Archive for category: Lifestyle

The Desktop Environment week

The Desktop Environment week

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Nope, it’s not a national holiday. It’s the week that every geek wastes trying new DEs and, usually, it happens every year.

I don’t know if you are aware of this behaviour, but Linux users certainly do.

On regular basis, upgrades are made to all the Desktop Environments like KDE, Gnome, LXDE and so on and so forth. Linux users tend to hang out different social environments such as IRC, Mailing Lists and forums. In these places, there are lots of discussions like “what is the best DE?” and, usually, Gnome and KDE fanboys are the most involved. Users won’t notice this at the beginning of the discussion but, latently, something starts growing into their minds: the lusting after an alternative DE.

And here comes the worst.

Gnome users are typical the ones that brag about the cleanness and ease of use of their desktop. They are very likely to be self-convinced minimalists and they love GTK because they are clean and have thin borders and small buttons.

KDE users are the one exhibiting the most pastel-rounded smoothly-animated desktop ever. They claim that KDE is so gorgeous because of the integration of every single bit and every single app. They love Qt: these library are the most comprehensive and powerful library in the world and they should be used by everyone. Typically this kind of desktop has lots of hiccups because of the huge amount of enabled effects that are shipped with the default installation.

LXDE users are the ones that finally are celebrating the right-click implementation on their desktops.

Of course there are also the ones that do not use a DE at all. I think they are blessed.

When two different DE-users meet each other, the flames of hatred burn and there is some sort of vendor-buyer approach in which the two sides defend their position and aims to “convert” the opponent like priests do with people.
And here the seeds of a new change got planted in each other brains.

Typically, the KDE user, is the one that can hardly be convinced to switch because his creed relies upon getting more effects and more candy stuff. Unfortunately, there is nothing more bloated than KDE.

On the other hand, Gnome users are the one looking for more minimalism and less buttons, effects but more shortcuts and accelerators. Luckily for them, the world has plenty of alternatives.

When the alternatives begin being considered, the DE week starts.

During this week, the user installs thousands of apps, libraries that pull billions of dependencies with the sole scope of devastating the system. Notice that the productivity drops to nearly zero. The user gots distracted by new buttons, different applications promoting different semantics in their usage. The user starts tuning up the system, blaming against developers for missing features and, obviously, bugs.
The week has almost passed and the user has only to fix the so called “just two things” when, suddenly, realises that he quickly needs to do the typical thing that he always did with that specific program that he loves so much but doesn’t fit into the new environment.
Oh my sweet good Lord, tragedy.

Googling, aptituding, emerging, pacmanning and you name it. Nothing does feel the same as before, nothing seems to be so awesome as before. There’s nothing left to do if not rolling back to the previous habitat in which everything was just fine. At this point the exhaust user, whose productivity is back at maximum level, will exclaim “Aw, fuck off stupid douchebags. My system r0x and there’s nothing better than it. I will never ever never do that again. I just wasted up one week of my life”.
You know, though, that in one year you will be back at square one.

I want to conclude saying that I truly and sincerely give my deepest sympathy to all Gnome users. I know that Gnome 3 sucks for most of you and I hope you will eventually find your way. Once again.

December 1, 2011 0 comments Read More
How hard is collecting information about products?

How hard is collecting information about products?

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What’s the first thing you do when you are willing to buy something? Easy: collect information.
There are two ways to gather valuable information: looking for reviews and user comments on the Internet or asking to your folks and to few store employees about suggestions and opinions about the product you’re willing to buy.

Internet is a really handful place where you can find an huge amount of information, indeed, but this “huge amount” of data leads to a serious problem: how to understand whether a review/comment is valuable or not?

One thing you might want to do is to start looking for reviews. Reviews are usually written by technicians or experts that know the entire scenario surrounding the analyzed item. Since we don’t trust the first thing we read, we want more information and more reviews. We read about pros and cons but we are not satisfied since these “technical speeches” are quite good but too long and too boring for lazy people like us.
At the end of this search we have located the product, or the products, that fulfill our needs.

Now it’s time to look for user comments. People like us whom already bought our items and spent few minutes reviewing it for us.
What are the odds that a satisfied user opens a thread on a forum to say “hey I bought this item and I’m really satisfied so I strongly suggest you to buy it! Thank you moderators, you can close this thread”?
On the other hand, what are the odds that an unsatisfied user opens a thread complaining about something not working/working bad about it’s brand new product?
So we are expecting that the most of the comments we are going to read will be bad or unhappy and so it happens.

The item model we were so enthusiast to buy starts becoming ugly, not perfect at all. Then we start to becoming stressed and depressed.

But what to say about user comments? What we think we are talking to? Three kind of folks: stupid, normal, experts. But there’s no way to detect which category they fall into. So we have to trust their opinion basing to the fact they’re using the Internet or the way they write?
I think reviews are more reliable from that point of view, aren’t them?

What’s worst than that? What really really bad thing may happen when we are reading few users complaining about our “favorite” product? Easy answer again: an user that comments that he bought a similar product, maybe a little bit more powerful, more expensive than that and it didn’t give him any problem at all.
So this restarts over and over and we are back to the start googling like crazy monkeys.

Is there a final solution? I don’t think so.

I want to close this post telling you what happened to me few days ago.

I’m (still) thinking about buying a Nikon D5000 DSLR camera and so I started comparing prices and features of D3000 with a bigger lens (a 18-105 vr). I read tons of reviews, I watched almost 5 videos of people using them, technicians reviewing them and I made myself an idea about what to buy.
I asked few people suggestions about that.

Then I went to a forum asking people for suggestions: they completely ruined my thoughts. They complained about “reviewing sites” being payed and sponsored by a company, being “fanboys” for a certain company and so on.

Then I went to a store and the employee told me to buy the D5000 since it’s better than the D3000 and I shouldn’t even think about the D3000 because the D5000 really overtakes it.

What did I do? Nothing.
I’m still wondering about if I really need a camera.

July 13, 2010 3 comments Read More
Real Life vs Game System Life

Real Life vs Game System Life

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I’m still quite scared. It’s not that kind of fear that commonly you feel when your life is in danger but sounds almost kinda like that.
Today I enjoyed a talk by Jesse Schell about Design outside the box

It’s a brief presentation (it takes less than 30 minutes) on how the life changed around us in the last years.
He analysis how Facebook impacted our way to live-the-game and how huge is the virtual money system that, weaselly, pushes people to think “ehy it’s just 5 bucks” and, then, buy bullshit. That’s it: bullshit.

The presentation begins analyzing the present and then the future. The image of the future is the scary part.

Obviously, this is not how the future is going to be. It’s just a projection. A mind-blow projection.

I’m not going to spoiler the video since I really think it’s enlightening and it deserves to be watched entirely.

May 3, 2010 0 comments Read More