Archive for October, 2011

Spotify desktop app

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

I bought a Spotify subscription recently. I like the concept, and the Android app is just about usable (though not an Apple-level application at this point). What is really driving me nuts is that, if you fall into the trap of registering with your Facebook account (they present it as a single-sign-on option, but really it’s to push the integration), Spotify goes into a special obnoxious mode wherein it insists that you always have the app installed in your Facebook account. Changing permissions on the app or removing its ability to post to your account only invites an error – especially in the second case, wherein it will bug you *every* time you play a track that you don’t have it in your timeline. Do my friends really care /that/ much about what I’m listening to that they can’t choose to follow my and leave it at that?

I’ve tried complaining to Spotify, asking how to switch my account to the non-Facebook mode (that hopefully just plays songs, like I paid for). I have heard nothing yet. My next recourse will be to complain to Facebook that Spotify have an app that is malicious and should be removed from the site. I suspect that would then get a customer service reply from Spotify. Not my preferred means to make contact and get this fixed, but certainly an option.


City of Boston parking failure

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

So my girlfriend had a couple of outstanding parking tickets (actually, not her tickets or mine, but that’s a long story) and her car got booted. Excessive, but ok. What’s not ok is that they did this last thing on a Friday afternoon (4:40pm), right after their office closed for the week at 4:30pm, then gave her two tickets for failing to move her car over the weekend.

This kind of thing happens because busybodies run around generating revenue the City is too scared of generating using alternatively sane means (by increasing taxes) and so it has gotten the parking situation out of control. It’s ludicrous to hold someone’s car hostage and then charge them for failing to move that car without any third option. This isn’t the first thing Boston has done to annoy me along these lines.

It’s important to realize cities like Boston only understand things that impact tax revenues. Moving to Boston next year is very unlikely as a result – they don’t need to generate revenue from me, they’re waving neon signs saying “we’re unreasonable, don’t live here”.


On standards – state car inspections

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

So I was waiting this afternoon for my annual Massachusetts State Safety and Emissions test. This is mandated by this state, as well as most others. The precise details of the test vary, but the mechanics are identical, using an industry (and government) standardized connector and protocol, OBD-II. Thanks to standards, consumers don’t have the following little scenario that played out in my head as I was waiting:

consumer: “I’m here to get my car inspected”
mechanic: “ok, which model car do you have?”
consumer: “The frobulator 9000, second edition, build number 29785, release 27, from yesterday”
mechanic: “ah, yes, I remember it well. Unfortunately, that’s ancient history at this point. Yea. Last night, we got this awesome idea that we’d rewrite the whole thing…but don’t worry, in a few years it’s gonna be awesome!”
consumer: “dude, I just want my car inspected…”

This is a scenario that plays out all too often in the Linux community. Not ubiquitously. There are many of us who understand the true value of longevity, standards, and consumer demand. But there are also many who are losing sight of how consumers actually work, and what they actually want. What they want is not a moving target, they want rigid “just works and I don’t care” as their modus operandi. Let’s hope we can get more of our very own OBD-II standards, defined as an entire industry through pragmatic agreement between everyone involved.