Those annoying Google arrows

…the ones that don’t let you scroll smoothly with your arrow keys, but make the screen jump, giving you whiplash!

That’s right, I’m a computer Neanderthal.  But if you want to get rid of them, go to www.google.com/preferences and turn off Google Instant.  Supposedly your browser will remember such Preferences in a cookie, until you delete your cookies anyway….  (NB: This works even if you don’t have an account of any kind with Google, or don’t log onto it, like me … something else my sources left out.)

All Google Instant ever did for me was slow down my typing AND my hard drive, just like those sites that offer you the “opportunity” to view a snapshot of a linked website before you go there or not.

These are the kinds of things programmers think sound cool on the drawing board (or whatever they’re using now), but in reality SUCK.  They’re also the kinds of things that make me a believer in Entropy, that things aren’t really progressing, but deteriorating … apparently along with our ability to detect same!

Correction: They’d work great if most people had the cutting-edge, parallel-processing, quantum-memory, T-1 machines, servers, and web connections that corporate programmers have.  Or in heaven, one or the other….

(Full disclosure: I got this idea from Googling whether anybody else knew how.  Unfortunately the sources I read left out one simple thing, THE BLARKING WEB ADDRESS!!!!!  Which I have provided above for you, free of charge.  Pray for me.)

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Palau is a U.S. State?

Sure there’s alot of important crap going down lately — or in the case of offshore oil drilling, COMING UP!  But while e-activist or e-shopper friends of mine surf from one online petition or storefront to the next, they keep hitting the same speed bump: The Republic of Palau.

Palau (sometimes spelled Belau) seems to be a beautiful Pacific Island nation on TV documentaries.  It’s also an INDEPENDENT Pacific Island nation, though formerly part of the U.S. post-WW2 “Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands,” along with what are now the also-INDEPENDENT Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of the Marshall Islands.  (Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands [CNMI], though in the same neighborhood, were always governmentally distinct, and not part of the Trust Territory. [Distinct enough that apparently Robber-Baron-era-like sweatshops are still legal on Saipan, CNMI, USA!])

All 3 countries seem to maintain some special relationships with their former postwar Trustee, the USA.  Whether these are voluntary or not, I don’t have information on.  But in any case, THEY ARE NOT U.S. STATES OR TERRITORIES, BUT INDEPENDENT NATIONS.  But my friends in Pennsylvania, who used to be able to whip through online petitions, and even e-commerce, at warp speed, now come to the drop-down list of States,  hit “P,” and instead of moving right on, since the only “P” State is Pennsylvania, have to go up and click down from Palau’s USPS 2-letter abbreviation PW, to PA for the American state.  What’s more irritating for them is that PA comes before PW in the alphabet, even though of course Pal comes before Pen, and apparently these lists are alphabetized according to the name, not the abbreviation, even though the full name is never displayed!

Let’s be reasonable, even though that’s a commodity in short supply in American politics and government these days.  Even though strictly speaking Palau, if it’s part of the USPS now for some reason, comes before Pennsylvania, PA does come before PW, and most Americans have long since come to think of the two-letter abbreviations as entities in themselves.  Secondly, Palau has 20,000 happy people; the Keystone State has more than 12 million (some of them bitter).  Thirdly, considering the passions aroused on the Internet increasingly, having to hit those extra keys to get to an American state in a supposed list of them, is certain to be hurting e-commerce in this Republican Great Recession, and even e-politics, at least a little — thousands of dollars’ worth? tens of thousands?  Fourthly, a note of realpolitik: Palauans have zero members in the U.S. Congress; at this time Pennsylvanians have 19 Representatives and 2 Senators, representing the 6th most populous State in the Union.  Might they also point out that the Quaker State has voted for the (real) winner in every Presidential Election of the post-Reagan era, i.e. the Democrat, while Palau has failed to do so?

I’m the most politically-correct person I know, but certainly going with reason in this minor yet definite inconvenience needn’t be seen as oppressing Persons of Color, i.e. Pacific Islanders, need it?  In any case, PA has nearly 2 million Persons of Color at least, whereas PW has fewer than 20,000 (though for the record, PA has over 11,000 Pacific Islanders alone).  Arguably the current setup is oppressing more PoCs than our proposal!

So how about it, Uncle Sam?  Put PA before PW in the list where it reasonably belongs.  In fact, listing Palau after a U.S. State in a supposed list of U.S. States could honor its independence from them.

If you agree, email the Postal Service through their Customer Service link, and use the “Additional Information” box for the text of your note to them.

Override “Open in New Window”

Another of my cyber pet peeves is when websites force links to open in new windows for no apparent reason other than to clutter your desktop and monopolize your RAM.

Now, sometimes there’s a good reason, like if it’s a completely different site of a completely different author / company / whatever, or a completely different or tangential subject.  But if it’s your own site, intimately related, etc.???

Like probably many of you, my websurfing is somewhat undisciplined, a kind of Cyber Attention Deficit Disorder.  (Very time-consuming!)  To minimize confusion, I try to minimize open windows or tabs at least: one ‘trail’ or series of related pages visited, or subject, per tab or window.  This I guess is more the method to my madness about forced New Windows.  Plus, Opening New Windows is time-consuming too, especially in XP for some reason, setting the hard drive going like a coffee grinder.

So, what I often have to do is routinely right-click –> Copy Shortcut, paste it in the address window, and hit Enter or the Go To arrow (IE 7, aka The Cripple!!!).  It’s a minor thing, but shows messy (or inconsiderate!) programming, of the website AND of Internet Explorer.  And it really p___es me off when I forget, and that coffee grinder starts up, and you can’t stop it till it’s completed its inexorable course!  [Is exorable even a word?]

I once wrote to Microsoft that they should add to the right-click menu an “Open in THIS Window” option, but they never really got back to me.  Better yet, how about a context-sensitive (ie, appearing only when applicable / necessary) “Override ‘Open in New Window'”?  Until then…

Open THIS in a New Window!!!!!  or…

I gotcher “New Window” right heah!!!

I hate rollover pop-ins!

Until we all get touch-sensitive computer screens that remove the need for mice (tabbing takes forever in today’s web pages!), DO NOT intrude on necessary mouse movements to links we want, with pop-in ads we don’t want, that cover-up content, and might not go away the way they promise to (eg, you click on “collapse,” and they just stay there!)!  When is a rollover NOT a rollover?: When it’s a roll-towardstowards something OTHER THAN THE AD!!!!!  DON’T make us have to steer the mouse around all ads like Magellan trying to circumnavigate the globe; that’s not “textured websurfing” that anybody wants!!!!!  Nevermind when the ad loads under the mouse, so you didn’t even get a chance to roll-away!!!

Or else, give us a way to block pop-ins, just like we had to block pop-ups!!!!!  (Nevermind that all the pop-up blockers in the world can’t seem to block all the pop-ups.  What’s wrong with this picture?!!!)

ROLLOVER THIS!!!!!

Confirm your email address

Why on forms online are we always asked to type in our email address twice?  It’s not usually encoded like a password usually is, so it’s not like we can’t see it as we’re typing the first time.  If we screw up, we go and fix it, that simple!

I think at some point in the early evolution of Web commerce, someone got in the habit of thinking of email addresses similarly to passwords.  I guess these are the guys who gave us the Y2K bug … or the Y2K scare, one or the other … or both, more likely!

A software idea

Ever hear your hard drive spinning and spinning and spinning for no known reason?  No system tray icon, no active video game or download (apparently), no other programs starting up?  Could it be malware?  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to ask your computer, in effect (if not in actuality!), “Why’s the hard drive spinning right now?”

You’d think that the Windows Task Manager (talking XP here) could tell you this info, but right now I’ve got 58 “processes” going.  Is it one of these, or something ‘invisible’?!!  For that matter, are all these legitimate?!!!

I guess such a program would get the drive spinning itself, so maybe what you’d actually have to say is, “Why was it spinning N seconds / minutes ago?”  Or better, “What has caused / is causing spinning in the last N minutes?”  Most programs, when just sitting there waiting for input or whatever, don’t keep spinning the HD; this is why I’m concerned.

Is this too complicated?

And then you look up the questionable program, etc., and panic! 😉

Is eHarmony a cult?

Yes, it’s true, I was rejected by eHarmony.  Now I know why: I’m not a wussy.  I’m a real human being, not some ’50s fundamentalist Ozzie-and-Harriet clone.  “Obstreporousness“?  What gall!  Basically you have to be a total doormat – or some cultist.  (I never knew Jim Jones’ full name was James Warren Jones.  Neil Clark Warren?  Hmmm … any relation?!!)

BTW, according to m-w.com, “obstreporous” doesn’t mean “can’t be pleased.”  Interestingly, it does mean “stubbornly resistant to control.”  Control, huh?  Especially when you look at the questions and the required answers, I seriously think some cult watchers should investigate this outfit.  What happens to these ‘shiny happy people’ long-term?  What happens to some of eHarmony’s ‘rejects’ short- and long-term?: I’m not a cult expert, but I do know that this kind of emotional manipulaton is typical of cults!  ‘Oh please I’ll do whatever you want just make me feel that hope again!’

F’KOFF!

There’s even at least one accusation of fraud against eHarmony, though obviously I can’t verify it.

Strangely, it’s a serious compromise of Warren’s Fundamentalism to make use of the term “soulmate,” since he must know it comes from reincarnation theology, but totally unChristian!  He must be really desperate for disciples, money, and/or deceiving non-Fundies who may actually believe in soulmates.

All of a sudden I’m glad they rejected me!

PS: A post here (search for text “eharmony cult”) suggests that eHarmony’s employees may be the cult, reminding me of that suicide cult of space-worshiping New Age computer techies from a few years ago….  OK, time for a serious probe, before they off themselves … and take God knows how many others with them!