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I hate texting. I think it’s stupid, pointless, and annoying. That being said, there are millions of people who do nothing but text so I find myself on the receiving end of a text message or two. Before you send your text, remember that not everyone has texting plans, especially in the age of smart phones and data plans. If I must get texts from you, follow these rules of texting etiquette.

1. If it’s really, really important, call me. Chances are, if it’s that important, more information will be needed and the situation can be best explained via a phone call than a text.

2. If it’s not that important, email me. Pretty much every phone has email now. Texting was good pre-smartphone, but now it’s unnecessary.

3. If you find that you can’t abide by either 1 or 2, make your text short and to the point. I don’t need to receive 3 texts in a row of you telling me a story.

4. Proofread your texts before you send. I don’t want to reply to your text asking why you’re going to “grab and lick my butt her” when you meant “grab a stick of butter.” Autocomplete is not always your friend.

5. Don’t send unnecessary replies. I don’t need you to reply with “k” or “bye.” Hell, even if I thank you for something you don’t need to reply saying “yw.” That’s implied. You’re wasting my time.

Follow these rules and we’re good. If you don’t follow them, don’t expect a text back.

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.

I remember when Facebook was a small startup targeted to students on college campuses. It was called The Facebook then, making reference to the freshmen facebook that many universities put out. It was a great and useful tool to keep in touch with your classmates, share lecture notes, and plan study groups. Then it began to grow and the creators saw opportunity. Next they opened it up to high school kids. Everyone knows once something is in the hands of high school kids it is forever ruined (slightly kidding). Then they opened it up to everyone. Not only that, they opened it up to businesses and application developers and that began the era of myspace-ification; making Facebook ugly and annoying. That hasn’t stopped their growth though. No, in fact, they are still growing by leaps and bounds and doing so they have made some really questionable decisions regarding your privacy. The latest round of decisions sold out the average user to big companies in order to make a quick buck. Not only that, but they’ve decided that once private information is now public.

Say you’re like me and have been a Facebook member for a long time. There were certain parts of your profile that you could keep private. It seems that the company no longer thinks those things should remain private, even though they explicitly said they would in the past.

“In yet another backtrack from their privacy policy, Facebook has decided to retroactively move more information into the public, indexable part of profiles. The new profile parts made public are: a list of things users have become ‘fans’ of (now renamed to ‘likes’), their education and work histories, and what they list under ‘interests.’ Apparently there is neither any opt-out nor even notice to users, despite the fact that some of this information was entered by users at a time when Facebook’s privacy policy explicitly promised that it wouldn’t be part of the public profile.Source

That’s pretty troubling if you ask me, especially the part about them not even notifying users. How would you like to do a Google search of yourself and find information that was only available to your friends be made public without any sort of notification? I wouldn’t like it, that’s for sure. Not only is some information public now, but applications can now access your personal information.

My insurance (auto and home) is set to renew next month so I started looking around at the different insurance companies to get rate quotes to see if I could save a little money. Three out of the five companies I got quotes from had quotes that were significantly lower (more than $100 cheaper) than what I was paying for my current policies. The other two were significantly more (over $100) than what I’m currently paying. An agent from one of the insurance companies I requested a quote from called me. The company happened to be Allstate. Allstate happened to be one of the two companies that gave me a rate higher than my current rate.

I let the agent send me a more detailed and accurate quote for both auto and home policies and I replied saying that those rates were too high and my current company was offering lower rates than Allstate and that I have gotten quotes that were even lower than that she responded with an email that kind of touched a nerve. It came off as pompous and unprofessional.

Actual Email from Agent (Click to Enlarge)

Let’s take a look at all the things wrong with her email. First, she automatically assumes that my rate with SafeCo was going to go up. To me, that just seems very unprofessional. Her unprofessionalism doesn’t stop there though. She continues on to say when I’m ready for a real insurance agent I should call her. Listen lady, you are a business not a first baseman for my softball league. You are trying to be my insurance agent, and I respect that, but you won’t get anywhere by assuming that my current agent hasn’t been doing their best to keep me a happy customer. By assuming that they are a poor agent you are inferring that I have poor judgement in who I pick to handle my affairs, so criticizing them is also criticizing my judgement. The only thing you are really showing me is that I will never hire you as my agent. Strike 2.

Finally, we come to the actual look of the email itself. I might be a little more critical than the average person in this area because I work as a web developer and poor aesthetics on the web is cringeworthy. First, pick a font type and stick to it. You really don’t need to have four different font types in an email. You also don’t need to bold the body of your email. That looks horrible. Don’t even get me started at the various colors used throughout the email. The biggest thing that sticks out is how Allstate Insurance Company is hanging out in the middle of nowhere. Did you get the sudden urge to center something and that was the first thing that came to your mind? The last thing, which I’m sure it’s probably company policy, is the little survey at the bottom of the email. No, I’m not going to answer your questions and email them to the head of the branch. If you really want me to take a survey, put it on the web. If you don’t have the software to make one yourself any number of email marketing tools have them available to use.

In conclusion, you fail as an agent. You were unprofessional and pompous and I don’t see how you can actually gain any customers. As a side note, my current agent showed me what a “real insurance agent can offer” by delivering a policy that came in over $300 lower than your quote. So, Ms. Allstate Insurance Agent, maybe you should call him so he can show you what a real insurance agent is like.

Okay, so I really don’t use Facebook that often. In fact, I really haven’t used it all that much since college, when it was only open to college students. I would use it off and on to keep in touch with old college friends but FB did something that made me use it even less: they opened it to high school students. As if this wasn’t bad enough they decided the general public should jump aboard and that is why Facebook sucks today. Here are my top annoyances with Facebook that caused me to give up on it.

1. Game status updates/requests
mafia

I really really don’t want to help you out in your Mafia war.  Nor do I want to help you find your sheep or feed your chickens.  This type of crap clutters my feed and makes FB look and feel like *shudder* MySpace.

2. Profile pictures showing your pregnant belly

pregnant-woman

Do you really think people want to see that as your profile picture?  They don’t. Don’t show us. You’re having a baby, fantastic! Congrats! You’re not all that special though.  Hundreds of thousands of people have babies every singe day.  If it’s something a 14 year old girl can do after making a bad decision, it’s not a miracle and we don’t really want to see it.

3. Quizzes

quiz

Let me tell you a secret,  mo one cares what comic book villain, member of The Facts of Life, character in literature, etc you would be.  Yeah, it’s cool, you want to take a quiz to find that stuff out.  I’m guilty of the same thing, here’s the difference: I do not publish that if I were a Saved by the Bell character I’d be Zack Morris to my profile.

4. Posting your Daily Horoscope

horoscope

By posting your horoscope on a daily basis you are telling me that you are a complete moron. Who believes in this crap anymore? This is 2009, not 1309. We do not use Astrology to predict anything about how your life will turn out. Your schooling has failed you. Now, go call Ms. Cleo and leave that shit off my feed.

5. Updating your status every 5 minutes. If I really wanted to know your status every 5 minutes I’d subscribe to your feed on the site that was designed for such mundane information, Twitter.

6. Flair, badges, superpokes, and gifts

flair

Why are you sending me this crap? Do I look like I want a button that says “You’re a Peach!”?  Do you think that I’m going to think that you SuperPoking me is cute? Do you like getting poked in real life? Of course not, so what makes you think everyone wants to get poked on Facebook?

I know what you might be thinking, if I hate seeing all this stuff so much, why not use Facebook Lite? That really isn’t the point. Facebook should have never gone this far with applications and the amount of crap people can post and I think they will eventually pay for it, just like how MySpace is now paying for its clutter and crap with lack of users. Facebook has tried so hard to stay relevant (and don’t get me wrong, they still are) with applications, site redesigns, idea stealing, that it just keeps makingthe site more and more cluttered.  People will get tired and move on to the next big thing eventually and Facebook will have no one to blame but themselves.