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June 2010

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If your kid is going to be an obnoxious drunk frat boy, at least help him train to be the BEST obnoxious drunk frat boy. Cuponk:  Beer pong training toy? (Hat tip Trix)

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For those who know me, I have a horrible memory. I constantly leave myself notes, make lists, and use calendars to help me remember what seems like every aspect of my life. I have a variety of tools to suit my needs. aNote on the iPhone is a great notetaker. Grocery Gadget helps remember what I need to buy. Delicious helps me remember links and Instapaper helps me with articles I want to read later. Email is a big factor as it’s quick and I’m constantly in my inbox. If something is really important an email to myself will do the trick. However, none of those things can compare to Google Calendar.

It’s not that I will completely forget something all together. Most of the time I do remember what it is I need to. My problem is that if I have something to do at a specific time, I’ll remember it several hours before, but when time comes I will either forget, remember when it’s too late, or remember just in time to piss me off for not remembering sooner. GCal helps combat those issues. I like GCal because it syncs with my iPhone and my iCal on my iMac and MacBook. It is a great tool with a simple interface. I love how you can have multiple calendars and can turn each one off with the click of a mouse. That doesn’t mean I haven’t found some things I dislike about it.

Earlier this morning I was creating an event to remember to drop off my rent check in the morning. Now, I already have ‘Pay Rent’ set up on every first of the month with a reminder going out, but the problem comes with the reminder. Paying rent is an all day event on my calendar, mostly because I never know when the exact time I can pay it will occur. Therefore, any reminder I set up will be prior to the day starting. Sending an email the day before is almost too much, but sending it 15 minutes before the event won’t work either. I’m not going to do anything about paying rent at 11:45 at night. This is where there needs to be a Google Labs feature that allows you to have ‘business hours.’ This would be an option to let you choose what hours that calendar uses for All Day events. For example, for my Work calendar, All Day is not 12am-11:59pm. Work is from 8am-5pm. That’s when work’s All Day events should stop. I’m really surprised this isn’t something built in or already available as an experimental Labs feature. I would also like more control over the time increments. Sure, you can type in any start and end time, but the dropdowns only go by the half hour. I would prefer the dropdowns to have an option to display time in 15 minute increments. Those caveats to GCal aside, it is a great tool. I really don’t know where I’d be without it, probably lost, walking aimlessly down the highway wearing duck slippers and a bathrobe. That reminds me, I should add ‘Buy duck slippers and a bathrobe’ to my calendar.

Okay, this doesn’t apply to just iTunes, but since it is the de facto application for downloading music, they have more of an impact on standardizing a naming convention. This would also apply to Amazon or any other digital music distributer. One of my biggest issues with finding an artist to listen to on my iPhone is the fact that many artists/labels will put the name of the guest artist in the Artist field, along with the actual artist’s name. Therefore, I will have Artist, Artist & Artist 2, Artist & Artist 2, Artist 3, etc. If I download an album by an artist but can’t remember the name of the album I will go to the artist. It makes it difficult to play the entire album because it is broken up among various artist listings (click image to see The Roots’ latest album as an example), so then, after I find out the album title, I have to go to ‘Albums’ and play the entire album from there. It shouldn’t be that difficult, especially on devices known for simplicity.

This needs to be standardized, for clean libraries, so that all featured artists will appear in the song title (again, click on the image to see the proper way on the CunninLynguists album Dirty Acres). So it would be something like Artist – Artist Song (ft. Artist 2). It really doesn’t help matters that some albums I buy feature the, in my opinion, improper naming conventions and some support the proper methods. That leave one giant clusterfuck of metadata. It needs to be standardized, and for the sake of my iPhone and iTunes library, it needs to cut guest artists from the Artist field completely. I really am surprised, with as controlling as Apple is, that this hasn’t been proposed or been standardized by now. Of course, I could go in and edit the metadata personally, but this is not something the end user should have to do.