Tweets are now in Aisle 2

February 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Every once in awhile I go to a store in a chain that is not my usual haunt, and find that the store is laid out very differently. It can be disorienting when you don’t know where to find what you’re looking for.

It can even happen in my usual store when I haven’t been there for a while and they have rearranged everything in my absence. They don’t do this to confuse their customers, they do it to make periodic changes. If they replace carpeting or make some other physical changes, they have to move things out of the way before they remodel – and it’s cheaper to move it once.

Twitter does not really have this excuse. They have moved the main attraction, the tweets, from the left to the right of center. Why is this a big deal? English is read from left to right. This is the natural direction that the eye tracks for those of us who read and write English. In the new layout, the eye has to skip over the extras to locate the tweets. This is more an annoyance than a difficulty, but it is an unnecessary difficulty.

It is bad ergonomics.

Not only does it seem backwards, but once you get beyond the first screen it seems like the tweets are hanging in mid-air. It feels off-balance, like driving on the wrong side of the road.

When it annoys me enough and I have the time, I can fix it with Stylish. I still have to wonder about their GUI design process though.

The usability problem for me is that they shuffled the controls around and changed how things work. My rudimentary understanding of how Twitter works is now useless, and I don’t have the time to figure out how it works this week. Thanks, Twitter.

Categories: Diary Tags:

#McDStories, McDonald’s Twitter Hashtag Promotion, Goes Horribly Wrong

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

I remember when the McDonalds sign said “1 million served”. I liked their burgers for a long time. Even working there and eating it every day did little to change my mind.

But then I got food poisoning and bone in the meat a couple of times, and that was it.

After that, Burger King became my favorite. That lasted until I started getting a string of greasy, disgusting­ly tasteless burgers. Eventually­, I discovered that company policy had changed and they started using microwaves religiousl­y, for the sake of efficiency­. Microwaves undo the carameliza­tion of the bun (which is the point of toasting the bun), and draws the remaining grease out of the meat, making it soggy and tasteless. The worst thing you can do to prepare a hamburger is microwave it.

I cook my own hamburgers these days.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

English: McDonald's Egg McMuffin breakfast san...

Egg McMuffin

I think their “it’s the McMuffin of…” ad campaign is also pretty stupid. They’re trying to manufacture a catch-phrase out of something that makes no sense beyond the wild biz-zarre imagination of an ad executive.

A New Year In Search of a New Tradition

December 27, 2011 Leave a comment

A year ago I woke up to discover that ESPN had bought the rights to my New Year’s tradition of watching college bowl games, and moved them to where I can no longer watch them, so I switched to the NFL games that turned up to fill the void. To be honest, the downhill slide probably started when they opened up the Rose Bowl to other conferences. The big draw for me was that the Rose Bowl was the pinnacle of the Big Ten season, and the linchpin of the New Year’s Day bowl games. It was the prize for winning the Big Ten championship.

This year, there are three NFL games scheduled on broadcast TV, though the teams are not yet decided. With overlap, my TV schedule is still open.

But this year there are new choices in the mix, two television networks new to my market.

This TV

This TV logo

This TV shows a variety of classic movies, some more current movies, and TV shows from the 50s and 60s. On New Year’s Day they are showing a lot of Marx Brothers movies, a couple of Bob Hope/Bing Crosby “road” movies, Abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, and stuff I don’t recognize.

MeTV

MeTV logo

Image via Wikipedia

Memorable Entertainment TV shows a LOT of classic TV shows from the 50s and 60s. Every show I watched as a kid (except the ones showing on ThisTV), the ones I missed, and some that were before my time. New Year’s Day they are running a “That Girl” marathon, starting with the first episode.

Of the current shows on TV, the ones I like the most start with a creative premise. An important part of the attraction is that they stimulate the imagination instead of appealing to the familiar. There is one I want to highlight now because on New Year’s Day there is an opportunity for new viewers to catch up on the story to date.

Once Upon A TimeSeveral of the new shows this year fall into my “creative premise” category. Some have been disappointing, most have been entertaining, but Once Upon a Time (ABC) has truly exceeded my expectations. It matches fairy tales with stories in a contemporary setting, with the former defining the conflicts in the latter. The stories are fascinating, the costumes and settings on the fairy tale side are spectacular, and the acting makes “suspension of disbelief” very easy. On January 1st, ABC will air six of the first seven episodes in a marathon broken only by the news. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend watching, or recording and watching later.

However you spend the day, have a happy and prosperous New Year!

Black Friday goes to the Dark Side

November 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Thanksgiving at the TrollsBusiness competition is frequently cutthroat behind the scenes, and positive within public view. In the current seasonal advertising, this seems to have changed.

Commercials have always been biased to a greater or lesser degree, that’s just the nature of mass advertising. “Our stuff is better than their stuff” is also a standard part of the game. But I have noticed Christmas ads this season that take a darker tone.

T. J. Maxx has an ad campaign that actually tells people to leave the mall. “It doesn’t matter if you’re naughty or nice. Get the same gifts at a better price.” What kind of message is that?

There is a Kohl’s ad where a woman pilfers something from someone else’s shopping cart while singing the praises of the store.

Acura has an ad where Chef Ramsey tears into a chef during a private dinner. WTF??? To sell a car? Seriously?

These are ads that glamorize bad behavior. They are not in the spirit of the season.

As consumers with disposable income become a scarce resource, companies have had to work harder to get their attention – and their business. Black Friday has become a tradition because it is the first business day after Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving Day itself was traditionally preserved as a family holiday. Businesses have become desperate enough to violate the sanctity of Thanksgiving and open their doors on a day that is no longer reserved for family. Anything to get an edge over the competition.

They do not do this in a vacuum. There are customers who like the idea. Who are willing to give up some family time for discounts.

So what is my point?

  1. The desperation of the businesses and the willingness of some consumers to trade family life for savings are indications of a distressed economy, which we are already aware of.
  2. The growing importance of the Christmas Season to the profitability of so many businesses is an indication that a specific class of consumption has become too concentrated in one part of the calendar.
  3. The economy is having a negative impact on the family unit.
  4. Morality in advertising is declining.

ABC is promoting another cycle of The Bachelor by showing a woman crying her eyes out.

Why Is DOJ Sealing Evidence in the Google Case?

September 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Personal honor varies from individual to individual­, and is reflected more in small businesses than large ones. But there seems to be a profit threshold, beyond which honor and profits become inversely proportion­al. Perhaps this is why, in the early days of our country, incorporat­ions were made for limited duration and purpose.

The liability protection­s afforded corporatio­ns, once necessary to encourage risk-takin­g, have been perverted into a shield against moral hazard and even justice itself.

Monetary penalties have lost their deterrence­, becoming an item on a balance sheet, taken from the investors who had no part in the crime.

As they grow, so does their ability to do harm – and so grows the need for regulation­, and the government to impose it.

If you want less regulation­, reduce the liability protection­s for corporate management­. Resurrect personal responsibi­lity in corporate management­.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Categories: Diary Tags: ,

NYPD Arrests Elderly ‘Hoarder’ Who Threatened Window-Washer With Gun In Flatiron District

August 11, 2011 Leave a comment


This guy sounds more like a shut-in than a hoarder, which would mean that he has become so disenfranc­hised with society that he is now afraid to interact with it. A hoarder is a compulsive collector, but a shut-in could appear like a hoarder for different reasons. He may cling to the familiar because his self-impos­ed isolation does not permit him to add new things to his world. He may simply let things lay where they are because he is depressed or lacks the self-estee­m to pick up after himself or take proper care of himself.

He may have panicked at the sight of a stranger messing with his window, but I think that treating him like a potential sniper/ser­ial killer says more about the decline of our society than anything else.

Personal responsibility has considerable virtue, but people are not machines. Nor are they produced with optimum effectiveness. A free society will always have its misfits and independent outliers. It is the nature of a community of individuals that one size does not fit all. There are many who have not found a place in society, have fallen through the cracks – or worse, have been banished to the fringes.

Ignoring the problems of society comes at a price, whether it is higher crime, higher health care costs, lower property values, or some other consequence. Domestic tranquility requires us to deal with these problems because the alternative is social unrest.

The real question is not if but how: positively and proactively, or negatively, piecemeal, and more expensively?

We incarcerate more of our population than any other country, and people keep coming up with more reasons to lock someone up. One need only look at California to see that we cannot continue to sweep problems under the “rug” we call the prison system. The skyrocketing cost of health care certainly tells us that we need to focus on the ounce of prevention because we cannot long afford the pound of cure.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Categories: Diary Tags: , ,

FAA Shutdown Deal Doesn’t End Fight In Congress Over Labor Unions

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Should the vote to unionize be decided by a majority of all employees, or just a majority of those who actually voted?

On the one hand, the matter should be decided by the majority of those affected, or it is minority rule. That’s not really democratic. On the other hand, those who do not bother to vote have only themselves to blame if they feel they have not been represente­d. If they do not represent themselves on something this important to them personally­, then maybe they need representa­tion anyway.

If you wave the flag of personal responsibility, then fail to exercise it, you are only proving that it does not work. At least not universally.

Is it moral to deny others the right to bargain collective­ly because individual­s fail to engage individually? Or is that just irony?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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