Chrome is where the heart is

Recently, the pinheads at Google decided to drop support for h.264 video playback by changing the way the <video> tag works in future versions of the Chrome browser. It’s not that I think Google’s pinheads are more or less pinheady than anyone else’s, but this is an especially egregious sin since we were just beggining to see some sanity taking shape regarding video playback online, across all devices and browsers. Instead of leading us into h.264 nirvana, they split off for no other reason except they wanted to screw iOS and prop up their own “standard”. But I’m not here to argue the politics of their decision.

Chrome had been, up to that point, my default browsing axe. I liked it because it was standards-compliant, fast as all hell, and cross platform. As a person who makes a living developing for the web, I like to support tools that work the same way everywhere. Since I use a Mac, Internet Explorer is not an option. Since I like tools that work everywhere, I have traditionally eschewed Safari. Firefox was my go-to tool for a long time, but it started to feel a little crufty to me and didn’t seem as fast as Chrome. So anyway, I was so pissed at the pinheaded change of course at Google that I jumped ship to Safari (being the best of the two real options available). I used it for about three weeks. Tonight, I jumped back to Chrome. Not for any big reasons, but for all the small ones that make a tool feel well-worn and comfortable.

First off, I appreciate Chrome’s combination of URL and web search in one field. I got so used to it that, even after three weeks, I couldn’t remember to use the search field in Safari. Not even once. It’s such a logical and useful way to approach search that needing two fields seems silly to me now. Second, Chrome has a far larger universe of extensions. There were a few in particular that I used daily and could find no substitute for in the far smaller Safari stable. Third, Safari, while a nimbly renderer, presented me with several endless spinny beach balls every day. It was infuriating. There seemed no rhyme or reason and the app was essentially useless until it worked itself through whatever internal quandary was facing it. Lastly, I kept running into small inconsistencies with how Safari handled long text fields (like this one). Gmail, Squarespace, WordPress, etc. It was like they all kinda worked, but not quite. As a guy who lived through the dark and dismal days of the late-90’s on the Mac, I have zero tolerance for things that kinda work. I’m sure I’m disappointing some associates, but at the end, I just didn’t find Safari to be flexible or reliable enough to be the one app I use more than 90% of the time I’m facing a computer screen.

Regarding my original complaint, the <video> tag still plays h.264 for the time being. I’ll cross that bridge when Google forces me over it.


Bachmann v. Clinton

In a Bill Clinton/Michele Bachmann smack-down, you have to pick POTUS 42 each and every time.

I think what America needs as much as anything else is to stop conducting its politics in a parallel universe divorced from reality with no facts.




Of the commercials I didn’t see beforehand, I’d have to say this little pug was pretty funny. Even better that it was done for about $500.

Honorable mention also to the Doritos resurrection spot. I still think the VW Vader ad was the best, though the version they showed on-air was shortened and not nearly as good (though about $3 million cheaper to air).

The most tone-deaf was easily the second Groupon ad. I’m not easily offended so I won’t pretend that I was, but seriously? Mocking oppressed Tibetans? Who thought that was a good idea?

There were many bad or mediocre ads, but probably the most pointless and misfired, in my opinion, was the Stella Artois spot with Adrian Brody. I kept waiting for it to get funny. But it never did. Plus, he’s not that great of a singer. The Moto Xoom ad was technically very well done, but was another where the marketers thought the best way to sell their product was by mocking those who buy the competitors’. I just don’t understand that approach. It clearly isn’t working for Windows Phone 7.

Super what?

I’m with Gruber. That fantastic Darth Vader VW commercial hit the YouTubes on Wednesday with no way to know it was destined for the Super Bowl. Less than 24 hours after it hit, it had 900,000 views. Right now, about 4 days later, it has nearly 11 million. I bet at least a dozen of my friends have shared it on Facebook. A rare example of a truly viral video.

So I have two questions. One, if you’re spending about $100,000 a second for Super Bowl air time, why do you spill the ad to the internet days before? Isn’t that (minimally) half the reason anyone watches the Super Bowl? For the ads? (Case in point: Today, while checking out at the grocery store, I heard the cashier in the next lane telling a customer which her favorite ads from last year.) Two, why in the hell are you spending $3 million for a 30 second spot in the first place when YouTube and Facebook (among other things) allow your fans to target the ad far better than your media buyer could?


Let’s do this (again)

My fist blog was started in 1998 and was meant to chronicle the impending birth of my son. According to the Wikipedia, the term “blog” had been around for almost a year at that point, but I don’t think I had ever heard it. I didn’t call my site a blog. I didn’t really call it anything except by it’s URL which was Yes, it’s true, even then you couldn’t get a .com URL.

Anyway, I eventually moved to the slightly less weaselly URL (again with the .net). I blogged off and on until the 2002ish, then I stopped. Then I started again under the aegis of my company, ideapark, but that petered out a few years ago, too. Seems blogs do that kind of thing. They start, the stop, they start again.

Today, I’m starting again.

I have a lot of options in 2011 for blogging platforms. In 1998, it was all hand-crafted HMTL. Now, there are all these fancy WYSIWYG editors and the sites are built using code I can barely recognize, let alone create. For some reason, I’ve chosen to start with Squarespace. It looks pretty cool. Probably has more firepower than I’ll need. We’ll see if it sticks.

What will I blog about? I suspect there will be a large quantity of posts about media, popular culture, technology, marketing, design, video games, politics, and my family. Essentially, everything. I’ll also be trying to dig up old posts from one of my previous blogs just if for not other reason than to prove I actually have been a blogger for a ridiculously long time.