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Monday, July 17, 2017

Nits and Brickbats

Here’s a little collection of those tiny things that just bother me.  In the big picture, all is well.  I’m having fun.  But, again, sometimes you just get frustrated by the little things – the toothpaste caps in your life.

Help desks.  Phone “help desk” service that makes you enter your account and other relevant information to get to a live person only to have them ask for your account number and other relevant information.

Lower-third promos that never disappear and ruin a low-key scene.  As Kelly rolls on the bed with her new spouse, whispering sweet nothings and a confession to a murder in a barely visible scene, I really don't want to see a "Kong vs Zork" promo flying around in the lower third at full brightness.

Ads that take control of my device.  Site hosts and app makers:  You're on notice.  I'm fed up with a page that takes over my tablet and does not allow control of it until the ad has played completely.  That is just plain wrong.  Sure.  Play the ad.  But when I "X" it out or tap the "Back" icon or the "Home" icon, my device should be able to head there instantly.  Yeah.  You gotta make money...but it's MY machine.  I'm allowing you in. 

If I open my front door and invite you into my home, would you go raid the refrigerator without asking?  You know what, I bet you would.  But while you had the door open, if I told you to stop, would you at least do that?  If my good ole "TV" wouldn't allow me to change channels until a commercial had played, it'd have a 10½D right through it.  So...cut it out.  Oh, and when I "X" out a screen, it should close out right then and there.  And it shouldn't launch another page with another X; it should just close out.

Professionalism on the air.  I've had a long-running bet with myself.  Just seeing how long it will be before a radio newscaster makes it through an entire newscast without an error...even a 5 minute one (which is about two-and-a-half without commercials)  Since I entered into this self-wager a few months ago, I've listened to scores of newscasts on at least 20 different stations.  I've heard blundered words, wrong pronunciations, wrong actualities and the terms, "make that," "rather," "that should be," and "let me try that again" a multitude of times.  Not one has made it through without a mistake. 

All I can figure is the good ones left for the mountains to look for John Galt.  Note to the rest of you: c'mon.  No on-the-fly (we used to call it rip and read) casts. For the short length of most newscasts, you can read the thing at five-of and play it out straight up.  And if you flub, then go live.  Wait.  Are you already doing that?  Then you need to be in another business.

Long running scripts.  It's kind of funny.  With early computers, RAM and storage were at a premium.  Coders wrote tight, compact code.  You can make a lot happen with a few lines.  Then everything began growing - processing power and speed, available RAM and memory storage.  Along with that came demand for more features.  That took more coders.  But look at the landscape - more coders, like more MLB teams means the average coder (player) isn't as good as the average coder of earlier years.  Combine that with cheaper RAM and storage and you get bloated code. 

Same thing happened to smartphones.  Apps of 9 or 10k back in the buggy whip days.  Now a 50MB app is no big deal.    And what's that have to do with long running scripts?  Well, the same thing happened with bandwidth.  Sorta like widening a road.  Make the trip twice as fast and people will move twice as far away.  With broad bandwidth, page scripters (or their marketing bosses) feel it's OK to stuff everything down the Internet pipe that will fit, and then some.  So a JavaScript or other piece of bloatware gets sent down with the page request.  And, if that's not bad enough, the page won't finish loading till they deliver that wondrous piece of commercial information, whatever it is.  Cut it out.

The CALM  Act.   Note to Congress, the commission, the private corporations and stations involved in passage of - and enforcement of - the CALM act.  Do you think you've made things better?  The problem is still there.  So is it A.) Faulty algorithms, B.) Improper deployment and operation of the audio management hardware and software, C.) A bad idea because, once again, laws of physics don't take into account the human mind where, in this case, psychoacoustics plays games.  Regardless, I’m still cranking audio levels up and down.  More on the CALM Act here.

Another political thought:

Donald Trump is taking a lot of heat from the media while, at the same time, delighting many of his followers.  It's shaping up as a real mess for the 2020 election.  However, there is one thing that he could do to ensure his re-election:


Good morning, ladies, gentlemen, other.  I'll make this short. 

This morning at four AM, the FBI, under the direction of the Justice Department arrested Heather and Rachael from Credit Card Services. 

They have been transported to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where they are being held without bail, charged with 450 million counts of violation of the do-not-call regulations and the same number of attempts to defraud

Followup, 08/04/17:  The FCC is on the move.  They haven't found Heather or Rachael but this particular fine may wake some people up.

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