Normal Website

Not a front for a secret organization.
Written by Rob Schultz (human).

Change -> Angry

Parts of my digital neighborhood are being bulldozed to make room for informational highway bypasses lately. Google Reader has, once again, found a litany of things that weren't broken to fix.  The last time the site was redesigned, I was unhappy, and the while the visual changes seem unnecessary and unhelpful so far, I can cope with those.  The serious issue is that in a move to try to cheer up the unloved-feeling Google+, sharing features have been removed.  Anecdotally, the sharing features seem to be the most popular and useful portion of the service for most or all of the users that I know.

Now, I had been hoping that there'd be a way to pipe my Reader shared items into G+.  I like sharing things in Reader and I'd like to be able to let more people see them, for one.  For another, directing services into other sites gives me some kind of existence in that world where there might otherwise be none, like when I can route tweets into facebook posts.  I'm glad that seemingly simple and basic functionality between Google services has been added.

As detailed elsewhere, the only plausible reason for stripping features out of Reader is to drive users into spending more time clicking things in G+.  But I think the practical result is going to be that either a) I'll discover a new service that will finally take over as my RSS reader of choice, or b) I'll simply stop reading shared items from other people.

I don't think I'll be doing a lot of extra browsing in G+ because the reason I use an RSS (or really, web) aggregator is so that I don't need to keep 200 bookmarks sorted into sites that I visit daily, weekly, and monthly.  I visit one site.  It's my lens to the internet.  I use it so that I don't have to visit a million websites to find something to look at.

(Even if I DID want to go to G+ just to see what's going on, it mysteriously lists my own posts first all the time anyway)

Plex updated this week.  I wish they'd added a random play option for television, but at least they didn't remove the features that make it more interesting and useful than VLC.

(edit: I notice that this means my 'Reader Shares' sidebar on the blog is now broken.  So that will be going away soon.)


I don't know if this is the same thing, but it's been kind of interesting to watch Apple apparently moving away from some of the creative professional market that's been a mainstay of their business for so long.

I've wanted to like and use Final Cut X, and while some of the new features are nice, it's not convenient or powerful enough to replace the editing tools I already use.  Today it's rumored that it may be curtains for the Mac Pro.  Neither one of these is kicking creative folks out of the mac world, but I bet it does make things a little less welcoming.

On the hardware side, less so.  Today, if I were to rent out a machine for an editing job, it would undoubtedly be the Mac Pro, an 8-core model which has served me well and paid for itself, but the main reason it would be the machine rented is because it's the fanciest-looking box.  The modern laptops (and, I'd assume, iMacs) can give it a pretty good run for its money in a lot of areas.  It still wins out in having the most expandable storage and PCI slot upgrades, but Thunderbolt is going to be able to mitigate one or both of those very soon. And really, I've cut entire feature-length projects on macs less capable than the current Macbook Air, so it's not so much a question of whatever they release next being able to handle the work.

Losing FCP (because again, the developer has decided to kill features that previously made it an attractive option) is the more upsetting turn of events.  I'm a big proponent of continuing to use FCP7, which is just about as fully functional and useful as it ever was, for as long as I can, but the fact is that it's no longer being developed and will be unable to keep up one day.  Will FCPX be featureful enough to take over by then?  Avid already is (more or less). Maybe editing will take me full circle back to cutting in Premiere on a Windows machine, where I was 10 years ago.

At the time, the notion of editing on my own computer, in my room, was phenomenal.  No more tape to tape or Draco Casablancas, just get to work.  Whether or not the firewire cards would be able to interface correctly and it would be possible to export the finished video was another matter, but still.

Today, I expect to be able to slice up a project at a whim, anywhere I go.  I can, and have, finished and returned assignments emailed to me before getting out of bed in the morning.

It feels like tools are being taken away, and not in the service of the users.  So of course everyone's mad.