Critical Section

Archive: October 19, 2008

<<< October 18, 2008


October 20, 2008 >>>

when new versions suck

Sunday,  10/19/08  11:25 AM

Don't you just hate it when new versions suck?  You know what I'm talking about, I know you do...  you have this software, and you use it every day, or weekly, or once in a while, and you like it, and you know it, and, well, it works for you.  Maybe it has some bugs, maybe you wish it would be faster or better in some way, but it works for you.  And then you find there is a new version.  And you want to "stay current", and you're hoping if you upgrade maybe it will be faster or better in some way, and so you install the upgrade. 

At this point, one of two things happens...  The good outcome is that the new version is like the previous version that you knew and liked, and maybe it fixes some bugs, and maybe it is faster or better in some way, and still it works for you.  The bad, horrible, sucky outcome is that the new version is different, you no longer like it or know it, and now it doesn't work for you anymore.  Maybe the UI is changed, or they took something away, or instead of being faster or better it is now slower and not better.  And now you have this new version, and you can't decide whether to go back to the old version (what happens then...   do you stay on the old version forever, hoping for a newer new version which is better) or whether you should try to live with the new version.  It is horrible when new versions suck.

SlingPlayer v1This happened to me yesterday with something I knew and liked, and use all the time; my Slingbox Player.  So Sling has come out with "version 2", and it is all different; the UI is different, there's stuff missing, they invented some new kind of online account thing, and worst of all it is slower and not better; the picture looks worse, and it uses way more CPU time.  YUK.  So I've temporarily gone back to the previous "version 1" (thank you Acronis TrueImage - you do backup your computer before you install new versions, riight?).  And now I'm in that "what do I do now" position.  I think I keep using version 1 and hope that version 2.1 is around the corner!

BTW this is exactly what happened with XP and Vista.  And MS Office.  And Visual Studio.  (Microsoft seems to specialize in this sort of badness.)  Other examples in my life include Photoshop (I'm still on version 6, thank you), X1 (I'm still using a beta version from four years ago, thank you), and Norton Antivirus (I'm still using 2003, because it is way faster than subsequent versions, thank you).

When this happens it is usually a leading indicator that the parent company is headed in the wrong direction.  I sure hope that's not the case with Sling!



Sunday,  10/19/08  09:02 PM

In an unintended experiment, today I proved that not eating any protein all day lowers my energy level, reduces my ability to focus, and puts me in a bad mood.  Also results in weak and unsatisfactory bike rides.  Lesson learned, protein is a good thing :)

The Economist asks: how big a lead does Barack Obama really enjoy over John McCain?  That is a tough question to answer, of course, and they discuss the challenges of polling in general and polling this election in particular.  "This year has presented unusual challenges, largely because of Mr Obama. One difficulty is turnout... the youthful and black Mr Obama has brought both groups out in large numbers, getting them to register, to attend rallies and, during the primary season, to cast votes.  Many experts still think that white voters will tell pollsters that they might vote for Mr Obama, but secret racism, concealed for embarrassment, will have them voting for Mr McCain instead."  Not to mention secret conservatism.  I don't know the answer, but I do know this; the lead is smaller than you think, even if you know it...

This sounds like an interesting book: Razib reviews Red state, Blue state, Rich state, Poor state.  Like him, I don't read political books often (actually "never" might be accurate) but this one sounds 1) balanced and 2) interesting.  Stay tuned.

Robert ScobleRobert Scoble apparently took offense to the I am Joe meme; in a reversal with Iowahawk, the blogger who started it (and who usually posts satire), Robert satirically offers I am not an American.  I think if McCain supporters continue to put "I am Joe" on their blogs, and Obama supporters put "I am not an American" on theirs, the choice will be clear :)

Just to be clear, the I am Joe meme in no way implies that people who aren't Joe aren't Americans.  I may not agree with Robert, but I respect his opinion and right to have it.  Good thing we live in a country where we can disagree, in public!

My loudest bands post has provoked some email responses - thank you - and interestingly, the most vocal are not of the "hey I can't believe you included X" category, nor of the "hey I can't believe you didn't include Y" category; instead they are of the "hey I can't believe you ranked X ahead of Y category".  The biggest complaint was ranking Styx ahead of all the rest, but I stick with my choice; Miss America or Castle Walls are amazing at full volume.  I'm thinking critics of my choice just don't have a loud enough stereo to perform the comparison properly :)

physical graffiti - todayphysical graffiti - originalThe other day I noted Led Zeppelin was my favorite band of all time, and Physical Graffiti my favorite album.  World of Wonder reports artist Lou Cannizzaro went back to 96 St. Marks Place in Manhattan 33 years after that location starred on the cover, and took pictures of the building today.  Cool!

Sailing Anarchy Flying Dutchman nationalsSailing Anarchy are sponsoring the FD Nationals!  How cool is that?  Ever since I was a little kid, I've always wanted to have a Flying Dutchman, and not just because I'm Dutch :)  Actually I'd settle for sailing one...  this is the one dinghy guaranteed to draw a crowd in any boatyard (especially with the mast stepped :).  I've raced 505s, which are reputedly faster, but I *still* want an FD.  For the life list...

[Added at the end, as I was watching them win while blogging...] Hey congrats to Tampa Bay, for going from worst to first, outpitching the Red Sox 3-1, and going to their first World Series.  I've been rooting for them ever since the Dodgers lost, and will continue doing so; it would be excellent to see them beat the Phillies.  It won't be easy and I am rooting for seven games :)



Return to the archive.

this date in:
About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained