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Christian Nimsky's Weblog

Filtering by Category: Rants

You WILL be Latino!!! You WILL!!!

Christian Nimsky

spanishfacebook.jpg

My wife’s last name is Lago, and she’s of Italian descent.  This week Facebook started mysteriously displaying all non-user-generated website copy in Spanish.  She never asked for it, and has also clicked a “not interested” link they’ve displayed when prompting her if she wants to continue her FB experience in espanol.

On her computer I just typed in “Facebook.com” to check something and saw the login screen above.  FB is evidently not deterred by her user preferences.

How Not To Go Out Of Business

Christian Nimsky

Today I got the strangest email from Clear / Verified Identity Pass - the company that provides a registered traveller service in some of the major U.S. airports. The email told me that they were unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations. I loved the $120-$130 a year service - you used a special identity card and sailed through security, but this all-at-once disappearing act strikes me as ill planned.

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Easy Does It With My Identity!

Christian Nimsky

I’ve enjoyed Plaxo’s ability to sync address data between multiple services for a while and I even enjoy their new Pulse product.  But the two are too integrated without enough control around contact info updates.  This week when I installed their Mac OS X Sync conduit to sync up my address book it took some old email addresses that I no longer use and evidently today the Plaxo service chose to broadcast those out to presumably everyone.  They weren’t work email addresses and I didn’t authorize Plaxo to do the broadcast.

After I did the sync yesterday I noticed an email asking me to confirm that a current email address was in fact mine.  I clicked on the link, logged in as myself and instead of some confirmation acknowledgement I saw that Plaxo had sent a “Pulse” update like this one:

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What are you thinking Plaxo?!  If I wanted to broadcast new info out to everyone via Pulse, I would do so.  I don’t need you to take some address book sync - an operation that can often do funny things with old contact information - and automatically broadcast it without asking me. 

To the gang at Plaxo: I like where you are headed conceptually with your new services but you have got to realize you are now in the identity management business.  With that in mind, please put some gates around personal identity updates.  After I uninstall your sync conduit it will take me a while to fully trust you with my data again. 

Why Is Renting an SUV So Hard?

Christian Nimsky

One of the reasons people buy SUVs is because they like to take road trips.  They may not need the size or cargo hauling capacity on a day-to-day basis but for packing up the kids and going somewhere - particularly if you need 4WD - SUVs are great.  We have owned an SUV and recently concluded a two-year stint of renting them for road trips.  Our conclusion: If you’re particular about your ride - or about getting an SUV period - for your road trip, either rent a day or two in advance of your trip or have a backup plan.  Or both.

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Dead Buttons Unravel Society

Christian Nimsky

Dead Buttons Unravel Society

The parking structure elevators at the Southwest terminal at LAX have buttons that do not illuminate when pressed, even though they used to.

It's interesting to watch how people's behavior changes in light of such a circumstance. All the normal rules of "elevator decorum" dissolve and near anarchy results.

So for great people-watching hang out at the parking elevators at LAX Terminal 1.

What's With The Appletude?

Christian Nimsky

The past year or so since getting a Macbook Pro I’ve been a fairly vocal Apple fan, but a couple incidents recently leave me wondering if they are running the risk of alienating their best customers - the early adopters who will pay premium amounts to have the latest gear that looks good and works well.

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Fundraising Evolution - Where Is It?

Christian Nimsky

As our kids enter their “mainstream” school years I am shocked at how much things have changed from when I was a kid.  We have homework for kindergarten students whose average age is closer to 6 than 5, (way too much) technology in the classrooms, overachieving parents and extracurricular activities organized to an almost paramilitary level of rigor.  Its no wonder the kids are so stressed these days - as a parent I’m stressed from the logistics alone and could see this stuff occupying a stay-at-home parent full-time before they had a chance to whip up a dinner each night for Ward (or June) when they come home from work.

One thing that hasn’t changed though are the fundraising approaches.  In spite of the internet, services like PayPal and the increase in two-income households (at least where I live) I still see countless fundraisers that emphasize “sweat equity” like selling candy, gift-wrap, tickets to some Lion’s Club or Rotary breakfast, etc.

I know that these tactics are in part used to avoid penalizing those with less disposable cash but it’s the most inefficient method possible to raise money.  I typically bring a checkbook to these and ask the person “how much do you want?” to just cut to the chase.  For fun I might ask how big a check I need to write not to be bothered again for one year.  Suprisingly, about 30% of the time the person asking for my help in these fundraisers doesn’t even know what their goal is.

Everything else about childhood seems overengineered yet we are like lemmings when it comes to fundraising.  Why is there little-t0-no original thinking going on here? 

Crap Plastic Toys

Christian Nimsky

The public reaction to the Mattel Toy Recall is somewhat disappointing in that the focus seems mostly on the lead and the oversight process.  My heart goes out to any family with a child affected by lead but it really shouldn’t surprise anyone in the slightest degree that this could happen given the way we’ve delegated our children’s’ playtime equipment to the lowest common denominators of the global economy: Retail at Walmart or Target for convenient purchase a cheap toy from a global marketing engine like Mattel and outsource the production (and likely the design) to China.  Both China and Mattel need to answer for their parts in this play but this really isn’t about China - it could happen in any outsource scenario - to me the issue is that we have a part to answer for too: we’re fueling the demand for these crap plastic toys.
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Why aren't we focusing on good automotive UI design?

Christian Nimsky

This past weekend Kathy and I took a Cadillac SRX up to Sonoma to get away and just relax a bit.  In my driving impressions I shared my frustration with the fact that Cadillac’s designers intentionally crippled various functions while the vehicle is moving.  That got me to thinking — what are people’s attitudes on driver distraction?  Are these types of design decisions just fear of litigation or is there popular support for such restrictions?

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