Functional Entropy

Chaos breeds order, sort of.

Category: Google

It’s Getting To The Point Where I’m Going To Need A 3 Month Rotation On Phone Upgrades

Ack. Damn it. I really didn't need to find out about the Robin phone and I really shouldn't be even thinking about it now when my Nexus 6 isn't quite paid off yet. I've been exclusive with the Nexus line since the Galaxy Nexus and, for the most part, I've been much happier than I was with the iPhone (used it from the initial release until the 4 until I wanted to do things with my phone that Apple didn't want me to and had a phone too recent to jailbreak) and the reason for this is that I'm willing to take responsibility for my own stupidity. There are the sort of safety guards around the vanilla version of Android that keep the totally inept from wreaking havoc unless they do some research and take the same express lane to what they want as I did. That said, I doubt that the vast majority of all thumbs Android users are rolling on any of the Nexus devices.

All of that (over)said, the Robin definitely has a lot of appeal for me. I appreciate the 100G of storage (go to CNet and read the comment section full of hilarious freakouts over mobile data plans and security of any cloud platform released or not while OneDrive, released and maintained by Microsoft )the security software giant is good enough for them ), the option to move old, untouched data to the cloud automagically, and the covered by warranty no matter what you do (software anyway). The only real hesitation that I really have is whether or not they're going to be able to keep up with updates. I imagine this would be simplified by only having a single model and having a small initial group of users, but it also puts a little bit of fear into me. I like being as close to current as I can (albeit with my provider as the roadblock in between) without reading two layers of excuses why updates are being deployed quicker.

Then again, there's a Nexus event in SF coming up and I'm sure I'll be just as susceptible to the buy now, think later bug as I have been in the past. Oh, yeah, and here's the Robin Kickstarter campaign which is already fully funded. Good stuff.

This Pretty Graveyard Used To Be An Ugly Battlefield

If you’re at all a fan of being able to read good old words on the web that aren’t encapsulated in a piece of Minion clipart or in the subtitles of a muted video on Facebook then Hossein Derakhshan’s article about how the web has changed while he was imprisoned for six years is crucial reading. It’s something most of us who were cognizant of the popularity of blogging in terms of influence and relevance only a few years ago should try to see, albeit sympathetically, through the eyes of someone who was jailed because of what he wrote about on his own blog as well as his role in connecting other Iranian bloggers and championing blogging in that country.

I’ve been more demotivated about writing anything for web consumption than saddened by the changes in how and what folks consume via the interwebs, but I can see how stunning that might be after six years. The difference is frighteningly stark. Facebook wasn’t the first walled garden on the open web (and here I’m talking about post-AOL sort of web where you were outside a near-literal walled garden; keyword:fish-in-a-barrel) and at some point in the future it will likely cede at least part of that monopoly to a competing service that probably doesn’t exist yet. That said, the mall approach (remember how much fun we all made of the services that constructed little town interfaces to represent ‘net resources?) or the app store approach to the web seems to keep many folks happy or at least distracted. Derakhshan has an excellent central point; people generally just like things and then move on to the next thing without further participating in the discussion. I’ve noticed on my own FB threads that people will not read any of the text responses but will often like some funny graphic or answer it with another premade graphic.

I miss the old web a ton which is one of the reasons that I rolled this site out. I didn’t want to try to resurrect the decaying corpse of Team Murder and wanted to start off on something new that didn’t even benefit from whatever residual audience TM had left over. I still see feed readers hitting that site regularly despite that being a somewhat quaint idea these days. I have the option to ship posts off to FB, but I don’t. I tend to be wordy and people that prefer FB as their vehicle of online communication (scare italics added for my own amusement) don’t seem to have much patience for words. Lately, and this may be a more certain sign of my age than any of the other breadcrumbs in the trail, it seems like Facebook serves mainly as a way to find out which among my friends has recently died. I think I like words better. This site, this experiment of sorts is fun to write but it is read almost exclusively by robots.

Sometimes It Isn’t Actually Magical Until You Notice The Absence Of Effort

I’d noticed the Google Photos right click trick but hadn’t thought about what it actually meant in terms of usability. It’s an amazing product and might be on of the best products that Google has made publically available. Go read the article for the technical analysis of how this feature works because it will be much more entertaining than my summary would.

It’s probably worth noting that I didn’t find this feature magical when I first used it to mail an animation from Photos to my wife. That’s the way web applications should work: within our expectations of how something should behave regardless of whether the intended recipient of the share has an account to our particular walled garden. Here’s an animation of Oscar shovelling cotton candy into his face, not because it’s particularly important to anyone outside my family, but because it’s stupidly easy.

My Left Hand Doesn’t Know What My Right Hand Is Doing But I Am Infinitely Familiar With The Details Of Your Dinner Conversation

Certain divisions or business units or frat houses or whatever they're calling the various product departments at Google these days are an utter shitshow. While I understand the handiness of being able to activate voice search on your phone (I do this pretty consistently on my Nexus 6 because I hate the interface for typed search on my phone), I do not understand why this would be so invisibly integrated into the desktop version of Chrome.

People are freaking the fuck out about this and it's not just pundits who are annoyed either. It's one thing to smell blood in the water from the Debian/Chromium debacle and try to jump on a hot story or whatever, but it's another entirely to have users of your software (which drives your revenue to some degree, no?) distrust a non-user configurable option in your software which should be aimed at mobile users anyway. Why hasn't this been addressed even as a reply to the question posed on the user forums or a public statement? Better yet, since my preferences are shared between a couple of phones and browsers on a bunch of different platforms, why not make a per-device preference for even enabling this feature if it isn't a phone? Grrrr.

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