Category: Thoughts (page 1 of 2)

Twitter Haters Who Text Me What They Are Doing

The top 2 reasons I hear for why people don’t use Twitter are:

  1. I don’t get it.
  2. I don’t care what people are doing, and I don’t want people to know what I’m doing.

I can understand the first reason, but it’s the second reason I take issue with. If you are the person who tells me you don’t care what other people are doing, and you also don’t want people to know what you’re doing, then you need to stop texting me everything you’re doing throughout the day!

  • Stop texting me that you had the best burrito ever.
  • Stop texting me that you found a great deal on shoes at Payless.
  • Stop texting me how tired you are because you didn’t sleep well last night.
  • Stop texting me to tell me you’re going to bed now.
  • Stop texting me what your mom/dad/brother/sister just said to you.
  • Stop texting me asking what I’m doing.

These are all the sort of things Twitter was made for. You bash on the service, yet you do it on a smaller scale by individually texting all your friends the same message. Knock it off, and start Twittering!

Borders Books Online Reservation Feature FAIL

I’ve seen the “Everything is amazing, nobody is happy” video, and totally agree with it. I complain about way more than I should considering

how amazingly far we’ve come with technology. However, sometimes I just want to wring someone’s neck for being lazy or not caring.

Borders FAIL

I checked Borders for two items: a book by John Eldredge, and a Moleskine notebook. Both inventory reports for the Mission Viejo Borders said that it was “likely in store.” I reserved it online by putting in my name and email address, and the confirmation page told me to wait for an email within two hours to tell me if it was in stock or not. Well, I didn’t want to wait, and figured they would at least have one of the two in stock, so I drove down there.

When I got there, I checked my iPhone for an email, but nothing. I went straight to the Moleskine spinning display and found about 10 of the notebooks that I wanted. I grabbed one, and headed for the other book. I found the last copy on the shelves within about 5 minutes, and headed for the check stand. I checked my email again on the way to find the following email:

We’re sorry to say that the remaining stock of the item you requested has been purchased since our last online availability update. [Edited for relevance.]

The books were in my hands, so clearly the system kinda broke down somewhere. Apparently the website sends an email to the store, which is then taken by an employee to hunt down the request. When they don’t find it, they notify the website that they don’t have it and then you are emailed. When I asked the checkout clerk what might have gone wrong with the system, she said that it probably just got put on the shelves right before I picked it off the shelf. That means that when the employee looked for it, it hadn’t been stocked yet. This doesn’t make any sense because the website said that the book was “likely in store” which would mean that the system had some sort of awareness that the book could possibly be there.

My theory for what happened: Request landed in the hands of one of the lazy, coffee drinking, mohawked, minimum waged employees who wiped his nose with the paper, and then reported back that it wasn’t in stock so that he could go take another smoke break. He probably thought it wouldn’t matter because who would be stupid enough to go to the store when they told you they don’t have what you’re looking for? What he didn’t account for was my impatience… and maybe a little bit of my stupidity.

I guess it bugs me because it could have caused me some inconvenience had I waited and trusted what they said. If they didn’t have it, then I probably would have had to drive to a farther bookstore which would have wasted my gas and time. Or I might have ordered it online which would mean that I have to wait till next week to get it.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t complain because it’s pretty amazing that it’s possible for almost anyone to get their hands on virtually every written word in the world within a week. These huge stores provide vast amounts of learning possibilities and wisdom from millennia ago that would blow the minds exponentially of every reader going back thousands of years. It’s just a shame that forward progress can be halted by one lazy person.

Something About "FAIL"

I saw this article on the NY Times site, and thought it was really interesting. It’s a visualization of the Twitter chatter that happened during the Super Bowl. Those chatters are placed on a map of the U.S. so you can see what location is saying what. There’s also a play button that lets you view the chatter over the course of the game. Very cool, right?

My favorite part is if you view “Talking about ads” and keep your eye on tweets near Lake Forest, CA, you’ll see at the end of the game the most used word was “fail”. I’m not sure what ad it’s referring to, or if it’s even referring to an ad at all, but it only appears in Lake Forest.

The word is definitely not localized to Orange County, as was noted on Slate.com. Apparently, it comes from a video game with poor Japanese-to-English translation.

It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint the first reference, given how common the verb fail is, but online commenters suggest it started with a 1998 Neo Geo arcade game called Blazing Star. (References to the fail meme go as far back as 2003.) Of all the game’s obvious draws—among them fast-paced action, disco music, and anime-style cut scenes—its staying power comes from its wonderfully terrible Japanese-to-English translations. If you beat a level, the screen flashes with the words: “You beat it! Your skill is great!” If you lose, you are mocked: “You fail it! Your skill is not enough! See you next time! Bye bye!”

For a while now, I’ve personally noticed the use of “fail” increase in everyday speech, mostly under the age of 25. I’m not sure why, but I really get a kick out of this word when it’s used like this. Maybe it’s because it’s so simple and to the point. Maybe it’s the way it perfectly embodies the arrogance of the cyber geek who casts judgement and ridicule from the safety his armchair.  Maybe it’s because of the many images that I’ve seen this word tattooed on. Maybe it’s a combination of all the above.

Whatever the reason, I have to soak in the enjoyment from this meme as much as I can. As history has taught us about slang, it won’t last forever!

Hands-Free

Since California passed the law about hands-free cell phone usage, I’ve seen and heard some weird stuff. Just to be clear for those of you still holding out on buying a hands-free headset, it’s not “hands-free” if you hold your phone to your mouth on speakerphone. That pretty much defeats the whole purpose of the law.

However, there are a couple details that you may not have known about.

  1. You are allowed to use your phone “to make emergency calls to a law enforcement agency, a medical provider, the fire department, or other emergency services agency.”
  2. “This law does not prohibit reading, selecting or entering a phone number, or name in an electronic wireless device for the purpose of making or receiving a phone call.”

If you do have a hands-free headset that isn’t wireless (AKA, Bluetooth), only use one side of the earbud because both ears covered is against the law. Also, if you’re under 18-years-old, you’re not allowed to use your phone AT ALL.

If you are weighing out the consequences versus your need to make a call illegally, just be aware that you’re fine will only be $20 the first time, and $50 every time after that and doesn’t count as a point against your driving record.

Voting

I love that we have the opportunity to vote in this country. We all get to put our heads together and decide who gets to be in charge for the next 4 years.

I also love that we have the ability to vote by mail. Here we are, a little over 2 weeks away from election day, and I’ve already voted. It’s one more task I can check off my list. That feels nice.

The part that I don’t like about it, though, is that I still have to drive around and see all the signs that say “Yes on Prop x” or “So-and-so 2008.” I’m not gonna talk about who I voted for, but I can’t help but notice that I feel a little bad about voting the opposite of what the particular sign says. It’s like a little reminder to me that there are a lot of people out there that support different views than I do, some of whom can’t hold back a tongue lashing when they hear that I voted opposite of them.

How annoying do you find it when someone starts making fun of you for who you voted for? Well, my annoyance starts before that. I get annoyed when someone just asks who I voted for. That tells me that I’m about to receive an earfull. There’s nothing that I can say that will avoid hearing this person spout off about how they have it all figured out, how one of the candidates is better than the other, and for me to not see it would be proof that I’m stupid.

Since fighting over politics isn’t something I enjoy doing, I have field-tested some tactics to prevent this uncomfortable situation. My hypothesis is that anyone who asks you “Who are you voting for?” is actually telling you “I’m about to get all riled up and tell you why Candidate B is a scum bag.” Here’s what I’ve tried as responses when someone asks, “Who are you voting for?”

  1. “I’m voting for Candidate A.” A direct response to their question showing you have a firm position and are not really open to hearing opinions. Their response will always be to smear the candidate they are against. If you said you were voting for Candidate A, and that’s who they’re voting for, they’ll say, “Good. Candidate B is a dirty scum bag because…” If you said you were voting for Candidate B, they’ll say, “What?! Candidate B is a dirty scum bag because…” FAIL.
  2. “I haven’t decided yet.” Trying to communicate that I am apathetic about it, and not open to opinions. Depending on how enthusiastic the person is about their choice (Candidate A), they’ll range from calmly telling you Candidate B is a scum bag to condescendingly reprimanding you for not picking the one they are going to pick. FAIL.
  3. “I don’t like to talk about politics.” This is an attempt at complete avoidance. Response is usually a challenge in some way sounding like, “Why not? It’s probably because Candidate B is a scum bag.” Sometimes you’ll get a crafty booger who will lure you into response 1 or 2 by saying something like, “Oh, I don’t like arguing about it either. But I’m just curious about your opinion.” If you fall for this, see response 1 or 2. FAIL.
  4. “I already voted, but I’m not telling you who.” This response has two goals: a) frustrate the inquirer for our own entertainment, and b) communicate that I don’t want to engage in conversation about it. The frustration levels vary depending on the person and my delivery, but it eventually turns into a guessing game that sounds something like, “Oh no, you didn’t vote for Candidate B, did you? I hope not because he’s a real scum bag.” FAIL.
  5. “I’ll tell you if you tell me first.” This is total surrender to the question in hopes that appeasing the inquirer will shorten the length of the conversation. When they respond, “I’m voting for Candidate A” you just start emphatically agreeing with their choice and beat them to the punch with something like, “Oh, me too, because that Candidate B is a scum bag.” However, even if I preempt all the bashing, they still seem to want to agree with me by repeating it all over again! FAIL!

After all that I still haven’t found a way to avoid these types of one-sided conversations with this type of person. Usually if I know the person well enough, I’ll use humor and sarcasm to downplay the topic and then divert it to something else, but I don’t always get asked by someone I know.

If you’ve done any research of your own, let me know your findings in the comments.

Good night, and good luck.