Who Is Hosing Me?
I hope y’all enjoyed the kid-friendly headline. It wasn’t my first choice. -Ed.
I’m looking at one of the 42,000 spinning animations that constitute the soundtrack of my life. In this particular instance it belongs to the Netflix app on my iPad. But really it could be any of them.
One question: Who is responsible for this outage outrage?
Yes, we have the technology to sell technology whether it is ready for prime time or not.
When I was a kid “sit and spin” was consider an insult. Now it’s a phrase that singularly defines an entire generation of tech-hungry consumers.
Who decided this shit was ready? Because I have a serious bone to pick with them.
The technology cycle works like this: Invent. Sell. Count your piles of gold. Then, and only then, stick your head up, look around and see how it works. (Just ask Apple about iOS 8.)
This thing, right here, right now, is not working. Since it takes about 42 pieces of tech just to make this go, how should I proceed? Is there a way for an average schmo like me to logically isolate the culprit? Is there anyone I can call who won’t say, “Nope. It’s not us,” and point the finger at one of the other 41 links in the chain, including me?
I think not.
Is it my ISP? The cable assholes of Satan? Is it the router? The modem? Any points of relay on the internet between me and them? Is it a problem in my iPad? Is it Netflix itself? Is it the Amazon Cloud where Netflix wisely decided to put their egg in a basket? Is it a fucking solar flare?
All I know is that I paid a lot of money for this shit and that money is long gone. And there’s no tech fairy who will make it right.
What a helpless feeling. It’s enough to make my head spin.
This post was written on an iPad using only one finger. Sheer torture.
Amazonian Space–Time Continuum
Who likes to wait? Not me! That’s why I went back in time to write this post. Ah, here it is! What took so long?
Once upon a time I was in a serious quandary. I wanted some cheap, plastic, materialistic consumer shit made in China and I wanted it now. What to do, what to do?
As I saw it, there were two choices.
I could haul my fat ass up and out of my chair, somehow make it to the car, drive to a big-box store, somehow make it inside and navigate the maze to (hopefully) the right section where the object of my desire might be found. All the while being blasted by a tasty mix of songs scientifically designed to make me spend more money. (The mix is a rotation of two songs. Happy, by Pharrell Williams and anything by Mumford & Sons.)
I say “might” because I’ve tried this in the past and it didn’t quite work out. Ever go to the store to buy one specific thing? After expending incredible effort (see previous paragraph) you learn it isn’t even there. Out of stock. I do not believe there is a worse feeling in the entire universe.
And that other choice I mentioned earlier? Amazon. Duh.
Continue reading →
Graphic video: Mouse eaten by Lion
A new version of Apple’s operating system called OS X Lion is afoot. It will be out by the end of the month.
I’m no expert, but as far as I can tell, Apple is using Lion to make the desktop computer more like an iPhone. I think they want to confuse the user. “Am I sitting at a desk using my home computer or is this my iPod? I can’t tell the difference!”
One thing I noticed when I switched from Windows to OS X earlier this year was that my right arm was getting tired. I’m not wanting to say anything good about Windows, but it did do one thing right: There was very little that you couldn’t do with the keyboard. Almost everything you could do with the mouse could also be accomplished with a keyboard shortcut, if one was willing to learn.
I have a keyboard in front of me and my hands are already there. I find it convenient. Might as well make use of it, eh?
Sadly, it was not so with the Mac. To this day I still don’t know keyboard shortcuts that will allow me to access application menus. (Maybe they exist. If they do, I haven’t found them.) True, most things in the menu have their own shortcuts, but that can be a lot to remember. Accessing menus with the keyboard was very convenient. And some menu options don’t have options. In those cases you have no choice: time to take a ride on the mouse.
If there is one thing I hate, it is moving my hand from the keyboard over to the mouse (and back again) when I don’t have to. This particular gesture (if you’ll allow the term) is extremely annoying. Extremely.
I noticed right away on my brand new iMac that my right hand was traveling more than it ever had before. You’d be surprised, but in only a few short months the forearm girth of my right arm now doubles the left. I got lopsided guns! If I could be ambidextrous and use a left-handed mouse half of the time I would be totally ripped.
I’ll provide two telling examples of where I think Apple’s OS X is weak on the mouse.
First, try doing something like emptying the trash. You move the mouse down the the bottom of the screen and right-click and select “Empty Trash.” Viola! The dialog box opens up miles away, vertically centered, near the top of the screen. Hey, Apple! Why not have the dialog open near where the mouse pointer already lives, thus reducing the distance I have to move to get there? Any of you brainiacs ever have that bright idea?
My second example is the “Your Changes Will Be Lost” dialog. This is just one example of a problem that exists throughout the operating system. This particular dialog box gives you three choices: Don’t Save, Cancel, and Save. By default “Save” is already highlighted and you can hit the RETURN key if you wish. If you want either of the other choices, though, you’re screwed. You can’t do anything like type the first letter or use the LEFT ARROW and RIGHT ARROW keys to navigate to a new choice. You guessed it! Your right hand kisses the keyboard goodbye and heads for the mouse. You are simply given no other choice.
It’s the Apple Right-Handed Back and Forth game! Only in this game there are no winners. Apple just loves it some freakin’ mouse.
Well, it used to. Cue OS X Lion.
I just watched a four minute video about Lion on the Apple.com website and guess what? Apple is “gesture” freaks now. The mouse was almost entirely left out of that video.
Gesture is the new mouse!
The video primarily featured the Macbook Air for most of the happy shots of people using OS X Lion. Occasionally they did show a desktop. In those cases a touch pad was prominently featured, either sticking off the right side of the keyboard or as a separate shot. In only a single shot did they should a desktop computer with … gasp … a mouse.
The mouse’s days appear to be numbered. And here I was hoping that Lion would finally address the long-standing issues I’ve had with Mac OS X and my right-handed workout. I’m getting keyboard shortcuts aren’t going to be prominently featured, if there are any at all.
Pulling a computer training
An Itty Bitty Machines (IBM) computer processing some Social Security data in the 1950s.
Image source: Social Security Online.
We here at AFAIK (the Abyss Facility for Advanced Information Knowledge) have decided to publish “online” to the interwebs some of the courses offered in our Information Technology with Specialization in Input Devices doctoral program. Enroll today and take advantage of offerings from our syllabus including:
- Left mouse button and right mouse button – What’s the difference?
- Single-click and double-click – Understanding situational context
- Upgrading – Why things no worky after five years of refusing to install software updates
- Task switching – An introduction to the concept that applications don’t have to be completely shut down in order to do something else
- Lateral Hand Movement Minimization – A focus on keyboard shortcuts to prevent “tennis elbow” caused by an excess of user hand movements between the keyboard and mouse
- Folders and Directories – An overview of file saving techniques with an emphasis on locations other than the Desktop
- ALT and CTRL – Extending their power with the knowledge that they do different things
- Webcam 101 – With new online services such as Chatroulette gaining in popularity, this class covers essentials like plugging in the webcam, starting the browser, entering the web address, and targeting the camera at the crotch area (men only)
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