Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Choice Sucks

Sorry, I know I missed yesterday's post, but I went right from arriving at my place in Houston to a bbq at my uncle's place and then came home totally exhausted (especially since I hit heavy traffic on the outskirts of Austin and people in Houston don't seem to understand how a tollway works). Anyway, I piggyback on Joel Splosky way too much, but he's way too brilliant for me not to. His latest post is a diatribe on why choice really hampers us rather than frees us. I have a good real-world example: I voted a few weeks ago and there were a ridiculous number of offices to vote for. Honestly, I was only educated on U.S. Senate candidates, U.S. House candidates, the governor positions, and the 7 propositions. Do I really care who the 15 judges are? Not really; especially since they're judges and should be unbiased. With so many things to decide on the ballot, it's no wonder that people don't care about voting. In fact, it's no wonder that many people who do vote suck at it. Similarly, it's no wonder that so many people aren't computer-literate: we're bombarded with too many choices. Joel's post focuses on what should be the simplest aspect of using Windows: leaving your machine. He counted 15 ways to do this if you have a laptop and reduced it down to just 1 choice. People who proclaim themselves as indecisive aren't really stupid people, they've just realized that having to deal with so many choices is kind of stressful. I think it's every computer scientist's duty to make people's lives simpler. My dad said the other day that people have become slaves to computers; maybe he's right. I think it should be my life's mission to fix that however I can, because it's not right for advancements in technology to make our lives any harder than they already are.

Wii impressions keep pouring out onto the web since like no one has a PS3 (or they do and don't care to talk about it), and one dad had some real positive things to share aside from a diatribe on Toys R Us's incompetency. I think what he points out will be a common trend: kids are excited by the interaction they get from the Wii because it's so different. They don't care about realism in graphics, they just want fun. Not everyone is pleased though: the creator of the Castlevania series thinks that the Wii controller is gimmicky and doesn't want to make a game for the console. I think he'll change his mind though because I'm sure he'll be coerced into another iteration given that a movie is in the works. I think this is kind of neat: Wired found a Java applet that explains how BitTorrent works. Worth a look if you're curious. CBS has been using YouTube and is pleased with their results. This is interesting because it's showing that YouTube is good for more than just copyright infringement and may lead to proving people like Dvorak wrong about the Google acquisition being disastrous. If you've been behind on this whole next-gen DVD war, this is a great, concise way to catch up. It's kind of ironic, HD-DVD should win but probably won't. Apple put out a new iPod Shuffle ad and I don't know why but I love it. I guess I just like that it's not another dancing silhouette. Lastly, if you've ever wanted to build your own PC, you should definitely give this a read. That's actually the first part of a series at Tom's Hardware, and everyone in the know knows that they're the definitive source on PC hardware so you can definitely trust them.

Click to enlarge

That would be one of two new one-sheets for Spider-man 3 (the other is just in a different hue). I think it looks pretty good and coincides with the conclusion of that first trailer we saw. Of course, I am a little worried about the Sandman plot line in this movie since him killing Ben Parker is really random. There's also a poster for Curse of the Golden Flower, but it's not quite as interesting. All I have left are a couple of mediocre trailers. One is for the remake of the old thriller The Hitcher, but I have no idea why they figured they needed to bring it back. The other is for Miss Potter, which sounded promising enough except that the trailer gives away 90% of the plot and it feels kind of boring.

Now for a Wednesday Mind Hump:

1. Red means stop. What song makes you stop and reflect on your life, or anything else?
Definitely "You Make Me Wanna La-La". Just kidding, that song is unbearable. I'd have to say "Get By" by Talib Kweli because it's so energetic but it definitely gets you thinking about the struggles of life that most of us will never have to experience and we should be grateful for that.

2. Yellow means caution or yield. What artist or band were you cautious about listening to for the first time, but ended up liking?
Probably The Decemberists. They didn't sound too appealing to me, but their songs really just stick with me. I don't know why, they just do.

3. Green means go. What song makes you want to go go go?
I immediately thought of "Cherry Lips" by Garbage. It should be obvious why if you've heard the song.

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