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Friday, December 26, 2008


Dear Microsoft Outlook,

Thank you for letting me know that the appointment I am creating conflicts with another appointment in my calendar.  

You did a lot of hard work to figure out that I have another appointment at the same time.  Since you've already done all that work, do you think maybe you could tell me WHICH APPOINTMENT IT CONFLICTS WITH?  I know it's fun to keep things to yourself, but it would really be helpful for me to know.

Conflicted in Virginia

Friday, December 19, 2008

Leave My Freakin' Software Alone

Enough with the software updates already. In these days of everything being connected to the internet, vendors are quick to push updates on us frequently, and it drives me nuts. Here are some of the worst annoyances.

Comcast Cable Box / DVR - Comcast feels the need to update the firmware on my cable box every other month or so. This happens transparently and the only clue I have that it happens is when I press a button on my remote and something completely unexpected happens. Not once have I ever felt like one of these updates improved the service. If anything, it usually makes things worse. Features that I used to be able to access with one button press are now buried three buttons deep. Just stop messing with it already.

Microsoft Windows - This one is too obvious. The amount of updates and reboots is simply ridiculous. I'd rather MS just bundle all the updates into one monthly download than mutliple downloads in a single week. Also, I thought Vista was supposed to be more secure? Why do I need security updates every other day AND suffer through those annoying UAC (User Account Control) pop-ups? One or the other must go.

Firefox - Most Mozillaphiles rave about the ability to use add-ons to customize the browser, but few talk about the ensuing update mania. Even if you only use a handful of add-ons, the browser will nag you every few days to perform some kind of update. Yeah, you can opt-out of automatic updates, and live without them, so I suppose this is only half as annoying as the other examples.

Friday, December 12, 2008

We Told You So

A long time ago, we ranted about Microsoft's licensing practices for XBOX accessories. For those of you playing the game Rock Band using the bundled wired guitar, this is what one blog says about that:

On wired and wireless guitars
It’s no surprise that Microsoft asks for quite a bit of pocket change to use their proprietary wireless technology, and rather than pay the price and have the two next-gen versions sell at different price points, Harmonix decided the best thing they could do for consumers was to decide against wireless Xbox 360 guitars.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Guest Rant: Football

Every so often, I read a rant that speaks to my sentiments. Here is a rant worthy of appearing on R&RoT:

Football Playoffs

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Alumni Associations

It seems like the only contact I get anymore from my High School and Fraternity alumni associations is postcards or e-mail asking me to purchase an alumni directory, or call an 800 number to make important updates to my information in the directory.  And by the way, now that my important information is updated, would I like to pre-order an exclusive copy of the directory?

These directories might be useful if I had a hobby of sending Christmas cards to the old addresses of people I met once at a party in 1989.

To reflect this frustration graphically, I created the following chart and posted it on GraphJam:

Monday, December 01, 2008

Grocery Circulars

Above is a picture of two flyers we received on the same day from the same grocery store (Bloom).

Notice the quite different prices for the same items - steak, apples.  Similar differences are found throughout the flyer.  Some items offer 50% off in one version, 1/2 off in the other.  Other items are $2.99 in one, and 3 for $9 in the other.  And on and on.

Only upon close inspection did we realize that one was for our local store and one was for the store in the next town over.  (Good news, our local one was the one with the cheaper prices).

1. It is annoying to think as a society that we are wasting so much time putting together all of these different flyers for different target audiences

2. I actually went to Giant one time to get something on sale, and got charged a higher amount at the register.  When I complained to the store manager, they showed me the price in the sales flyer.  Only when I got home did I figure out that the ads I had looked at were not for my local store.

This really wilts my bloom.