I am so tired of “critiques” that boil down to one of the following:

  1. I have no use for or interest in this, therefore no-one does or should.
  2. Pop culture was so much better during my formative years than the crap they put out today.

These are, to put it mildly, a load of bull.

1. So you don’t have a use for it. Other people have different interests than you do. They also have different needs than you do. You might not need a roto-rooter, but a plumber is going to find it very useful.

This one really infuriates me when it comes from supposed techies. So you don’t have a use for a touchscreen with your giant desktop setup with a wall of six monitors. That doesn’t mean touchscreens can’t be useful on, say, handheld devices, or a small wall unit in the kitchen. There’s a reason this xkcd strip rings true.

2. There was plenty of crap back in the day, too. You’ve just had time to forget the mediocre, while the good stuff has stood the test of time. Not everyone who wrote plays during Shakespeare’s time was a great playwright, and not every movie produced before Star Wars was a great work of art.

Plus, y’know, they were your formative years. Of course you’re going to like stuff from that era better, because that’s what shaped your tastes.

So, volume 3 of Heroes, “Villains,” is done. I liked the start of the season, but by the end it had gotten to the point where I was alternately ready to jump for joy and throw things at the screen in the space of the same episode.

I love the parts with Hiro, Ando, Daphne and Matt (except when Matt’s overdoing the “I saw you in the future and we’re in love!” bit). If they could make that into a show, I’d have no complaints. But the rest has slowly gotten bogged down in a mix of technobabble, melodrama, and an endless face-heel revolving door. “I’m evil!” “No, you’re good, I’m the one who’s evil!” “Wait, I thought it was my turn!”

Some specific comments, with spoilers, after the cut: Continue reading

Went to a lot of effort to get the TV on for the Lost season premiere at 8pm…only to discover that it’s actually a &*^@$# clip show.

If we’d known we had until 9, this would’ve been a much less stressful evening.

Edit: The rest of the evening went much better, and the actual episode was good. Most interesting bit: switching from flashbacks to flash-forwards really does change the dynamic of the show. (But I was seriously annoyed with the network for promoting the heck out of the “2-hour Lost Event!” and have it turn out that there was really only 1 hour of show.)

I appreciate that Apple offers a single software updater for all its free Windows software. But one thing annoys me about it.

It opens a window, then opens a message box showing a progress meter as it checks for updates. Only one problem: It fills out the “New software is available” caption before it actually checks.

New software is available from Apple.... Your software is up to date.  No updates are available.
New software is available… oh, wait, no it isn’t.

This isn’t an issue on Mac OS X, because the progress meter is shown as a sheet, which drops down from the top of the main window and obscures the caption. But on Windows, that caption is visible from the moment the window appears, saying that you really do have something new available, raising your hopes that maybe, just maybe, Apple has finally gotten around to releasing that new version of Safari, or that security fix for the flaw you heard about a week ago, then dashing them to the ground.

Or, less dramatically, it’s jumping to conclusions, providing potentially false information.

And then, even if it turns out there isn’t anything new, the caption stays in place…leaving you with two contradictory statements as to whether any updates are really available.

A few minutes ago, I was looking at the latest Stardust Photo Gallery [dead link] (nicely pointed out by Neil Gaiman himself). To save time hitting back repeatedly, I just opened a bunch of the thumbnails in tabs.

Audio started playing, “Congratulations! You’ve been selected for…” Then a second round started in, “Congratulations! You’ve been sel…” A third round of the same ad had started, all of them overlapping, by the time I closed the window.

It’s 2007. People multitask. All modern web browsers have tabs available, not just the alternative ones. The time when you could assume you had the user’s undivided attention is long gone.

Note that I can’t tell you what the ad was for. I don’t know which tabs were playing it, so I didn’t even see the visual portion. It accomplished absolutely nothing that an advertisement is supposed to do—unless you want ads to drive people away from your site.

Oh, yeah, before I forget: Stardust!

Stardust Inn (via moviesonline.ca)