October 20, 2008

"Is that Dave Coulier?"

Cheeth alerted me to this literal version of Tears for Fears' "Head Over Heels", done by the same person that did the "Take on Me" one. Funny stuff.

October 15, 2008

"There's No (Long Pants) In Baseball!"

I was a huge baseball fan growing up. But, a combination of missteps and blunders culminating in divisional realignment and the strike caused me to turn my back on Major League Baseball in 1994.

I will occasionally catch a glimpse of a game on TV or something, but I would be hard pressed to tell you who current players are, or what teams are ahead in the (now meaningless) pennant race. Flipping through the channels today, though, I saw something that completely freaked me out.

Apparently, baseball players wear long pants now. Not just long, but hanging down past the ankles dragging in the dirt kind of long. When did this happen?

I'm going to set aside all of my rants about disrespecting tradition, because they've been falling on deaf ears all these years anyway. Instead, I'll just step right to this: Does no one realize how stupid this looks?

Oh, and in related news, apparently they have baseball teams in Florida now. Who knew?

October 9, 2008

An Open Letter to CrashPlan

This worked so well last time, I thought I'd try it again.

(cc'ed to support@crashplan.com)

Dear CrashPlan,

So, I launch the front end to CrashPlan tonight and find that suddenly everything looks a little different. Turns out from checking the log, my CrashPlan client updated itself last night. Wow! What new features/gotchas did that bring?

Hmm... There's nothing about any new release on the CrashPlan blog. The release notes on your site are still from the June release. The "User Guide" PDF on your site (the hard to find one that's only linked to from the download page and not the support page) is still from the December 2007 release.

So, now, I have a piece of software running on my computers (I bought three Pro licenses) that operates differently than it did before with different settings and options, yet I don't get any documentation about the changes? Do you plan on updating either the release notes or the "User Guide" soon? Given how out of date the "User Guide" is, I'm guessing the answer is "no".

It's not a bad thing to autoupdate software, but it's a horrible idea to do so when:

A) none of your very sparse documentation ever mentions the possibility of an autoupdate.
2) there is no setting in the application to prevent an autoupdate from happening.
d) you make available absolutely no information about the new version, or changes, or anything like that.

Bad form, CrashPlan.

October 7, 2008

Pipe Wrench Fight

a-ha is my absolute all-time favorite Norwegian pop band, so I was excited to come across this video the other day. Of course, anybody who has seen television has seen the video for "Take On Me". This little gem takes the video, and replaces the song with a... more literal version.

October 2, 2008

Googling ex-girlfriends

Derek sent me a link to an Onion article that ends with a reference to "Googling ex-girlfriends" which made me think that it's been quite a while since I've ever tried Googling my ex-girlfriends.

The one and only time that I did actually try Googling ex-girlfriends, I was stymied by the fact that either I didn't know enough about their current situations (married name, location, etc.) to get a fix on them, or they had a common enough name that there was no way to find the specific person I was looking for in the Google morass.

I was struck by the wide variety in all the results that came up when looking for a specific name, however. While I rarely found the person I was looking for, I found plenty of people that were arguably more interesting than the girl I had dated, though I guess they'd have to be something notable to be ranked so high on the Google search. This discrepancy between reality and the results caused me to reflect on just why I was even looking for these people in the first place.

Why do people Google their ex-girlfriends (or ex-boyfriends/spouses, etc.)? If I ask you, you'll say you're just curious to see what they're up to, or you want to make sure they're having a good life or something like that. But, that's all baloney. There's only one reason people Google their exes, and that's to make sure that their ex is somehow more worse off or miserable than they are. People want validation for their own miserable experience, as well as ensuring that their ex is somehow worse off for not being with them anymore.

I've already moved through the whole Kubler-Ross stages of grief about my own miserable lot in life, and in general I'm not the sort of person who likes other people to suffer. So, I guess that's why I haven't spent a whole lot of time Googling my own ex-girlfriends. However, this all got me to thinking about what it would be like if I was comparing my own life to that of the more exotic people who would come up in my Google searches.

I devised a little experiment whereby I would first compile the names of every girl I ever kissed, then whittle it down to the subset comprising every girl who ever kissed me willingly, thus eliminating truth-or-dare hookups and that one really awkward scene where the police were called. I would then enter each name into the search box at Google.com and click the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button to go straight to the highest ranked result. (By the way, the first commenter who attempts to sully my little sociological experiment by making some off-color comment using an alternate meaning of "Lucky" will get smacked, or, complimented if it's particularly clever.)

I'm putting the following constraints on my research: Each name will be enclosed in quotation marks. Each name will be typed in using the form in which I would expect to find it written. If the person goes by a nickname or diminutive most of the time, then that will be used. However, if the diminutive is normally only used in a casual setting, I'll use the regular given name. If I know the married name, that will be used. Otherwise, I'll use their maiden name.

The Results:

Ex-Girlfriend #1 is a professor in the Philosophy department at Spring Hill College. A rather pretentious one from the looks of her website... Since I wouldn't want to be this person or even know this person from the looks of the site, I'm going to go ahead and call this one for me and say that I'm better off than the person that Google's turned up in this search.

Ex-Girlfriend #2 is a veterinarian in Madison, Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the name I searched for is gender-neutral enough that I could be looking at a guy. It's unclear from the LinkedIn profile I landed on. I'm going to give this round to the veterinarian, unless, of course, he/she is a post-op transexual veterinarian.

Ex-Girlfriend #3 brings up a Classmates.com profile, and although it's not really filled in, it appears to be a direct hit. The town and the timeframe match up with the actual person I was searching for. There's no other information there, so it doesn't tell me what she's doing now or anything, though. So, I'm disqualifying this round and moving on.

Ex-Girlfriend #4 is an orthodontist outside of Austin, TX. Orthodontist beats desk jockey, so orthodontist wins.

Ex-Girlfriend #5 is a middle-aged lady holding up a glass of champagne in her Facebook profile. I don't have a Facebook account, so I don't know if it would show me any more than this if I did. Either way, she's ugly, and apparently a drunk. I win this one.

Ex-Girlfriend #6 is a LinkedIn profile for a product designer and computer software consultant in Zürich, Switzerland. It seemed a little too good to be a girl that I actually dated, but then I noticed the LinkedIn profile mentioned BYU, so I might have scored another direct hit with this one. Zürich beats Tucson.

Ex-Girlfriend #7 is the former human resources director of a San Francisco company and "the 2nd former director of that company to be sentenced in the nation's first criminal trials for stock options backdating". Whoops. Let's just call this one for me and move on...

Ex-Girlfriend #8 is a profile at an athletics-geared social networking site of which I was previously unaware. I can see right away from the picture on the profile that this is the actual person I was seeking, and I can see from the data on the profile that said person is a way better athlete than I am. I'll call this round for her.

Ex-Girlfriend #9 is another LinkedIn profile of someone working in the Georgia State Department of Human Resources. I'm calling this one for me because that just sounds so boring.

Ex-Girlfriend #10's name is such a distinctive spelling that Google only has a single entry matching that query. It's a Classmates profile of the actual person I'm looking for that doesn't have much info at all. It does list a married name, though, and if I rerun the query with that name, I get another high school alumni page with even less info. Boo.

Ex-Girlfriend #11 is a swimwear designer. That's way cooler than me, but the swimwear's hideous, so I'm calling this one a wash.

Ex-Girlfriend #12 is a legal marketing consultant in Ohio. Her picture on her site is better looking than me, so I'm going to give this one to her.

Ex-Girlfriend #13 works in community journalism, whatever that is. Her website says she lived in Japan for 6 years, so that right there makes her cooler than me.

Ex-Girlfriend #14 arrives at a page of someone who has chosen an online pseudonym using the first name of her favorite writer and the last name of her second favorite writer. This just happens to coincide with the real actual name of the person I'm searching for. The person I found is an English high school pretentious aspiring writer girl. Since she's British, I shall use words like "wanker" and "prat" to describe her. Either way, I win.

Ex-Girlfriend #15 links to a page about an opera singer in the Juneau Opera. I was sure that this wasn't the person I was looking for until I saw a picture on the page and saw that it was exactly the person I was looking for. My memories of the time period in which I spent dating this person are really hazy in my mind, but I don't honestly remember her as a singer at all, much less at the level you'd have to be to perform with any sort of opera company. I feel bad for not knowing or remembering that, like I've really underestimated her or something, so I've got to give her the win here.

Ex-Girlfriend #16 is a representative on a church council in Newfoundland. She loses, because, well, it's Newfoundland.


I was surprised that I found any of the actual people at all. I assumed every single search query would be miles off the mark. So, that's something. One other surprising thing was that at one point I reran one of the queries to check something and noticed a different page came up first. Google's page ranking is so dynamic I saw it change in just a few minutes. For fairness sake, I went with the first one I found.

Other than that, it was much as I expected, and I feel that I effectively proved the hypothesis that random people found on Google are cooler than me.