Saturday, September 3, 2011

General Annoyances I

It's time for some new rants, I'm afraid.  Here are some things that the world needs to know:

I.  Use your OWN picture for your facebook profile picture

There are a whole bunch of people who, for whatever reason, find it necessary to use their kid, their pet, their spouse, a celebrity, or something just plain stupid as their profile picture.  If I'm looking for you, I want to see what you look like.  If you have someone else's picture in there, how in heck am I supposed to know if it's you or not?

If you want to highlight things about your kid, give 'em their own facebook page and put it there.  If you're so obsessed with your kids that you have to replace your own picture with their's, then maybe it's time for a bit of therapy.  Seriously, perhaps you've forgotten that your kids do not define you (or they shouldn't, anyway) and that you're important as well.  Substitute "pet" and "spouse" and "celebrity" for "kid" and read this paragraph again.

I'll give some slack to those who are genuinely uncomfortable with having their picture available for people to look at.  Still, in this case, pick an avatar (one that resembles you would be cool) and stick with it.

PS: Yes, I know that my Blogger profile picture has been my cat and is certainly not looking entirely like me right now.  That's a privacy issue...  It's not what I do on facebook.

II.  Too much information (TMI) on facebook

It seems that many people are convinced that every single thing that they do is worthy of broadcasting to everyone they know.  They broadcast nearly every place they go.  Everyone they see.  Every single thought they have.  Sometimes, the thoughts have absolutely no context.

When facebook asks, "What's on your mind," it doesn't necessarily mean that you must elaborate on every single thing you're doing or thinking.  Have we all become so narcissistic that we truly believe that everyone with whom we're associating truly wants, in real-time, to know every single thing we do or thing?  This is one reason I like a blog-style format.  It doesn't demand the level of attention that a facebook "News Feed" stream does.

There is also the issue of boundaries:  There are some things about you or aspects of your life that I really don't need to know about because they're private.

Perhaps the correct fix for this is a fix an enhancement to facebook:  Through some word analysis and, maybe, some classification of various applications in facebook, there could provide a "level" of importance given to each status update (it would default to an assigned value from 1 to 4, and you could manually change it).  Anything from gowalla or indicating "I am here" or "I'm here with someone" or "my picture changed" or "I'm now friends with {blah}" could be assigned a 1.  Phrases that seem to be merely a sentence fragment that don't really appear to be anything more than a disconnected idea could be a 2.  An update with any religious, political, or current event could be a 3.  Everything else is a 4.  If Google can transcribe voicemail messages into text and facebook can do analysis on photographs and automatically tag people, then this priority system surely could be established.

III. I am not just browsing the web (and your site)

Perhaps I'm just too old fashioned, but not everything I do (on the computer) is related to the Internet, and some things I do on the Internet does not require a web browser.  My web browser is still oriented in a "portrait" (more tall than wide) manner, and it does not consume my entire computer screen.  I realize that, to some people, this concept is completely foreign, but I actually do more with a computer than browse web pages on the Internet.  You should try it sometime.

Message to web developers:  YOUR SITE IS NOT THE ONLY THING ON MY SCREEN.  So when you assume that I have an entire 1900x1080 pixel screen devoted entirely to your site, you are most sorely mistaken.  Likewise, I don't have a 1280x1024 pixel display or a 1024x768 pixel display or even a 1024x600 pixel (netbook) display entirely devoted to your web site.  To assume that I have devoted my complete and total attention to your web site is pretentious and insulting.  In fact, as I have been writing this blog entry, I have been opening up additional windows to look-up words and facts, or reference other things, or check to see if someone is trying to reach me, or monitor my computer system's health.

I have said this before with Flash, and I'll repeat it here for any other web content:  Web standards were developed so that you could develop content that would adapt to the user's environment, not the other way around.  I'm not asking that you design your site around a 320x240 pixel display, but for heaven's sake, most netbooks have a display that is 1024 pixels wide.  Considering that I would be using about 2/3rds of the display for my browser,  figure that your web page should generally be usable at 680 pixels wide ("usable" means that I may need to horizontally scroll once in a while, but not all the time).  Also remember that there are a variety of display heights (particularly with newer, 16:9 format displays).  This means that if you clutter the top with crap, then I'm going to be constantly vertically scrolling as well.

Shrink down your browser during development, and if you find yourself having to horizontally scroll frequently to get to navigation buttons, then you're pissing off a bunch of people.  Stop doing what Weather Underground does where they make it so if your browser is too narrow, even horizontally scrolling doesn't work right (the content simply disappears, permanently)...or some developers that verily piss me off and disable the horizontal scroll bar completely.  Yeah, you idiots, you know who  you are...

People who make web pages that have text that needs to be horizontally scrolled back and forth in order tor read it should be forced to endure some amount of torture (to-be-determined).  IMDB...warn your web developers.  I'm coming for them.

IV.  Soliciting information or soliciting religious preferences is still soliciting

I have a sign at my home's front door that says, "NO SOLICITING."  I bought that sign, and I put it there.  According to the dictionary, the word "soliciting" means:
1b. to approach with a request or plea
2. to urge (as one's cause) strongly
4. to try to obtain by usually urgent requests or pleas
So when I say, "NO SOLICITING," I mean that I don't want people knocking at my front door to:
  1. Sell things (that's the obvious one)
  2. Try to convert me to their religion or "save me" by religious conversion (I'm atheist, give it up)
  3. Request information (as in polls or surveys)
  4. Kids selling raffle tickets, candy, or the like
  5. Try to "save me money" (that's just trying to sell stuff in disguise)
In fact, the only solicitations I really am interested in are those from people who I know or care about in a time of serious need (which are likely not any of the above) or someone who I have arranged for a solicitation in advance.

No means no.  I don't generally care about your motivation.  Just because I don't have an electrified barbed-wire fence and an attack dog in my yard doesn't mean that I'm inviting you to come and disturb me.  If you see a "NO SOLICITING" sign at someone's door, it probably means they've had enough of people bothering them when they're in their pajamas trying to edit a blog entry on the computer.  Or something like that.  Ignoring the sign just pisses people off.

V.  People who's blog consists mostly of rants

Oh, crap, that's me...

[to be continued]

1 comment:

As You Wish said...

Can I get an Amen! from the congregation? just kidding!

I agree with you 90%. I never get on "that side" of a camera lens, even for facebook and I love to read rants, especially if the ranter is funny. :)