Feb 06

A good reminder that users are people, too -

Just saw this pop up on hacker news. I find it hysterical AND informative, the best type of blog post.

I just broke up with Pandora

Just sent the following email to Pandora after purchasing Spotify Premium:

I really loved the hell outta Pandora One last year. However, with the advent of Spotify, your star is waning. Every time I find some cool artist and go to look it up on Pandora, you guys don’t have it. My radio stations have less and less variety, and I end up hearing the same songs over and over and over. Also your matching prowess is so bad that I end up getting violin concertos on my dubstep station (and yes I’ve double checked my thumbs up songs to make sure one of them isn’t throwing it off).  

With the evolution of technology, I would have expected your song selection algorithm to keep pace with the general progression of awesomeness that is the internet in general and data mining specifically. However, I’m quite disappointed that Pandora seems to be lagging behind everyone else in terms of innovation.

It is doubly unfortunate that Facebook decided to partner with Spotify instead of with you guys, as I feel that the data that Facebook would have been able to provide about the listening habits of its users would have enabled Pandora to come up with entirely new ways of automatic music discovery.

Anyway, I suppose what I’m saying is Dear Pandora: it’s time for us to break up. We’ve grown apart in ways that I don’t think you’re interested in putting in the effort to make whole. I’m seeing someone else now, their name is Spotify, and they fulfill me the way you used to when we were first together.

Jan 27

Naturally I’m sick the week all the Google craziness goes down. Playing catchup is always hard…

Jan 17

AllTrails Partners With National Geographic, Launches Redesigned, Co-branded Website -

I love it when traditional outdoorsy stuff meets technology, and something cool is born!

(Source: TechCrunch)

Jan 12

Best Buy as a sinking ship: Oh look, there go all the rats! -

There’s been a lot of back and forth lately on Best Buy and if it’s still a viable business model in the long run or if it’s going to pull a Circuit City. On the one hand, it’s really great to have somewhere you can walk into, shop around, and then leave with whatever piece of new tech you want. Instant gratification is pretty awesome. On the other hand, the lack of good customer service, the massive markups on accessories, and the pressure to upsell negate the advantages to a large degree.

If Amazon were to open showrooms for electronics (which I think would be an awesome idea) I think they’d be able to obliterate Best Buy within a year’s time. Heck, Amazon could partner with Ikea in that regard, it’d be awesome.

I think this comment (by one “sirwired”) sums it up best:

They Just. Don’t. Get. It. We have YET to hear a simple statement from Best Buy re: the Holiday Debacle consisting of something along the lines. “We screwed up. Order fulfillment problems happen, but we should have told them by the beginning of December that we couldn’t ship their orders. Everybody gets a gift card equal to 150% of the discount from whatever we charged before Thanksgiving we failed to provide on the item we failed to ship. The people involved for not informing customers of our problems earlier have been sacked.”

Instead we get a mealy-mouthed press release jam-packed with the passive voice as if some anonymous 3rd-party was responsible for Best Buy’s colossal blunder. Then followed up by something slightly less mealy-mouthed, but STILL not mentioning exactly how they are going to make those customers happy nor admitting that the previous press release was completely tone deaf and inadequate. (And that whomever thought publishing it was an adequate response was going to be sacked.) In addition, the CEO’s “apology” on his blog post STILL uses the passive voice! “We’ve worked to make amends with customers whose holidays were made less happy because of our mistake.” Translation: “Our customers need to cut us some slack… thinking an order in November should arrive by Christmas!” What he should have said: “We’ve worked to make amends with customers whose orders we completely botched, causing their items to never ship.”

(Source: consumerist.com)

"The data is a privacy issue because we have an enormous ecological disaster created by badly-designed social media now being used by people to control and exploit human beings in all sorts of ways." -

I think this is a bit like saying “GLASS WINDOWS WILL LEAD TO THE DEGRADATION OF SOCIETY BECAUSE THEN PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO SEE INTO YOUR HOMES, INTO THE VERY SACRED INNER SANCTUM OF YOUR LIFE”

Jan 11

http://boingboing.net/2012/01/10/tonsillectomy-confidential-do.html#more-138319 -

This is a really interesting read into tonsillectomy and the theory (perhaps wrong) that it’s a Good Thing To Do.

I find it fascinating that this pattern repeats itself over and over again in society. A Thing, once taken as Of Course We Do That Thing, is researched extensively and eventually there’s a tipping point after which That Thing is suddenly Maybe Not Such A Good Idea After All.

Jan 10

parislemon: Twitter Responds To Antitrust+ -

I’m going to go make some popcorn and start a betting pool!

Jan 09

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2012/01/riusuke-fukahori-paints-three-dimensional-goldfish-embedded-in-layers-of-resin/ -

This is incredible. Be sure to watch the video.

Jan 08

Why do we pay sales commissions? -

In research by Dan Ariely and others it appears that higher incentives, actually reduce performance. That’s a perverse and counter-intuitive result, but in several different kinds of experiments, groups that were promised the largest amount of money as a reward for doing a task performed that task more slowly, and completed the tasks less often.

I’ve always wondered what the deal was with commissions for sales people and not for everyone else. I find this to be an excellent argument against.