marketing

New Youtube interface yet another example of the growing madness

Youtube did it again. “Polymer” looks very much for mo’bile, and naturally, LESS space-optimized, no visual section distinctions, and less info in that more space used.

“Clean, fresh, new, going with the times”, these are words marketing people always use to describe beauty-less shit. Just recently I encountered exactly this with Störtebeker beer bottle labels. Boring white rectangular fields introduced where there was a parchment style before, less theme-appropriate beauty, and those words used, while proudly bragging about what an eye-catcher their unique bottle-surrounding label format allegedly is and how everybody loves their new design.

Youtube, too, now did the step we always see with the Grey Gentlemen taking over more of the world. The pleasant red gradients I see in my bookmark bar and tabs has turned into an eye-burning intense monochrome red and the website itself is stuff thrown into a sea of white.

As it is reported, ‘plenty of white space allows you to focus on a site’s content instead of its interface’. The idiocy! Suddenly visual helpers for distinguishing content sections and types, those white boxes on a gentle light gray background, are seen as DISTRACTIONS!

It is very depressing to see this deranged shit happen more and more wherever you look, especially in web design. Verschlimmbesserung everywhere.

UPDATE 2017-09-07: And the bits of genius keep coming. Now Youtube informed me I got early beta access to the new Community tab, which replaces the Discussions tab. So my first thought is: Review and maybe archive all the old Discussions content before it’s gone. Where can I do that if the new tab replaces it. And those eternal numbnuts point me to my comment history, as if that helps in any way. The comment history can’t even be searched, let alone filtered by date, and it’s definitely not useful for finding people’s more or less old comments on my Discussions tab and my responses to it.
Youtube – the 24/7 fucking joke
If they offered me a paid job to bring some brains into their conduct, I might see hope, but I’m smart enough to know the problem lies elsewhere, not in intellectual resources. At least not only.

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Why it is OK to negatively criticize a free game

You’ve probably read it a couple of times. There’s a free game, say, on Steam, and people complain about stuff and then others talk down to them, claiming since it’s a free game, they are bad people.

So let me widen the perceptual horizon here.

Justified critique is totally fine, especially considering that a freely published game, especially on a highly-frequented platform like Steam, is often a promotion instrument, a skill demo, so it’s not exactly for the pure love of the world. You’de be surprised how many people are way more egoistically motivated than they pretend to be. But you’d only be surprised when you find out, and you only find out when you can manage to put them to the test. (I’m digressing slightly here.)
Furthermore, critique is free consulting, so they’re actually getting a good deal. I mean, there are game devs who are totally inept design-wise, publish a piece of crap of a game, then collect the tons of critique and get to work implementing the suggestions and thus don’t need to be anything but a hacker monkey who is being force-fed with game design training. That business scheme seems especially popular with early access. People will even pay for crap and on top of that give you free consulting services, all fueled by the hope that the game becomes great one day.
In the most extreme case, an early access game is little more than: “OK, I made an empty world space. Pay up, then I’ll allow you to tell me what you want in it and I’ll put it there. (Unless I don’t want to.) Isn’t that great? Your own personal ideas implemented in a totally not generic game. Your ego must be so st(r)oked right now. Buy your own little piece of immortality today!
And the next day there’s an empty space with a pickaxe and a zombie.

I was inspired to write this when I learned about a free Steam game (Serena) that had some issues related to Steam being crap and Valve not caring (the usual), and I read up about the game, and it’s advertised as “…the result of a massive collaborative effort between dozens of fans and designers of adventure games.” while when you press ESC that story-progression-type game immediately quits, without so much as a confirmation dialogue. Unbelievable? Well, I’ve seen some wacky things. Totally justified to go “Dude! What the hell?!

Speaking of incompetence: Is there any major internet business that hasn’t made it its mission to destroy any usability? As I am writing this, I have to switch between Visual and HTML view, because HTML view doesn’t have quick formatting, but requires me to add code manually, while Visual doesn’t know what a line break is (!), yet in HTML view it doesn’t even need/show the code for it.
I’m not even gonna explain how to do it more elegantly. They need to figure such basics out themselves. My consulting services aren’t for free, since my expertise is apparently scarce.

The silliness of consumers purchasing M-DISCs

Clever business move to offer archival-tech optical media (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-DISC) to the consumer market. But I have to chuckle/facepalm when I read people mentioning how their 10 years old burned CDs aren’t readable anymore, so now, in the year 2015 where optical media are close to suffering the same fate that the floppy disc once did, people are paying insane prices for optical discs that will reliably last hundreds of years. What a comedy. For much less they could have transferred their data to fresh media if it’s so important to them to not just store them on a flash drive or hadddisk. And who knows? Maybe their old discs would still be alright if they had bought quality ones back then.

BTW this isn’t even relevant to people who still play their music from CDs, because M-DISCs are available for DVD and BD only. And pressed CDs have good longevity anyway, so you’ll have your originals as archive for a long time.

Even in the area of professional archival storage there are good technology competitors to optical M-DISC media. This is a niche technology, very useful for a very small number of applications. And not a surprise that such things come towards the end of a technology’s life. Because it’s business – focused on profit, not on usefulness. Shows how well it works to sell people stuff they don’t need.

And not that it would be relevant due to what I just pointed out, but even their marketing is deceptive, too. (As marketing so often is.) They advertise more than 1000 years of data storage, but if you dig a little for details, you learn that that doesn’t mean error-free. The time span in which you can call it virtually guaranteed that all data is still safely readable is significantly lower. … Yeah, the horribly truth is that in 100 years from now you might have to go through the hassle of transferring all your M-DISC data to quantum crystal storage, haha. What a drag. … Oh wait, in 100 years you’re dead! … And in 1000 years your distant offspring won’t even remember there ever was such a thing as M-DISCs, because even the few organisations who once made use of them will have switched to a different technology long ago. If the organisations still exist.

The corporate creeps again (this time: Amazon … I mean Twitch … I mean both. … I guess?)

Twitch.tv now belongs to Amazon. It was also proudly announced a while ago that Twitch.tv is now its own company. Yeah, Amazon, you’re basically bragging with your tax evasion.

I made an account at Twitch.tv to give livestreaming a try.

I got added to a newsletter for all Twitch users. No surprise there, and maybe tolerable, but then I get my first newsletter e-mail and it’s advertising for Amazon Prime. Which they already try to forcefully cram down my throat on Amazon as if their life depended on it. (Poor near-monopolist global corporation. Always on the brink of bankruptcy.)

So then I open a link with the intention of unsubscribing, and it tells me why I am subscribed:

Because I am a valued member of the Twitch community.

Bah, those suckup rhetorics. Cut the bullshit.

Then I unsubscribe, and I receive a confirmation e-mail that states:

” ** We have removed your email address from our list.
————————————————————
We’re sorry to see you go.”

Ehm, what? I merely unsubscribed from an e-mail newsletter and they act as if I canceled my account. Are those creeps trying to guilt-trip me with inflated emo-drama?

Every time I have to deal with stuff like this, I am reminded of a certain movie that is like a metaphor for the modern marketing mindset:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115798

The Cable Guy is your friendly neighborhood global corporation just wanting to be your best friend.

By the way, IMDB is Amazon, too.

How marketing learns from imperalists

Doom, Doom 2, … Doom 3, … Doom. Oh no! You, too, id?!

id Software teamed up with Bethesda as publisher. One of the big ones. Those who all follow the same idiotic marketing bullshit (actually worrisome, more on that in a minute).

They talk about rebooting the series, which is almost double-bullshit in one short sentence. Doom has never been a real series. There were two quite similar games long time ago and then much later a creepy, jumpscare-themed graphics orgy, relatively different from the original material. And then, now, much later again, we get … “Doom”.

You know why this bothers me so much? Not just because it is becoming very popular, but because the mindsets that drive such marketing ideas are the same that you can find in politics. When you “reboot” a series so that you can exploit a popular name for doing things as you please, different than before, this is very similar to how empires erase culture and history (e.g. by burning books) in order to establish their ways as the beginning of everything, without disturbance from what came before.

Remember the double middle finger case of a confessing Star Wars fan directing a ‘reboot’ of Star Trek that ended up being like a Lost in Space quality Star Wars style lens flare festival?

Tomb Raider is another example of such naming crap. (‘I mean Tomb Raider, not Tomb Raider.’)

These things are being done so much because it’s an agenda. Marketing optimizes, changes, attempts to reprogram people. And when you want to fully control the present, you have to erase the past from people’s minds. That’s really oldschool imperialist insights. Basically, when people talk about Doom, the marketeers want everybody to think of their new product, not the original game … or a super-capitalist future.
Leaving franchises alone instead of dissing them? You can’t expect that from marketeers. That would imply respect.

I won’t hide how much I agree with Bill Hicks’ view on the matter:

UPDATE: Search “Bill Hicks – Advertising and Marketing” on Youtube. It seems if I directly link it here, it will trigger content ID claims. (Either that or coincidence.)

P.S.: Don’t accuse me of doomsaying. It’s marketing that spelled Doom.

Lack of customer-orientation in web design / marketing

One more encounter in regards to that. Businesses not really trying to appeal.

Wanted to check out Final Fantasy 14. Went to their website. Before anything else, before knowing about the game, I was ‘greeted’ with an unwanted popup, wanting me to buy the game or download the trial version. I clicked that away and then got an empty page telling me – Error, cookies not activated – and that was a dead end. I had lost interest at that point. I simply wanted to watch some screenshots, maybe read some text, and the very first thing is them throwing several layers of unnecessary hassle in my face.

If a person does that, you simply walk away, shaking your head. And that’s what I do with businesses, too. I don’t need even more interaction with disturbed characters than the internet already unavoidably provides. I will wait for positive surprises instead and give those my full attention.

Water is smart. Smartwater is dumb.

One of the dumbest and most popular tactics of the deceiver is to tell the exact opposite of the truth. It is based in a fear of having the truth become obvious, so its opposite is being enforced with plenty of words and fancy eyecandy and such.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that when in a country with overall bad tap water Coca Cola sells water, it would be at the very least facepalm-inducing.

The product they sell is like a self-parody. It reminds me a bit of the movie “Idiocracy” ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387808 ) where people eventually tried to water their fields with energy drinks “because it has electrolytes”. I could even imagine this movie having been inspired by products like it.

Here, read their marketing orgasm for yourself:

“glacéau smartwater
glacéau smartwater is inspired by the way mother nature makes water, known as the hydrologic cycle. we simulate this process by vapor distilling water, making every drop as pure as the very first drop of rain (before it passes through pollutants, of course). if that’s not smart enough, we then one-up mother nature by adding in electrolytes for a clean crisp taste. if that sounds like genius, it is. smartwater is smart because it’s made that way.”

( http://www.coca-colacompany.com/brands/product-descriptions#glaceau-smartwater )

The lack of capital letters, by the way, is intentional. They do it for that product line. That’s corporate marketing for you. All about appearances.
Well, the idiot is by design not smart enough to conceil his idiocy, thus a sentence like
“if that sounds like genius, it is.”
Well guess what: It doesn’t sound like genius, so by your own words, it is not. (Sarcastically speaking, it is no surprise that someone who doesn’t know how to use capital letters also doesn’t know how to use proper sentence-logic.)

So what they do is take water with all its natural ingredients, all the minerals and trace elements, then remove everything, only leaving chemically pure H2O, and then re-adding a tiny fraction of that richness, and then sell the result for a high price.

Probably the only thing that keeps this from being the dumbest drinking water ever (unless we talk about it being deviously smart to sell this to the gullible and get rich) is the adding of electrolytes, although they don’t specify which they are, and they add them for the wrong reason – for taste – as if to spite their nutritional relevance, thus perverting nature. (Electrolytes can mean minerals. I seem to remember the label of such a bottle and it was one or two basic substances only.)

There’s also purely distilled drinking water being sold. And I learned as a kid that if you drink several liters of distilled water, you die because the radical change in osmotic pressure in your body cells destroys them. In a less radical scenario: I have seen people drink such distilled water after doing sports. They expel significant amounts of minerals with their sweat, and then by drinking just distilled water, they don’t replenish that. They will drive themselves into an unnecessarily big hunger. Why not just drink the really smart water, the way Earth provides it? If it’s not spoiled, that would be tap water, but it is also known as mineral water.

When I was on Hawaii, at Wal Mart, they had various waters there, and the healthiest water there was often sold out. Not because people understand its value, but because it was the cheapest. Yes, spring water was the cheapest water there, while water robbed of all its valuable ingredients was among the most expensive.

The Mutual Fools Game

I’ve read an article about Malcolm X and realized how similar my experience/perception is to his.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/malcolm_x_was_right_about_america_20150201

The article mentioned that he talked about a game of “You fool me and I fool you”. I tend to refer to this as the wearing of masks, but in more detail, I recently gained an even stronger awareness of how this game works. (I understood long ago; I’m just talking about renewed awareness here.)

‘Weak’ people have emotional attachments – they strive for comfort and convenience; they shun discomfort. Others know how to exploit that for their own gain. It’s basically some egoists exploiting other egoists as well as altruists. And the game ‘works’ with those that decide to join it. It’s a deadly game, but within its parameters it works. The real threat is when someone doesn’t play along. You attack one node and others will compensate.

One good example of this mutual fooling is censorship of vulgarity on TV – the bleeping. By now everybody knows the word that is being bleeped, they probably even hear it in their head when they hear a bleep, yet they keep this idiocy up, because acting realistically would cause too much discomfort in a lot of egocentric TV viewers and thus in the entertainment businesses, too.

Oh wow, I just realized a perfect, classical analogy for this problem: The Emperor’s New Clothes.
You might think these days everybody would point out he is not wearing clothes, but that would be foolish, too. The Emperor is an authority figure. Today there are similar situations, often similarly ridiculous, and the number of people willing to point out the obvious truth is small. Naturally, in the story, it is a child’s untainted perception that does it. It hasn’t learned about the things it is supposed to be afraid of yet. A free mind. Sometimes people accept this in children because they secretly envy their purity, but when problems are growing as they are now, they start to become afraid of their children and try to corrupt them as soon as possible to prevent them from being an uncomfortable reminder of what is healthy.

Another good exemplary case is Obama. Hyped by a psychologically optimized marketing campaign as the champion of black people, the giver of hope. (The word “hope” is really starting to bother me, because it is often a tool for personal disempowerment and rejection of responsibility.) Rock star Obama. This created such a powerful emotional attachment, people projecting their personal ideas of what he supposedly embodies, that you now, still, have many millions of people in a severe state of denial, busy finding excuses and justifications for the things Obama does that don’t fit into their ideas. They are trying to avoid mental-emotional discomfort, which is a very selfish motivation, and based in fear.

Then there’s the related case of Obama having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – in advance! Which is ludicrous. They said that they hope this will give an impulse/incentive/inspiration for him to actually live up to it. This is extreme denial based on an equally extreme attachment. With this, the Nobel prize committee is serving their own egoistical desires of avoiding discomfort. They, too, are signaling Obama that he got them in his pocket. His mental slaves. Enslaved by the mere fear of some discomfort. So much for fighting the enslavement of the black people, hah. You say “Who’d have thought a black man would become president one day?”. I say: “Who’d have thought a black man would become a mass enslaver one day?” … Well, I’d have. Because why not? I don’t delude myself. I don’t fuel the bitter irony of judging by skin color.

There are so many other cases of the same control games. Sometimes it can seem difficult to find an oasis of health in that environment. Especially if people are put to the test, once the mutual fools game of telling each other and yourself lies is broken and actions drown out words.

I tell you, it’s not at all a pleasant feeling to repeatedly see your cynicism being confirmed as realism. But this is a discomfort I prefer over sacrificing the truth. No matter how bad the situation is, you gotta act based on it, and if you don’t, it will only get worse.
Sadly, when things go down that road, it’s usually the knowing ones who become the first victims. Because at that point, people will be so much in the grasp of fear that they will passionately feed their inner demons.

Those who kick downwards in the power structure are the problem. Those who punch upwards are the solution.
People are deluding themselves into believing they found a comfortable way of being courageous.

They are fools.

Courage is – by definition – uncomfortable.

Like Malcolm X, I want to be remembered as sincere.
(Although – and this SHOULD go without saying – more important to me than being remembered as sincere is to actually be sincere.)

UPDATE:
Another important thing to point out is that this popular system of wearing masks is also what makes it possible for sociopaths to succeed. They’re merely gaming the system. When you cannot or don’t want to see past a mask, then you cannot know what’s under it, if anything at all.

The nature of the word “cloud” in computing

The name “Steam Cloud” is bullshit. It’s a perverse derivative of the term “cloud computing”, which is about sharing of computing resources among participants of a network, like a utility company would provide electricity, and sharing them more like services than products. (You can read up more details on Wikipedia if you feel the need.) The so-called Steam Cloud though is in fact the opposite – centralistic. It saves game config data, screenshots and stuff like that on Valve’s servers. That’s nothing but another age-old server side storage (or online storage as it might be more commonly referred to in layman’s terms). Attaching the name “cloud” to those totally not new server-side storage solutions became popular after the term “cloud computing” became popularly known.
If at least your Steam settings were ONLY stored on Valve servers and accessed live any time the Steam client needs them, that would be a bit more like the idea of cloud computing, but the online storage is just an alternative storage and you still have everything locally (which is actually wise).

If the misuse of this term keeps happening, then we could just as well call WordPress a blogging cloud, because, you know, you write stuff in your browser and then it’s published on their server space. In that sense, the word would become totally meaningless. The term itself is kinda metaphorical and probably as mushy as a cloud itself, but it still makes no sense to suddenly attach the word “cloud” to stuff as if it was something new.

There are examples of things that actually fit the cloud computing idea better, to various degrees, but those things existed way before the cloud-label was attached to them, and it worked fine without it. Again, this is just useless language ballast, meant to evoke a certain feeling of novelty about it, trying to entice people to use those services. Because… the sheeple consumer wouldn’t get excited about “activating server-side storage”, but now they can “join the cloud”.

It’s just ‘hipster marketing’, if you will.