May 6th, 2012


*Two* rants! Assorted megacorp stupidity

Some time a few weeks ago, I went to try to install something on my Android. I don't do it that often, and I'm a little absent-minded, so it went something like this. "Okay, where is the Market? It's not under M. Maybe it's under A for Android Market? No, it's not there. Is it not an app? Is it some other thing? This thing has an App Store of some sort, I know I've installed things before. Do I have to use iTun... no I do not have to use iTunes, I'm pretty sure of that. Where the hell is the Market? It has... that little green and white android guy. I remember the icon. It was just here. This is... really surreal. How am I supposed to install apps? Maybe it's just all QR codes now? That can't be it. There must be some sort of app, maybe I'm just misremembering the name. And misremembering what it looked like." After about five minutes of poring carefully over the list of apps, I finally found it. It had been renamed from Android Market to Google Play (filed under P), and the icon had been changed.


Now, my sliding keyboard has stopped working. I bought SlideIT a while back, and I find it much better than tapping keys as far as input is concerned. But because I paid for it, it has to log in to check my license every so often to make sure I'm not a software pirate. Which it does by connecting through the Android Market and verifying my login. Right. (Now that I am on a computer and can search more properly, the answer seems to be "reinstall and it should work", but still.)

* * *

This second rant is not something that personally thwarted me, but is really kind of hilariously wrong.

Amazon has been doing this thing recently, where they excerpt (randomly chosen) sentences from user reviews and say things like "5 other reviewers made a similar statement", thus lending Great Weight to that particular statement.

I was looking at Redshirts by John Scalzi, and toying with the idea of pre-ordering it (the alternative is getting the audiobook read by Wil Wheaton, so I may do that instead). Now, it's a book called "Redshirts." You can imagine what it's about. You can imagine what very precise franchise it's a satire of. So, what are the three review quotes (from Amazon Vine) that Amazon chooses to showcase?

"The characters exhibit wonderful chemistry, and despite no huge amount of effort spent on development there are some surprisingly touching moments."

Heh, cute and informative.

"All three codas are more serious in nature and are worth reading."

Interesting. And...

"My favorite television show is Doctor Who."

Wait... what? Ha ha ha ha hah. Okay, first, this is like putting "I really love Batman" as a reviewer quote on your Avengers poster. Second, Amazon tells me "3 reviewers made a similar statement." Really? There's twelve reviews, so twenty-five percent (or maybe thirty-three percent, it probably means "3 other reviewers made a similar statement") of people reviewing this book made a point to say how much they liked Doctor Who?

As it turns out, no. Only one reviewer mentioned Doctor Who at all. (They actually say "I am a quasi-sci-fi-fan. My favorite television show is Doctor Who. I watch Fringe. I loved Firefly. I know my Star Wars and Star Trek just enough..." so it makes sense in context). Two reviewers use the word "favorite", so that's not it either. Two reviewers use the word "television", but two others use "tv", so that's probably what it's counting.

"My favorite television show is Doctor Who" and three other reviewers mentioned television, so they must have meant the same thing, because you really only need to read one word in order to figure out what the sentence means.

I see what you're trying to do, Amazon, but "My favorite television show is Doctor Who" is hilariously silly as a showcase quote, and "Three reviewers made a similar statement" would probably be rated as "Pants on Fire" by any proper fact checker.

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