Clogging the Drain

The more they over-think the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.

– Montgomery Scott, 2285

It’s really irritating how my key Web sites are starting to make choices about what I see.

I’ve noted elsewhere that I long ago realized a simple truth:

Almost everything one sees in the press is fictional.

I therefore decided that I would choose what I saw and heard rather than having someone else choose for me.

I have no television service. I have cable, but it’s for Internet. My “TV” is an HD monitor on which to watch movies or videos on a larger screen.

Over 95% of my entertainment is via the Internet:

  • My rather vast musical collection is moving to Google Play Music.  I stream the audio, either to my Motorola Droid Bionic or to the Netbook plugged into the “TV” and thence into the stereo system.  The Bionic plugs into the car stereo.  I have almost no local music, and I’ve not had the slightest problem since the original Droid became available.
  • I listen to no radio.  Instead, I used the TuneIn.com Android client or the Web interface on the Netbook.  I even stream local stations:  I primarily listen to talk stations and those are AM.  There’s much clearer sound range on the stream.
  • My “TV” is largely limited to shows that I know I like.  For example, every week I find a torrent of Doctor Who within an hour of it having aired in the U.K.  I watch The Big Bang Theory religiously via WatchSeries.eu links (though make sure your ad-blocker is being very aggressive).YouTube is also a major part of my “TV” viewing.  I don’t quite understand how Google plans to deal with what is surely going to be a massive, ongoing serious of copyright lawsuits.  The reality is that YouTube is filled with copyrighted videos.  I’ve no empirical data, but in my experience at least 95% of YouTube’s content comes from copyrighted material.There’s no possible way that DMCA notices can possibly keep up with the upload rate.  You can find first-run movies on YouTube if the Google Fu is strong with you.
  • I’ve gone to a few movies.  Star Trek, The Avengers, the Iron Man movies, the Batman movies, and a few others.  It’s hard to cost-justify the massive expense of movies considering that most of them are poorly-made, clumsy, hack-jobs.Primarily I watch movies on Hulu and YouTube.  The Google Fu is strong with this one.
  • I subscribe to no newspapers nor magazines. Instead, I have created a custom series of RSS feeds in Google Reader that keeps me constantly informed. It’s tailored to me: I receive tech news, current events, politics, etc. It’s my own constantly-evolving newspaper from sources that I like. It’s always on my hip, via the Google Reader Android app.

Now Facebook and YouTube are starting to decide what I should see.

I have subscriptions in YouTube for a reason: there are channels whose videos I always want to see. RedLetterMedia, Blame Society Films, or Reckless Tortuga, anyone? Not to mention the YogsCast.

Well, first YouTube torqed me off by removing the delete button. When I’d watched a video, I’d delete it out of my feed so that I’d only see the new videos. They took that away, and now it takes me three times as long to see the new videos.

Then they put in a a “View” option to let you either view “Highlights” or “Everything.” Naturally its default setting was “Highlights.”

Now it’s gone. The interface has rather radically altered, and not for the better.  In fact, those gorram fraktards have made me start looking at Chrome add-ons rather than visiting the site.

What I want out of YouTube is really simple, and they had it just a couple of years ago:

  1. My subscriptions in chronological order.
  2. A button so that I can remove videos from my timeline, either after I’ve viewed them or if I’m disinterested.
  3. A sidebar showing the top ten most-viewed, with a link to a most-viewed page that continues infinitely.
  4. A search function.

That’s it.  Nothing more.  What they have now is insane. The inmates are running the asylum.   Now I have to go look for browser add-ons to see if anybody’s written something to fix YouTube.

Then there’s Facebook. The dimwits have basically made the thing unusable. Up until the last update, it was usable on the Android — not any more.

There’s a reason Facebook’s stock is tanking.  It’s such a useful idea that most people will actually put up with having their names lent to advertising.  However, they’ve screwed up the interface so badly that it’s unusable.

And I’ll be blunt:  the only reason I’m on Google+ is because Facebook simply sucks so bad.  I’m not overly fond of the Google+ interface, but I can live with it.

I will, however, be extremely displeased if they phase out Picasaweb.  That’s frakking useful.  The Photos in Google+ is not appropriate to keeping track of decades worth of family photos.

The real beauty of today’s Internet is the ability of the user to tailor their media input to suite their own tastes. We each individualize our perspective of the Internet.

“My” Internet is that of a geek: aggressive ad-blockers that produce zero ads, pop-ups, or other annoyances. Ever. I haven’t seen an ad in years. My news is half-geeky and half-libertarian. My “TV” and movies are mostly science fiction with some classic shows thrown in. All for free.

“My” Internet is now over 50% mobile, as well, with the remaining 50% very cloud-dependant. My worst bandwidth is 10MB/s.

“Your” Internet is probably very different. The ads alone … great Ghu, I can’t imagine how horrible it must be.

Tailoring your experience is the best thing about the Internet. Google and Facebook need to stop frakking around with that.