Technology Memes That Really Need to Die

Wednesday, 2006-12-06; 20:33:00

I kind of like the random-stream-of-consciousness-as-list rants, so here's another one. I hereby present you my personal list: Technology Memes That Really Need to Die.

  • thinking you're clever when comparing Macs to PCs and saying that you are or aren't comparing "Apples to apples"
  • thinking you're clever when you explicitly say you're not going to make the aforementioned pun, but well, you ended up doing so anyway in saying you wouldn't
  • the word "blog". It's ugly, it sounds bad, and it just makes you look stupid when you say it. (Corollary: the word "blogosphere" also needs to die.)
  • the phrase "Web 2.0" -- I mean seriously, the internets don't have a version number
  • specifically lauding high-school or college dropouts because they dropped out when they become successful or create a hugely successful startup company. Oh, wait, WHO co-founded Google? That's right, two graduate students. NEWS FLASH: it's far more likely that you'll actually create a successful company if you do finish high school and if you do go to college. Just because Steve Jobs or Bill Gates did it doesn't mean that dropping out is a requirement. And it's certainly not something to specifically commend. Not to discourage those who dropped out from trying, but to encourage those still in high school to continue and to go to college.

    Aaron Swartz, in particular, who is profiled in the article at the aforementioned link, seems to be a tiny bit of a blowhard in this regard. I read his weblog regularly, and he has a series of ranting articles about why Stanford is fake and the students are fake and the professors are fake and everything in the world is fake and boo fucking hoo. I acknowledge that he has many valid observations, he is very intelligent, and that he is very knowledgeable. I was disappointed that he wasn't elected to Wikipedia's Board of Directors after his series of articles about the future of Wikipedia. But he specifically derides the people at Stanford and the world in general, sometimes, to the point where he is a bit condescending.

  • giving nutjobs airtime. While this isn't specifically a technology meme and I could rant about the general media, this seriously pisses me off. Being a journalist is not about giving both sides equal air time, it's about finding the truth. And when you're finding the truth, sometimes you need to call bullshit, sometimes you need to tell someone to shut the hell up, and sometimes you need to tell someone they're a liar. You don't see the media having debates between people who think the sky is green and the sky is red. So why do reputable sites like ArsTechnica specifically call wackos like Jack Thompson when it is clear that laws banning the sale of violent videogames is unconstitutional? There's no two ways about it! Similar laws have been struck down many, many, many times in various states and it's not going to change. Why does Ars insist upon getting Thompson's views? His views are irrelevant and, not coincidentally, utter crap.

    (Every time I see it happen at Ars, I have specifically called them out on this in the discussion comments, but they keep on doing it.)

  • copycatting a tiny portion of a successful product and thinking that your product must logically be successful too, because of that. I see this happen a lot to Apple. And no, I'm not talking about the Zune or anything like that. I'm talking about when there's those annoying mortgage banner ads with dancing silhouettes that are obviously spun-off from Apple's iPod ad campaign. Oh, yeah, and then just for good measure, they put like 50 of the same silhouette in there, thinking that, "Oh, hey! Dancing silhouettes worked for Apple! So 50 will work 50 times better for us!"

    I've also seen a bunch of similar Flash ads that profile a bunch of customers, on a white background, with stylistic cutting of shots to show them close up or far away or only from the waist up and OMG copying a successful ad campaign to the letter doesn't instantly make it successful.

  • only putting the article title, or the title and a cut-off summary in RSS feeds. Guh, it completely makes the feed useless. Oh! It's so interesting that "Apple at MacWorld San Francisco today released the innovati..."! Fascinating, I tell you!
  • installers that don't tell you what they're installing and where they're installing them. I know there's practically zero spyware and viruses on the Mac, but if you don't fucking tell me what you're installing, you are going in the trash. Seriously. If you're not a drag-and-drop installation or a standard Apple package installer (which, by the way, allows you to view where all files will be installed), and you use one of those hack installers (I'm looking at you FileStorm) that don't allow you to view beforehand what you're going to install, I'm not going to install your software! Period, end of story.

    Oh, and Adobe, the fact that you make lame-ass installers like this makes me want to stay away from all of your products. Not that I don't already do that.

  • Looking at the aforementioned link on John Welch's weblog reminds me of something else I hate: separate downloads for PPC and Intel versions of a piece of software. Grrrr!

    There is a reason that Apple is promoting the use of universal binaries. The operative word being "universal". When I get an Intel Mac, I want to be able to use the Migration Assistant to move over all my apps. But if they're all separated out by architecture, that means I'll have to re-download every single one of them.

    Seriously, how hard is it to just make freakin' universal binaries?!

Apologies for the gratuitous use of italicized text.

That is all.

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