Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Gawker Media is Really F*CKING Up

Lifehacker and Gizmodo used to be the blogs I read most often.  However, recently all Gawker Media sites underwent a change that at first was just annoying, but after trying to use for a couple of weeks I find is downright prohibitive.  Until things change, I’ve actually gone so far as to remove Gizmodo and Lifehacker from my RSS feeds [sniff- I’ll miss you guys!].

First of all, any internal linking (which they use a lot of) has been obliterated, especially on mobile devices (which is where I most often view these sites).  Because mobile devices are automatically routed to a page which lists the most recent posts (there doesn’t seem to be any getting around this), ANY link you click will take you to the new “main” page (not the page you were trying to click to).

Also, when using an RSS feed, you see a preview of the stories on a site.  It used to be you’d click on the preview for any Lifehacker or Gizmodo story and go straight to the full story.  Now you click the preview, get taken to the “main” page, have to find the story again (often buried deep on the list), and then have to click to the story in order to actually read the material.

It was bad enough when Lifehacker and Gizmodo truncated their previews to just a few sentences from the story.  The new format is now impossible.  For a contrast (that works), Engadget usually shows nearly all the text from a story in my RSS Agregator.  I can get the full idea of the story, and if it’s something I’m really interested in, I’ll click through to the site.  The new Gawker format forces you to click through (and then sift through crap looking for the story) just to get a HINT of what’s going on.  Gawker may think it will increase traffic to their sites, but I’m not willing to do that, and I’m betting a lot of other people aren’t either (and will just find alternative sources for their news).

I honestly can’t figure out what the hell is going on with their new landing page (Lifehacker or Gizmodo –they’re set up the same) when using my desktop browser, so I’ve just stopped visiting altogether.  It’s so convoluted with photos, ads, and oddly aligned garbage that it’s not even worth my time.

I went to the Lifehacker site and wrote one of the editors (Adam) to voice my concerns, and I was surprised to actually get a personal e-mail back.  He assured me they were working on the issues.  Unfortunately though, they aren’t working on them fast enough, and they’re losing readers.  Hit any blog/forum discussion of the issue, and you’ll see that people are abandoning ship.

Surely Gawker Media is a aware of how bad things are.  I can’t believe they haven’t just reverted to the old setup until they can better work things out for a new format. 

They are seriously screwing the proverbial pooch here.

[update] Even Penny Arcade agrees!

Monday, February 14, 2011

LCD Soundsystem Says Goodbye

It is so hard to type through the tears.

Tonight LCD Soundsystem bids farewell with their last live broadcast performance. Their last “official show” will be April 2nd at Madison Square Garden.  The show sold out “instantly.” Hopefully we’ll still get to catch ultra-underground performances at nameless bars and secret knock clubs across the planet for years to come, but only time will tell. 

James Murphy was interviewed by Stephen Colbert, before performing “I Can Change” and then waving toodle-oo.  The mellow tune was well done and apropos.

As an aging musician, it was hard to hear the “I’m getting to old to rock” sentiment that Murphy (age 41) put forth as the impetus for the move, but to each his own (and I can certainly understand where he’s coming from).

I still plan to keep writing and rocking well into my 90’s; maybe I’m losing my edge.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hulu Dual Monitor Full Screen Problem

[UPDATE] Supposedly update 10.2 FINALLY addresses this problem. (click here for post)

It’s extremely annoying that Hulu won’t remain full screen (from going full screen in a browser window) if you have it open on the 2nd monitor of a dual monitor system.

For years (seriously), the Hulu website has had this to day:
Q : I use dual monitors but can't run full screen on one and work in the other screen at the same time. How come?
This is currently a limitation with the Flash Player which we're using to stream our content. As a short-term workaround, you can maximize the pop out player instead. This will achieve nearly the same effect and allow you to work on the other monitor.

We're continuing to investigate possible solutions as we want to take good care of our multi-tasking users.
I don’t really believe they’re investigating squat.  Again, it’s been years.

If you use the above workaround, you’ll have addresses and folders and such at the top and bottom of your screen.  You could also use the dedicated Hulu desktop player.

I just wish they’d fix the problem.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Working with Multiple iTunes Libraries

You can’t access two libraries simultaneously, but you can utilize different libraries for different sessions, and it’s quite simple.

On Windows, simply hold down the SHIFT key while clicking through to the iTunes icon in your start menu.  On Macs, use the ALT key.  In other words, click shift, click the start button in your lower left hand corner (Windows), click the iTunes folder, and then click the iTunes icon to launch iTunes.

You will see a screen that allows you to choose which iTunes library you would like to use for your session.

Why would you do this?  Multiple users on one machine (who don’t like the same kind of music).  Different styles of music (I created a separate library for Xmas so all my Xmas music isn’t cluttering up my “normal” library). Etc.

The trick I’d really like to find is how to use multiple sources for iTunes files (one media folder on my machine, another on the network, another from an external drive, etc.).  Currently, iTunes will only look in one place for media (you set that location in the edit > preferences > advanced window).

The only solution I’ve found is a program called PowerTunes, but it’s $20 and it seems like there should be an easier way to handle the problem.