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Faire photo before / after

Some of the Faire photos I’m seeing on the Sea Dog group have that dual-exposure problem when half the group is in sunlight and the other half is in shade. You either get overexposure of the people in sunlight or (more often) underexposure of the people in the shade. I did five minutes of clean-up on this one and was able to pull out a lot of details from the shadow. If I had the full-resolution version to work with, I would have done a lot better, but this was a test.

(OK, it looks like the handle on my slider has stopped working. Look for the green sliver in the middle – you can grab on that and slide it back and forth.)



before
after

Form troubles on Febreze website

When I have a product question, I like to go to the product’s website to find the answer.  It’s not uncommon to not be able to find the information you’re looking for: a startling number of sites don’t have FAQs; the information is organized specifically to support sales & marketing.  That’s just the reality these days, since the website in most companies has been folded into the marketing department.

But every once in a while, I run into a website flaw so annoying it should serve as an example to others: “don’t do this every dumb thing.”


Alex and I have a new dog. We’re finding that even though we are washing him once a week, the dog smell starts to be noticeable on day five after the bath. Alex suggested we get some febreze. I like the idea in theory: something we can spray on our stuff that neutralizes the odor. However, in practice, I crossed out febreze from the list of things I would ever buy because the perfume in the product is so overwhelmingly heavy. The perfume in febreze is  so strong it gives me a headache. It’s not as bad as Glade air “freshener” but I put it in the same category: so-called “fresh” smells that come from a can are never fresh and never “light.”

I heard an interesting story about febreze just a week ago on a podcast. The takeaway from the story (for me, anyways) was that febreze, in its original incarnation, had no scent. It was simply an odor blocker. That’s exactly what I want: A scent-free version of febreze that won’t give me headaches from the cloying, noxious, chemical perfume smell they add so it sells in the car-on-the-lawn states.

febreze pet odor eliminatorSo, as one does, I went to the febreze website to find out if they offered such a thing. I saw every conceivable added scent, even a “pet odor” version, but that says “scented” on it. No dice.

I did, however, find a contact form, so at least I could ask my question on this Saturday morning and perhaps have an answer sometime on Monday.

After filling out all sixteen fields of the form and hitting submit, the form spits back the dumbest, most useless of error descriptions:

Febreze website contact form error messageThis is god damn annoying. I took the time to fill out the whole form, only to be defeated by some half-baked javascript. This is a nightmare from a user-experience perspective. The  form has not been thought out. I should never see a message like this. And if it happened to me, you can bet it’s happening to other people.

Macworld 2012 at Moscone Center West

Alex and I went to Macworld 2012 today at Moscone Center West. Macworld is like a grandparent: she’s beloved, but each year she shrinks a little bit. And when you see her around the edges, you can’t help worrying how much longer she’ll be around.

Macworld is turning into the iPad/iPhone show. I think three quarters of the booths are device cases, covers, arms, attachments, cleaners, accessories or other related gear.  Although I’ve been an Apple Computer person since my Apple II, I’m not much into the gadgets. I finally have a newish iPod, which I love, but not the iPhone nor an iPad. And so really, three quarters of the show is not for me. As a Mac user, I’m used to feeling left out, but I’m not used to feeling left out at Macworld.

And, like I said, it’s shrinking, bit by bit, it seems. If things go on their present course, there will be nothing there but iPad and iPhone booths in a few years. Well, maybe by then I’ll have an iPad.

I made the following observations on the MacWorld 2012 show floor:  

1. Seeing the data recovery booth is off-putting, at best. Yes, I know they are providing a valuable service. Yes, I understand they are great at what they do. But advertising for data recovery is like advertising for chemo. There may be a few of us who really need it right now, but the rest of us avert our eyes, superstitiously, in the hopes that we never, ever need to remember the name of that booth. (I’ve already forgotten).

2. The boys bathroom in Moscone Center needs hooks above the urinals – the same kind of hooks they provide in women’s stalls for their purses. All of us male convention goers have our bag of goodies and all of us go pee and not a god damn one of us likes setting our bag of goodies on the floor anywhere near the god damn urinal. Disgusting!  We also don’t like the alternative – trying to hold our bag with one hand while trying to unzip and unbutton and all the rest, while trying not to pee on our bulging, unwieldy swag bag.

Please, Moscone Center. Give us the god damn hooks. It could not possibly cost that much to install. You could even use the cheap-o plastic ones from the container store a few doors down. It would cost, at most, a hundred bucks.

3. No wifi on the convention show floor is mind-numbingling stupid. Really. Yes, I know, Moscone Center gets a king’s ransom for selling wifi at incredibly jacked-up prices to the booth owners (we’re talking north of a thousand dollars each in some cases), money Moscone Center won’t get if there’s public wifi on the show floor. But Jesus H. Christ, this is the iPad show and every one of these iPads is hobbled without wifi. Let up! Those of us attendees who want to do online things with our laptops can’t do any of those things on the show floor. It’s incredibly frustrating because we all, every one of us, knows the reason: The wifi signal is blocked by Moscone Center’s sickening greed.

4. The show floor is about ten degrees hotter than it should be. It’s always this way, every show, every god damn time. Why can’t it be cooler? Why, oh why? I ask this every god damn show.

 

It’s time to stop using GoDaddy

GoDaddy has been a supporter of nearly every intrusive government regulation imposed on the Internet by governments. Via Reddit: GoDaddy supports SOPA, I’m transferring 51 domains & suggesting a move your domain day.  And then again via Boing Boing, the adorable David Rusensko narrowly averted a Go-Daddy-caused meltdown that would have impacted tens of thousands of his customers:

“They had received a complaint about the content of a site, and that they were removing the DNS entries for weebly.com because of it. I asked him if they had contacted us previously — he responded that they hadn’t. The site in question featured a bad review of a local business, and that business had complained.”

Should you need to register a domain, there are several non-SOPA supporting alternatives available, like HostGator, Name.com and EasyDNS to name just three.

UPDATE: Yeah, they changed their position on SOPA. So what. They still suck. Jonathan Mann (sings) it better than I can say it:

Hypocrisy

Conservatives who turn livid when you bring up the Gingrich-hospital-wife-cancer-divorce story are the same conservatives who brought up Chappaquiddick at nearly every mention of Teddy Kennedy.

Airport

Flight at 11:15…  thought it was at 10:15, so took both my pills at 9:15 but already had one in me in at 8:30 in anticipation of San Diego Airport security theater fail.I am Hunter S. Thompson in the Circus Circus hotel… I am drinking grapefruit and soda in the bar… a cop waddles by and I suddenly smell bacon… but realize it is from the restaurant behind me… Three girls in head-to-toe black, hair tied with silver bows all dance past me in unison… a giant Marine in full combat regalia is having a bad argument, crying into a tiny cell phone… a small guy with horned-rimmed glasses, expensive suit and shoes, with a yakuza-size dragon tattoo wrapping around his neck like a scarf… army boys and girls all around me in the bar (see photo)…

Whenever I open my eyes and look around, there is a lot to see.

“Lie of the year” is 100% true

From Politifact:

Both Republicans and Democrats would no doubt agree that Ryan’s plan for Medicare is a dramatic change of course. But we don’t agree with the ad’s contention that the proposal ends Medicare. Additionally, images in the ad imply that current seniors will have to go back to work to pay for changes to the program. That’s not true either. It’s actually those 54 and younger who will need extra money. With its scenes of seniors going back to work, it seems intended to frighten those who are currently enrolled in Medicare. Finally, the Republicans’ vote was symbolic and didn’t actually change the program. When you add up all those distortions, we find the ad highly misleading.

John Cole responds:

Here’s what is happening:

America turns off the lights, goes to bed, leaving their Mercedes in the driveway. While we sleep, the Republicans sneak into the car, drive it off, and sell it, but they keep the Mercedes hood ornament. They then split the proceeds between their rich buddies, and go out and find a Ford Pinto up on cinderblocks in a field, with the grass growing through the floorboard. They place that in the driveway, cleverly glue the Mercedes ornament onto the front of the Pinto, and sneak off into the night. The next morning, America and Democrats are screaming- “What the hell happened to my car.” Republicans say- “What are you talking about, there is your Mercedes right there, we just modernized it and fixed it up a bit for long-term financial stability,” and point at the Pinto.

Then, the rocket scientists at Politifact drive by to take a non-partisan look at things, see the Mercedes symbol on the front of the car, and tell us all we’re lying about the Republicans stealing our Mercedes.

Evolution

I get it. We’re still evolving. Yuk yuk yuk.

But are we? Evolution happens when the environment stresses an organism, forcing a change in its physiology. What stresses are there on us people? We don’t adapt to fit our environment, we adapt our environment to fit us. We use heaters, we wear clothing, we use lights where it’s dark, we bring water with us where there is none.

..

Update.

Dammit. As usual, I am late to the party.