Saturday, June 25, 2016

Deceptive juxtaposition

I wonder if it's just where I work.

A few years ago I moved from a red state to a blue state.  The area I live in is in many ways like where I used to be, so it's easy for me to use the mental shorthand of thinking I'm in one of those place where it's actually a mostly red state that is overcompensated by some large, ultraviolet population centers, but then someone says something that I'm shocked to hear when I'm not on the Internet.

I may have mentioned a certain coworker before; nice young lady, smart, talks about how she grew up in a conservative redneck family--and they have their issues, I won't knock her that--and then how she got to college and her eyes were opened.  I appreciate her somewhat hipster taste in restaurants and breweries in the area, but I couldn't help teasing her once about professors saying "Didn't you know everything your parents taught you was a lie?" with a straight face.

Totally lost on her.  But also only tangent to my point.

She's a minority amongst the abortion supporters I cross pass with these days.  She likes to talk about how going to third world countries to "teach them about" contraception and abortion would be a great way to help bring education to women and bring their country to modernity.

The majority?  In the abstract, I hear talk about the real hardship cases, how it's a necessary last resort for lonely and helpless women in a real bind.

In the concrete, however, "real hardship" is a little nebulous.  One suggested a few weeks ago mandatory abortion for pregnant women who contract zika.  Another said to me that if she found out her teenaged daughter was pregnant, they'd immediately take a trip to Planned Parenthood; no discussion, no negotiation, no consideration for alternatives.  "So much for being a choice," I said.  "No!  She's not old enough to know what comes with motherhood!"  That argument would have gone in a different direction if her teenaged daughter weren't just hypothetical, but I did notice a pattern.

There's a lot of talk about the hardship cases.  But mostly there's a lot of people who want to preserve some right to a certain lifestyle, and they're willing to destroy real civil rights to get there.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Try again, Hulu, Microsoft, whoever you are....

Okay, so I was going to post some gripes a few weeks ago about how Hulu replaced the Favorites list with the Watchlist, because now it was mixing all the shows I want to watch with shows I no longer want to watch (either because I didn't like them after a few episodes or because the show had ended) all in a non-list format that was harder to apprehend in a glance.

It seemed I had to click on the shows I did want to watch every few weeks to see if there was an actual new episode, and then dig around to make sure the episode that started playing by default was the earliest unwatched episode or just the most recent one.  Turns out I only have to read the green flags in the corners of the show icons a little more closely to figure that out--admittedly there's no good way for Hulu to know if I stop watching a show after ten minutes because I don't like it or because I got interrupted--but defaulting to the latest episode after I've missed three is really bad functionality, and I still have to dig to find it how soon or how long ago an episode would have expired.  I used to be able to see all that at a glance, Hulu.  I'd understand if you were pelting me with more show suggestions to try to get me to watch more things, like how grocery stores put dairy in the back to maximize the number of people who have to walk past the largest amount of product, but that's not the experience they're giving me.

It also took me a while to figure out how to get the shows I'm done with off my Watchlist, but I'm still wondering about all the defunct shows I never got around to watching that didn't make the transfer.  Maybe I'm getting too old for technology, but I don't think that explains why Primer is still on there, but "The Aviators" isn't.

Lately I've also seen a similar change in the functionality to the programs I use at work, and it seems to be based on some aesthetic that is not the convenience of the user.  Why is it that when I edit a file and go to save it, Windows defaults the save location to the last place I saved a file of that type, instead of where the file already exists?  This was a problem developers solved in the 1980s.

And, Adobe?  You're guilty, too.  Let me turn off that infernal tool menu that pops up with every PDF I open and takes up a third of my window, and if you're going to bury commonly used functions under five levels of clicking instead of two, let me customize my toolbar and put it there, all right?