Airlines — please let us book Premium Economy from flight aggregators!

traveling

Dear airlines:  please settle on some standard naming for seat classes.  It’d make it a whole lot easier to compare and purchase tickets online.

United has Economy Plus.  Delta has recently unveiled Economy Comfort (does this suggest that the other seats in that cabin are Economy Discomfort, or is that just my take? :p).  Virgin America calls their slightly-nicer economy seating Main Cabin Select.  Many international airlines refer to their upgraded economy section as Premium Economy.

Maybe the airlines perceive this disparate naming, this differentiation, to be a positive thing for their branding.  But I think this is awful for consumers.

Right now, if you, dear flyer, want to book a ticket online, you can use a myriad of fine online services to select from Economy, Business, or First Class tickets.  But note there’s no option for selecting the tier in between Economy and Business! 🙁

I’m guessing this is because the airlines could raise a fuss if the booking sites lumped this all under “Premium Economy.”  Perhaps there are also logistical challenges, too; I’m not sure if the fare data shared by the airlines includes straightforward info on premium economy fares, since — for example — Economy Plus seating isn’t sold directly, but is instead an add-on or premier-flyer upgrade of sorts.

*  *  *

But dangit, I’d like to be able to easily compare across airlines and book a more comfortable flight, and I sure as heck can’t justify paying business class fares!  Airlines would likely get more money from me and others if they let me compare and book premium economy fares on flight aggregator sites.  Now… how can we convince them to do so?

1 comment

An ode to universal music locators (let me take my playlists with me!)

Uncategorized

I’m polymusical.  Not only do I have various music talents, but — more relevant to this post — I’ve “dated” quite a few music services in my time, and not all of them purely sequentially.  Heck, I even served as a volunteer community leader for one and a nicely-compensated community-UX designer for another.

PressPlay, Yahoo! Music Unlimited, Napster (the legal version), Real Music, Virgin Digital Music, MusicMatch, Mog, Rdio, Spotify and others I’ve likely forgotten for better or worse.  I’ve tried ’em all.  And I’m not even counting the music lockers, the music purchasing sites, the music radio sites…

In some cases, I’ve fallen in love, or at least deep like.  But then comes the inevitable breakups; they keep my money, they keep my subscription tracks, and well, that’s fine… that’s the deal.  We had our good times, honest!

You know what just kills me, though?  They also keep my playlists.  They don’t let me have custody of that library of artists and albums and songs I so lovingly put together and oft-categorized over the last months or even years.  All my ratings?  POOF!  Not even a CSV dump, dear old flames?  No, apparently not.

This doesn’t just make me sad about my prior “relationship,” it makes me more wary of getting into new ones.  Put more plainly, I believe the lack of portability of our playlists and related personal music data is hurting adoption of music subscriptions.

But wait, Adam, do you really think the plethora of non-geeks in the world are worried about this? Aren’t they flocking to Spotify, at least not yet worried about what happens when they want to move their library and playlists to another service?

Frankly, most folks probably aren’t worried.  But the online music community — of bloggers, API developers and users, etc. — most likely is significantly discouraged.

*  *  *

Let’s look at a couple of specific examples of how the lack of music portability hurts music online for everyone:

  1. I want to curate a “best of a cappella” blog, legally showcasing great tracks to encourage discovery and purchases (with money going to the artist!).
  • To do this, I have to link to or — better yet — embed the tracks.  Let’s say I used imeem embed codes back before imeem went to that great big jukebox in the sky (and I’m not talking about cloud services).  Today, not only would all those links/embeds be broken, there’d be no easy way for me to switch them to working links on another service; it’s not like Blogger (or most blogging systems) offer grep, and there aren’t any consistent music identifiers anyway letting me link a song on one service to a song on another service.
  • Maybe I’d be luckier and choose to point links to Spotify, a fine service that’s still alive and kicking.  But hey… not everyone has the Spotify app installed.  Worse, the Spotify service isn’t even available in most countries in the world! 🙁  So for that majority of people, the links would be practically useless (and certainly frustrating).
  • I subscribe to an online music service, but it goes out of business.  I’ve spent countless hours creating playlists — perhaps even collaboratively with others! — and now those lists are inaccessible.  I can’t download them, and even if I could, it’s unlikely I could then “import” these lists effectively into a new service (Spotify-supporting third parties offer some of this functionality, but I’ve found it to work spotily at best).  Again, this is likely because there are no universally consistent music locator codes per track, album, and artist.
  • *  *  *
    I think two things would greatly help make this overall situation much, much less painful.
    1. Unique music locator codes, at least per track.  Imagine if music://owtgia42 or music://moxy-fruvous-king-of-spain7 linked to a unique track globally… and clicking on that would open up a web-based or client-side music service of the user’s choice!
    • Bloggers wouldn’t have to worry about link-rot.  
    • Users would be empowered to listen to music via services they like (and that are supported in their region!)
  • Changes in global intellectual property laws to enable track snippet-streaming (e.g., 30 seconds) of songs even in the absence of artist/label permissions.  It’s difficult to imagine how this could possibly harm music sales (“Gee, I don’t need to buy that song anymore; I’ve got the first 30 seconds of it!”), and opening this up would enable not-for-profit organizations to set up servers for supplying music samples.  WikiMusica? 🙂  This’d likely help existing commercial music services, too, freeing them from having to negotiate permissions and payment structures for simply streaming song samples. Not to mention it’d allow bloggers to select and post their own 30 second track samples without worrying about legal ramifications.
  • *  *  *
    Sure, there’d be some pretty major challenges!  Looking at the unique music locator codes…
    • What would happen if the person clicking on the link had no installed web or client resources to play the song?  Or if they lived in a region in which they were not allowed to access and play that particular track? (that situation in itself seems silly to me — the whole balkanized rights stuff — but I digress, and that’s certainly a hefty fish to fry)
    • How could artists — concerned about how others experience their music — be ensured that listeners’ experiences would be positive ones? (e.g., high quality, authentic tracks)
    • What would be the reaction from artists and the music industry when people chose to have music:// on their system be parsed by P2P services, garnering them perfectly matched but not-paid-for tunes?
    • What different things would have to support a music:// option?  Probably browsers, operating systems, others?
    • Would the music services even embrace this?  One might cynically argue that they have an economic incentive to perpetuate lock-in vs. supporting portability, particularly when their competitors are not offering portability.  But I’d argue that universally setting playlists and libraries free would jump-start citizen-music-sharing and in the end, greatly swell the numbers of people paying for online subscription services.
    And for the changes in global intellectual property… well, that’d be such a gargantuan task, certainly, that I’m not sure it’s even something to attempt tackling in my lifetime.  While “30 second snippets are good for listeners, musicians, and the entire music ecosystem” sounds sensible to me, “sensible” does not always take precedence in the world of law.  Believe me, as someone with a law degree, I know this more painfully than most ;-).
    *  *  *
    So is at least the music locator code idea doable?  Are there any organizations making substantial, promising headway on it?   There’s Gracenote, but I don’t believe their database is available for free.  A buddy told me about Echo Nest, but I’m still getting my head around their API and am unsure whether it really accomplishes what I’m yearning for.

    *  *  *
    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!  Please sound off (ha!) in the comments 🙂

    8 comments

    People on Pedestals: Just Say No

    dancing, people and relationships

    Question:  Why is sex on TV bad?
    Answer:  Because inevitably someone falls off and gets hurt.

    Okay, so that isn’t entirely relevant to this post, but now that I have your attention…

    Question:  Why shouldn’t you put people on pedestals?
    Answer:  Because inevitably, someone’s gonna fall, and you’ll both get hurt.  In another striking similarity, the whole situation is just painful for all involved.

    *  *  *

    Chapter 1

    I’m on an online dating site (yeah, yeah, get over it, you’ve likely been there, too).  One day I came across a profile of an attractive, deeply interesting, clearly talented singer-songwriter who seemed to be either a professional or semi-professional musician.  Wow!  As a pianist/composer myself, I generally connect well with and am very much interested in female musicians… and this one lives nearby me, too!  In the back of my mind, I was thinking… hmm, there’s something oddly familiar about this woman, but no matter.  People often say I look familiar, too; ‘sthe way of the world.  And the Bay Area is a surprisingly insular, small place in many ways, complete with highly overlapping Friend circles.

    Pushing beyond any self-doubting and/or procrastinatory tendencies, I wrote her a friendly message, mentioning that I’m a (admittedly mostly lapsed) musician, that I enjoy going to music performances, and I’d love to catch a show of hers sometime, yadda yadda.  Then I hit send.

    Of course, it was immediately after that that the nagging familiarity and curiosity got the better of me.  A few Google / Google Image searches later… kablam!  Holy crap, not only is she a famous artist, but I’ve attended her performances before.  Rightly or wrongly (almost certainly the latter with the benefit of hindsight) I felt like a total dolt, and wrote a quick followup message saying as much.  “OMG, can’t believe I didn’t recognize you” blah blah blah, “so embarrassed!” blah blah blah.

    She never wrote back.  Gee, that’s a surprise.  Who likes being put up on a pedestal, raise your hand!  No, no, not who loves the idea of being placed on a pedestal, but rather… who is already on one who isn’t damn sick and tired of the nervousness, the (in)sincere adulation, the awkward conversations, and so on?  I’m going to bet… not a soul.

    *  *  *

    Chapter 2

    Once again, in hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have gone out dancing that night.  Sure, it’s convenient — just a mile from work, and a 10 minute drive home from there.  Sure, it’s like that TV sitcom bar Cheers, where everybody knows my name and is (usually, I hope!) glad I came.  And yeah, admittedly I’ve found that — even when I’m in a pretty rotten mood — I’m better off lindy hopping than staying home and sulking.

    But this night was different, I suppose.  I was cranky, klutzy, and generally a touch on the asshole side of sarcastic.

    I decided to sit out a few songs and just take in the fun music, wait for a song I was guaranteed to gel with, etc.   Immediately to my left turned out to be some warm, good smelling pizza that was not mine.  This made me even more cranky, and perfectly primed to be a jerk when the owner of said food returned to claim her edible booty.  Yeah, she looked like a regular… couldn’t place the name, but I know I’d seen her before, probably danced with her.  Why not give her some crap? 🙂

    Me:  “Hey, you bring enough for everyone?”
    Her:  “Uh?”
    Me:  “Clearly not.  Well, fine, you’ll just owe me a dance later then.”

    Let me interrupt this to emphatically note to all aspiring & current social dancers that the above is…
    – Not a good pickup line
    – Not an appropriate way to fill your dance card
    – Not even remotely amusing

    As I said, I was cranky, and clearly in a non-witty frame of mind.

    Her:  “Oh!  Sure.  But I have promised this dance [to person she’s pointing to].  May I dance with you later?”
    Me:  “Of course, as long as you wash your hands after eating the pizza first”
    (Even then, the realization hit me that I was by this point indubitably being an ass)

    Surprisingly and undeservedly, she caught me later and asked me to dance.  Just a few moments in… whoa… look at that styling!!!   Okay, dammit, think… think… where do I know her from?  And why on earth did I stubbornly bypass the standard mutual-introduction ritual at the beginning of this dance? (probably because I was too embarrassed to risk an, “Adam!  We’ve danced for the last eighteen weeks and you’ve forgotten my name again?!”)

    By this point, I was definitely realizing that something was amiss.  Okay, somethings, plural.
    – She was far from the beginner I initially mistook her for.
    – My dancing was getting worse, not better throughout the course of the evening and sadly in particular throughout the course of this seemingly very long song.
    – I didn’t know if she was actually bored, but I sure wasn’t taking advantage of any of her amazing creativity, and if I were her, I’d have been bored stiff.

    At the end of the dance, I finally asked her for her name.  And then it was all I could do to avoid literally slapping my forehead.  As it turns out (yeah, I’m sure this is a shocker), she’s not only a highly experienced lindy hopper, but an internationally renowned one.

    I know now that that glimmer of recognition was likely from watching many of the dance videos she’s in online, including ones from major competitions she’s aced.

    I started to profusely apologize, but then caught myself.  I’d be even more of an asshole, I quickly and surprisingly realized, if I was super-nice to her now that I figured out she was a “celebrity” of sorts.

    And indeed, my remaining shred of smart intuition at that moment served me well.  We chatted for a bit after the dance, and she even filled me on where she was dancing next and didn’t seem in the least bit offended by my unwitty growliness.

    If anything, she was perhaps delighted that — for once — someone didn’t recognize her on the dance floor,  someone was asking her to dance without knowing of her status and fame.  She might even have been pleasantly amused that someone was being a tad jerky rather than obsequious in a first meeting with her.

    *  *  *


    Epilogue

    Was this entire blog post simply an excuse to post two random not-keenly-connected AdamAnecdotes?  Possibly.  I wouldn’t put it past me.

    But I instead prefer to think of these as humorous-but-cautionary tales, with handy directives and really good morals.  Namely…   Do not put people on a pedestal.  Everyone craves genuine connection, and it’s hard to connect when you’re down here and they’re up there.  And everyone is a multi-faceted human being, much more than the sum of their [movies / competition wins / etc], and they’re probably fed up with always having people chat them up about the obvious “famous” stuff, especially when they just feel like unwinding and being, well, a regular person.

    Obvious?  Sure.  But just wait until you’re face to face with Justin Bieber Vanna White 42 Cent Alan Smythie and see if you aren’t reflexively inclined to dumbly blurt out, “I loved you in…”

    Just say no.  Practice ahead of time.  You never know when you, too, will end up on a surprise allegorical date with a supermodel! 😮

    P.S. — You can probably piece together the identify of these two famous women.  Please, for the love of dog, be kind and don’t mention either of their names in the comments.  I’m embarrassed enough as it is, and there’s no need to make them embarrassed, too.  Thanks 🙂

    10 comments

    I’ve not abandoned this blog… yet, but…

    about my sites

    You’d probably find more regular excitement if you follow me on Google+ and, to a lesser extent, if you follow me on Twitter. 🙂 (and if you don’t already have a Google+ account, click on the “Send email” link on the lefthand side of my Google+ page, drop me a quick note, and I’d be happy to send you an invite!)

    I will, however, still try to post more long-form stuff on this blog from time to time.  With that said… if you’re craving AdamWritings, why not dip through my blog’s archives for a bit (check out the labels on the lef)?  There are, if I dare say so myself, some oldies but goodies :-).

    4 comments

    Thrice-weekly postal deliveries: Pound wise or pound foolish?

    business and consumers, society

    I was reading a fascinating article in The Economist about the U.S. Postal Service, and a few things came to mind:

    • Hmm, the comments are delightfully civil and informative!
    • Can I count on one hand the number of postal items I receive quarterly — perhaps even yearly — that I actually want?  Why, yes, I probably can!
    • What would happen if the U.S. Postal Service delivered only three days per week (say, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)?
    This latter idea, then, prompted me to wonder the following:
    1. Would this pose an actual hardship on people, and if so, would it (I assume) most likely hit the economically-disadvantaged more heavily?  And if so, in what ways?  Could other factors/proposals mitigate the potential hardship?
    2. What if the U.S. Government got out of postal delivery altogether, perhaps in conjunction with some sort of requirement (stick) or deep incentives (carrot) prompting private delivery companies to continue delivering to loss-leaders (rural areas)?
    3. Is the postal service largely public in most, or even all other industrialized nations?
    4. What about a subsidy or other incentive for households or even apartment complexes which offered to accept minimized or even eliminated postal delivery services?
    Keep in mind, I’m not necessarily proposing that pickup from centralized locations be reduced or eliminated.
    Your thoughts?
    1 comment

    Adam’s septoplasty / turbinate reduction surgery diary. Infotainment the doctor ordered!

    happy body, personal, wackiness

    Three out of four leading doctors told me that I have a really messed up nose (my septum is shaped like a hockey stick rather than the more conveniently functional lower case ‘l’ style)… and if I ever want to breathe decently, I simply must get a septoplasty + turbinate reduction surgery.

    The fourth (admittedly imaginary)  doctor actually insisted the same thing, but also urged me to detail my experience in a blog post.  This is my story.

    Monday — night before:

    11:50pm:  I greedily cram in the last bits to eat and drink, ’cause I’m not allowed to swallow anything past midnight.  Rather a stupidly written rule, actually.  Despite the fact that I wasn’t notified of my surgery time (1:30pm) until the day before, I was given oral and written instructions well in advance with the clearly arbitrary, or at least very conservative no-eating/drinking-after-midnight rule.  I mean, I could have been assigned a 7:30am or 3:30pm surgery time.  Why not just say “no eating or drinking within 8 hours of your scheduled surgery”?

    The kind side of me presumes this is to account for a possible last-minute change in surgery times (“Mr. Lasnik?  We’re just calling to let you know we had a cancellation. Would you like to get this crap over with a few hours earlier?”)  The cynic in me figures the lawyers & doctors believe we’re too stupid to understand “8 hours prior.”

    2:30am:  No sense going to bed too early, right?  If I go to bed early and get up early, I’ll just have more time to be hungry and thirsty.  So a 2:30 bedtime sounds about right…

    Tuesday — day of:

    8:20am:  Lovely.  The groundskeepers are turning it all up full blast.  Trimming, mowing, huffing, puffing, the works.  So much for sleeping in.

    9:30am:  Against my better judgment I check my work e-mail and get sucked in.

    11:45am:  My AdamTaxi’ing friend comes and rescues me, drops me off at the hospital and bids me a warm goodbye and good luck wishes :).

    12:15pm:  I walk into the first building I find and announce with genuine enthusiastic anticipation that I’m there to be cut up. Receptionist exudes an almost comical level of both alarm and confusion.  Oops.  This isn’t the Surgecenter.

    12:20pm:  I find my way to the rather non-descript Palo Alto Surgecenter around the corner.  Receptionist checks ID, doesn’t ask for co-pay, does ask me to sign my life and finances away.  I shudder to think what the final bills (yes, all separate bills — anesthesiologist, surgeon, etc.) will amount to, even though I believe my insurance will cover most of this.  Pretty sick (no pun intended) that it’s primarily us folks in one of the world’s richest countries that have to worry about such basic life stuff… being potentially bankrupted by one hospital visit.  I’m resisting the temptation to turn this into a rant about how ridiculous it is that so many Americans have no problem with Medicare and such, but are freaked out about sensible ideas like Single Payer / Universal Health Care. Grrr.

    12:30pm:  Now I’m called into that special room, er, what do you call this?  With several other patients, each placed on a gurney behind a totally non-sound-proofed curtain.  I overhear talk of cancer and remission rates, making my nose-fixing seem oh so insignificant.

    12:35pm:  Wait a minute!  I ordered the typical sweet, reassuring filipina nurse named Jenny, not a somewhat-imposing big-tattooed nurse named Earl!  Oh well.  He takes my pulse, blood pressure, and measures my weight with reasonable unscariness, and quizzes me on the type of my surgery and name of my doctor (to see if I’m alert, I presume).  Also he goes over a form with a list of drugs they want to doubleheck that I am or am not taking (“Substance D?  No and no.”)  I’m told that the anesthesiologist and surgeon will stop by shortly.  Maybe their idea of “shortly” is the time equivalent of Yao Ming, but I’m getting ahead of ourselves here.

    12:40pm:  Okay, time to get into my gown, or at least try to.  I presume someone will eventually create a user-friendly hospital gown, and perhaps even get rich from this invention.  Heck, if a hospital can bill $42 for a small bandaid…

    Per instructions, I keep my socks and underwear on, then accessorize with the oh-so-stylish paper booties and hat.  I wonder if I get to keep these for mementos?

    [FYI:  further times listed below are estimates; I didn’t have a watch on, and had already shoved my phone and clothes into a bag under my gurney]

    1:00pm:  Grr.  This really does feel like a long wait.  Not sure exactly how long, but I have nothing to read, and yet it’s probably not worth grabbing my phone from the bag below, because I’m sure I’ll be attended to Any Minute Now.  One of the nurses suggests I make myself comfortable and strongly urges me to actually lay down on the gurney instead of continuing to sit on the edge and impatiently swinging my feet (clearly attempting to magically summon the parties responsible for my surgery via footular momentum and run-on sentences).  She returns with a warm blanket, and I figure resistance is futile and dumb.

    1:10pm:  A different helpful and perceptive nurse on duty notices my impatience and offers to check on my surgery time status.  Upon request, she calls my friend who is slated to meet me at the hospital to fill him in on parking & surgery timing details.  She also thoughtfully gets me a (current!) newsweekly (“Newsweek — Now mixed with / affiliated with / swallowed by the “Daily Beast”?  Oh “journalism,” what hast thou become?!)

    1:30pm:  I’m slightly uncomfortable, increasingly hungry and thirsty, and not particularly enjoying the magazine as much as I hoped I would.

    1:40pm:  My smiling doctor comes in, discusses the surgery details very briefly, checks to see if I have many questions.  I don’t.  Just eager to get on with this.

    1:50pm:  More waiting.

    2:00pm:  Anesthesiologist comes in.  Soft-spoken fella named, apparently, “Dr. Meow.”  I wisely abandon all thoughts of making a catatonic (or cat-and-tonic) pun.  He asks me to open my mouth wide, very briefly peers inside, and seems satisfied.  Always knew I had a nice mouth.  He also inquires whether I have any serious health issues, like heart or lung disorders, etc. Dude, you’re asking me this life and death stuff just 15 minutes before I get cut open? Anyway, I silently determine that heartbreak wouldn’t be a particularly relevant discussion topic at the moment.

    He advises me that they’re going to put a tube down my throat to help me breathe, but that I won’t notice this while the tube is actually stuck down there.  I’ll just likely notice the ghost of it later.  Delayed sorification, I suppose.

    2:15pm:  Finally the surgical nurse comes in.  Again asks my name, what surgery I’m in for, etc.  Glad they’re being very careful about this.  Would hate to be sleepily subjected to something like a breast augmentation.  I was getting good-naturedly teased enough by my friends and colleagues about having a “nose job” so to speak, so I can only imagine what hilarity would ensue if I reintroduced myself to society with distressingly larger mammary glands.  Or worse yet, a singularly enlarged one.

    2:17pm:  Okay, I’m in the surgery room now.  I’m introduced to some guy who apparently is assisting the doctor with somethingorother.  I’ve not yet had even a drop of relaxation juice, but I’m already starting to feel a bit woozy and un-sharp, sort of like how I felt during my procrastinatorial evening textbook readathons in law school.

    2:18pm:  Baby it’s cold inside.  Not horribly so, but definitely chilly.  Doesn’t smell like an operating room, or much of anything really.  I suppose that’s okay because, well, wouldn’t it be a shame to have one of my “last” smells for a while be an tingly antiseptic hospitally one?

    2:19pm:  They have me slide into another gurney, and put something (a pillow?) under my shins.  Something else under each foot.  Gently bind my ankles down with… something?  They place my left arm out onto the side of my gurney, and place a small contour pillow under my head.  I feel a minorly constrained, but relatively comfortable now.  At least the waiting is over.  Well, this part of the waiting at least.

    2:20pm:  The anesthesiologist says he’s going to inject me with somethingsomething, which will feel like a bee sting and which will then facilitate somethingelse.  It is, to my pleasant surprise, a very weak bee.  And a fast one.  He (the anesthesiologist, not the bee) doesn’t ask me to count backwards or recite the digits of pi (oh, wait, that was yesterday), and before I know it…

    3:40pm:  I’m in a recovery room of sorts.  Seems pretty open spacewise, but I don’t notice anyone else other than the presence of my friend, a nurse, and behind her, a small bustling group of nurses.  I’m offered, and then happily drink apple juice from one of those rectangular boxes that make you think back to school and environmental waste and dang this isn’t big enough for American appetites!

    4:10pm:  I don’t even remember much in the way of walking, much less getting into my friend’s car.  I do recall being reasonably awake on the way home, and — for a rather unpleasant spell for the last 5 minutes home — pretty nauseous.  Laying down with the car seat back for a few minutes thankfully helps.  In between the leaving and the successful hurling-avoidance, my friend picks up my prescriptions from Safeway.  The nice drug dealer there provides a bottle of codeine+acetaminophen, complete with instructions for guzzling it 15mls at a time, but doesn’t quite get around to including one of those handy plastic mini-cups that lists the oh-so-communist metric-system measurements on it.  I guess that costs extra, but ah, what the heck, a couple of big swigs is probably fine.  Oh, wait, I have one of those mmcups from my mouthwash?  Handy!

    4:45pm:  Checking e-mail, of course!  I love Google Voice and Gmail!  I have nice text messages, e-mails, and heck, I’m happy to even receive a bunch of kind messages in that infernal Facebook message format in my gbox.

    5:05pm:  My friend changes gender.  Oh, wait, no, it’s AdamSitting shift-changing time, and another bloody wonderful friend has arrived to make sure I don’t do anything bad, presumably like watching Ricki Lake reruns, painting my toenails, or engaging in stuffy dialing.

    5:15pm:  Finally getting around to watching that DVD I got from Netflix, “Princess Mononoke.”  Oh wow.  The opening minutes are filled with… spurting, gooey blood and sticky worms.  How charming and apropos!  Oh, and I guess I hadn’t mentioned this:  I can’t breathe at all from my nose.  It’s completely and quite uncomfortably stuffed with, yes, gooey thick blood (though not certain about the worms part).  It’s created such an unpleasant sense of pressure that often when I swallow, I feel like I’m going to burst my nose, my ears, or both.  Gah.  And despite the thickness, the blood is still somehow runny enough to keep saturating the gauze pad under my nose.  This leads to a few too many movie intermissions for pad-changings.  Who was he fighting?  Who is good, who is evil?  Oh wait, this is one of those complex Miyazaki films — it’s not supposed to be cut-and-dry or even make complete sense.  Whew!

    6:00pm:  Speaking of intermissions, it’s time for another pee break.  I mention this not out of any sophomoric interests in providing immature infotainment (I’ve likely done enough of that!), but rather to highlight something fascinating.

    You see, I learned in Portal that “speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out.”  Okay, so that invigorating bit of elementary physics my dear is not exactly germane to this current issue, but hear me out!  I’ve put only a minimal amount of fluids into me recently, yet I keep peeing a ton.  Either something strange is going on, or I’ve unwittingly made some sort of captivating scientific discovery.  If my pee were energy, I’d be sought after by the world’s leading scientists.  Oh, and all the baddies, too.  Darn.

    6:30pm:  My surgeon thoughtfully calls, asks how I’m doing.  Er, understandably crappy but not in pain, I tell him.  He verbally nods.  Reminds me of my appointment tomorrow at 8:30am to get the nose-splints out.  Hallelujah!  Oh wait, will I actually be able to breathe through my nose after that?  I forgot to ask that part.  Oops.

    7:00pm:  Roomie is home!  Other friend not-so-regrettably leaves before the end of the movie.  She likes me, but “Princess Mononoke”?  Seemingly not too much.

    7:30pm:  I’m minorly hungry, and know I should be eating and drinking stuff if I want to grow big and strong, er, heal up.  But eating at the moment is no fun.  When mouth is closed, no can breathe, and that’s truly a bummer.  Oh wait!  Now I have an excuse to chew with my mouth open!  Sorry, roomie.  Peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time!

    8:00pm:  About The Movie DVD featurette!  More e-mail!  Web surfing!  Hmm… maybe I should blog about my septoplastic experience?  Nah, too self-indulgent and kinda gross.

    9:00pm:  Oh, lookie this!  My nose is becoming multitalented; it’s dripping blood out of one nostril and some as-of-yet-unidentified clear liquidy stuff out of the other nostril.  Bravo, bravo!  But no encore tomorrow, please.

    11:53pm:  Debating whether to try out that codeine+tylenol stuff.  I’m in significant discomfort, but not really in pain, and that stuff ain’t gonna help me breathe any better.  But maybe it’ll help knock me out.  ’cause once today just wasn’t enough… 🙂

    1:12am:  I’m still editing/writing this silly thing?  Really?!

    To be (possibly) continued tomorrow.  Pictures not included.  Hyperlinks included telepathically; you know what to Google!



    *  *  *



    Wednesday — day after:


    Oh!  Now it’s tomorrow.  Well, sort of.

    Didn’t sleep much last night at all.  Was afraid sleeping on my side would harm my NewImproved nose, and also figured of bloodying my pillows.  Laying on back wasn’t very comfortable, particularly with the not-being-able-to-breathe-at-all-through-my-nose thing.  The seemingly 42 pounds of pressure in my nose plus my increasingly sore throat also contributed to the unfun.

    But getting the splints taken out this morning by my doctor has made a world of difference!

    • I’m bleeding much less than yesterday.
    • I can actually breathe through both nostrils!  Granted, I’m still pretty stuffed up and am not allowed to blow my nose for the next week (ouch), but… no more awful pressure in my nose and ears!  And I got my appetite back :-).
    I have a followup appointment with my doctor next Thursday.  He’ll be checking to make sure everything’s healing up okay, will do another vacuum job, and soon after that hopefully I’ll have full breathability in my nose.

    Evening Update, featuring Adam’s Stubborn Nose:

    Ah, hopeful optimism, how shortly lived were thee!  My nose-blood has reconfigured itself, clearly with hardened resolve.  It is now reminding me of its presence with not only little random friendly droplets, but also extensive clotting, nearly perfectly blocking my breathing.

    Hmm, maybe this saline mist thingamabob from my doctor will help things.

    sprrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaayeritzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

    Oh.  Hello light-colored bathroom carpet, meet angrily displaced and splattering blood!  (as I once again wonder what that moron interior designer or former house occupant was thinking)

    I think I’ll just go to bed.

    *  *  *

    Thursday — day after yesterday:

    Clearly my brain has been adversely affected, because I quite stupidly set my alarm for 7am in an attempt to be awake for my 8am meeting.  Heck, I have a hard enough time making such meetings without being recently surgeried; what was I thinking?

    I re-woke up around 11:35, with my formerly-gauze-holding-nose patch having unpleasantly transmogrified into an eye patch and my spidey sense suggesting something unfortunate.

    Ah, yes, I missed a 11:30am meeting.  Hmm… groggily reading e-mail on phone… colleague is traveling across campus to meet me…

    I should have heeded my boss’ advice and just canceled all meetings this week.  Stubborn stubborn stubborn!

    *  *  *
    This blog post dedicated to my awesome AdamTaxis & AdamSitters, and all my friends and family who checked to make sure I still had a nose and all that 🙂
    19 comments

    How employment at prominent tech firms stymies open communication

    blogging, personal, society, workplace

    Let me first get the disclaimers out of the way:

    • I have worked at Google since March, 2006.
    • I do not speak on behalf of Google in this blog, nor do my views necessarily dovetail with those of other Googlers; I’ve historically held more of a public-facing role than most Googlers, so I have heightened sensitivities.
    • I believe prominent technology firms — certainly including Google — contribute many things to the world that improve communications and societal openness.
    *  *  *

    Do people who work at Google / Yahoo / Microsoft / Facebook resent the fact that they can’t genuinely speak up on the Internet and have to do so anonymously, in most cases?

    This really hit home for me, and I decided that I’d outline the many ways in which I (and presumably many others) are forbidden from communicating in some ways and — more commonly — feel uncomfortable expressing ourselves in specific ways or on a variety of topics.
    Stuff I am not allowed to discuss…
    This is perhaps the most obvious category, the list of what employees like me are typically forbidden from communicating. 
    • Confidential information on products and services my company is working on.
      And this isn’t just due to obvious competitive-market issues, but also for reasons of strategic public communications.  Due to events in the news, something we’re working on (and have been working on for well before these events transpired) might be seen as insensitive or inappropriate… and we know that after things die down a bit, the public will embrace rather than resent this new product or service.  Other considerations:  we might want to release with a bigger splash, we’re required to be silent due to third-party agreements (hardware partners, etc.), we don’t want a ton of public pontificating based upon a very rough alpha, and so on.
    • Issues my company is currently involved with in a legal context or is likely to become involved with in the future
      For Googlers, this means no comments about “search neutrality,” or intellectual property issues with regards to YouTube, and so on.
    • Private user information we’re entrusted with
      Such information is quite stringently controlled at my company (and I’d presume at other companies as well), but aside from the technical and legal (not to mention ethical!) safeguards, I think all of us know that it’d be long-term career suicide to even be perceived as engaging in untoward behavior in this area.  
    Topics that I’m allowed to discuss, but could result (or have resulted) in unpleasant situations
    • Competitors’ products and services
      If I suggest a limitation of iPhones, for instance, I may be accused of being brainwashed by my company (which works on the Android operating system)… or, at minimum, I may simply worry that I’ll be perceived in negative ways (catty, manipulative, etc.).  On the flip side, if I profess love for a competitor’s product, it’s a pretty sure bet someone will retort, “See?  Even Googlers avoid [Google’s product in this space]!” which can then, I kidd you not, snowball into headlines like, “Googlers snub [Google productname] in favor of [non-Google productname].”  Aside from the ridiculous assumption that because I am not using and enjoying both products, there’s the equally-stupid one outspoken Googler = all Googlers.
    • Hot button societal issues that my company is associated with.
      Like Privacy. Net neutrality.  Not only are there often legal circumstances surrounding these issues which make talking about them verboten anyway, it’d be just a minefield to jump into online or offline conversations on such heated topics.  I could be mistaken for someone speaking on behalf of the company (especially since I’ve appeared in Google-official videos about Privacy in the past), or simply harangued as a Google shill.
    • Frustration over my own company’s products
      As much as I love a lot of the stuff that comes out of my company, there are also products and services we provide that, well, I don’t really like or I like but am dying to see improved.  But what could I possibly gain by criticizing them in public?
      • If I feel that the only way to see changes I’m hoping for internally is to apply external pressure, then it’s probably time for me to consider changing employers.
      • If I don’t think many people will even notice my criticisms, why am I even bothering to express them?  Even if just one person sees it — someone who works on that product — I’ve at minimum made someone really sad, and probably just burned a bridge.  Who knows?  That person might be a future teammate, and — depending on the fierceness of my criticisms — that relationship could be mighty uncomfortable!
    And, as someone who may again in the future speak on behalf of my company to the press or at conferences:
    • Controversial views (e.g., anything on religion, politics, sexuality…)
      By articulating such views, especially if forcefully, I could negatively affect the comfort of interactions with or even treatment from journalists, conference attendees, bloggers, etc.
    • Specific blogs, media outlets, bloggers, journalists, etc.
      Whether it’s highlighting certain outlets’ lack of ethics or professionalism, or schaudenfreudically giggling over sophomoric online slugfests, it’d be all fun and games until I was asked to interview with one of these news networks / blogs / newspapers.
    *  *  *
    So what’s the loss here for you and society?
    • You get a less nuanced, less comprehensive view of how and what specific people think.
    • You get less information and fewer (potential useful) opinions from specific people than you otherwise would.  On a related note, more misinformation on the internet remains uncorrected.  In some cases (e.g., minor misconception of a product’s specs), the damage is pretty insignificant.  In other cases, the misinformation is pretty harmful, causing users to do unnecessary work or politicians to make unnecessary or even harmful laws.
    • Causes (political, societal) which could use the open support will often not receive it.
    But we can’t blame Corporate Communications policies
    At least at Google there’s no required pre-screening of our external communications.  We have a pleasantly enlightened group of Corporate Communications folks; they get social media, and they have never to my knowledge discouraged us from blogging, tweeting, etc.  The vast majority of the speech-limits I’ve described above are self-imposed, and certainly cannot be blamed on company policies.
    Anonymity?
    Sure, I and others could write under nom de plumes, though of course we’d still be forbidden from disclosing company secrets and the like.  But in addition to running the risk of being uncovered, I feel that this’d be a slippery slope emotionally; if I started criticizing or defending Google products as someone other than myself, I’d probably feel sucked in to the ensuing debates, and I’d become more and more uncomfortable “living a lie” so to speak.  So, at least for me, writing under something that’s not my real name or dominant internet nickname (“ThatAdamGuy”) isn’t a good choice.
    And on the whole, these big companies are still a net gain for societal communication and openness
    Look at the information shared around the world with Twitter, or YouTube or spread through large networks of friends (and often then ultimately the world) via Facebook.  I may feel occasionally muzzled and frustratingly so, but in the grand scheme of things, I remain convinced it’s for the greater good.
    0 comments

    Hotels: Here’s how you can win us over with the little things

    traveling

    Dear hotels,

    I’ve stayed in you a lot.  Over the last few years, I’ve traveled over a quarter million miles and stayed many, many nights away from home, sometimes feeling a bit like that rudderless and sad character in Up in the Air.

    But, hotels, you can do little things to make me feel more comfortable, and with that, you’re much likely to win more of my business in the future.

    • Welcome me sweetly
      Whether it’s a piping hot chocolate chip cookie upon check-in (which I’ve heard at least one hotel chain offers) or a cup of wine or hot cider, or even a chocolate on my pillow, these little touches would cost you just a whee bit (probably less than a dollar out of my $xxx/night payment), but would make a wonderful first impression on me.
    • Recognize that I don’t just sneeze in the bathroom
      Why on earth do I often find two TVs and three phones (well, I know the why on that one!), but just one measly box of kleenex?  I either have to remember to bring my own, or lamely grab a handful from the box in the bathroom to put next to my bed or my desk.  Would it kill you to add an extra box of tissues to my room, or — if you must — quit literally locking up the box in the bathroom so I can move it where I happen to be at the moment?
    • I want to step into neither the heated bowels of hell, nor an iglooI can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into my room to find the heater or air conditioner on high.  That’s one way to make a powerful initial impression, but it isn’t the right way.
    • If you’re going to nickel and dime me, at least post the prices clearly
      I suppose it’s a losing battle asking you to cut it out with the obnoxious phone and internet surcharges and obscene honor-bar charges (A 800% markup on a Kit Kat? Really?!).  I realize that you feel compelled to claim a lower nightly rate so you show up higher in online travel searches, yet also want to afford the million dollar salaries for your execs.  But at the very least, could you make sure prices are prominently and clearly posted?  For example… during a recent hotel stay, my cell phone was out of juice, so I contemplated using the room phone… but couldn’t find any rates listed.  I called the front desk, and got back this gem: “Um… phone?  Er… long distance?  To California?  I think it’s $6 for the first minute, not sure how much for the next minutes.”  After that, I wish I had avoided asking, and instead rung up my folks in California for an hour and refused to pay the bill due to the non-disclosure of rates.
    • Provide either outstandingly delicious food for your high prices, or offer mediocre food on the cheap
      There’s nothing more grating than eating in the hotel restaurant or ordering room service, paying through the nose for it ($23 for a hamburger and fries?!), and getting food that’s barely a step up from a bad high school cafeteria.  Look, yeah, a bunch of us are on expense accounts, but it still hurts to feel ripped off, and we really do resent you when this happens.  At the very least, make us feel better about the high prices: provide stellar service, maybe offer a surprise mini-dessert or a complimentary wine glass refill, and for heavens sake, prohibit your room service delivery people from accepting a tip if you’ve already factored in 18% gratuity but we were too jetlagged to notice.  Seriously, customer-friendly stuff like that would get you blogged about and appreciated.  And by the way, we really do hope you’re giving that full mandatory gratuity (mandatory gratuity? sheesh!) to the guy who delivered the meal.  But some of us doubt it :(.
    • Make our workspace comfortable and reliable
      We’re traveling on business.  Believe me, we’d rather be out on the town, but more often than not, we’re cranking out e-mails sitting at — or trying to sit at — the room desk.  I know I’m 2-3 inches shorter than the average guy, but I shouldn’t have to put a phone book on my chair so I can type comfortably; please follow the illustrious path of offices, barbershops, and a zillion other places, and put adjustable chairs in your rooms.  A pen that cost you $1 instead of 0.7 cents would also be a plus. So, too, would desk lamps that have electric outlets delivering juice even when the light is off and even after we leave the room.
    • Entice and delight us by offering free samples
      Provide [x] minutes of internet access for free each day (though frankly, internet access is such a commodity that you should just make it free all the time!).  That way, if we need to just quickly check our e-mail or a web site urgently, we aren’t cursing you when trying to navigate through your sign-up-and-pay system.  Put a chocolate on our pillow with a note teasing, “Does this chocolate make you happy?  Buy more for yourself or someone special, downstairs in our corner market.”  Provide 15 minutes of complimentary video gaming on the TV.  Offer to iron or launder one shirt for free (chances are, if we take you up on that, we’ll have you wash our slacks and other stuff, too).
    • And lastly, a few miscellaneous requests
      Offer us a compact map (even just a photocopy of a map showing the nearby area) upon sign-in.  Publicize and enforce a “no tipping, your pleasure is our pleasure” policy throughout the entire hotel (hey, I can dream, right?).  Have housekeeping specifically doublecheck that the alarmclock is not set for, say 5am.  Alter TVs to limit their max volume.  Offer a “Quiet floor,” with enforced silence after 11pm (no parties, no screaming kids).  Keep your hot tub open later (at least until midnight, please).  
    A collection of little frustrations or little pleasures can actually sway the balance in choosing between your hotel chain and another.  I don’t know about other businessfolk, but I’m not compelled to always select the cheapest hotel in a metropolitan area; I won’t hesitate to pay even $42 more a night for a brand I’ve had more comfortable and reliable experiences with.  
    Thanks 🙂
    (And to my fine readers, what suggestions  / kudos / pet peeves did I overlook?)
    6 comments

    Is it wise spending our time writing for *other* sites?

    blogging, technology

    I’ve been contributing to the Q&A site Quora a lot lately, and it’s pretty neat. I’ve posed questions, answered questions, edited stuff, voted on a lot of answers, and so on.  And in a broader sense, like many of us, I’ve also spent probably hundreds of hours in the aggregate answering questions on Aardvark, posting often rather detailed comments on others’ blogs, giving detailed assistance in various topical forums, writing reviews on Amazon and Hotpot, and so on.  And this got me to thinking…

    How does all this compare with the volume of commentary and information I’ve contributed to my own web sites, including this blog and www.adamlasnik.net?  Ack! Let’s just say that the imbalance is at least initially rather shocking and depressing.

    Nearly all of my words… shared not in my cyberhome, but everywhere else?!  At the end of the day, what do I have to show for this, other than a widely scattered smattering of AdamBits here and there, just blips on the planets of giants and potentially-future-giants?

    Yet… all of those other sites clearly offer a lot of value, or I and millions of others wouldn’t be spending so much time, contributing so much of our knowledge and so many of our (hopefully useful) opinions to them, right?  Indeed.  Among other benefits, we get…

    • Recs:  Oft-improved (personalized) recommendations based upon our input
    • Visibility:  Seen by interesting / important / attractive people who might be impressed by our brilliant commentary :p
      • …and, more seriously, seen a lot more people than when we post on our own, much less popular blogs
      • …and from the exposure, sometimes extra contract work or even full-time job offers
    • More time to write:  Freed from having to maintain / structure / security-update our own self-hosted site
    • Less friction:  The opportunity to offer contributions in handy little bite-sized chunks (whereas writing even a single blog post can be hard work and take a long time!)
    • Good karma:  A happy feeling from widely sharing our knowledge and opinions with others who are likely to be specifically interested in such topics.  My post reviewing a specific Zürich hotel on my own web site?  Maybe 25 people have seen it.  Had I posted the same review on TripAdvisor, for instance, I bet it would have gotten at least 10-20x the views (and thus helped more people).
    In a nutshell, contributing our thoughts on someone else’s site is easy, painless, and often philanthropic in a way.

    So what are we giving up by posting elsewhere instead of aggregating our expertise on our own sites? (for the sake of argument, I’m assuming it’s too cumbersome to successfully do both)

    • Ad revenue.
    • Stats/analytics:  More detailed insights into the popularity of our writings.
    • Longevity of our expressions.  What happens if and when Quora goes away, for instance?  Sure, if they’re nice, they’ll enable us to export our contributions ahead of time, but that data set’ll be largely out of context and frankly not all that usable anymore.  In contrast, by forcing ourselves to write coherent, standalone blog posts, we are the ones in control over our words.  Even if Blogger were to go kaput, I could pretty easily export my posts in advance, and they’d be just as valuable posted on another service.  Even service closures aside, on a well-organized site a piece of expression can remain visible and useful for visitors, whereas a post on Twitter or Facebook, for instance, has a half-life of, hmm, maybe three days?
    • Focus.  When we contribute our thoughts on other sites, we’re more typically reactive… responding to others’ questions, replying on an existing forum thread, etc.  If one were to somehow magically compile all of one’s contributions across the web into a big blog, it’d look like… ugh… long-form twitter! :p.  And while blogs (yes, like mine here) can also be all over the place topically, there are also numerous options for creating a thematic blog or site which can ideally be structured and coherent as a whole.
    • Centralized identity.  There’s something positive to be said about having a single “YouHome” where you can direct prospective employers, new friends, buddies you meet at hostels, etc.  Then again, there’s admittedly also a downside to having a conveniently single place where prospective employers, new friends, and so on can GoogleStalk you.
    But oh, the hurdle of creating a self-centralized home of expression!  Before embarking on a blog post, I typically torture myself with the questions: “Is this idea compelling enough?  Do I have time to write it?  Will it fit okay with the recent entries or will I look like a [insert negative descriptor here]?”  For each addition to my web site, there’s the issue of actually creating the .htm page, crafting a title, a meta-description, updating any relevant table-of-contents or side-bar navigation, etc. (I could use a hosted CMS like Google Sites and avoid all the aforementioned process hassles but would have significantly less control over my site, not be able to use javascript on my pages, etc.).
    So obviously there’s no right answer here.  But at minimum, we should be contributing to the great interwebs with awareness… at least cognizant of the benefits and disadvantages inherent in either building up someone else’s business with our words or “hoarding” our words in a cyberplace we own.
    What do you think?  Are you concerned about the tradeoffs described above?  Have I overlooked any pluses or minuses associated with contributing knowledge other other sites vs. one’s own?
    9 comments

    Dear techosphere — my wishes for 2011

    blogging, technology

    Hi techosphere!

    I realize I don’t have much right to demand stuff from you.  I’ve been a lackluster blogger lately, and as someone who sold his soul to a big evil Don’t Be Evil corporation, I can’t claim to understand the grinding challenges of running a profitable and popular tech blog.  But that’s not going to stop me from asking, nay, begging you to do a better job in 2011.

    • Focus on thoughtful coverage rather than fast coverage.
      Yes, yes, I know you covered the leaked whatsit 42 seconds faster than OtherTechBlog.  I know you think the world is just pee-in-their-pants excited to read live-blogging revelations like, “Oh wait!  He’s now walking up to the stage…”  And even if this admittedly (and sadly) gets you a big traffic boost for the moment, no one is going to give a flying patootie about this shallow commentary two days later.  Substantive, thoughtful reporting will garner you far more long-time traffic and loyalty.
    • This ain’t the Killing Fields.  Cut out the “killing” crap, won’t you?
      With few exceptions, the “winner-take-all” mentality is both stupid and false.
    • Every time you blather that “[x] is the new [y],” a dog kills a kitten.
      ’nuff said.
    • Quit it with the “Ex-Googler” and “Former Facebooker” headlines, please
      Former employment at these firms pretty much means diddly-squat as a predictor of future entrepreneurial success. I’ve seen innumerable admirable successes and embarrassing flops from former Googlers/Facebookers, and probably around the same ratio of wins/failures as from other geeks.  Yeah, I guess, “Well-respected engineer experienced in [x & y]” makes for a longer and less-compelling lede, but still…
    • Monitor your comments and/or use a comments system that allows trusted users to flag spam/spammers!
      HINT:  When you have the same asshole successfully comment-spamming exactly the same URL for months, you’re pissing off your readers and you have a problem.  Get a better commenting system, hire an intern to moderate spam and ban spammers, or both.
    • Avoid the pile-on (or, just because it’s all the rage on Twitter doesn’t make it news)
      Sure, it feels good to kick the big guys when they’re down, but it’s uninformative and lame and a waste of your time and your readers’ time.  Ask yourself:  was there really substantial harm, and in particular, harm that hasn’t already been identified 42,000 times by others online?  Are you offering insight, or are you merely channeling the journalistic “skills” of Geraldo Rivera?
    • Engage thoughtfully with your readers, and give love to those who contribute value to your blog
      I have to call out LifeHacker specifically as a blog that does a great job with this.  I regularly see the authors thoughtfully and substantively engage with their readers in the comments, clarifying points, apologizing for mistakes, and so on.  This starkly contrasts with authors’ absence or hubris and snarkiness I see displayed on at least one other prominent tech blog.
    • Be respectful of other people and other companies by refusing trade traffic for integrity
      I don’t hold out much hope on this one, but it has to be said:  When you publish an internal, confidential document, you’re a amoral jerk (unless by doing so you’re exposing a ring of child traffickers or a dastardly plot to poison the water supply of New York, etc. etc.).  You and your readers typically gain nothing but schaudenfreudic glee or lookie-loo gratification, while threatening the safety, security, and/or morale of those associated with that document.  What are you hoping to accomplish, aside from boosting your blog’s popularity?  In the end, you — yes, you! — cause companies to be less open with their employees (communicating with less internal breadth, frequency and transparency), and so little by little you are harming corporate culture and negatively affecting the happiness and productivity of tens of thousands of workers… the same workers who produce the cool stuff you make a living writing about. Ain’t that counterproductive in the long run?

      Similarly, when you publish photos of an unreleased product, you’re hurting the morale of people working their ass off on that product, potentially damaging the competitiveness of that product and company, and generally being a douchebag for desperately prioritizing page views over Doing the Right Thing.  Not only that, but 8 times out of 10, you’ve got it wrong.  Sheesh.

    Gah, in re-reading this, I seem especially negative, particularly on New Year’s Day.  Sorry about that :\.  But something’s gotta change… not only in how bloggers cover the world, but in how we readers consume information and support blogs.  From 2011 forward, I pledge to spend more time rewarding those blogs and bloggers who blog responsibly and thoughtfully with my pageviews and comments and links.  I hope you will do the same.
    In the meantime, help redeem this entry 🙂  Why not highlight some tech-oriented bloggers below that serve as good examples?  I’d love to shake up my Reader subscriptions a bit!
    10 comments