Emperors who are funnelling their money through sister organizations in Canada, one thing is clear, Bill C-61 is not about doing what's right for artists, it's about screwing over a demographic of consumers that you've already got for a ninety-nine cent ITunes download. 

It all comes down to DRM (Dollar Relief Mechanism), which is currently not widespread over all media included in the bill, but soon could be.  The penalties for illegally copying a non-DRM music file are "affordable and not too punitive" at $500 a song.  As soon as you crack DRM on a song or video (and who knows what else they'll add it to next) you will be liable for $20000.

Love music. Respect musicians. Love films. Respect filmmakers. Support them directly when you can.

HATE

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lovehate: iPhone 3G

Sure, it's WAY cool that I carry around a device the size of my old TI-55 (shouts out to the 80's geeks) that I can: watch a pirated downloaded movie on that's been in the theatres for 48 hours, listen to my favourite illegal Prince and Metallica downloads, have a satellite tell me where I'm standing by looking at a screen instead of tilting my head up to read a street sign, tell me it's a nice day outside through a blue and orange icon instead of stepping out my front door, watched the highest-Dugg YouTube Videos of people's anencephalitic pets and children two-stepping off of furniture, spend way too long on a virtual keyboard to type a note that it would take me three seconds to write on the back of a napkin, see that annoying twitter whale on a small screen instead of a big one, take a picture of my drunk neanderthal friends and post it to my Flickr account which contains 542 other pictures just like it, and, if I have time left after all this shit happens, check my diverse stock portfolio that I don't even have. It's WAY cool.

You think Steve Jobs might jailbreak me from an obsessive iPhone existence?

HATE

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