The truth about Google

October 17th, 2017 by harold

So since Windows 8 came out, I have been using Bing for search and IE to browse the web. It’s been five years now. I was just completely tired of customizing dumb stuff like a browser. Just let me use stock stuff and move on with my life.

Well, Google can’t find shit for me now. It’s just not good, DuckDuckGo does better. And of course after Bing aggregated my data, Bing’s the best for me.

I didn’t think I would use IE for that long, but the truth is that as soon as you have some ad-blocking going on, the browser in itself doesn’t matter. The funniest part would be that once every six months or maybe once a year, a website would not work in IE. I would immediately go hard on myself like “boy you dumb as shit, you know this website has been optimized for the mighty Webkit engine, all the kids only know Chrome now, they only develop for it so that’s why”.

Then I would load up the website in Chrome and it would be fucked up exactly like it was in IE. I would smile and shake my head at the absurd witch hunt out there, and the insanity of being mad at someone using one car instead of another one on the information freeways. I grossed myself out with this metaphor but this is what we’re doing these days. “Don’t use that car omg!!” “Why? It works and I know what I’m doing. Shut up”

All browsers suck and they’re all good enough. Search engines suck until they get your data and then they’re pretty good.

Computers are basic, people. Google is not some kind of magic trick. If they can’t get your data, their services are immediately not that great.

Twttr wildin

October 17th, 2017 by harold

Noah was excited to tell us about a new thing he was working on. “You can use it to send group SMS.”

“That sounds stupid.”

“Look at the logo!”

“That’s even stupider.”

Mike Monteiro on Twitter. I’ve been on it for a decade and I’m pondering on life with and without that service. It’s become so absurd, nasty and plain negative. But sometimes it’s still dope.

Twitter was a technological tool. It should have stayed this way, becoming the WordPress of microblogging.

But there’s a way to possibly make a hundred times more money, and be the star (WordPress is made by a company called Automattic that no one but geeks know about) so Twitter entered the media business with its terrible ad-based, view-based economy. And fucked us all over. This is where we –but mostly you, powerful guys in San Francisco- should have said no, leave the platform and create another one.

Every single thing wrong with Twitter comes from making money from impressions. Abuse? They make Twitter thrive. Awful very important people acting wild? They make Twitter thrive. Harassment? Twitter suddenly has a lot more users, which is great.

More numbers, more money. I don’t know how those executives sleep at night but they live the life I guess? I’m mad that I know what it could have been.

Cuphead part II

October 14th, 2017 by harold

Congrats on the  success! Here’s an interview about the game’s sound design, which is fantastic as I said.

Well, now the difficulty thing. Very good arguments back and forth but I think what doesn’t quite work is the dissociation that happens when looking and listening to a cute game that is that hard. The 30s cartoon aesthetic is just way too naïve in a good way and adorable to be serving such a brutal gameplay. I get the contrast idea but man, this game is so punishing. Your brain gets on a timing/width diet and forgets about all the amazing detail and whimsical sounds happening anyway.

I think the unlimited credit “difficulty system” –like in Metal Slug or Castle of Illusion- would have been better.

Rick’s Glow

October 13th, 2017 by harold

Finished Rick James’ memoir, started Curtis Mayfield’s.

Crazy life for sure. A lot of setbacks before hitting the jackpot. Understandably, he doesn’t mention Dave Chappelle once.

The main take for me is that boredom leads to self-destruction quite easily, regardless of finances. Rick did the three things I told myself to never do:

– Don’t get anyone pregnant by mistake

– Don’t sell drugs

– Don’t do cocaine, ever

It definitely reduced my social circles and opportunities by a lot but, I’m aiming at not dying before 100 and I think I’m on the good foot for that.

Big shout out to his mom. The dude was man child’s poster child, she carried his ass his whole life. His groove, style and sound will always cover it up though. Thank you for them, Superfreak.

Cuphead

October 13th, 2017 by harold

I’m glad Cuphead is doing well. Production value is fantastic and demonstrates if it was needed, how audio and visuals need to perfectly fit together to make something insanely appealing, which is not a plus but required to stand out in stores with hundreds of new games every day.

As we say in French, chapeau bas.

Rick

October 12th, 2017 by harold

WP_20171004_006.jpg

That’s Rick James talking about his childhood.

Thank you, sis.

You needed a spine, Microsoft

October 11th, 2017 by harold

So apparently MS is giving up on mobile. Interestingly, I’m still using a Windows Phone but I also have a gig where I help people with their devices, all of them being Android and iOS.

It’s not pretty. I realized that people don’t care about their devices. They mostly buy photo specs. They buy an expensive phone for the status and even that is not really a thing anymore. The UI, the features, the battery life? They don’t care. They are absolutely overwhelmed by choice –there are multiple ways to do a lot of things- and don’t bother, they hand their phones over to someone who will do it for them. This is not generational. Young folks, older folks behave the same. “I can’t connect to the wifi, please do it for me”.

People get confused with their multiple screens, multiple folders and icons that disappear into the homescreen background. I see them spend most of their time navigating to avoid things instead of navigating to reach thing. That’s not good UI design, it means that there are too many things going on. iOS is a little cleaner and concise, but not by much. Windows Phone tile system is better, to this day.

The hardware made by Nokia, was and is better. I’ve had four Windows Phones, one made by Samsung and three others by Nokia. they all work like they did on the first day. One of the cheap Nokia got abused to no end, falling, exploding on the ground (cover, battery out), it has not a single scratch. Not one. I’m still using the stock charger with the stock USB cable. The cable is almost dead after years of absurd abuse –nothing destroys phone cables like working in TV- but it still works. I saw iPhones shatter in the most ridiculous ways. I witnessed people buying an iPhone cable a week.

Windows Phones were disregarded because they were too good. Just on hardware dying, Apple and Google sold three to four times more items. Microsoft and Nokia with their phones strong as shit couldn’t stand a chance. Don’t forget how the business works: carriers are at the top. They need to sell data plans. they subsidize phones that die left and right, you upgrade phone/plan every time. They’re happy. Throw in phones that don’t need anything and carriers end up doing support for free, not selling anything. They’re not happy.

Developers? Yeah, they make no sense financially, as usual. They were scared that MS would have a monopoly with a store, they made it a reality with Apple so, whatever they say. Google did everything they could to not help MS in any way (that YouTube bullshit). Microsoft fucked up hard there though: their first approach –polish, few features, security first- was good but then instead of acting like a group of seasoned folks who know what they’re talking about because they have been making operating systems for a long time, even on mobile, the race intensified and they started to play catch up while being completely weird on the backend side (showing developers that they didn’t know what they were doing). They decided to re-organize the company at the worst time ever.

Anyway my point is: when you design something, you have to make a stance. You can’t be “I think it’s pretty cool” you need to be “the rest is not good. We tried that. We have a better idea. We have huge ass experience that none of y’all have. Hear us out.” Look at notifications, MS was right from the start. Don’t allow them, it’s a FOMO-inducing design and it drains battery life like a motherfucker. In 2017 I see articles and comments where people share their “tricks” to avoid notifications like uninstalling apps etc. I mean. Really?

But Microsoft is a company that was build by and on dads, if I may. Dads are not asshole designers, dads follow. Dads don’t create trends, they buy them for their daughters.

The biggest example of this paradox is the original Surface with Windows 8. Pretty fantastic V1 product. five years later, most manufacturers have a Surface-like computer and the clean full-screen square, rectangle interfaces and buttons are everywhere from Snap to Roku. The dads company had figured shit out before everyone else. Give credit where credit is due.

They just didn’t know how to position themselves with so much innovation. They had that terrible dancing commercial running on TV and that’s it. They should have gone full Steve Jobs and declare the desktop dead and move on from there. But you know, dads. Dads don’t brag and even less scathe. And people are not actively sustaining competition or avoiding the creation of silos. They jump right in and regret later.

Almost ten years with a smartphone. What do I do most with it? Text messages, like it’s 2009 on my Blackberry. I check emails but like a lot of people I don’t reply from my phone because usually I’m on the go and don’t have time for that. I barely use maps and GPS now that I know LA pretty well. I take pictures and don’t even upload them in full size because it takes too long. My mom complained the other day because sending pictures was slow. 3K by 2K pixels is a lot of data for a mildly interesting vacation landscape. I tweet or read tweets but that doesn’t require more technology than ten years ago though Twitter tries. FB shows me whatever it wants so I completely stopped using it on my phone.

The mobile market is crazy hard and expensive so it makes sense to stay away from it when you’re not #1 or #2. In terms of UI design and flow, MS executives should have shown some spine, iterated on design and told journalists, “you’re understanding it wrong” while wearing turtlenecks, smiling.

Cyberpunkulture

October 9th, 2017 by harold

Cyberpunk culture has been trite as shit for so long, let’s face it.

I want cyberpunk to think about the fact that people have been leaving cities steadily for decades, despite what we think. I want green and concrete. I want cyberpunk to focus on mining rare, crucial elements for high-tech in Africa and all the political, local, economic, social implications with African countries becoming very powerful. I want cyberpunk to think thoroughly about China and its relationship to the rest of the world, as well as how communism can or will survive that long. I want cyberpunk to think about EVs, from bikes skateboards to cars and trucks. I want climate change, hurricanes and underground shelters. I want cyberpunk to think about driverless vehicles, vulnerable truck convoy, the battle for water, drones, laser-guided slingshots. I want cyberpunk to think about new problems created by new things like Basic Income, polyamory, ultra-sophisticated sex toys. I want cyberpunk to think about the scary prospect of having very uniform societies looked at as example while racial melting pot is trending down. I want oasis of dreams where boredom is the enemy or where you need certain genes to do certain drugs because we evolved that way.

I want all that together.

Cheating

October 8th, 2017 by harold

I had no idea about Kevin Hart’s disease. Man, how come you cheat on your ex-wife with your currently pregnant wife that you cheat on, again??? Like, how many fucking times are you going to try to slowly cross the freeway at night and expect to make it to the other side?? It’s absurd. Y’all are spineless, soulless worms.

A lot of people cheat, right. I don’t, never did. The worst I did was to french kiss a woman while I was on a break with my girlfriend almost 20 years ago and even in that case it felt so wrong. My girlfriend didn’t stop at kissing and I was like “wtf?? Also ffffuuu” when we went back together. I’m laughing at it now but just to say, I can’t do someone wrong like that. Maybe that’s why I sleep like a baby, loyal like an old hound. Feelings matter. Sleep does too.

Jay Z. I’m wondering if it was/is a sexual thing that Beyoncé doesn’t want to perform or maybe she vocalizes going to the bathroom at night all the time so he got fed up, had to get in the SUV for a ride and get his dick sucked, I don’t know. What I know though, is how do you fix such a massive betrayal? How can you even trust this person, ever? How can you fake everything forever afterwards? Money? Well yeah but still… Imagine you have absolutely everything and you can’t trust the ONE person next to you. That’s a trip.

There’s a design problem: loyalty and respect are supposed to be the right thing and yet they’re considered normal WHILE apparently most people aren’t loyal nor respect their partners. There’s no incentive to do the right thing. So people cheat, find dumb excuses and complain that the devil is out there. ‘fuck outta here.

Have open marriages and shit, people. Own it. Be real. Change the game. Or masturbate more, be emotionally more independent you needy ass bums.

Margo’s memoir

October 6th, 2017 by harold

Not the easiest read because it’s a collection of essays apparently. I really enjoyed her vision. It’s funny how many words are French or close cousins and that probably throw people off but I’m just like “French language is precise as fuck, I know”.

However when Margo pins something down, damn. Here on the difference between privilege and entitlement:

Privilege

“when those who would snatch it away weren’t looking” daaaaamn Margo you’re going to get us in trouble.

I learned about Florynce Kennedy and that made me happy. It’s also frightening how black struggle stays similar through time and space.