PandoDaily's Nathaniel Mott. Seriously? Are you really this fucking stupid?

Mott writes an article called “No response: When will news sites catch up to the rest of the Web?” in which he…oh, it doesn’t really matter. Let’s just get to The Stupid.

You’re scanning Twitter for interesting things to read while you’re using your laptop, and you see that someone shared a new report from the Wall Street Journal. You click on it, only to be taken to the mobile version of the Journal’s website, which is nigh unreadable on a desktop browser. Would you abandon the story, fuss with the URL to get the desktop site, or just read it as-is?

Take a look at the URL he’s bitching about. When he says, “fuss with the URL”, what he’s talking about is…REMOVING THE “m” FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE URL. That’s it. That’s all you have to do. Nothing more, nothing less. Go ahead, try it.

He follows that with:

If you’re anything like me, you’ll just close the tab and hope that someone tweets a link to the desktop site later in the day.

No – very few of us are like you. Because you are apparently a spectacularly lazy moron.

He says:

Reuters suffers the same problem.

Yes – and the solution is similar. Simply remove the word “mobile” from the beginning of the URL. It really doesn’t seem that hard to me.

But if this is something that causes Mott consternation, maybe he needs to take some classes on how to be less of an idiot.

Macworld, the "Grand Old Lady" of Mac magazines, is turning into a doddering old fool.

Macworld magazine has been around from the beginning of the Mac and, for most of that time, has been the most respected magazine in the admittedly small industry, winning multiple awards and setting the standard for “The Way It Should Be done”.

No longer.

While not the fault of the usually exceptional editorial team, they have been the ones taking the brunt of the criticism as they are the public face of the magazine and web site. From auto play ads and videos at the top of stories (seriously, does *anyone* outside of IDG’s (Macworld’s parent company) marketing department think those are a good idea?) to writing staff trying their hand, usually poorly, at being “video stars” to annoying pop ups on *every* web page, the quality of the journalism is being shit on by the ad sales and marketing assholes.

Today, it got worse.

The web site has a story titled, “How to easily convert your old DVDs into digital files you can watch anywhere”. Why are they doing yet another story on this? Everyone knows Handbrake and other apps do this and do it well. Why not point to those stories?” The story then pimps an app called Aiseesoft Mac Video Converter Ultimate.

Leaving aside the awkward name and the fact I’ve never heard of the company or the software, something didn’t feel quite right. At no point in the story does the writer (Michael Smith, a name I’m unfamiliar with supposedly from something called the “IDG Creative Lab”) make mention of alternative apps, as Macworld stories often do. The kicker comes at the end of the story.

“Click here for a special holiday deal on Aiseesoft’s Video Converter Ultimate.”

If you check out that link, it’s obviously one used for tracking – it ends with “…christmas-macworld.html”.

And then….

“This sponsored article was written by IDG Creative Lab, a partner of Macworld.”


While I hate “sponsored posts”, which is just a lame euphemism for “The company mentioned paid us to whore ourselves”, I have a HUGE problem when that information is hidden from the reader or listener at the bottom of the page.

If you are going to sell your journalistic soul to your commercial interests, that sale should have giant red letters at 96pt on the TOP of your web site. Only the sleaziest sites would “bury the lede” at the bottom of the page as Macworld has done here.

Now, some of you might have gone to the page and see this story listed as “SPONSORED | By Michael Smith, IDG Creative Lab”. First of all, it’s under the “News and Insights” section of the site. This is neither news or particularly insightful.

Advertorials should *never* appear on a site’s news pages. NEVER.

But, if you’re like me and hate the site layout with the blinding passion of a thousand supernovas, you get your site information from an RSS feed. This is how it looks in Feedly:
Do you see the word “SPONSORED” at all? And then, when you get to the page either from or their RSS Feed, nowhere at the top does it say “Sponsored Post” or Advertorial” or “This post written while we had Aiseesoft’s dick in our mouths…” has jumped over a line they were never supposed to even come close to. By even unintentionally blurring the Chinese Wall between their journalistic integrity and their ad sales and marketing departments, they not only continue to chip away at their reputation, they make it that much harder to get back.

And we in the Mac Community will be that much poorer for the loss.

Hate flying? Over 6 feet tall? You're going to hate it more.

The New York Times has an article, “On Jammed Jets, Sardines Turn on One Another”, about how airlines are changing the seat configuration on planes in order to jam ever more passengers in their Shiny Metal Tubes of Death.
They say, “Over the last two decades, the space between seats — hardly roomy before — has fallen about 10 percent, from 34 inches to somewhere between 30 and 32 inches. Today, some airlines are pushing it even further, leaving only a knee-crunching 28 inches.”

It’s even worse on Spirit Airlines. They have seats on some flights that are “pre-reclined” – an utterly ridiculous term. A Spirit Airline spokesperson is quoted, piling on ever more bullshit, as saying, “Customers appreciate the fact that there is no longer interference from the seat in front of you moving up and down throughout the flight.”

I’d appreciate it more if I had enough legroom and the guy in front of me didn’t have his head in my lap.

The problem is multifold – passengers demand the lowest prices possible so airlines need to find ways to get more people on individual planes. Travellers are also getting bigger.

My solution? I simply don’t let the person in front of me recline his seat. It’s not a perfect solution but I’m more than happy to endure dirty looks from the guy in front of me. I also don’t recline my seat into the airspace of the person behind me.

The Toughest Woman You Know Has Been Raped

I first met Alison Gianotto (Snipeyhead on Twitter) at a Macworld Expo many years ago. She was sitting in Dave’s, a divey (but wonderful) little bar near the Moscone Center. I saw this gorgeous redhead sitting there surrounded by geeks and thought, “Why is *she* here?”

Someone introduced us and I quickly realized, she was no one’s eye candy. Not only was she more than geeky enough to be in attendance, she was fiercely intelligent, funny and wasn’t taking shit from anyone, myself included. I liked her a lot.

We never got to really hang out much at Expo (I wasn’t in her Geek League) but always enjoyed the brief times I got to talk with her.

Over the weekend, she wrote on Twitter, “This was tough for me to write – please read…” What followed was a kick in the balls.

“The Toughest Woman You Know Has Been Raped”.

Read it. Tweet it. Facebook it. Tell your friends. And then go hug every woman you love.

"Why Cul-de-Sacs Are Bad for Your Health"

Interesting story even if it has a linkbaity kinda of headline. My problem is with the first paragraph:

Of every 100 American commuters, five take public transit, three walk, and only one rides a bicycle to work or school. If walking and cycling are so pleasurable, why don’t more people choose to cycle or walk to work?

I reject his premise of “If walking and cycling are so pleasurable…” Walking and biking for pleasure is pleasurable. Walking or biking in shitty weather or road conditions is definitely not pleasurable.

And most people don’t live anywhere near where they work. Or at least, they don’t work within walking or biking distance. He also ignores the fact biking can be extraordinarily dangerous, not to mention sweat inducing and time consuming.

He goes on to say:

Why do we avoid public transit?

Seriously? Has the author ever used public transit in any major city? I’ve recently moved back to the Vancouver, BC area and while transit is adequate, it sure as hell isn’t convenient. I live in the suburbs and had a downtown meeting yesterday. I left the house at 9:30am and got home at 3:30pm – that’s a six hour day for a one hour meeting. For the distance I travelled, it cost $11.00 in bus fare. No one will convince me that, as a one time thing, a car wouldn’t have been more efficient.

All that leaves aside the comfort and privacy reasons why people take cars. I was on five different buses and trains yesterday, half the time standing and at least a quarter of the time forced to be in close proximity with people who can charitably be described as “aromatic”.

We have also found out that the transit system doesn’t serve our neighbourhood after about 9pm each evening.

We’re saving up for a car, planet be damned.

But he does make a good, if useless point, that our cities are poorly designed.

“Why Cul-de-Sacs Are Bad for Your Health”

In Defense of Black Friday Shoppers

In Defense of Black Friday Shoppers

It upsets me when people pass around Walmart videos and make sneering jokes about Black Friday shoppers.

Because what they’re really saying is that they’re superior to “those” people. You know, the poors. The “stupid” people who line up the night before to get in the door and get those $20 DVD players (or whatever the hot present is this year.) Yes, it’s about materialism and consumerism on steroids, and of course it’s not a good thing.

So if you’re a low-education person who scrapes by on poverty wages, surrounded by people who expect you to perform Christmas miracles and you worry you’re a bad parent/spouse/sibling/child if you don’t, you might feel compelled to stand in line all night to get that $20 DVD player, or $60 off that Playstation your kid wants.

It’s an interesting viewpoint. I think it depends on why people are lined up for these sales but I get the idea of, if you’re poor, this might be the only opportunity you’d have for these products.

Like a lot of things, it’s not so cut and dried as “stupid people lining up to buy crap”.