Suck: Camera edition

We spent a wonderful Thanksgiving visiting my sister and her wife in the mountains. Great food, great company, even our menagerie of hounds behaved well (except for the torn off nail from “zoomies”) I even brought my “big” camera to take “good” pictures. Sigh.

My main digital SLR is a second hand Canon 5D. Bought from a good friend, who lovingly maintained it, it was in great shape in 2010 when I bought it. I also have a couple of the fabulous Canon L series lenses, so the combination takes great pictures.

However, since I bought a Canon G12, I haven’t used the 5D as much. This weekend was to be different.

eos_5dI pulled the 5D out of the bag, put the 24-70 F2.8 zoom on (a MONSTER chunk of glass) and the troubles started instantly. After a couple of frames, the reflex mirror “fell off” the frame. Fuck. Not broken, just flopping around loose.

Sigh, my father was there, with his canon Rebel Digital SLR, so I figured he could borrow the lens. Quickly he realized that it wasn’t autofocusing. Fuck.

So, now my best DSLR body, and the best glass I own are both knackered.

(I still have my older 20D body, so I tested the lens on that, yep, no autofocus).

Time for the shop. Hope it isn’t too expensive. At least I will get the sensor cleaned really good too.

Linked in bullcrap

I have ranted often about LinkedIn, from their desire to be a destination as often and for as much time as Facebook, a tall order indeed. Many of the people I know in Marketing are hailing it as the B2B marketing platform, praising the blogs, the opinion leaders they have recruited, and the communities that can be created.

I naturally have a LinkedIn profile, and I am a member to many of these communities that are relevant to my field, and I will admit that there are some interesting discussions. But there is a downside. First is the volume of notifications. Holy moly, my social tab of my Gmail account must get 30+ notification emails a day (I am sure there is a way to turn that off, but like facebook, LinkedIn doesn’t make things like that easy). And they are mostly lame.

Read more…

The idiots have won: Time to remove the “Reply All” option in email

Microsoft, Apple, Thunderbird (indeed, all MUA’s):

Time to kill/hide the Reply all option
Time to kill/hide the Reply all option

It is time to remove the “reply all” option. I know that there are valid use cases for it, but alas, the general population has failed to grasp the implications of this seemingly innocuous button on their email. Yes, there are times that people really really do want to spam their colleagues like it was a listserv, but this is an edge use case.

Unfortunately, the idiots who populate the corporate and social world today seem to think that the normal use of email is to reply all. I have even heard them justify this by saying “If all those people were copied originally to the invite to meet for drinks on Friday, then I need to let them all know I am in.”*

Even educated, scientists who I work with have this affair with the reply all button.

Back when I was at Cisco in the early ‘oughts, we had these huge mail storms. People used mailing lists, and sent trivial status updates to literally thousands of people (good reason to limit distribution list access), to which many would reply “Please remove me”, of course this lead to a lot of other people replying the same, and suddenly you have an email thread with 500 replies in less than an hour, with absolutely no commercial value.

Time for the nuclear option:

  1. Remove the button completely – yes, this makes life more difficult for people who have legitimate uses.
  2. Make it available as a menu option – prefer buried a couple layers deep. I know this breaks my mantra of keep it simple and accessible. I am willing to make a tradeoff here.
  3. If neither of these are attractive, then add a dialog box, particularly when there are more than 3 recipients of the original email, that warns people of how rude it is to spam their colleagues needlessly
  4. Put some intelligence into the email application. If the topic is mundane, and there are lots of people in the “to:” list, move them to a BCC: to prevent the dreaded reply all.

Of course, the reasonable thing would be to expect people to have some common courtesy, and refrain from replying all.

The one bright light is that Gmail’s online interface, while I find lots of flaws with it, does this well. A user has to take an extra step to reply all to an email, and it does keep it down. Of course, if you download your mail into Outlook, that safety is defeated.

*Yes, this email happened this week, and really annoyed the hell out of me.

What drives me nuts: Windows installers putting shortcuts on the desktop

Nothing screams the 1990’s like every time you install a piece of software that it puts an icon with a shortcut on your desktop. I know that most software asks you if you want one placed on the desktop, and I ALWAYS uncheck that box. But all too often, the software installs it anyway, or it doesn’t ask and just drops one there.

I know this is a minor rant, and I also know people (more than one) who manages their workflow via piles of files on their desktop, and for them, it makes perfect sense to put shortcuts on their desktop (although, for me it is always faster to tap the Windows key and type the name of the program I want to load). Fine, ask them first, and then drop the shortcut.

But many times, the program doesn’t ask, and just places it. Or, it asks, you can unselect it, and it will STILL drop it on the desktop.

This is one reason why I prefer the Mac. Beyond the fact that installing applications is usually no more complicated than copying it into the “Applications” folder, there isn’t a paradigm of putting shortcuts on the desktop to foster quick launching.

Needless to say, I have over 30 shortcut icons on my desktop, none that I put there intentionally, and most of them placed even though I selected to not have one copied there on install.  About 2x a year, I go and delete all the useless desktop icons.

 

If I hear this one more time I am going to lose it.

Those following the thread have seen my comments about a web project going poorly.

End root cause is that we went with a vendor which we were “comfortable” with, and didn’t figure out up front if he had the chops to deliver.

I want to pull back, complete a formal proposal (I had started this then I was told that the project was already 1/2 done), pick 3-4 local Web shops (I am in Phoenix, so there are lots here) to bid on it and then pick someone who has the chops and the skills to succeed at a price we can afford.

The answer to that was astonishing. 

We don’t want to do that. Getting a new vendor into our system is a painful process, and will take far longer than the whole project.

So, instead of using the right vendor, even if that requires getting them into our ERP system, we choose to use underqualified hacks, because it is too hard to find new? 

Really?