Here’s more “Claudia is bored” random thingies.
I have 111 friends on Facebook. I wanted to see the distribution of birthdays across the months (and the zodiac signs, because why not?). So I Facebook stalked everyone and found that 97 of my 111 friends had their birthdays listed (at least month and day). Here’s the distribution by month:
I knew I had a lot of February, May, and November, but I didn’t know I had so many April and July. Haha, look at August and September. Very interesting, especially in comparison to this.
And here’s some zodiac just ‘cause:
Facebook, Facebook, Facebook.
Just stop with the changes.
Also, human beings disgust me sometimes. This just puts me into rage mode.
Three points of interest today.
1. So CNN has an article on Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who apparently reappeared out of nowhere and has just turned 30. The only reason his name has any significance for me is because when I was younger and the fun thing to do with your friends was to have random sleepovers, my friend Lara used to “sleep talk” about dating JTT. I think we all knew she was faking it, but it was fun to mess with her.
Whenever she’d start her sleep dating, I always pretended to be JTT’s “little brother,” Timothy. Lara’d be having this romantic sleep-talk and I’d jump in with “HI, WHATCHA DOIN’, WANNA PLAY?” in a super obnoxious voice. She’d always respond with a disgusted, “ugh, TIMOTHY…Jonathan, your brother is SO annoying…”
Yeah. That news just dredged up that memory for whatever reason.
2. Apart from Facebook’s inane layout changes and Google’s obvious attempts to take over the world, there aren’t that many things that bother me about the internet. But one thing that really gets under my skin is when parents post excessive pictures of their children online. Some parents are able to do this fairly tastefully, but a great number of them aren’t. Of course, if your kids are no longer kids and have given you some form of consent regarding the posting of their lives on your Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr/blog, no big deal. But when you have pictures of babies, toddlers, kindergarteners…hell, even grade-school-age children plastered all over your site and it’s obvious that they are unable to give consent for this, it’s a problem. Ever heard of privacy?
And it’s not just the pictures. Regardless of whatever silly nickname you assign your child online (usually something like “Peanut” or “Mini Mom” or “Donut Boy” or “Daddy’s Little Marketing Tool”), blogging about personal stuff relating to your child is probably not the smartest move. Sure, little “Mommy’s Big Toe Lookalike” is not going to be known by that moniker once he hits puberty (hopefully), but it’s not unlikely that someone who knows your child—another parent or a teacher or even a classmate—could come across your blog, very easily connect the dots, and discover who that embarrassing story involving diarrhea and Disney’s Haunted Mansion was about.
I don’t know if parents just don’t realize this or if they just don’t care. If I ever, by some divine intervention, wind up with spawn, I will do my best to keep them out of my blogging life. Sure, I might post a (non-nude) baby pic or two and maybe something like a family Christmas pic, but Little Claudia will most certainly be sheltered from the blogging publicity that almost every other aspect of my life undergoes.
3. Is this really necessary? I mean, okay, I get it; we spend an exorbitant amount of time on the web and thus would like a way to document our time spent there, especially if a lot of it involves correspondence with friends (heck, I save my MSN Messenger conversations). But to call it “Egobook,” while descriptive, is kind of…distressing.
That is all.
I’m using the thin veil of “technology involves science” to disguise today’s blog as This Week’s Science Blog. This is mainly because I’ve had trouble finding any super-exciting science articles as of late. Apologies.
This is something I’ve always been pretty interested in: how different generations view and interact with technology. This article, written by Susan Weinschenk, reviews the similarities and differences regarding how three generations, Baby Boomers (born between 1943 and 1961), Generation X-ers (born between 1961 and 1981), and Millenials (or Generation Y, born between 1982 and 2002), interact with technology. The article is super interesting and I recommend reading it, but here are a few highlights with CLAUDIA COMMENTS!
Dualism vs. Ubiquitous: Boomers view technology as something separate, e.g., they “make a call on their cell phone,” while Millenials “make a call” and assume that said call is occurring on a cell phone as implicit information.
I don’t know if this one is inherent to generational differences or just availability differences. It seems like for Millenials (particularly the youngest ones), cell phones have existed forever and pretty much rule the world of telephone communication. To them, a landline phone is a pretty weird thing. Therefore, they make a call and assume that everyone knows the call is occurring via a cell phone because cell phones are the main available tool for making calls. For Boomers, on the other hand, they’ve had to deal with the transition from landline phones as being the main medium of voice communication to cell phones. Therefore, they still feel the need to qualify the means by which they are making a call.
Twitter and Facebook: Millenials prefer Facebook, Generation X-ers prefer Twitter, and Baby Boomers are kind of in the middle with the two.
I thought this one was pretty interesting. I would think the Millenials would be all over Twitter (‘cause, well, they are), but maybe the Generation X-ers like it because it’s not as complicated (read: mutable) as Facebook and therefore is consistently easy to use.
Is Technology Trapping Us? Baby Boomers grew up without the recent technology and are most able of the three generations discussed here to “let it go” and live without it. Generation X-ers are simultaneously most enamored with and feel most trapped by technology. Millenials incorporate technology in their lives pretty much 24/7, but are the most likely to eschew it in favor of more personal communication, such as speaking face-to-face.
It’s interesting that the “middle” generation of X-ers feel the most trapped by technology, but it also make sense. For Boomers, they can leave it ‘cause they remember life without it. Millenials seek to free themselves from it because it’s so engrained in their lives that it can become a hassle. It seems like X-ers have had to make the most effort to incorporate new technology in their lives and therefore have the worst time trying to break free of it again.
Once we’ve all aged another 20-30 years, it’ll be interesting to compare these data with those from Generation Z.
By the way, I found this article via a list entitled “47 Mind-Blowing Psychology-Proven Facts You Should Know About Yourself.” Usually I stay away from lists like these on the internet because they all seem to rehash the same things that everyone already knows over and over again, but this one is wonderfully written and actually involves interesting stuff.
Random lighthearted Facebook bitch session – commence!
I know that like half of you people who actually read this already have the new profile, but I don’t ‘cause I hate change.
Facebook itself, on the other hand, can’t seem to get enough of it.
So I get this little warning message this afternoon when I logged on—something to the effect of “because you haven’t manually switched over to the new profile yet, we’re going to do it for you! You have ten days to say your goodbyes to the old layout.”
I actually can’t complain about that last part, considering the current (or old) layout pretty much blows.
But what I can complain about is the CONSTANT DAMN CHANGES WTF FACEBOOK.
I think my favorite part is the “about” section wherein they introduce the new layout like Steve Jobs introduces a new product (video, indie music, and shots of someone having a semi-normal existence with [insert new product here]). I mean come on, it’s not like we have a choice here. If we’re staying on Facebook we’re getting the “upgrade” whether we like it or not, so why try to introduce it like some revolutionary new MUST HAVE thing?
Zuckerberg, I am disappoint.
I’m amazed by large corporations. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because the larger companies get, the more fiercely they seem to push for their right to be the largest company, especially when they have to muscle out some other company for top spot. I find it amusing, interesting, and frightening all at the same time.
Due to the insane technological advances we’ve been making in the past decade, along with help from the glorious, glorious internet, we’ve been able to witness the birth of mega corporations that are able to grow to tremendous sizes and pretty much envelop everything they touch. And when they decide to merge, we’re all in trouble.
Oh come on, you know which ones I mean…
Microsoft (area of dominance: computing)
Not only does Microsoft (in my opinion, at least) pretty much own the computing sector with their PCs, they’ve also got quite a monopoly on software (Microsoft Office, anyone?), plus Internet Explorer, Zune, Windows Media, Windows Live (including Hotmail and Messenger), and the Xbox 360.
It’s probably the weakest of the four corporate giants as I see them, but it’s still got a pretty strong hold on things when you think about it. Hell, I typed this out in Microsoft Word and uploaded it in IE*. I guess the reason it seems weak is because it’s not expanding at the rate of the other corporations I’ve listed.
Speaking of expansion…
Apple (area of dominance: portable media)
Remember that time where Apple only made those dorky computers? Haha, yeah. Nostalgia. Now there are IPHONES EVERYWHERE. Perhaps you read my blog about my adventure in the Apple store. If not, go read it, slacker! here’s the summary: people are psycho for Apple products. The company is rapidly gaining ground in the portable media sector.
- Phones that also play music.
- Wi-Fi access in small electronics.
- Wi-Fi access in small electronics that also act as phones and play music
- Whatever the hell the iPad is.
- But wait! A newer version of the Wi-Fi/phone/music thing!
You get the idea.
Apple has pretty much taken over the “check out this electronic doohickey I’m carrying!” area, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing up. Pair this with the grip it’s got on the music sales industry via iTunes and you’re looking at one powerful company.
Facebook (area of dominance: personal information)
The king of personal information, Facebook as it stands right now is quite frightening. It’s not Big Brother we have to worry about, but each other, now that we’re able to pretty much list everything down to our genetic code on a social networking site. The worst part about it is how addicting it is. I’m not ashamed (though I probably should be) that I went through a freaky little withdrawal stage when I shut down my Facebook account for a few months back in May (April? Whenever), and was pretty much fully hooked on it again when I came back. Despite all the privacy issues Facebook’s having right now, I don’t think the number of people using the site will decrease by any significant amount anytime soon, thus leaving those of us in Facebook Land a good population in which to search and stalk.
Google (area of dominance: general information)
Last but certainly not least is Google. Google is terrifying.
Google will own the world in approximately seven more years.
In a decade, “Googling” will no longer just be a word for “searching via google.com” but will be a euphemism for all sorts of other things (possibly dirty things). In twenty years, we’ll have street views of Alpha Centauri.
Can you tell this company frightens me?
I guess if you name your company after something as big as a googol, you’re pretty much destined to be of the mindset to want to expand as much as possible. Their getting their hands on YouTube was the final “oh crap!” moment for me, now I’m just waiting for the blue, red, yellow and green takeover. Or should I say takeooooooooooooover.
Paranoia? Perhaps. But I’m waiting for the day Google decides to merge with Apple, they conquer Facebook, and Microsoft decides to join in just because. Then we’re screwed.
*Anyone who gives me browser choice crap is invited to come over and count the number of times Firefox crashes when I use it. That browser and I don’t get along, I like IE best, shut the hell up.
Today’s song: Protection (Sirius Mo Radio Edit) by Ben Mono
Alternate title: I’M ALL FIRED UP, WHAT’RE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT?!
I had a frustrating day today for various reasons. This little rant was inspired by a Google search (and Facebook). Haha, it’s a LOT longer than it was originally intended to be, so ignore it if you don’t want to read my incoherent ramblings about stuff that really doesn’t matter at all.
Perhaps the large businesses, website designers, and marketing department heads are familiar with the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If they are, I truly doubt that they actually know what it means, as it is quite obvious by the state of change things are in nowadays that they currently have no intention of heeding its message.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. It may not sound like much (and it’s not), but there’s one thing in particular that stuck with me throughout my undergraduate education that has, now that I think about it, been backed up by pretty every situation I’ve ever been in: people dislike change. I’m not talking about change that brings about better circumstances, either immediately or in the distant future (though usually we’re more apt to appreciate change that leads to things improving immediately, as we as a species pretty much suck at appreciating delayed rewards). I’m also not talking about change that occurs because something is broken or something isn’t working to the best of its capability. Of course they should change the design of, for example, a hammer, if the way it’s designed now causes people to take two hours to pound a nail into a board. I’m not talking about that kind of change.
I’m talking about change for the sake of change—changing stuff just because it’s felt that a new layout is needed, or “modernization” must occur. There’s no real payoff from it, so there’s really no reason to do it—and yet it’s done anyway. I know everyone knows what I mean because as of late, websites, companies, and everybody else who gets their hands on their own logo all seem to be really desperate to do this. I noticed it a few years ago with brand logos and designs suddenly changing to look more “modern”—in particular, I recall the old M&M’s packages being replaced with the newer, hipper, 90’s versions (more flashy text, a more ‘animated’ package background).
Why? No real reason whatsoever. I know that logos and packages are a somewhat different field than websites (and actual products themselves), but every time I see a newly re-designed package with a sticker that claims something to the effect of “new design, same great product!” I have to wonder, “then why change the packaging?”
As I said, though, packaging and brand logos are in a different league than websites. Web design is something that, when it’s done right, is not noticed at all. Herein lies the problem with sudden unnecessary change, and I will show you why:
Pick a website whose design you admire for its simplicity and ease of use. This whole thing started with Google’s desire to change things up for no reason, but let’s pick another website just for the sake of demonstrating my point with even more strength: Facebook. I was not on Facebook myself until it underwent its first (and possibly second, I can’t remember) layout overhaul2. I wasn’t really interested in what it had to offer, but I do remember that the tabs at the top weren’t yet present, the “mini-feed” still existed, and things ran pretty smoothly and information was easy enough to locate.
Not long after this, however, things began to change for no reason other than to…well, I still don’t know why they thought changing stuff around was a good idea. The tabs arrived, and if I recall correctly they were met with such opposition that I had, at one point, multiple friends inviting me to join multiple groups that either protested the new layout or that claimed they had a way to change your profile back to the “old Facebook.” Then the “news feed” thing came, along with its ability to seemingly randomly switch between the “most popular” and the “most recent” feeds. Same story, same opposition.
Deny it all you like, there’s no getting around the fact that there are a lot of people who dislike the changes Facebook has made (and, for reasons seemingly unknown, keeps making). It doesn’t take much to realize why. When I first started using Facebook, I really didn’t pay any attention to the layout, mainly for this reason alone: it worked. It did what it was supposed to do, and it was fairly efficient at doing so. I got all the information I wanted to see on one page with no unnecessary fluff or clicks.
When Facebook suddenly made the tab change, I (as well as everyone else) was forced to “retrain” our methods of navigating the website. Whether the new design was in actuality more efficient than the old one was not the point in question—when the mini-feed vanished on us, we had to expend extra effort to retrain our brains to recognize that it was now under the “wall” tab and not right in front of us when we went to our profile.
The point I’m trying to make now is the fact that unnecessary layout changes are not only, you know, unnecessary, but they draw the attention to any shortcomings that may have, by accident, been included with the new layout upgrade. All of a sudden our ability to rate videos has disappeared on YouTube. Though there are claims that the overall “clutter” of the site has been reduced3, how many people notice anything other than the fact that they can’t rate something as having five stars (or still notice that the layout is still not the greatest)? That’s the point I’m trying to make: when website layouts or designs change for no obvious reason than to just change, we don’t notice the good things. We notice the failures. So what do we do? We do what only comes natural: we bitch about it.
Note, however, that this bitching does absolutely nothing. And now we come to the reason why I went on this long rant in the first place: Google. There are several things that I have always expected to remain constant (or at least, said to remain constant) within my lifetime. Among such things are:
- the speed of light in a vacuum
- Planck’s constant
- the gravitational constant
So imagine my surprise when I Googled something this afternoon and, upon viewing the search results, found that I was privy to Google’s experimental (and possibly soon-to-be-permanent) sidebar. Immediately annoyed by its intrusion into my search results, I did a search on it itself and within the top few results were—guess what?—people bitching about the experimental sidebar. “I hate this format- I like Google because it was clean and simple and now it’s all cluttered like every other search engine out there4.” There appear to be pro-Google individuals in digital tears over the possibility that a sidebar will be a permanent addition to their search results pages.
And now we come very quickly to the second point I wish to make: bitching does absolutely nothing (most of the time). Again, this has to do with the fact that people are both creatures of habit and lazy, as well as the fact that there are about five websites, in my opinion, that most people use without thinking much about it. I have friends in another country; I log onto Facebook to see if there’s any recent news about them. No real thought, it just happens. It’s like this with all the big and popular sites, and no amount of changes will probably mess with that.
When a member of the Internet Axis of Power (Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, YouTube, those such sites)1 pulls a change on the public, of course there is going to be outrage. There certainly was when YouTube changed its format and not too long ago. Comments of “the new YouTube layout sucks!” were quickly thumbed up and became the most liked comments on quite a few of the videos I’ve watched.
Why does this happen? I reiterate: if something’s working fine, and there is a sudden change that doesn’t really do much to improve aesthetics, functionality, or ease of use, it generally messes with peoples’ minds in a way that makes them upset. They have to expend effort, either getting used to a whole new way of navigating a website in the most extreme cases (Facebook), or just getting their brains used to a new visual cue on their search results page in the milder ones (a la Google’s experimental sidebar). And people don’t like effort.
But these websites are still the strongest ones out there. YouTube could make us have to type a captcha to comment on a video or Facebook could make us do the same to post on our friend’s wall, and we’d probably still use them. Why? Because they’re there. Because they’re the websites we’ve grown to love and depend on and automatically scroll to in our list of bookmarked sites. It’s basically a battle between putting up with pointless, needless site changes, or changing ourselves to not go to those sites. And we all know what side wins every time.
I’m certainly not suggesting that these websites are the bourgeoisie oppression to our proletarian desires to breeze about the internet unheeded. I’m simply saying that we can bitch all we like—if we continue to use their sites, and those in charge see no significant drop in web traffic as a result of the changes they made, then really, what’s been accomplished but a lot of angry video comments, irate Facebook groups, and upset Google users posting “it’s the end of the universe!” on forums?
One or two user casualties will ultimately do nothing, and I’m nearly stating fact when I say this: is there really anything that Google, YouTube, or Facebook could (in their right minds) do to their sites to render a huge drop in web traffic? Will a sidebar on Google’s results pages actually cause us to go elsewhere if we want to search for something? And for those of us Facebook addicts (or Facebook addicts in training), will a more-difficult-to-navigate interface really deter us much from checking the news feed every five minutes?
I started this rant with the intention of complaining about the problems of superfluous changes in web design—specifically, I wanted to point out that websites that change their layout for no other apparent reason than to simply change things up a bit get negative feedback and may lose some of their credibility (though that’s not the word I’m looking for, but I can’t think of a better one at the moment). However, the point I seem to have made in the end is that we’re pretty much tied to the major websites—and to any website we use with consistency, really—to the point where these little changes, as frustrating as they may be, will do little to deter us from partaking in the
services said websites offer. So I guess the best we can do is hold our little bitch-fests and hope the web designers happen to read video comments.
Edit: I also just came across this tidbit of information while researching for this little rant.
“‘There is nothing wrong with the logo,’ said Google product manager Nundu Janakiram. ‘We wanted to brighten it up and make some tweaks to it.’”
“There is nothing wrong with the logo.”
“There is nothing wrong with the logo.”
“There is nothing wrong with the logo.”
1 By traffic: http://mostpopularwebsites.net/
Today’s song: Pompeii by E.S. Posthumus
I’m on a (most likely temporary) hiatus from Facebook. Reasons are as follows:
1. The constant status updates were getting to me. I really don’t care that much.
2. The sheer amount of time some people spend on it is disturbing, and I don’t want that to happen to me (that’s what MySpace is for, haha).
3. THE LAYOUTS, FREAKING STICK WITH ONE YOU PICKY BASTARDS
The third item mentioned obviously carries the most weight. I logged in yesterday morning to find my “info” page changed around YET AGAIN (be warned, I think they’re just starting to phase this in and I was one of the unlucky first to get it).
Unfortunately, I’ll probably be back at some point, as a few of my friends I only have contact with via Facebook, the SHAPE-SHIFTING SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE OF ETERNAL TRANSFORMATIVE CHAOS!
Another point of worth:
It really is impossible to make a bad remix of Sleepyhead. The song is like audible Prozac for me, I listen to it (or a remix, or a cover, etc.,) and everything but the happies in my pants disappears. Yayzorz.
Today’s song: Save by The Rocket Summer (the new remix is technically tomorrow’s song, so you’ll just have to wait)
I haven’t given you guys a good old-fashioned rant in awhile, save the one on TA-ing a few days ago and the several on how much grad school is a waste of time. However, those don’t really count, since they actually got my blood pressure up to the point where I could feel my heartbeat in my eye. My usual blog rants are mainly about things that just don’t matter at all, but about which I feel like complaining; thus, they are semi-entertaining (at least, I like to pretend they are).
So tonight I give you a good old-fashioned Claudia rant, ‘cause it’s been a while. And because light-hearted ranting is good for the soul.
Today’s example: Facebook. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m kind of jaded with Facebook, and here are a couple of reasons why:
1. The layout(s).
Pick one! Freaking hell! What is it about trying to stay “modern” that makes websites/programs/everything want to change their layouts? Office 2007 did it and it was a disaster. Facebook decides to do it like every other week. Now YouTube did it, too, and it looks like crap. When Google eventually decides to change their homepage, I’m going to start shooting people.
2. The fact that they don’t capitalize “Facebook.”
I know, MySpace does this too, but for some reason that lowercase “f” really bothers me. You are a proper noun. Give yourself the respect you think others think you should deserve.
4. The applications.
There are two types of people in Facebook land: those who subscribe to (or play/join/what the hell ever) 50 or so applications, and those who just absolutely hate them. Yes, I’m fully aware you can hide application notices. I’m also fully aware that the point of Facebook was so that you wouldn’t have to put up with hiding application notices you got on MySpace.
5. The people who update their status 5+ times per day.
“_______ just woke up!” “________ had a bagel!” “_________ exists!” “________ needs a self-esteem boost, and therefore is posting another status update to get noticed!” Really? That’s what Twitter is for.
6. The people who basically use their profile as a showcase for their baby.
I have a friend on there who has 16 albums dedicated to their kid, each with about 30 pictures. They also fall into annoyance sector #5, except 90% of their status updates are about…guess what? “________’s baby is teething! ________’s nipples hurt!”
7. The ability for everyone to make fan pages of just about every stupid occurrence, enjoyment, or annoyance in human history.
These include pages about how much “the little triangle that the windshield wipers never get” plagues people in their sleep, how amazing sex is, redoing high fives if they’re not good enough the first time, using cellphones as flashlights, etc., etc., you get the idea. I get it, you’re a fan of the little things in life. Do you have to let the world know? Joining the group was one thing, but now you must jump on the bandwagon of becoming a fan of something just because you’ve laughed at the occurrence once in your life? Is this really a productive way for the human race to spend its time?
So…Facebook has slowly developed to include and/or involve: inability to commit, poor capitalization habits, promotion of poking people, tons of time-wasting stuff that clogs up your life, egomaniacs, and promoting stupidity via mass-promotion of fads.
Sounds like high school.
Freaking hell, people.
Today’s song: Viva la Love Story by Jon Schmidt