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iam(still)kevin. » internet

Archive for the ‘internet’ Category

Internet + crying = get free stuff

Monday, March 24th, 2008

It has become increasingly apparent to me that if you want something free, just come up with a sob story, or maybe just a tale of mild discomfort, and people will do one of the following:

  • Give you free stuff
  • Raise money to get you free stuff
  • Harass the hell out of a company, sometimes when they are not at fault, so they will give you free stuff

Here’s what I mean:

Legit example: Erased Xbox 360 Art:  This is actually a case where the outcome was just and deserved.  In short, a dude collected custom art and autographs from Bungie folks on his Xbox 360.  Said 360 died, he sent it in to support after A) explicitly calling PSS to ensure that they not erase the art and B) putting a letter in the box asking not to erase the art.  They erased the art.

He sought help from the internet, the story got picked up by everybody and their mom (and your mom), and Bungie and Xbox heard about it and gave him beaucoup compensation.  Thumbs up!  Company makes a mistake, and makes good on it, twice over, even.

Bullshit story: Waah! my free pedal broke!  This is the part where people take advantage of internet bullying.  A guy WON A $2000 SHOPPING SPREE!  Among what he bought was Rock Band.  His pedal broke, lame, shoddy construction, etc..  He got the replacement pedal from EA, but instead of sending back the broken pedal, like you are supposed to, he tossed out the box, and the pedal.  EA charged him $125 like they said they would.  He cried, emailed Kotaku to see if he could get a pedal from someone else to send back, and they got a flood of emails with offers, plus EA is getting in touch with him personally to fix up the mistake which was his fault and not theirs.  That’s ridiculous, the guy messed up, and the internet took undeserved pity on him…

The first example, that’s all good.  Microsoft screwed up, and more or less deserved to make the guy’s situation better. But the second example?  That’s straight up whininess and a false feeling of entitlement when something goes wrong, something he did all by himself.  There are plenty of other good examples of the internet coming together to help others, but there are also enough dumb examples of the other to make it frustrating.

Paul linked a good article about this sort of thing, from the seattle times, on how as a generation we are becoming grown-up brats who think everything should revolve around us, blame others for our mistakes, and expect everyone to feel sorry for us and to make it all better.  I’m not saying the drum pedal dude is a bad guy, but I don’t see why he deserves attention for something that happens to a lot of people, so many that 3rd parties have made a business out of fixing the problem.  Did I mention that instead of paying for it like everyone else, he got it for free?  Oh well, that’s how it goes on the intertubes.

We should think of the good things that happen, not focus on the bad and feel entitled to have them fixed by everybody else.

Mike showed me another example of whininess - thankfully this one does not yet appear to have resulted in any undeserved special treatment.
Some whiny guy damaged his Macbook with water, and is horrified to learn that Apple support doesn’t offer a free service to send in your Mac and have its damage assessed. This is despite the fact that such an assessment would take a paid professional a decent amount of time to do - you can’t just look at electronics and see if they are fixable, you need special equipment. It is also despite the thousands of other people who are sending their damaged computers to get fixed. Someone has to do the work, and they get paid whether they fix it or not, so you’re going to have to pay to get the work done. When you take your car to the mechanic, you pay for labor time, even if they can’t fix it. It’s the same deal here. Take your computer to your local mom & pop store if you want a free damage assessment, i hope you’re not horrified when they can’t help you, what with not being employed in a position whose sole job it is to fix broken mac books.
Granted, the reply from “Steve” is pretty unsympathetic (and funny), but this guy doesn’t deserve any special treatment above anybody else.

Podcasts I listen to and/or watch

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

I relatively recently started listening to those magical things called pod-casts, maybe 6 months ago or so, so i don’t know about too many, but here’s what i listen to on my way to work and back.

All Songs Considered (podcast) - NPR - "An eclectic mix of fresh music by emerging artists and breakout bands"
Music That Matters (podcast) - KEXP - "Check out some of the KEXP DJ’s favorite artists from the Pacific Northwest and around the world on-the-go. KEXP’s Music That Matters bi-weekly podcast brings you an exclusive mix of new music from the world’s best independent artists."
Rock and Roll Report (podcast) - The Rock and Roll report features only indie and unsigned bands, no commercial or big label bands.

All Songs Considered and Music that matters sound like they’re about the same thing, but I like ASC a lot more than MTM, I guess I still don’t like hardcore indie music enough.  Both podcasts have a variety of music, but ASC has more that I like.

As for RARR, it’s generally pretty good, although sometimes it’s obvious why a band is unsigned. :)  RARRRRR!

Podcasts that make you (feel) smarter:
This American Life (podcast) - Chicago NPR - "There’s a theme to each episode, and a variety of stories on that theme. It’s mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always. There’s lots more to the show, but, like we said, it’s sort of hard to describe."  There’s no real constant theme to the show, it’s just funny, thoughtful, stories.
RadioLab (podcast) - WNYC - "Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we’ll feed it with possibility."

Both of these are really good.

WebbAlert (podcast)- "WebbAlert is Morgan Webb’s website and daily videocast, covering the day’s developments in tech news, video gaming, gadgetry, and digital culture. It’s engineered to keep tech-interested people current on the news and trends that move the industry with a small investment of just a few minutes per day."  in other words, 5 minute daily update on big tech news stories.

Bungie Podcast (podcast)- Bungie guys shooting the shit about their stuff, plus interviews (sometimes) with employees.  Usually pretty amusing, more interesting if you like Halo.
Major Nelson (blogcast) - e and major talking about games, and some interviews with game devs.
Blizzard Podcast (podcast)- SO BORING, though some Starcraft 2 info is interesting.  I skip the wow update discussions cause they are stupid.  also the main host guy sounds to stiff, he sounds very rehearsed.

The Onion Radio News (audio)
The Onion News Network (video)
Ask a Ninja (video)


Got any good ones i’m missing that i should check out?

woo, i killed my blog

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

I tried out Windows Live Writer over the weekend, and in doing so, i messed up my .htaccess file so that everything was throwing 500 errors.
That has been fixed now, though in trying to fix it I restored my backed up database and lost a post, but it’s saved at home.

the support guys at ICCsoft were quite helpful.

i suck at photoshop.

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

it took me about a half hour to get the image at the top to look halfway decent. i bet mike could have gotten it better than that in about 5 minutes.

Sunset over Puget Soundi took the picture that is source for the banner image back in March, just down the street from my condo, next to the Edgewater Hotel.  Somehow, i managed to take a really good picture even though the camera i used was just a canon powershot s500, a run of the mill 5 megapixel compact camera.  I actually ordered a print of the picture, 20×30, and have gotten it framed; it looks really nice.

yahoo keeps buying my stuff.

Monday, December 12th, 2005

Things that I use keep getting bought by Yahoo., konfabulator, flickr…
I can’t decide if that’s good for all of them, cause now they have money and stuff, or if it’s bad for the people who use it.
To me Yahoo seems like a better version of AOL. I don’t like installing any of their stuff though, because they put all that toolbar crap in your browser and links all over to their fantastic website. And yes Mike, Microsoft does that too, but I don’t install that many of their products either. I much prefer Google’s approach at installing, which is you install the one product you want and that’s all. No “PLEASE USE US MORE” links or “required” toolbars, no plea to set your homepage to or

Plus they take a perfectly good name and brand it in a lame way. Already Konfabulator is now known as the quite excitingly renamed to “Yahoo! Widgets” which run on the awesome “Yahoo! Widget Engine” hopefully doesn’t turn into “Yahoo! Saved Links You Can Share” and Flickr doesn’t become “Yahoo! Flash Based Picture Storage and Viewing.”

Time will tell what happens to these products…

Meanwhile I haven’t upgraded to the newest Konfabulator Yahoo! Widget Engine cause I’m skeptical that it’ll remain as useful. Though in truth i don’t like it as much as I initially did when i installed it, most of the widgets seem to use more than an insignificant amount of the CPU, which is annoying. they should work on the performance of the engine so that an analog clock doesn’t take 2% of the CPU to display, that’s pretty lame.

got a round trip ticket to the promise land

Firefox 1.0.7 + Adblock 0.5 d2 Nightly build 39 + Flash

Monday, October 31st, 2005

Do any other people using Firefox 1.0.7 have any problems with the newest Adblock Extension (0.5 d2 build 39) and the newest Flash Player ( from 9/12)?
When Adblock is on, ALL flash on the internet disappears whether it’s blocked or not. If I disable blocking ads, then flash things work just fine. Seems like adblock needs to be updated to account for that problem.

free wifi is fun.

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

so i’m sitting in my chevy dealer waiting for my car which is getting an oil change, and they have free wifi here, which is nice. i’m glad more places are starting to offer wifi, and offer it for free. It’s a pretty handy service to have for your customers and it doesn’t really cost you anything other than the price of a wireless router.

If you live or hang out in seattle, there’s a service called getlocal that does free wifi in a number of places around the city. it works, and it’s free, sponsored by the businesses with which they partner. Plus they send you coupons and specials in email for said business. not always useful, but it’s not that bad really.

the places that make you sign up for some ridiculous $50 a month service to get free wifi, they suck.

what i’m saying is free wifi is good, and more places need to have it.

it’s a shame we have to die my dear

google maps is not infallible.

Tuesday, July 19th, 2005

so first read this cute li’l story:
Guy uses Google Maps in court to beat a traffic ticket

now check out these here google maps directions:
redmond, wa, to 4th and vine, 98121

Vine is one way, in the opposite direction that Google maps tells you to go.
So good job on beating the ticket, but don’t always trust Google Maps to tell you the right way to go.
Not that is right either. Looks like Streets and trips tells you the same thing to do. But in between 4th and 5th, Vine is one way going North East.
Mapquest is wrong too.
and yahoo maps.

apparently somewhere there is faulty information about that specific 100 yd. stretch of vine st.

alright stop, collaborate and listen.


Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

postsecret is an online collection of confessions, submitted to an address via regular mail, written on a postcard and displayed anonymously online. it has been mentioned on NPR, The Times (UK), USA Today, Yahoo, and I saw it in the NYTimes.
Some of the secrets are sad, some are happy, some are creepy, but they are all seem honest and they all seem real. maybe i’m just overly sentimental, but reading through a lot of these made me feel for the people who sent in their secrets. everyone’s got their secrets, it’s good that there’s a place to let them out when you can’t turn to anything else.

tell me the thing no one would understand

okcupid - haven for bisexuals?

Thursday, April 7th, 2005

i joined ok cupid a while ago when brian told me about their interesting matching algorithm and i wanted to see what it was like. i took a bunch of tests and haven’t done much of anything else with it. but they send these emails with new users and possible matches. and seriously, all of the women on there are bisexual.
for example, in the update i just got listing 10 new female users in my area, 4 of the 8 that loaded were bisexual. reminds me of orkut and the huge amounts of portuguese speaking people on there.

fret for your figure and
fret for your latte and
fret for your lawsuit and
fret for your hairpiece and
fret for your prozac and
fret for your pilot and
fret for your contract and
fret for your car