Minor Pet Peeve…

February 18, 2006

So, this may surprise you, but I have a minor pet peeve. It is childish, silly and it annoys me immensely.

A little background first, though. I am a news junkie. I listen to CNN as background even though I find the quality of reporting to be mediocre at best. My real source for news and information though is following RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds. A RSS feed is an XML document that contains changes or updates to a website or other content. It is a simple way to get information out as it changes.

So, I use Bloglines to track about 120 different web sites – it is a great way to read headlines and summaries of sites when they change and then only drill in to the site when I am interested in that topic. Normally, it works great. I went through about an even dozen different RSS readers before settling on Bloglines – both client apps and online ones. The only downside to Bloglines is that you have to be online to get it, but I’m almost always online so that isn’t a problem.

Now on to the peeve.

When people post, Bloglines shows the new entry as, well, a new entry. However, when someone updates a post, it shows up as a new entry as well, which makes sense since there is something new about the post.

Problem is, I don’t know what has changed.

Some authors, or groups of authors, make it obvious by adding a line detailing the update and if there is just more info or whether or not the original post content changed. BoingBoing.net is usually really good at this; they update and add a line and every update adds another line detailing it. If something changes on the original post, they strike it out so that you can see what changed.

Other authors, well, they don’t do that. One of my favorite authors, Matt at Defective Yeti, has this infuriating habit of editing and tweaking a post without any indication of what has changed. (No offense Matt) So, I have several paragraphs to skim through to see if the post I already read has changed in any significant way.

So, I’m petty.

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The new (digital) campfire

February 8, 2006

So, I bought my reason-for-living a new mobile phone. Her previous phone had, well, issues, and we had replaced the phone on Verizon’s dime three or four times. It wasn’t the best experience for either side, I’m sure.

Having gone the route with Verizon where they will replace the faulty phone with the design that leads to failure with THE EXACT SAME PHONE, I was looking for a different way to buy a phone with some confidence that the vendor would provide some value. Being a very long time patron of our local Costco (I’ve been going there since 1982 and had a card of my own since 1984) I stopped by the in-store kiosk to ask some questions.

Sweet. Costco offers to refund the cost of the phone, even if I don’t like it anymore, for the life of the phone. Far better than the 15 days offered by Verizon. Even better, Costco only sells phones with a low return rate… so, I splurged. I got her the LG VX 8100 phone, which satisfies the geek in me and it feels good and you can set an alarm which satisfies most of her concerns.

Fast forward a week or so and I’ve just got a MiniSD card, since the phone has a MiniSD card slot. A bit of experimentation with some free software called SUPER (Simplified Universal Player Encoder and Renderer at http://www.erightsoft.com/SUPER.html) and I had a couple of episodes of The Muppet Show and an album of MP3s on her phone.

So where does the digital campfire come in?

I’m trying to get the boy ready for bed, but he is … reluctant. So, I pull out the missus’ phone and show him the Danny Kaye episode of The Muppet Show and he is hooked. I curl around so I can watch over his shoulder and we veg out to Miss Piggy and Kermie. After a few minutes, I realize that the missus is behind me also watching. So, we all are watching a TV show that we could have watched on the TV across the room but instead are watching on a little, tiny screen at a horrible resolution.

And we loved it.

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Benjamin Franklin, Inventor, Businessman, Patriot