Monday, April 19, 2010

In Response to Geek Girl Diva

First, read this brilliant article.

Back? Good. I started to write a comment and realized how long my response was. I agree and have a few things to add. First, know that when I say geek, I mean the population who like to think of themselves as a geek, and when I say Geek, I mean the true, minute subculture that actually understands what this word means. When I say "tech toy" I mean the newest piece of technology, usually Apple. When I say gadget, I mean a true tool for Geeks.

I would like to thank Tina Fey for making nerdy brunettes attractive and cool. I'm sure she's contributed to the local high schools seeing football players and cheerleaders in AP classes rather than in the hallways shanking (pantsing?) the honors kids or in the bathrooms giving them swirlies. 

I do believe she has done us a disservice in part, though. For example, she has made it vogue to be nerd. This has had a widespread effect which has made its way to Geek. The difference between geek and nerd has long been a point of contention among the cultures, and is one I won't address in full here because I am bad about tangents and this is a response not a post of my own.

As I was saying, she's made it vogue to be considered nerdy (and by extension through confusion of terms, geeky) and smart. Which seems awesome, yes? Noooooo!!!!

People, this means that there is a large portion of people out there who think it is cool to be a geek, and also think you can just be one by acquiring the next and newest hot tech toys! They think that being geek means watching box office hits about superheroes based off comics long into adulthood, means acquiring the newest tech toy or going with Apple over Microsoft because it's what all the geeks use rather than for any intelligent argument. They think it means being hyper-connected to social networking sites, using Foursquare, and Tweeting links to their Tumbler pages! (God save you if you actually read every tweet!).

What does this mean? It means that your technology companies are growing like wildfire. Companies that would have failed due to lack of budget and funding are given opportunities to grow and thrive because these geeks want the hottest technology to prove their geekiness.

Meanwhile, Geeks are bemoaning the fact that these companies are putting out toys rather than gadgets. GET A CLUE!! It's the toys that bring in the MONEY to make your gadgets, people!!!! If you Geeks keep ripping these companies then they will desist with the Geek gadget making and ONLY do the geek toy making!! THEN where will you be? In the midst of where you were before - a culture that isn't fond of Geeks, and thinks that what they have is brilliant and intelligent.

Same thing goes for your books and movies - when someone makes a Hollywood movie out of your comic book and changes the ending, or it doesn't compete with the action flick, the hot girl flick, the chick flick, or the kid flick, don't call it a failure! Come ON! Look at the people you're competing with: fast cars and sexy women, chicks who don't do comics and are looking for a happy cute romance or a good cry, and KIDS! The fact that Batman grossed a huge amount is awesome, yes. The fact that a movie like Transformers grossed enough for a sequel (and yes, it WAS lousy and interminable, but again... cars and hot chick) is also pretty monumental. The sequel was god-awful but remember the general rule... Sequels Always Suck. It's a rule, people, not an exception.

When you complain and moan about how film makers ruin Geek monuments and great things... you end up with a culture that decides not to have ANY Geek stuff... Think about it. No Firefly or Serenity. Relegated to small-budget indie films. I've already heard that "Dr. Horrible is bound to suck if it goes to the big screen." People!! Self fulfilling prophecy much?? I don't know about you, but I have a LOT more faith in Joss than that. Serenity went big screen and maybe it wasn't up to your happy little Geek snuff, but it was a solid, great movie that did relatively well in the box office (thank you action movie fans). Let's look at Star Trek, too. Sure, they screwed a lot up, but think about the ramifications. It put Star Trek out there. That makes the different shows possible. It ensures the franchise's continued existence on television and brings about the possibility of even more new material, which you rarely get these days. Name another point in time when Hollywood would have even toyed with the IDEA of something as Geek as Star Trek being made into a relatively big budget movie, or a time when it would have had enough success to run as well as it did, take a few awards, and sell?

Geek Girl is right in her post! Put up or shut up! Stop complaining about things that are helping us. Sure, that particular thing is geek and not Geek. But it is the geeks who allow companies the budgets to make pet projects and truly Geek things. If you don't like what's being offered.... You call yourself Geek and look down your nose at geek... Go make it yourself!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Skype Spam Followup

Skype's team responded to my complaint rather promptly. I was impressed.... until I read the message. It is in full below:

"Thank you for contacting Skype Support. We are truly sorry to hear that you have been experiencing issues using Skype. We have built-in privacy settings that can restrict who are allowed to contact you, but you can still receive new contact invitations. This is done on purpose to give the chance for friends who you don't have in your contact list to let you know that they want to share their contact details with you. Unfortunately, Skype, like any other communications software, has a small minority of users who abuse the software. In order to deal with people who send unsolicited messages, we have resources dedicated to a number of ongoing anti-spam initiatives. To report spam directly from Skype, you need Skype 4.0 for Windows or newer or Skype 2.8 for Mac. Download the latest version if you don?t
have it already:
In Skype for Mac:
When you get a contact request, choose Block this person from contacting you in the future, then check Report abuse from this person and click Block. To report someone who's sending you instant messages, right click on them in the conversation drawer, and click Block. Then check Report
abuse from this person and click Block. Please note that if the spammers add you to their contact list, you will also see them on your contact list, and you have to delete them manually ( Right click on the contact's name and choose "Remove from Contacts").

We are doing our best to resolve this issue, however, implementing changes and creating new features can take some time. You can rest assured that we're working hard behind the scenes to combat
spam, and will take action against spammers where appropriate with the objective of keeping Skype a productive and friendly place for users like you. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us
again; we will be glad to help.
Best regards,
Skype Customer Support"

This response is perfectly polite, but tells me nothing I don't already know and makes NO attempt to deal with the complaint issue. They sent a follow-up email with an invitation to take a survey regarding my experience with customer service.

I answered that I was dissatisfied with the service. In answer to the question "What could we have done differently to satisfy you?" my response was:

"Considering the large amount of people dissatisfied with the Add Contact Request spam received, the addition of a privacy option which allows users to block all such requests would have been the proper response. Instead, I was informed of existing privacy options and told that Skpye wanted to leave the option for "new friends who may not be approved" open. The addition of a privacy option to block works well because, left unchecked, users who WISH to have the option to be contacted by new people are still able to receive these requests, but the massive amount of users who do NOT wish for all this spam have the option to disable it. "

To me, this makes logical sense. It is not a large amount of additional coding, it would satisfy the growing number of unhappy Skype users, and it would not remove the ability to receive requests from those users who DO wish to receive them.

There were also a series of questions regarding my experience with the specific customer service representative. Considering the message sent, I do not feel unjustified in responding with a "Strongly Disagree" to the phrase "The response I received didn't seem canned or automated." I, in fact, believed it to be a canned response up until the point of this question.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Skype Spam Sucks!!!!!

I lodged a complaint to Skype, and I shall also post it here as I discourage people form wasting money on this company.

I have decided not to renew any of my subscriptions, telephone numbers, etc, and also to let my Skype credit run to nothing and not add more. I am also considering uninstalling and never using Skype again. The reason is all the Add Contact spam I'm receiving. I can't stay logged in for more than an hour without getting at least 30 requests. I've set my privacy to not allow anything from people not in my contact list, and I still receive these. When I log in, I set myself to invisible. I still receive these. There have been several complaints logged on the forums, and it has only gotten worse over the last few months despite multiple complaints and an update. Also, finding any way to contact you on this site required multiple hoops and a lot of searching. All of this leads me to believe that Skype does not care for the privacy and satisfaction of their customers. Until this changes, I am not at all inclined to use this, and will furthermore send this complaint to my entire contact list, my twitter folllowers, and post this to my blog to encourage them to discontinue use as well.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

I am in awe of the fact that there is a terrible thunderstorm here on this, the Friday before Easter Sunday. That is all for now.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Themeless Thursday

Yeah, yeah, yeah; I know. But seeing as the only regular readers I have are my amazing, wonderful, loving boyfriend and a friend I see weekly, I suppose it's okay to have taken a hiatus....

Today's entry will be about my current favorite activity - co-writing a story. JJ and I have been writing a story together. If you're lucky I might post it here, but don't hold your breath.

I'm quite proud of the story. The basic plot is a vampire who falls in love with a student at a performance university. It's about their relationship, how it develops, how they grow as people, etc. This description doesn't really do it a lot of justice, though.

We both have different strengths that e bring to the story. He is an AMAZING writer who has been writing far longer than I have. He really knows how to develop (and MOVE) a plot, something I'm a bit weak at (especially the moving part). He's also good at knowing how to break things up and put them together He knows exactly where to break chapters, perspectives, and paragraphs, which is also something I"m so-so at. I'd keep going on in a chapter, or trade perspectives too often or not often enough. I tend to make forever-long paragraphs, or else make the too short.

Me? I'm great at details. Those little things that take a story from tell to show are what I do best. I take a sentence like, "He walked outside and got in his car." and make it, "His shoes clopped across the tiled floor as he pushed through the door. It was a beautiful day; the sun was out over a light, fluffy cloud covering. Birds were chirping in the nearby trees. He smiled to himself, and his heavy walk became a light jaunt as he made his way to his gleaming red Ferrari." I'm also very good a spelling and grammar. I've spent time as an editor, so I've been fixing these as we go along.

I love the time, too. Working with someone else to create a story together is just so much more enjoyable than writing your own. I adore the time I get to spend with JJ, naturally. I love it when he gets excited about the story. He and I grin over shared jokes and situations in the story.

I love feeling this accomplishment. This, "Hey, we should..." became an outline. The outline turned into a story, which has now morphed into a novel of over 50,000 words. The novel is actually marketable, too.

I definitely recommend writing to anyone. Creating stories, giving life to dreams and ideas, is so satisfying in itself. If you've got someone to write with and a shared idea among yourselves, I would recommend this exercise even more. I've learned so much watching his entire writing process. I recommend this exercise to ALL couples, actually, regardless of whether this is typical. It's a great reason to find time to be together, and it sparks conversation.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spontaneous Saturday

So today's spontaneous entry is a promotional one. I've got an author friend, JC Hutchins (@jchutchins on twitter). I'll write more of it tomorrow (yeah yeah I suck at beign on time with entries) because I'm tired and just wanted to get this up ASAP.

I wanted to tell you about a pretty cool fiction-meets-reality promotion hosted by my buddy, author J.C. Hutchins. His debut novel, Personal Effects: Dark Art is coming out in June, and he's launched a creative grassroots campaign to spread the word.

Check out the promotion at . You can become a "patient" in the mental institution seen in the book! Submit some artwork and a patient profile, and your work will be displayed on the hospital's official website, . You'll even receive printable "admittance papers" from the hospital! It's fun and free. Learn more at .

As an aside on this.... I want to say go check it out; seriously. His 7th Son books are also available as free podcasts, and they're very good. He's an amazing author. He also happens to be just a really cool guy; not arrogant, and he interacts with his readers. So you should definitely support him. Check it out; no joke. Go. Now!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friend Friday

Okay, this week's entry is dedicated to "Holly." She's one of my best friends. I met her at work/school. She and I hit it off pretty much instantly despite both of us being introverted and guarded. We went to lunch together once, and from there on it was fast friends from just friendly acquaintances. This is funny because I'm a capitalist and shes a socialist.

She's been there for me a lot. When I've been abused, hurt, picked up and tossed aside. She's been there when I"m happy, when I've had to make tough choices. She's seen my ups and my downs, seen me at my absolute worst - hyperventilating, freaking out, losing my temper - and still is my friend, without judging me. Despite this, she does care enough to give it to me straight when I need to be pulled in check.

I love the time I get to spend with her. I love having a close (female) friend that I can share things with - who also shares with me. We have so much fun with our exploits, cafes, dinners, baking, wacky stories, etc.

Holly's really calm and a lot of fun. She keeps me grounded. When we go shopping, we always find fun and crazy adventures. She's one of very, very few people who has actually made it past all my boundaries and walls and into a place where I trust her and let her in.