Friday, February 25, 2011

Go team

Dear Fanboy,

Can I ask you a question? Do you honestly think that Microsoft/Apple/Google/Mozilla/Sony/Nintendo/Republican Party/Democratic Party/any sports team/Amazon/Barnes and Noble gives a crap about you? Do you honestly believe that that institution is the "good guy," while all competitors represent some kind of evil empire that only a stupid, gullible person would buy into? Are you under the impression that you'll get some kind of prize when your side emerges victorious?

Allow me to educate you.

No one who wants your money is really on your side. When they play as though they are, it's in the hope that you'll give them money/more money than you already have, and not because they have good hearts. They see you as a money piƱata, and language is their stick.

And it's ok to have favorites, we all do. But you are serving no one by defending your champion to the bitter end. The one any only reason your guy does anything good is because he has to, his competition forces his hand.  If you like Playstation so much, you'd better hope Microsoft has a good quarter. If you use Firefox, cross your fingers that Chrome gains market share. Because a clear winner doesn't have to try very hard, does he?

In short, if you want good products, make the relevant parties fight for every last dollar you give them. Make them scrape and refine and innovate ways to get their money, and don't credit them any previous victories.

That's the only way we win.



*Who wrote this in Google Blogger, using Google Chrome, running on the Chrome OS laptop that Google sent him.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Soda Jerks

I get it.

I understand that restaurants need drink sales to make money. They represent a very high profit margin in an business where success is tricky. And I know that they can't afford to have people ordering water, then sneaking some coke into their cup. It's perfectly reasonable that water cups should be different from the other cups.

But do they have to be the size of a thimble?

Really Panera?

I don't think it's just a "making sure you don't get soda" thing, either. No, at this point you're making a joke. I've got to either buy a real drink, or suffer your water shotglass of shame. I can almost hear them laughing each time I go for a refill*, drinking a full glass at the dispenser so I can get enough.

*Oh yeah? Well in addition to the calories I'm saving, I'm also getting exercize from walking so much, so joke's on . . . still me, somehow.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Presents of mind

Gift giving is something of a fine art, and there are a lot of ways to get it wrong.

Even when you've known someone for a long time, and feel you have a fairly comprehensive model of his psyche, choosing something he'll like can be tricky. Of course, that's why nature produced the Amazon universal wish list and other such gift registries—For the long-distance relative who needs to just pick something, you can't do much better.

But the best gifts follow the desire/impractical measure, where the item is both A) something the person will want and B) something the person would never buy for himself.* If you can hit that target, you'll find the receiver in a particular state of joy, delighting in an item that for him represents true luxury.

Alternatively, you can also buy something incredibly weird, and send it with no explanation of what it's for, or why you chose it. Then you've provided on of the oldest gifts of them all, the gift of a new story.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Refried Beans-Salsa-tomatoes-Sour Cream-Cheese-Olives-Green Onion Day

I'm not really a fan of the Superbowl, just a fan of 7 Layer Dip.But as it happens, one of those seems to inspire the making of the other, so vicariously I guess I really like football.

Who's playing this year, anyway? I honestly don't know. Go whichever-team-the-guy-who-made-the-dip-likes!

And I think it's clear from the ratings that there are a lot of people like me. It's not like all those viewers didn't care that about football through the season, then suddenly it's the biggest thing in their world. No, most of them still don't care . . . but hot dogs are delicious, and by the middle of winter you probably haven't had one in months, so "WOOOO, SUPERBOWL!"*

So let's just put the whole thing on a Monday afternoon and declare it a national holiday. We could even call it something else, like "Family Day," so people wouldn't complain about it being just for football.

*(Psst, I think the actual sports fans know we're faking. They kept talking about stats, and I'm pretty sure they made a few of them up to see if I'd notice.)