aftermath

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Archive for the ‘reprobate’ Category

LJ>100

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LJ @ 102 graphOK, who had June 9 in the office pool for the date when the Internet ranking for LiveJournal would slip out of the top 100? Yesterday it did so: 102.

This Alexa graph shows LiveJournal (steadily declining blue) charted against fad Twitter (wildly increasing gold…temporarily so, but still leaping up over LJ) and the horse we switched to shortly after the left edge of this chart, WordPress (red, steadily increasing and with solid staying power).

LiveJournal’s long decline will continue indefinitely, for exactly the same reasons the decline began in the first place: its management is out of touch with what its market wants and needs. And even with all its polls and advisory committees and community discussions and all the other smoke and mirrors, doesn’t really give a damn.

Obviously, WordPress can only climb but so high, since they can never have a negative ranking (and may never reach much higher than around rank 20). But check back in a year from now, and that wedge between LiveJournal and WordPress will be even wider than it has grown here, since LiveJournal will find no floor in how far down they drop.

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Written by macheide

10 June 2009 at 3:15 pm

Posted in reprobate

WordPress Cursed

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wordpressburp090608

New WordPress feature!! The software senses when you’re trying to say something about government business, then automatically posts it in triplicate!

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Written by macheide

8 June 2009 at 2:20 pm

Posted in reprobate

What To Deactivate

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desktop090225

 
No. The only thing I did wrong
was to impose on IE as backup to juggling some Firefox tabs,
inviting Microsuck to go about doing the only thing it does well:
crash out a computer bad enough to blow out its settings.
 
What this screen really needs is a button that says
“Deactivate any Microsuck software on this equipment.”
 

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Written by macheide

25 February 2009 at 4:38 pm

Posted in reprobate

Trashing Google Video

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screengooglevideo-090211

Google Video has long been “currently unable” to do much of anything except make excuses (which they also suck at). About the only reason I’ve bothered to waste any time using it at all has been that YouTube has its own shortcomings, particularly since Google injected that with its ubiquitous brand of mediocrity. But they’ve kicked me in the head one too many times. So like with Google’s ludicrously substandard attempts at SMS alerts and at crossing swords with wikipedia, their video service goes out to trash.

No, no reason to “check back later,” not ever. They’ll only be worse off than they already are.

Now, what does Google want to screw up next? (Think: Google documents, another piece of junk.)

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Written by macheide

12 February 2009 at 3:57 pm

Posted in reprobate

Google Video Bull

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screen-googlevideo-090203

OK, who’s the only other idiot on the Internet in line in front of me?

So let me get this straight: traffic that constitutes less than 1% of the new video content added to Google sites constitutes “overwhelming interest” in Google video??? That’s a sad delusion not even worth imitating an LOL. What they really mean is, “We only devote sufficient bandwidth to Google video to serve one Internet user at a time. Get in line, sucker.”

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Written by macheide

3 February 2009 at 8:59 pm

Posted in reprobate

Not So Live

When I’d finally had enough of LiveJournal‘s shenanigans a year ago today, the blogging pioneer still clung to a ranking near the mid 50s, as measured by Alexa. LJ did luck into a false peak rank near 50 in early 2008, but since then has steadily dug itself deeper and deeper into the mud, ending the year since my departure down below 90.

LJ’s decline cannot be blamed on the worldwide economic crisis, its owners’ laughable excuses to the contrary. At least LJ is finally once again unique: no other top-100-ranked site has been steadily losing ground, even with the bad economy. The world’s economy will turn around in 2010 or 2011, but LJ will be lower than it is today by then, and will keep right on sinking further.

In a smirk at LJ’s recent layoffs of crucial product managers and engineers while preserving positions for finance and operations workers, Valleywag accurately described LJ as “a website to be left on life support.” That, and with second-hand emergency room equipment years past its warranty.

Like the hapless opendiary.com, the only asset LJ still has are its dwindling membership’s own friends: one tends to be reluctant to leave even an inferior network if one’s friends are there. Like, “I’d rather live in hell where all my drinking buddies are than to get stuck in heaven where I don’t know anybody.” But with the whole world and maybe an extra planet or two active on Facebook and myspace, LJ won’t even hang onto that asset very much longer.

LJ didn’t have to die. But it is killing itself off. And won’t recover, even after the economy does.

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Written by macheide

17 January 2009 at 8:20 pm

Posted in reprobate

Outa One Frying Pan

wordpress20090109

If you’re one of the newcomers WordPress is currently welcoming over from the suicidal LiveJournal, get used to seeing the message clipped above, one of several you’ll find common to your blogging experience here. Also get used to just plain sitting while WP just churns endlessly without bothering to pick one of its error cards out of the deck to let you know you’re stuck. And when the WP message tells you to come back to try again in a few minutes, make that a few hours, or tomorrow, or next week. LJ worked past such growing pains back around 2000-2001, but don’t wait for WP to get with the program before you complete your migration from there to here. With LJ’s engineers laid off, you can count the days before LJ is again even less reliable than WP might seem to be.

Many other things here will make you feel right at home, just like what you’re used to back at LJ. Like, the certainty that if your blog looks exactly the way you want it to look today, that eventually inevitably it will get screwed up by nothing more than some whim change in WP’s own system. Like, having to learn a completely unique non-standard version of HTML to achieve some of the most basic effects, only to have to learn yet another non-standard version of HTML the next time some other WP programmer takes a crack at the system. Like, the introduction of new features that you have to waste your own time learning although you don’t want them, so you can at least know how to waste your own time turning them off once users have complained enough to force WP to add a patch off-switch.

All too familiar if you clung to LJ way too long in the vain hope that one day they’d wake up to respect their real value as being in the writers they could retain and the writings those writers produced and the audiences and communities built on their words, versus the brief brilliance of some unwanted system feature or the pile of pennies gleaned from overloading their users’ work with the adverts of a failed commercial model.

Yes, all quite familiar, except WP hasn’t yet taken it as far as LJ did, at least not yet. So one might be able to at least catch a break here, maybe rest up before continuing the exodus to find the promised land: a permanent blogging home that one need never leave again.

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Written by macheide

9 January 2009 at 4:46 pm

Posted in reprobate

Ta Ta, ChaCha

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Except for that strange 3-day vacation Sheeba recently took, she’s been crashing quite frequently this month. And on maybe one out of every 40-50 crashes – which means about about once every week – the crash gobbles all my browser cookies. Meaning I have to go back and unlock every single one of the various rooms I play in. Which means I have to haul out all my skeleton keys.

But [insert yet another Sheeba crash at this point in drafting this post] noodlenoggin that I am, I haven’t been making my passwords as memorable as I used to since turning into a security-conscious g-man. Yet although there remain scattered pieces of me chained to obsolete accounts that can never again be re-opened, luckily most of my current haunts will simply e-mail me a new password upon request, not even fussing at me for having to do so as frequently as I do.

Except for ChaCha, which just begs for me to mouth the words, “Don’t go there.” I was charmed at first, yes, even proselytized, then even considered putting a little spare time into serving as a ChaCha guide. Only then starting to admit to myself that I’d only really had a passing crush, certainly nowhere near any sort of devotion or love.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by macheide

29 November 2008 at 12:07 pm

Posted in reprobate

Error: Trusting Bloglines

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Hello,

There has been an error processing your email. The error is:

This email was sent to an invalid address. For the correct email address to submit emails, please vis

truncated message from bloglines,
sent in triplicate at 1:42pm, 2:53pm, and 2:55pm
in response to an SMS message sent at 12:00pm

Invalid e-mail address? No, it was not an invalid address, as can easily enough be demonstrated by simply re-sending the exact same SMS message to the exact same e-mail address enough times. Usually takes three or four attempts, some of those attempts bounced back like this one was, some of them simply dropped into never-never land without so much as a peep, but eventually quite at random some of those messages making it through. The e-mail address is definitely valid. What is invalid is Bloglines‘ handling of its own e-mail subscription capability.

Bad enough that when Bloglines fumbles the ball, it then spams me back like it is doing on this message, with absolutely no way for me to tell it to shut the hell up: it just keeps hiccupping away for as many as half a dozen of its invalid “invalid” messages before giving up on its own, again without any apparent logical pattern to its behavior. What’s worse is that one really can’t rely on Bloglines for micro-blogging at all: there is no pattern whatsoever to its failures. Utterly unreliable.

And then since Bloglines’ e-mail subscriptions were supposed to treat incoming e-mail as though that traffic were coming in like an RSS feed, doesn’t that make one doubt the reliability of its underlying RSS feed service? Come to think of it, since I do have Bloglines RSS feeds for every single one of my various Internet nodes, I have long observed – and have had those observations confirmed – that Bloglines has always been quite sporadic on its updating of my own fresh meat, sometimes dropping new content seemingly at random, other times dumping piles of old material on me completely out of the blue.

Recently, when I noticed that my White House news RSS feed coming through Bloglines had failed to notice Obama’s quite noteworthy visit, I did take the time to check first at the White House news site itself before writing an aftermath post about Bush’s disrespectful omission. Why double check? Because I seriously half expected the omission to have been Bloglines’ fault, not the President’s. If Bloglines were to ever conduct any rigorous audit of its service, I don’t think that its e-mail blunders and its haphazard reading of my own blogs are rare events.

So as much as I do appreciate certain features of Bloglines, I’m in the market for an RSS reader that understands that reliability has to be center stage. And of course, I’ve already given up wasting any further time on Bloglines’ claptrap e-mail subscription service.

Bumper Sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com/] - reprobate

Written by macheide

18 November 2008 at 4:22 pm

Posted in reprobate

Media Mismanagement

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Sheeba‘s been having an atrocious Sunday, yet I’ve found a few spare minutes between crashes to get around to a lower level item on my computer task list: updating my Amazon wishlist and collection. Mainly to go through what ought not be so laborious a process as Amazon makes it: to compare the two, then erase from the wishlist and add to the collection what I have.

If Amazon knew how to design and program any halfway serviceable wishlist/collection, and if they only understood how such lists could significantly increase their own business, this would never be an item on my task list. Whenever something on my wishlist were to come into my possession, I’d zip on over, click a box to move the item from one list to the other, then grab some code for recommending to friends that they do the same.

Maybe I should just take this repeating clean-up item off my task list. Replace it with the action Amazon seems to want us to do: Find a replacement web service that can facilitate media wishlists and collection inventories.

Bumper Sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com/] - reprobate

Written by macheide

9 November 2008 at 6:48 pm

Posted in reprobate

Dead and Dying Journal

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Long, unfortunately far too long, after ADASTW had made far too many of the same mistakes that doomed opendiary and journalspace to perpetual obscurity, I finally accepted the inevitable this past January and left, no looking back, no regrets.

Seems I’m not the only one to recognize that ADASTW has little to offer the serious Internet journalist or community. And given its policies and attitudes and disrespect of its authors, the current trend is irreversible. If I were still struggling to keep my journal intact over there today, I wouldn’t waste another second on their dying ship.

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Written by macheide

2 September 2008 at 6:10 pm

Posted in reprobate

Off SEC_Investor_Ed

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IDEA will be the platform for 21st Century Disclosure

SEC_Investor_Ed @ 10:14am

IDEA will make it easier for investors to get information.

SEC_Investor_Ed @ 10:15am

IDEA will make it easier for investors to decide how to allocate their savings and investments.

SEC_Investor_Ed @ 10:16am

I have a better idea. When someone uses twitter to spam my cell phone, I turn them off. And I don’t bother going back later to check to see if they’ve learned how to microblog properly. Besides, I already get SEC press releases through their XML feed, not to mention tons of other SEC info through other feeds. SEC via twitter has been a mildly diverting extra for a few weeks, but it’s not worth being spammed for.

As for the new SEC effort to improve the disclosures we’ve been getting through EDGAR, I’ll certainly love it when I see it, but I don’t expect that to happen until I reach the afterlife, where all information is perfect and easily accessible. Speaking as one whose fave pastime has been to compose what is quite likely the best collection of 10k pension data anywhere, we’ve already seen far too much false pension analysis based on poorly collected databases that apparently rely too much on staff with little or no knowledge of the data they are handling. That together with how pitifully non-uniform pension disclosures are company to company and year to year will keep pension disclosures from being “easier” for investors to assimilate, analyze and understand for the next generation and beyond, with or without the SEC’s IDEA, with or without FASB’s distracted efforts (e.g., its current staff exercise on pension asset allocation information, which will do nothing to improve the overall usefulness of pension disclosure).

Start by actually getting companies to standardize their disclosures, then maybe a new reporting system might improve the side of things that investors need to deal with. Build the system on the disclosure muddle that exists, and it’s just as difficult to use as ever.

Bumper Sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com/] - reprobate

Written by macheide

19 August 2008 at 1:35 pm

Posted in reprobate

Yet Another Google Boondoggle

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Within the past day or so, I’ve switched aftermath‘s theme to Mistylook, mainly to get the page tabs at the top.

There are several aspects of the Mistylook theme that I would have done differently. For instance, I prefer to have timestamps along with the datestamps on posts. And since I never actually use the calendar and probably nobody else who bumps into aftermath does either, I might have an easy resolution to my mild annoyance over it not being centered in the sidebar: I might simply go without it.

When one is dealing with something made available to a mass audience, such things are natural. We all have our own way of doing things, personal preferences and such. But even taken together in the aggregate, all of my differences with Mistylook are minor – they do not interfere with the operation of what Mistylook is designed to do. And if I wish, I can actually deal with any of those differences on my own, simply by procuring paid access to full styling of my WordPress blog. Last but not least, if all else fails, I can very easily shift to some other WordPress style without wasting hours and hours reversing efforts that I’ve already put into writing all this.

But this post isn’t really about Mistylook. It’s about how pissed Google has been making me lately. This time, on their farce of a video posting feature. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by macheide

3 August 2008 at 1:34 pm

Posted in reprobate

Knol Set

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Wondering if Knol will become non-lame any time soon?

twitter by tim bray

No. It won’t. Not soon, not eventually, not ever.

As several recent of my rants have made clear, I’m not the least impressed by the quality control procedures and programming standards of anything Google. And Knol, their quite lame attempt to pretend at superior intelligence over Wikipedia, has no more promise beyond any of the rest of Google’s mediocre fare.

I’m reminded of what I’ve always called the “WSJ disorder.” Back before I knew better, I used to believe most of what I would see in the Wall Street Journal. Until I became sufficiently expert in pension matters to start noticing something odd: although all the rest of the Journal’s content seemed as trustworthy as ever, they never seemed to get it right whenever they ran an article about pensions. Only when I added further expertise on another topic to my resume and noticed the WSJ’s cancer spreading did I realize the truth of it. Beyond the simple reporting of facts such as closing prices, the only WSJ content you can trust is any topic you don’t know enough about to know better.

Which is what Knol excels in from the start. Add Google’s penchant for reaching lower than wherever they randomly happen to fall, and there’s no reason to come back to Knol anytime later to see if they’ve ditched the crutches.

Bumper Sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com/] - reprobate

Written by macheide

1 August 2008 at 7:03 am

Posted in reprobate

End and Beginning of an Exit

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Allen: I was nowhere near Oakland!

Play It Again, Sam

Just this past Sunday, in a rant on the obviously low quality and reliability of Google SMS, I pointed out that about 1 out of every 20 times I was sending “Stock DJI” to get an update on the Dow Jones Industrials, I was getting a local address for Dow Jones instead of the index results. Yesterday, that started happening about once every 7 or 8 times. Early today, about once every 3 or 4 times. Then early this afternoon, Google SMS gave up pretending at any intelligence whatsoever, simply returning addresses to any and all stock price requests, from the DJI to IBM to any others. After 30 minutes of checking back to see if they themselves had figured out they’d finally broken their own stupid attempt at SMS, I gave up. Permanently. Who cares if they’ve fixed it by now, when the only certainty is that they will break it again soon enough. Their quality control procedures and programming standards are as slipshod as those of Microsoft, if not worse. So after long ago giving up relying on any of the other Google SMS uses, which were even worse than the stock price use has been until today, finally I’m leaving Google SMS completely. To put it at the absolute bottom of any listing of SMS services would be too kind.

And if that marks the closing scene of one exit, call it the opening scene of other departures I’ll be making from other Google features. Google Docs being the next in line to get the heaveho. I’ve long known that neither its word processing nor spreadsheet products are worth anything beyond a very poor joke with no punchline. Why I’ve still continued to build records of my gas mileage and Zen tracks and other bits and pieces on Google Docs spreadsheets has been more a comment on my own blogging inertia than any endorsement of Google. It’s a dead end. With no expectation that Google Docs will ever rise above the ultra-low standard set by Google SMS, I’m wasting my time to continue.

Shall we give g-mail the pink slip as well?

Bumper Sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com/] - reprobate

Written by macheide

30 July 2008 at 8:00 pm

Posted in reprobate

Google Booger

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Without exception, it’s my experience that anyone who compliments or recommends Google SMS turns out to be someone who hasn’t actually used Google SMS more than a handful of times. And believe me, this is a classic instance of any favorable first impressions being extremely misguided.

Matter of fact, I am of the strong opinion that Google’s own workforce – from the highest executives to the rank and file, including the people who even work on the SMS feature itself – themselves never use Google SMS. Unless they are so used to the Google mediocrity that infects every other thing Google touches, that they just shrug off how ridiculously stupid Google SMS actually is.

Like any of the images I post, better detail can be seen by clicking the image over to the larger gallery version. Not that it matters much in this case, since I’ll elaborate here. Although I long ago gave up trusting Google SMS for anything else, I do still call on the service from time to time to check in on basic stock market moves when I’m not connected to the Internet. And of course I don’t waste keystrokes typing the text in everytime I want to check in: I just go to my cell phone’s outbox and re-send the saved message “Stock DJI” to Google. Same message every single time. So any software with any reasonable quality standards should give a predictable result every single time, right? For Google SMS, that sort of predictability means that about once every 20-30 times that text is sent, you can expect to see an address for Dow Jones, even though you’ll then get the current quote for the Dow Jones Industrial if you immediately re-send exactly the same message that delivered that address to you.

Eh, but seriously, that’s not any different from the quality to be expected from anything Google offers, from its video service to its documents service to its haphazard forays into wiki services, and all else without exclusion. If anything, it’s another way of enunciating how desperate Microsoft really is, that they struggle so poorly to try to compete with the likes of this low level of the norm.

Bumper Sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com/] - reprobate

Written by macheide

27 July 2008 at 9:37 am

Posted in reprobate

When WordPress Fails

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when wordpress fails

I’ve not been on vacation. I’ve haven’t been busier than usual with chores and all. I haven’t even been as buried in my spreadsheet or the Wall or in work as I might have wanted to be. And of course I’ve not stopped writing, that never.

When WordPress fails, I just don’t allow them to waste my time like they’ve already too often done. So when yet another poorly planned and completely untested software modification was once again quite casually imposed on WordPress users last Tuesday night, making it impossible to post anything with other than a false “Uncategorized” tag, I simply walked off for a week. Next time — which, given WordPress standards should be within a month or less — the hiatus will be two weeks. And then maybe by the end of the summer they will have convinced me I need to either find some system that knows how to properly conduct product development, or else just plain do my journalling on my own like I did for almost 40 years before making the mistake of struggling with the likes of this.

Once again applauding my decision not to commit so much as to actually pay for this system. Bad enough when WordPress treats free accounts with such callous disrespect. I’d be plain pissed if I’d paid for such poor quality.

Bumper Sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com/] - reprobate

Written by macheide

10 June 2008 at 10:03 am

Posted in reprobate