[Technology] Issues I have with the web

Following my last post, I'll highlight some issues I have:

  • infinite scroll and chunking
  • see once and disappear
  • approximate, imprecise linking (e.g. Facebook comment highlights)
  • inefficient web design (facebook's emphasis on big images in posts)
  • transient content (considerations for privacy, vs. value of permanence)
  • opaque and obscure web structure
  • sharing information via screenshot
  • copyright holder abuse of fandom (Sailor Moon Says)
  • cyclic reinvention; e.g. messaging + voice/video
  • search-first over organization, and low discoverability
  • poor support for attribution (Pinterest is the devil)
  • dynamic articles
  • infinite privacy leaks and lacklustre permission control
  • challenges managing large volumes of information and making a profit
  • the stupid disorganization of ecommerce

infinite scroll and chunking

The example that annoyed me most recently was opening the comment section of a Facebook post in my mobile web browser.  There were several hundred comments.  I did indeed want to load The Whole Comment Section.  Instead, they just allowed me to load like 20 comments at a time.  This really wastes my time and gives me a very fragile context.  It doesn't take much to lose your context on mobile devices; e.g. a message comes in, so you switch to that messenger to reply, and you have like a 50/50 chance of your app/web browser's state being preserved (yay) so you can resume where you left off, or of having it reset (aggressive efforts to conserve memory, I guess), and losing your context (potentially "irretrievably"). 

This is part of what annoys me about infinite scroll.  If I'm interrupted, and my app/page has its state reset, I've totally lost the context in which I was, and my new context is likely different (with new content appearing and old viewed content disappearing).  

Some sites are better at this than others.  reddit breaks things up by pages and encodes references to anchor where you are in a collection of posts.  Twitter is awful; once I've passed a tweet, there's a good chance I'll never find it again.

see once and disappear

I noted Twitter above, but I use Facebook more and this is a huge pain point for me.  Once I've viewed something, if I lose context, it might be gone forever.  A common problem is a friend will share a link when I'm viewing on mobile; I open the link and read a decent article and by the time I'm done, I don't recall who shared it.  When I switch back to Facebook, it has now reloaded the app/browser tab!  I have no idea who shared it now!  My workaround is to pre-emptively like posts, so that at least I can go to the buried Activity History in settings (my interface is in German, so I'm not sure what it's called in English), and see what posts I last liked.  Ideally, there'd be some section that showed you which posts you had read chronologically, so you can always go back a bit.  

approximate, imprecise linking (e.g. Facebook comment highlights)

This baffles me slightly.  Facebook's feed will often highlight a post and in particular a comment made by a friend on the post.  In theory, I should be able to click on the comment they've surfaced, and it should take me to the comment section for that post opened to that comment.  Perhaps that now works on the app, though I no longer use the app.  It used to not, and it still does not on the mobile website, which is very frustrating.  

Rather than taking me to the indicated comment, it just takes me to the top of the comment section.  For a busy post with hundreds of comments, combined with Facebook's inability to actually load all the comments for me in a direct manner (thanks, chunking), means that it can be nearly impossible for me to actually interact with my friend's activity on the post.

inefficient web design (facebook's emphasis on big images in posts)

Presumably this somehow helps keep users engaged?  I find it disrespectful to my time and just an unpleasant experience.  I would appreciate a much more compact interface, so I can easily browse recent activity, choose what I want to interact with, and then drill down into that.  Instead, on my phone, each post in my feed now takes up almost my full screen.  If someone has shared a link, they always find some image to use a preview that I don't want.  On my laptop, I can often see 2 posts.  Also, I'm unsure, but it feels like Facebook might be more likely to promote lengthier posts or posts with images/links in my feed, than more concise posts, which is very unfortunate, as I often care more about actual updates/questions by friends.

My inability to use Facebook and some similar sites efficiently is one of the main reasons why I don't use them much anymore.  It just feels overwhelming and frustrating to use.

transient content (considerations for privacy, vs. value of permanence)

This is really killing me recently.  I think Instagram's app now defaults new posts to be stories.  I hate stories.  Stories disappear after 24 hours.  I hate this because it disrespects me and my time.  It bullies and pressures me into using the app at least twice a day if I'm interested in actually keeping up with my friends' activity.  

Some of the possible benefits to Instagram are having to store less information (but I think they might actually store them beyond 24 hours, visible to just the original poster?), possible increase in privacy (less easy to be haunted by your old activity if it's mostly ephemeral), possibly encourage people to interact with the app more (besides bullying people into using it at least once a day to not miss content, perhaps the limited time that your content is up encourages people to then add new content often, and encourage them to share fleeting thoughts and content that they never would consider giving a permanent home to?).  

A more controversial view on it relates to activism over transient social media (so including Snapchat and Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories).  For some reason, when issues get attention like Wet'suwet'en, BLM, Palestine, etc., people love to post important content ... in a format that will just disappear in 24 hours?  I sometimes wonder if a platform encouraging transience in group discourse like that is a strategy to limit politicization of the platform.  E.g. a number of friends of mine quit using Facebook because the dominant content grew too depressing for them, and they moved to Instagram/Snapchat/Tiktok.

A decade ago, I feel like it was common to say "nothing truly is gone once it's online".  But now I think it's the opposite.  Things rarely persist online.  Even the general web.  5 years ago, I feel like I used to be able to search certain topics like ICON computers used in Ontario in the 1990s, and I could find hundreds of references.  10 years ago I could google my old elementary school (since demolished) and still find photos of it online.  Now I actually can't!   Platforms like GeoCities have gone away.  Google Cache is just not available for a lot of sites anymore.  Efforts like the Wayback Machine are woefully incomplete - almost every time I turn to it, I am disappointed.  Sigh.

Somewhat disturbingly is the intentionality behind part of it.  In Europe, some people advance a "right to be forgotten" which I find disturbing as it gets used by some bad actors in society to cover up their misdeeds and escape accountability.  I am actually in favour of obliging content creators and hosts to correct inaccurate information (e.g. if I was falsely accused of a heinous crime and was cleared, I'd like to oblige hosts to correct that; but I wouldn't want to actually entirely erase the whole affair; it would be worthwhile that the original false accusations were still a matter of record). 

opaque and obscure web structure

This kills me, and it's a somewhat niche problem.  As a computer programmer, I have opportunities to improve my user experience by making my own modifications to the sites I use.  I can write custom style sheets, GreaseMonkey scripts, bookmarklets and extensions to adapt a website's presentation and functionality to better suit my needs.

However, for various reasons, websites make it increasingly hard to work with their websites in interesting ways.  Few websites have what I'd consider a stable "API" or even a human-friendly unstable one.  In particular, CSS classes are all unsemantic, obfuscated nonsense on the user's end, making it a challenge to properly select elements to do interesting manipulations to a page, like converting all dates to a sane Y-M-D format.  

As an example: Since I fell in love with my favourite T.V. show ever, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Netflix 2018), I've started collecting a lot of media related to it.  It's really important to me when collecting that, or memes, or just whatever, that I be able to accurately attribute authorship, the source (e.g. platform), the date-time it was created/found, etc.  Consequently, if I'm going to save a piece of fan art or fan fiction, I like to have a bookmarklet to pop up the key info (e.g. creator username, date-time posted, platform) so I can include it in the saved filename.  However, each website makes it a pain to identify the elements holding those.  

Authorship attribution in general is a failure of the modern web that makes me very sad, given the power we have to do better.  Pinterest and reddit are good examples of failures there.

sharing information via screenshot

This kills me as well.  The dominant way people seem to share textual information around me now is by screenshot.  I can see some appeal to that; it appears literally exactly as the person first encountered, possibly exactly as the author had hoped it would appear.  However, it also makes it nearly impossible to work with.  You can't easily translate it (though machine translation tools actually are working fairly well with image text; but even on Android with the amazing Google Lens, it's still extra steps and more friction and a new, unnecessary risk for error).  You can't easily cut/copy/paste.  You can't easily search it.   It wastes space and bandwidth (an image of text is often many more bytes than just the text itself).  

It's doubly bad because this intersects with transient sharing.  So many Instagram stories of interest: if I want to preserve what I'm seeing, I have to screenshot it!  I can't copy/paste it anymore.  I can't save a permalink to the story (since it will just disappear shortly).  I end up with dozens/hundreds/thousands of poorly-organized screenshots of interesting/important stuff in a folder on my phone.  It's hard to follow-up on, and it's infuriating.  

It feels as time goes on and the Internet "evolves", information is becoming less accessible and more opaque.  I guess there are some benefits to that, but that depresses me.

copyright holder abuse of fandom (Sailor Moon Says)

An on-going issue with the web is the abuse by copyright holders of fair usage by fans.  What kills me about this is when a copyright holder attacks an activity that directly benefits the copyright holder.

I'm quite enjoy the Sailor Moon anime, despite the variety of issues it carries.  I think it's very reasonable for the copyright holders to go after streaming sites that host entire episodes online, when the copyright holder has ensured there is a "reasonable" means to access the content legally.  But in this example, there has been a very popular YouTube channel called Sailor Moon Says that has hosted hundreds of amazing, amusing, entertaining short clips from the series.  This has been an amazing resource for fans to revel in the show that they love and commiserate over so many great moments.  However, last week YouTube removed the channel due to alleged copyright violations. 

Part of my complaint is how easily unfair complaints make it through a platform's reporting process to unfairly penalize fan activity (I wish YouTube had the capacity to give better review and had a greater interest in defending users), but the other part of my complaint is the readiness with which companies attack their customers and fans.  Like, please stop undermining your own communities.

cyclic reinvention; e.g. messaging + voice/video

This makes me feel dead inside.  It's another failed promise of technology and its evolution.  I'm going to pick on messaging + voice/video chat.  NetMeeting, MSN Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, Skype, Teams.  Google Talk, Gmail Chat, Google Hangouts, Google Duo, Google Allo, Google Chat + Meet.  iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram Direct/Chat, Telegram, Snapchat, Signal, etc.  I'm fine with multiple approaches competing against each other, especially from different vendors.  But what feels stupid is the repeated reinvention of the same tools, and re-living the growing pains each time.  

I'm sure there's value in it.  Older approaches had limitations and newer approaches hope to avoid those (while discovering new ones).  It's just exhausting, because each time a new approach starts and matures, users have to relive the the associated growing pains.  And we end up with a ecosystem of dozens of "solutions" that don't interoperate, forcing us to split ourselves and our attention across multiple platforms, complicating the management of our lives and communications.

I am so grateful for e-mail.  A standard format that different providers all (mostly) interoperate well with.  Shame on those who seek to replace it.  Especially with proprietary, closed solutions.

I really loved communications technology, back when the big question was XMPP/Jabber vs. SIP.  I had so much hope and optimism when most of the leading chat networks were switching to XMPP, including facebook Messenger, Google Talk, maybe AIM?  What killed that?  I remember a lot of fuss over adding voice/video on top.  Maybe that was the problem?  Jingle.  SIP.  Eventually people were trying to add their own proprietary extensions.  Next they just gave up and went with their own private protocols.  Was it just depressing business decisions, "why interoperate when we can try to lock people into our platform?!"

Perhaps the open solutions at the time were just ultimately inadequate to enable the rich experiences communications providers strived for.  The fact that friends keep pressing me to install creepy apps that overreach for access on my phone, though, will continue depressing me. 

I really wish I just had one app with an interface that suited me.

search-first over organization, and low discoverability

I'm going to pick on Windows and modern messengers for this one.  Back in my day, it felt easy for me to browse and discover my operating system to understand what it was capable of, in part because of an imposed organization.  I could go to the Start Menu, and programs were pre-sorted into categories!  It was amazing.  Now on operating systems or my phone, if I pop open the list of available apps, it's a disorganized grid, often sorted alphabetically or (for better or worse) recency (where I lose positional context as things keep shifting around as I use them).  Windows settings and configuration experience feels like a mess; there are often multiple views into the same settings, and the different views have different capabilities.  Control Panel/Settings feels like a war between the old paradigm (kept around to keep older users happy and for eternal backwards compatibility) and a desire to have a "fresh new approach" which centres search.  

My issue with search-first is that you need to already know something exists or might exist to know to search for it!  If you're not aware that something is possible or may exist, you can only find it via search by dumb luck.  When things are categorized, and potentially with a hierarchy, you now have a space in which you can browse and explore and discover what's possible.  I'm pretty happy with my settings on, say, Fedora Linux, and how they're organized in GNOME's control centre.  I'm a bit less happy with the settings on Android and Firefox - in part because of that earlier problem of cyclic reinvention.  Re-designing your settings and re-arranging where they're found is incredibly painful when you're forcing users to relearn how to use their devices every 2 years.  Firefox's settings in particular are also becoming very space inefficient, which is making them exhausting to navigate.  

The other area where I'm really hating search is in messaging apps.  When they have it.  Back in my day, a lot of chat histories/logs were well-organized by date.  In some messaging programs, I was able to easily navigate by year, month, day.  I could also do an actual, proper search against the text.  Facebook Messenger, despite having hundreds of millions of users, is abysmal at this.  My two ways of accessing old messages are: infinite scroll (which is horrible, as incoming messages will kick me back down to the bottom, and which suffers from that small chunking problem from before), plain incomplete search results, and no way of selecting by an actual date/range.  

I actually will use the Facebook Download tool to export my messaging history to my computer, and then just use grep to locate what I need.  This can take some more time, but is reliable and successful.  I am still stunned that I can search for keywords that are definitively present in a conversation's history, and Facebook just simply doesn't find them. 

poor support for attribution (Pinterest is the devil)

I am so depressed by this.  Earlier I cited my keen enthusiasm for the new She-Ra.  I'm a member of several online communities for it.  One of the most frustrating things is that people will post fan art they like to Facebook groups or their Instagrams, without actually attributing the artist.  Sometimes it also creates an implication that the poster is the actual creator, when they're not.  Thanks to Google Image Search, I can do a reverse search and often track down the original and identify the artist to give them credit in a comment.  A lot of users are reluctant to put in effort to identify and credit an artist, despite appreciating their work, which feels pretty disrespectful to me.  

In the header, I specifically pick on pinterest.  This is in part because when I do a reverse Google Image Search on an image, I invariably find 90% pinterest hits of people who have all saved the same image to their pinterest, and 99% of them have added no context at all.  This is much worse than on other platforms that have common attribution issues like Facebook and Instagram.  For She-Ra, reddit's SPOP community is actually fairly decent at crediting the artist (wow, given how horrible the rest of reddit is at attribution).  Tumblr and Twitter actually come out on top, in part because of how their platforms work, with reblogging and retweeting and quote retweeting actually linking directly to the original post (yay).  

Besides having pinterest burn to the ground, something I'd love to see is better, more durable embedding of authorship metadata.  I know some creators actually don't really want identifying information of theirs to be associated with their works.  I guess I wish all image/content creation tools more prominently emphasised addition of metadata to images/content (e.g. like how metadata is an important part of music files), and that image/content viewers more prominently displayed it (and not just hiding it behind some properties panel).  I also wish the image transformation tools were more biased towards to preserving metadata (e.g. when cropping/resizing an image and exporting to JPEG, I'd love it if the original authorship metadata carried over by default).  I also wish that when saving media from websites, web browsers would embed the originating URL into the image metadata (!), possibly along with a timestamp (!).  

My craziest desire connects to my problem above with the use of screenshots to share information.  I kind of wish that a screenshot process was intelligent enough to identify the elements on screen that had metadata, that the screenshot would aggregate that metadata and associate it to their relevant region of the screenshot (!).  I see risks to privacy with this, but as an example: if you took a screenshot of several overlapping windows open, one with a photo, one with a piece of fan art, one with a Word document, one with a PDF, and one with a song playing), I'd want the screenshot to have multiple metadata records for each of those items it captured.  I want to be able to look at a screenshot and hover the piece of partially fan art captured in it, and be able to tell who its author was, and the datetime the fan art was created (as recorded in the original image).  Similarly with the author and title of the Word document, etc.  There's a definite problem of people inadvertently capturing information they don't want to share, though, so this isn't that simple of a solution.  

I'd also really like it if some of the larger web companies actually supported content registries, where creators could register content they had produced as theirs, similar to how Content ID works in YouTube.  As an artist, I'd like to be able to upload copies of my work registered to me.  Then, a user could encounter some of my work (perhaps a screenshot of it, or a re-compressed version, that isn't bit-identical), and the registry would ideally work in such a way that it could identify close matches.  This somewhat bypasses the data-heavy approach I dream of with metadata, putting the onus on, say, the web browser or image viewer to maybe generate a representative digest of the media I'm curious about and match it in a registry.  

Regarding reddit in particular, there's a large incentive somehow for people to farm karma with others content.  People will knowingly repost content that was never there's, and sometimes wilfully conflate themselves with the original artist.  I'd really enjoy it if reddit posts actually had a feature to add a link back to a source and an author.  Also, to deny a poster the benefit of karma accrued on a post if it is not their content.  E.g. if they're reposting someone else's original post from 2 years ago, I would like upvotes on the new post to go to the original user's profile if still active.

dynamic articles

This isn't actually a great way to describe them.  However, I'll try to explain.  When you click on an article at a site, and reach the bottom, and suddenly you're scrolling to a new article, endlessly.  Or you're in an article, and a lot of sections unrelated to article proper dynamically interweave themselves into it, similar to advertisements but actually just content from the same site.  E.g. you go to read a story about a new video game and after two paragraphs down there's a video ... not for that video game, but from a feature story on some other game or even a film.  This happens with general news sites a lot, too. I guess it's an attempt to grab the reader to keep them pulled in.  They're reading one story, and you want to keep their attention so you keep highlighting other stories too.  

I hate this.  It's so disruptive and aggravating.  I avoid entire websites due to these practises.  I used to really love Kotaku.  Besides decent coverage on actual news, they also spent a lot of time adding value to their reporting by considering human and social impact atop the facts.  Now it is unreadable.  Pages load painfully.  The dynamic content (videos from other featured stories, partially loading comment sections, other article pages connecting when I scroll past the end) including the abusive volume of advertisements, creates jerky pages where content keeps shifting as I scroll.  Perhaps their greatest sin is splitting up lists like this

  • list item header 1
  • big advertisement
  • list item content 1
  • list item header 2
  • big advertisement
  • list item content 2
  • ...

The humane way of interleaving advertisements would be to be between list items, not breaking up an item between its header and content.  Presumably they feel like having ads humanely placed would just make it easy for a reader to subconsciously ignore the ads, and just look at the space in between.  But now they've annoyed me so much and made trying to read it so hard, that I just avoid their site and don't look at any of their ads at all.  The "ads breaking up content" is doubly frustrating when the content is actually images, so if you basically have an image caption (the header) separate from the image itself, by another, unrelated image (the ad), and the cognitive dissonance in trying to associate the header/caption with which image is supposed to be the content gives me a headache.

infinite privacy leaks and lacklustre permission control

My mind is blown by the state of privacy, security, and application distribution.  Privacy abuses by app developers are rampant.  Systems like Android provide APIs that help reveal the type of access that an app intends on having, which is kind of nice.  You can review it.  But if you don't like it, there's little you can do about it.  Why does this GPS-powered compass need access to my network connection and microphone?!  There is some limited ability to control these, but it's laughably limited.  At one point I remember having the option to revoke some permission only after I would install an app - so the app once installed would happily have several/dozens of seconds from installation to when I could "successfully" revoke permissions, to siphon my precious private data off to their servers.  Huh?

Really, the model I want is a) for an app to access any information or context outside of itself, to go through a controlled API, and b) to be able to - at the time of installation - choose whether I want to allow it real access to that service/information, a limited/virtual access, or no access.  E.g. an app to backup texts requests access to external storage and network connections.  I may want to say yes to the former and no the latter.  I'd rather have an app potentially crash from unexpectedly getting no/fake access to a network, then to have to implicitly trust it.

I'm sometimes stunned that desktop/laptop computer OSes went so long with such poor control over resource access.  It blows my mind how trivial it has always been for a simple "benign" utility to get installed, and instantly pop open a network connection to receive remote commands or exfiltrate sensitive data.  I rely on a network of trust on Fedora Linux, where I have to hope that the volunteer community of packagers and open source projects maintainers are sufficiently trustworthy, helped in part by the open source nature of their work.  There are still regular failures (e.g. an open source application, Node.js dependency, or browser extension gets "bought" by a bad actor who then adds malicious code :\), but it's still somewhat better than the closed source "hip new camera filter app" on the app store gaining 100,000 downloads with ridiculously unsavoury permission requirements.  

I'm grateful that Flatpak and Firejail are trying to do a better job of isolating programs from resources to control risk, but there's still a long way to go.

challenges managing large volumes of information and making a profit

I understand that a lot of what I hate about modern web design is driven by the challenges of managing large volumes of information that people mostly just want to consume briefly and move on.  But these choices still make using a lot of services nearly miserable and present a continuingly failed promise.

I also understand that service providers have real costs, and have real aspirations to grow and evolve, and to do so in our capitalist society, they need to generate a meaningful profit.  Which generally means advertising.  I'm not fully opposed to being advertised too, nor am I opposed to personalized advertising.  In fact, I am very grateful when I see advertisements that actually pertain to my interests, rather than generic ones that are sometimes downright offensive.  (The web should know well enough I'm a vegan by now, so please stop advertising meaty dishes at restaurants to me.)

I do wish advertising networks also just gave me more direct control.  I would really love to be able to actually register some of my interests with them, and some of my disinterests.  Also, advertising fails in a big way with tunnel vision.  I do a single search for a record player, and suddenly I see ads for that same record player all week everywhere I go.  What they're getting wrong: if I already bought that record player, I do not want to see more ads for it.  Advertising something I've already bought to me is wasted advertising opportunity.  If I have not already bought it, then there are two likely reasons: I didn't like the price, or I didn't like that specific product though I wanted something in its class.  I'd really appreciate it if advertisements would focus on trying to actually match me with a better deal (I'm looking at you, 2TB SSDs), or a better version of that product (it took me a long time of searching myself to find the air conditioner I wanted, with advertisers missing out by just showing me ones I'd already looked at and passed on already).  

the stupid disorganization of e-commerce

How does anyone ever manage to successfully buy anything from Amazon?  For such a massively successful company, I remain perplexed by how unusable it is almost every time I go to use it.  Some common issue:

  • I go to search for an item on amazon.com and find it but they do not ship to Canada
  • I search for it on amazon.ca but they do not have it (it's only on amazon.com)
  • I find it on amazon.ca, but it's at a Much Worse Price than amazon.com. 
  • My specific, explicit search terms pull irrelevant results (HOW?!)
    • e.g. I search for a "2TB SSD" and the results are muddled with irrelevant results for 2TB HDDs (where the product page doesn't reference SSD at all) or 1TB SSDs (where the product page doesn't reference 2TB at all).  I'm guessing some sellers are somehow stuffing references in somehow to appear inappropriately in more searches?  Or Amazon is trying to do some "clever" approximate matching, assuming I don't actually know what I'm looking for?  
  • I search for something specific with necessarily ambiguous words (e.g. "bike rack", hoping for a rack for bikes to carry saddle bags, and instead get racks for cars to carry a bike), and have no way to filter what cluster of "bike rack" meanings I mean.  
  • sometimes-available, sometimes-mutually-exclusive filters?  This one makes my head almost explode.  I may be on a site like BestBuy, and I want to look at computers, and they provide me with a variety of filters on the left-hand side, for processor speed, RAM amount, SSD capacity, etc.  I set one of them, and then some of the other filter options disappear (?!).  
  • poorly-structured and inconsistent product information: I'll pick on BestBuy again.  One of the main things they sell are computers.  There are many key specs of a computer that people are interested in when searching and comparing.  And they manage to encode them ambiguously or incorrectly into their product records.  E.g. some HDDs will have their speed in RPM listed, and others won't!  The level of detail on two monitors will differ, as well as the presentation/format of that data, making it hard to effectively compare multiple monitors' on contrast ratio, without having to search each of the product's pages on their manufacturer's websites.  (Don't get me started on the uselessness of Home Depot's website when it comes to shopping for shower heads...)
  • Oh, and sizing on clothing O_O  And the stupid disproportionate amount of packaging (e.g. too lightly packed fragile stuff; ridiculously overpacked tiny stuff), oh and and and...

Ultimately, I accept that there must be something wrong with me here, as many people seem to successfully do a lot of shopping on-line, and e-commerce companies make billions.  I just feel so depressed because it's easy to visualize what an actually-easy and frictionless experience should be, and see the gap between that and what we have. What we have is in some ways more flexible and agile; there's less explicit, specific support coded and maintained for each different type of product, yay?  I am a big fan of actually paying to do the work needed to get an optimal outcome, though.  I want utopia, damn it.

thank you

If you actually read this rant, wow.  Thanks.  Sorry for the typos.  Please leave a comment just so I know you exist.

I miss the predominance of blogs, once upon a time, outside the social media silos.  I'm old now, I guess.

[Technology] Complaints

I sometimes feel like most of my thoughts on technology in the past several years are too negative.  I mostly focus on deficiencies and frustrations.  I end up not wanting to share those, as they don't often feel constructive.  I think that's because it's easy to express them as a value judgement. 

I dislike criticising a technological choice while implying some sort of inferiority in the developers that made that choice.  People make bad choices, and so do I, but also many choices that appear "bad" are actually very reasonable given the context, and it's hard to know what that was.  So I don't like squawking about it.

That said, I think it might be worthwhile to sometimes express my issues with technology, as those are often the points I'm interested in trying to improve.  So I'll try to do some posts about that in the future.

[General] Opinions

It feels like every other time I go about writing here, I make a comment on voice.  I mean, I comment on how I haven't written in a while, and what it means to have something to say.  Looking at the last few posts, that's not quite true.  But there are some, and they dominate my head space.

I used to have a lot of opinions on a lot of things.

I haven't really found value in sharing them in the last 5 years, perhaps. 


#General #Microblog friends #Technology life gnome music google iaido guelph fedora vegan bugs food school #GNOME linux technology #School jodo blogger gxml #Budo #Photos work web nature happy vala firefox android art Flesherton anime internet travel home open source stress kendo kosmokaryote writing animals birthday dad science security canada computers environment future cookies development german language photos programming reading sick sleep snow video winter GUADEC cell phones css fun learning love me movies people phone picasaweb ta time christmas evolution vancouver vegetarianism #Vegan Toronto ai git gsoc identity new zealand society speech vlogbrothers adventure birds communication dreams facebook google+ gseta happiness libgdata netflix night responsibility skedge stars tea tv video games wind mobile Nintendo baking cake consumerism design fedora 17 javascript memories nlp organisation photography quote tablet uoguelph Josh Ritter animalia blogging books bug encryption family humanity magic meaning memory money pidgin rain recipes speechdispatcher sushi weather #Reading Spain TAing The Frames cat chocolate cold cycling death emusic film flight genderguesser gitorious halloween health knowledge languages liv mail new years nightmares politics productivity psychology software swords the legend of zelda ubuntu web development xml xorg youtube Thanksgiving acer bc busy change conversation cooking duolingo emacs fedora 18 galaxy nexus gay rights gmail japan libxml2 martial arts materialism mozilla nerdfighteria nostalgia privacy rhythmbox sound space university upgrade valentines wahoo walking water web design Con-G Europe John Green Scott Pilgrim age animal welfare apple autumn bash blog brain brave breath of fire II calm camera canada day clothing comments confidence conservation creativity culture dance dataloss djaqua duplicity e-mail emotion english errors feminism gdom germany goals google reader gtk humour intelligence japanese laundry law light math morning moving ottawa peterborough pets philosophy pie quality research sei do kai shopping spring style summer value village vday vonage website x11 #Life New York alone anime north anxiety argument backup budo buffy business cats computer science concert copyright data loss diy eating economy education energy exercise failure fedora 19 feelings file systems flowers freedom french friend games gdata greyhound growth habits heat history house html ice cream im information java joy koryu laptop living lost microsoft mood moon muffins mystery news nz pain photo php physics pirates pizza play poverty preupgrade progress purple python rae spoon reality reflection religion rss self serialisation sharing skating social sun synergy tachi uchi testing themes thesis thinking thought thoughts transit turtles veggie challenge velociraptors violin weekend weird yum zellers API Air Canada Empathy Grimes Hank Green Hugo Jane Austen Lord of the Rings Nexus One OCUS Sudbury Trick or Eat arboretum audible autonomous automobiles beauty bike blogs browsers camping cancer canoeing celebration charity chrome cleaning colour community content corporations crafts decay decor depression depth disaster drawing epic equality experience faery fest farmer's market fedora 12 fedora 16 fedora 20 fedora 22 fedup fireworks gender ghetto ghosts glib gnome blog gnome shell google talk green hair hobocore hungry icarus instant messaging interest introspection jobs last exile luks macbook mail-notification mario meat in vitro mind mom moon festival motivation mtp ninjas oh the humanity pagans pants papers past performance perl phones picnics pitivi plastic pride pumpkin pumpkin pie quiet thrill receipts rogers rpm seminar sewing simple simplicity sleep deprivation smells soy milk speech dispatcher sports stories story telling strange streamlines swimming telephone temperature texting thrift stores time management time travel tragedy truth understanding united states urban ecosystems usability usb veganism voice volunteering webschwerver wild wireless working world yojimbo zoology Avatar: The Last Airbender Blassreiter CIS*2750 CIS*6890 Czech Republic Diablo Dresden Codak Dunedin Dutch Blitz Electric Networked Vehicle Elliott Brood Ender's Game France Fringe GNOME 3 HTC Hayao Miyazaki Mario Kart Montréal Network Manager Newfoundland Nintendo Switch Ontario Ouran Host Club Richard SVC Samsung Samurai Champloo Santa Claus Studio Ghibli TCAF US academics adb advertising aeroport algonquin amusing animal agriculture apartment ask automation awkward bad movies banana bats battery beard belladonna beta bicycle book branding breakfast brno bus buses buy nothing day cabin calgary candy cards cars catastrophe celebrate celtic chat cheap cheese childhood china chinese calendar cities clarity clean clock comics compassion compiler computer conspiracy theorists consumption context convention cookie cool cornerstone cosplay cottage country court creation cthulhu cupcakes curiosity cute dancing dark themes dbus definition deja-dup democracy despair detachment dinosaurs discomfort dns dodgeball dragon dress dust dystopia earth earth day efficiency eggs elections email enhanced history ethics evil exhausted expectations exploring ext3 ext4 fail fair trade fall fashion favourite feedly ferry focus fonts formal free friendship fruit fudge full moon furniture gaelic game boards garden gardening gee generosity genetics gimp gir gobject good google hangouts google wave government grading gratitude green roofs groups gsec guerilla gardening haircut hakama help homosexuality honesty howl hp human rights humanitarianism humility hypocrisy ice images imaqua instagram integration intellectual property internet explorer jabber jazz jelly bean jokes kernel keyboard knife labs last exile: fam the silver wing laurena lazy letters library libxml livejournal lizzie bennet loneliness loss lovely lyrics maps maturity meditation melancholy metadata microbes microfinancing microwaves moon cake morality mother music concert muso jikiden eishin ryu myth namespaces nasa nautilus nerdfighter neural networks nintendo 3ds normal normality notes obsolescence oceans open open souce open standards panasonic paper parties patches peanut butter perception personal perspectives philanthropy plants pleasant poem politeness potluck preparation problems ptp pulseaudio quidditch racism recreate redundancy relationships relax repairs resizing richard's room roomba roses rsync running sad sadness salsa samurai sanity scary schwarting seasons self-esteem self-navigating car selinux semiformal senility sensitivity sentimental sheep ships silicon motion sleeping in sms social justice software engineering solitude solutions songs soup speed spelling ssh star wars strangers stupid success sunset surreality survival skills suspense sustainability sweet sympathy symphony tardigrades tasks teaching technical communication and research methods test tests thrift tim tams time and space tired tools tracker tradition tranquillity transience trees trust tumblr twitter update user experience utopia via vihart vlog waffles warmth waste waterloo wave web comic webfonts webkit wii wiki winter is coming wizard wonder woods words xmpp yoga youth zoo #Gaming #Wishlist #anime #general 1. is anyone reading this? 1602 1984 2. you win a prize! 2008 2014 24fps 3. gimme a call to collect 404 A Short Hike All My Children Andy Griffith Argentina Armstrong House Avatar: The Legend of Korra BarTab Beach House Boston Boston Summit British Columbia Businesses C CIS*6050 Cambridge Christopher Plummer Claymore Creatures Darker than Black David Attenborough Dear Wendy Docking Station Dollhouse Earthbound England Excalibur FOMO February Fergus Final Fantasy IX Fire Emblem GError GNOME Files GSA Go Google Play Music Hunger Games I am not okay with this I believe in a thing called love I'm a wizard IRC Ikea Ireland JRR Tolkien King Arthur Lost Lagoon MIT Mac OS X Madrid March Massachusetts Matlock McGuinty Melodies of Life Merlin Michael Cera Mother Mother Mr. Tumnus Narnia Neil Gaiman New York Philharmonic Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Nintendorks Norns North Korea NotesFromNewYork Olympic OpenShot Orphen Orson Scott Card Oscars PEAP Pauline Johnson Pete Peterson Planet Fedora Porco Rosso Questionable Content R ROM Rent S SIM Wireless Sauble Beach Sega Sega Genesis Selenium Shakespeare She-Ra Snakes and Lattes Splatoon Star Trek Steve Grand Stranger Things ThanksLiving The Darkness The Devil is a Part-Timer The Fifth Estate The Guild The Hobbit The Stand Tianjin Tim Hortons Tolkien UI UK UX VPN Will Grayson Will Grayson Wolves in the Wall WordPerfect Xiki [General] abrt absolutism abuse academia accessibility active activism activity addiction adreama adrift adulthood advertisement air airport express airship ajax al gore alarm clock albums aldiko alice in wonderland alien alistair summerlee amateur amazon ambience ambition amy winfrey anaconda and imperfection angle angry birds anhosting animal cognition animation anon anonymity ant apache apology appearances appreciation aqualab arcade architecture arduino arrogance assassins assignments association analysis astrid asus eee top asynchronous ati attachment attitude attribution audio aural abuse authentication authenticity automake automarker avatars awesome b43 backpain backtrack3 backyard bounty bad bagel bandwidth banjo banks barbarians barefoot baseball bathroom beaches beautiful bed bees beetles being belief bellaqua benedict cumberbatch berlin bertrand russell bill gates biofabrication biology biometrics bit rot bitcoin black and white blame blockbuster bloomberg blue board games bohemian bold bon thé place bonds border boredom botany boxing day boy brain scoop brickworks broadcom broccoli browsing bubbles bubbly buildings bunnies burn bus stops butterflies buttons c# c++ cafe calendaring calligraphy camel camera obscura cameras canadian english canopy capitalism captivity careless caring cast causality cbc cedar row cello censorship certainty cgi chalk challenger changing locks chaos theory charm cherry blossoms chickadee chickens chivalry choir chopsticks chores christchurch christianity chudan church cijf cinnamon classes clif clorox clorox green works cloud cloud atlas clubs cname coca cola codeine codeviz cognition coincidence coins color comfort commons communism competence competition competitive coughing complaints completeness compliments conference configuration conflicted confusion consciousness consent conservatives conservativism console construction constructive criticism contagion contest contributing convenience corpses cough suppressants coughing coupons courageous crashes crates crayons crazy creative commons criminals crisps criticism crosscanada crowd crtc cry crying cryptic cryptozoology csh cuddles cult currency current tv curse customer service customisation cuttlefish cvs daily grind data data mining databases dating david bowie dconf debate debug symbols debugging delicious design patterns desktop desktop summit destiny dftba diet difficult digimon digital receipts disabilities disappointment discordianism discourse discoverability dispute dissection kit distraction diyode dnf doctor who doctors documentation dokuwiki doubt doughnut dpkg drab drano drano prevention dream dreaming drinking drm drowning dryers drying dtwydt ducks dvds dying dynamic typing ease easter easy ebony jewelwing ebooks ecards economics editors eeetop el paso elder neglect electronic receipts elements elitism ellen page embarrassment emily graslie emptiness empty enchant end of enterprising environmental science symposium eog epiphany eplugin equipment essentialism ether euphoria evoaqua experiment experimenting expertise extensions extortion facades faith falafel familiarity fan fancy fantasy fascism faun favicon fears fedora 11 feed me feedback festival fibonacci fiction fiddler crab field guide field identification figment figures of speech file formats finances fire fish fitness fixing flac flash light flesherton fling flexibility flour flow flying footprints forceps forgottotagit fork fortunate fortune found fragaria frameworks fraud fred penner free time freezing french fries fresh friday friend's wedding frog fspot funding funerals funny fury fuse gargoyles gdb geek geeks gf3 gi gifts gio gitlab gjs glass globalnewtgames glory gloves glue gluten gm gmo gnome keyring gnome software gnome-control-center go ninja go go transit goat gods goodbye goodfella's google assistant google books google calendar google chrome google wallet gp2x gqe grad graffiti grammar graphing graphviz grass green beaver grey county groceries growing up gtest gtg guts gvfs gvfs metadata gypsies habit hal halls hard hard drive hard drives hardship hardware harry potter hdtv heart heart break heaven 17 hemlock grove hewlett packard hijinx hiking hoaxes hobbies holidays homelessness homework honey badgers honour horatio hornblower horror hostels hosting hot house of cards hp lovecraft hugs humblebundle humbleness hunting hyperlinking hyrule i am a carpet ibm thinkpad x41 icalendar ice cream sandwich ice rain icthyology ignorant ill image image editing imagination impermanence inadequacy inaturalist inconvenience independence india individuals industry infinity ingrid michaelson inhumanity injuries ink innovation insects installation intel interactivity interlocutor internet tv invertabrates io irish irony isolation it it is indigo james bond java 13 jedi jikiden joke journalism journey judgement julian assange julie thiel justice kata kayak keys ki-ai killme kim taylor kinder kindness kirby kitchen kitzl kiva knights knots kodak koodo kung fu labels landau sacamoto late laundromat led legend lending lenovo lessons letsencrypt letstrace letter writing liberalism liberals libnotify libreoffice librpm lifehacker lilo limericks limits linksys liquid lists live wallpapers livecd liveusb loans local local food local install login london losher lots of hugs mac mini machine learning machine vision madness mae magic school bus magical maintainership majesty malaria malls mantis shrimp marine life marketing marking massages matrices maturation may seminar meat media medicine mel's diner memory leaks mental health meow mercy messaging metacity metaphor methodology mezzo forte micropayments mild mild weather military milk mindhacks minimalism misanthropy miscellany misery misfortune missed the boat missing mlp modelling moisture mold molly parker monitors monologue more cats mosquitoes moss mother's day mounting mouse moxies muffin muffinfilms mundane murder museum mushishi mushroom soup mushrooms musicals mutual funds my slumbering heart mysql nameservers nanowrimo national treasure natural language processing naturalism nausicaa navigating necessity neighbours nervous netgear network new new users newspaper hat next year ninja turtles nodelist nointernet noise noisy nominate non-root norse noses not really dying notebooks notification-daemon novels november fair nuclear war numbers numix obama obligation obliviousness obscure ocz ogg oggenc olap olive omote open formats open music openness openoffice optimisation optimism orcas orchestra oreo oreos org-mode origami oscar otr overheat owen sound package management packagekit packing paint shedding pan pancakes panda parallelism paranoia passport patents patience pattern recognition pdo peace peaceful pen pence pender penguins penmanship perfection pet rocks physical piano pickman's model picnik pidgin plugins pikmin pintsize pipelight pirate festival pizza hut plagiarism planning plans playground playlists plumbing plushies podcast poetry points pokemon polls pomplamoose positions posse post posters postmodernism potatoes potlucks power ppc practise prejudice premier pressure pretty pride and prejudice priorities private processes professionalism progressive web apps projects promise protest proud purchases pwa qt quarantine rad radeon railroad randall munroe raop rats reagan recursion recycling redhat reductionism refactoring refrigerators regret relativism release renew renfrew repetition report resolutions resolve resumes reuse reuters reviews revolution rhino rhps ricola risk road trips roar robots rockwood rot rover rtm ruby day ryu safety sanctuary sand satisfaction savages scary movies scheduling schneier scholarships scooters scp screenshots script seals search secret world of arrietty secrets seitei self-interest self-respect self-sufficiency self-worth semesters senescence sessions setbuilder settlers of catan sftp shame sheepo pistachio sheila patek shell shells sherlock holmes shipping shogun shotwell shoulder bag sigh signal sim city simafort simpsons sincerity singing sjr skill skunks sky slackware slashdot sliver small smartphones smiling snails sneezing snowboarding soccer social dance social media socis soft solemn someonesmotherwantstoadoptme song sony sophistication sorbet sorrow sparklers speed river spell spellchecking spies spilt milk splendid splendor splinter spoilers sponges sql squaresville sr ssd sshd stanley park starry night starving steampunk storage strawberries strength structured information struggle stuff stylus suburi sucks sugar super mario super mario land 3d superiority superstition surprise surprises surreal sushi surrender swings systemd systems tabs tachi uchi no kurai tail coats tameshigiri tarot taxes tears technocracy teddy bears tedtalk term termcap terror the duke the fault in our stars the hulk the human league the irregular at magic high school the onion theatre theory thingsidon'twanttodo tim berners-lee tim mcgraw timber timbre timeliness tin tin toaster todo toilets tolerance tonight toomuch touch screen touchpack tour tourniquet towels toys trac trailer translation travel buddy treestyle view trex triumf triumph trivia trouble tweak twist tx2500 tx2617 typing ugly logos umbrellas un dinaru underwold unemployment universe unlimited blade works updates upgrades uploading urban agriculture urban ecology urchins vagrancy vagrant vague but exciting valadoc validation values vampires vanilla ice variety vegetables velvet burger verb version control vi vinegar violence voip vpnc vulnerable waf wandering wanting war warm wayland weapons web hosting webcomic webcomics werewolves whales what a wonderful town whatsbetter whic are also lazer powered white spot wifi wii u wikisource will williams wings wisdom wishes wizardry wolf wonderland wordplay world cup world water day writing voice xenophobia xephyr xinput xkcd xpath yahoo yay yyz z-index

Blog Archive