GoToMeeting fail

Things I am thankful for: conference calls with slideshows. Because I love having to infect my computer with your shitty corporate software that can’t even upgrade itself like it’s 2014.

December 19, 2014 December 20, 2014 rants by Scott No Comments

I saw some disturbing headlines in the tech news today:

“Vessyl, a smart cup designed by Yves Behar, is designed to measure and track any drink poured into it in real-time.”

“This Amazing New ‘Smart Cup’ Can Tell What Kind Of Drink Is Inside It”

“Ever wished you could keep track of what you’re consuming without keeping a detailed list? Meet Vessyl, a cup that can calculate detailed information about what you’re drinking.”

Someone please tell me this is just a joke.

June 13, 2014 June 13, 2014 rants by Scott No Comments

I’m tired of hearing about “smart homes.” Technologists presume that the forthcoming wave of gadgets will finally solve all my problems simply by connecting everything. I like networks as much as the next nerd, but let’s be honest for a minute.

The problem with smart home technology as it is envisioned today is that it exists to solve problems that normal people shouldn’t have in the first place. Examples:

  • “My house is so damn big that the living room light switch is 1/8 mile away. How can I turn off the lights without standing up and walking?”
  • “My home theater has 8 remote controls and a bewildering array of knobs. How do I turn down the volume?”
  • “How can I water the plants without going outside?”
  • “How can I check my back hallway smoke detector battery from an Internet café in Portugal?”
  • “How can I finally use this $500 phone to unlock my door so I don’t have to use a $5 key instead?”

You know what makes a smart home? A modest home with stuff that works for you, and not too much of it.

June 8, 2014 June 8, 2014 rants by Scott No Comments

I don’t know who R. Brock Olson is, but his recent blog post, “We are not #BostonStrong,” is pretty well aligned with my feelings on the marathon situation.

His point about the ease of treating violence with an “us vs. them” mentality is pretty salient. He doesn’t get into it, but the fact that the attack was bombs, rather than for example gun violence, means it was far too easy to label the perpetrators as “terrorists” rather than just “criminals” or even “mentally unstable”–and for most people that changes the whole story.

Have you read an account of the 2013 marathon in which the bombings were just the work of deranged local asshole kids with bags of New Hampshire fireworks and nails? Of course not. The official narrative says that it was a highly organized attack against our community. It was a sophisticated enemy. That’s why we deployed hundreds of paramilitary defense forces to guard us in the aftermath. That’s why we installed the cameras. That’s why we can’t enjoy our Esplanade on July 4 anymore. That’s why we will turn the 2014 marathon into a showcase of pointless security and a giant made-for-TV pity party.

(But, you ask, how do I really feel?)

April 17, 2014 April 17, 2014 rants by Scott No Comments

This whole article is unsettling: Residents Suing to Stop ‘Fortresslike’ Plan for World Trade Center.

Summary: A small group of New Yorkers are suing the NYPD in what will probably be a vain attempt to keep them from turning the streets near their new World Trade Center into a militarized ring of security checkpoints and barriers. The report indicates that cyclists may even be required to dismount just to pass through.

Boston is getting a dose of security fever these days, including the sudden and rapid proliferation of state-operated video cameras on streets and in parks–stuff I strongly disapprove of. But stories like this one make me glad I don’t live in New York.

November 13, 2013 November 13, 2013 rants by Scott No Comments

Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks? Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, Kit Kat?

A polite request: can we please agree to refer to software versions by number and not by code name? Seriously, who can remember these random sequences? Code names are for developers.

November 7, 2013 November 7, 2013 rants by Scott 4 Comments

If you thought Boston would respond to the April bombings in a sensible, measured way–did you hear they caught the guys?–think again.

The Esplanade is done up like a prison yard this morning. There are multiple surveillance cameras attached to nearly every lightpost east of Mass Ave. Tree branches lower than 15 feet from the ground have been sawn off at the trunks. A bomb squad apparatus and rows of matte-black police trucks are lined up behind the Hatch shell. Police and FBI agents with bulletproof vests and guns in thigh holsters are pacing the paths. State troopers were closing off the footpaths with metal gates just as I finished my morning run.

There are large signs everywhere outlining PROHIBITED ITEMS and what is CLOSED and where RE-ENTRY WITHOUT CREDENTIALS IS PROHIBITED. And none to welcome people, or to say “have fun!”

It is a choice to live this way. It’s amazing that so many people respond with attitudes like, “I guess we have to?”

Welcome to the new Boston.

July 3, 2013 July 3, 2013 rants by Scott No Comments

Dear pharmacies,

You have way too many products on the shelf. It’s very confusing. Here’s how I’d fix it:

  1. Eliminate everything with phenylephrine as the active ingredient. This shit doesn’t do anything. Buying pseudoephedrine today is about as easy as getting an abortion in Mississippi, but at least it works!
  2. Don’t allow different formulations of one brand to employ different active ingredients. Imagine if Advil was sometimes made of aspirin! Somehow this is acceptable for cold medicine.
  3. Stop selling so many 3- and 4-drug combos with ambiguous differences. For those people who get all 12 listed symptoms simultaneously, maybe these are a convenience. I’d prefer to take a decongestant when I’m congested. I’ll take a cough suppressant if I have a cough. Thanks.
  4. Seriously, why does everything have acetaminophen in it? If people have pain, let them take a painkiller. Pretty soon, multi-vitamins and shampoo are going to come with 1000 mg of acetaminophen. I’d rather keep my liver.

By my estimation, these changes would leave about 5 products on the shelf. Much better.

November 26, 2012 November 26, 2012 rants by Scott 3 Comments