SOPA, Toast!, Facebook, and thoughts

I’ve written in this blog more this month than the last two combined (if you include this post). And it’s only the 18th. Weird.

Anyway, you’ve probably been hearing about the various site blackouts today in protest of SOPA/PIPA. Given that I work for a tech company, you probably already know my stance on the issue.
It just occurred to me this morning that this conflict seems to be a lot like the kinds of conflicts you see in tech companies.
You have the management types (politicians, MPAA, RIAA, etc) with the money and the power, who want something to happen without really having an understanding of what they’re asking for. You have the tech people (Google, Wikipedia, Craigslist) who have a good understanding of why the request is flawed.
When a direct conflict between the two groups happens in a company, it’s not a good idea for management to blindly push ahead, insisting that they are right over all the protests of the people who really know what’s going on. Do so, and you come out with a crappy product. Do so too much and the company goes bankrupt, or all of your employees quit, and you’re pretty much screwed.
The same thing is happening here. I find it absolutely insane that Congress is attempting to draft legislation that involves so much technical detail, but refuses to listen to the people who really understand that technology. (Or, you know, dismisses them as “profiting from the illegal activities.”)

In other news, I had a birthday, and it was nice. We went to Toast!, and I got the tasting menu with wine pairing, and it was tasty. Probably not nice enough to justify the price tag, but still really nice.
I suppose I’m one of those people who can’t fully appreciate gourmet food and drink. Wine tastes like wine. Food tastes like food. A $30 dinner may taste nicer than a $10 meal at Orient Kitchen (one of my favorite restaurants here), but it doesn’t really feel like it’s 3x as good. So I don’t know.
Service was also not up to what I would expect from such a place. They forgot the wine pairing with my first course (but made up for it at dessert with an aged tawny port), forgot to switch my butter knife for a meat knife (so I pretty much had to fork my salmon apart; they seemed to get everyone else though), ran out of bread (which I suppose is excusable), and just generally weren’t as attentive as you would expect for a restaurant that was mostly empty. Part of it may be the late reservation (7:30). Part of it may be that I was expecting more from hearing people talk about the place (and how they gauge your reaction to each course when selecting the next). I don’t know.
I guess this means I should not attempt to make a trip to The French Laundry. I wouldn’t be able to properly appreciate the food there. (Although I’m sure a $270+ meal would at least not have issues in the service aspect.)

In other other news, I miss Facebook. This is not because I miss Facebook itself, but rather because I miss being able to contact people. It seems that, these days, AIM usage has fallen off and email is generally neglected. When I want to contact certain people now, I pretty much have to send a text message (and that doesn’t even always work). It’s kind of a depressing thought that Facebook has become such a central means of communication, especially over something like email. I don’t know.
I still don’t have plans to get a new Facebook account anytime soon. I’d rather be unable to contact people than deal with their crap again.

In other other other news, I ascended again in KoL to try out bumcheekcity’s ascension script. Apparently, not only does the script not eat or drink for you, it also neglects to find food or drink for you to manually consume. Which meant I was almost stuck with a super-crappy day 1 at level 3 with no food or drink. Luckily I was able to rest in my campground, use the MP to summon Alice’s Army cards and a snack voucher, and use the snack voucher for adventures to spend at the tavern. I’m wondering what other people do for the script. Or do they rely on having spleen familiars to get the adventures necessary? It’s my own damn fault for not ascending manually, yes, but meh.

In other other other other news, I was looking at Photoshop Lightroom as a potential upgrade from Photoshop Elements organizer (currently using version 5). Unfortunately, while Lightroom does have the ability to import Photoshop Elements libraries, it only does so for versions 6 through 9. So my options, if I ever want to upgrade, are to either buy a new version of Photoshop Elements as an intermediate step (to use to upgrade the album file), and then import the upgraded album file into Lightroom (that is, of course, assuming that all of the upgrades work as promised, or I’d have wasted $80 on something pointless)… or to reconstruct my tag library from scratch.
Neither of which is a good option.
Considering doing a small upgrade now to Elements 6, since that’s supported by Lightroom, and Amazon does still sell it (via third parties), and reviews say it doesn’t suck nearly as much as the newer incarnations of Elements, and the process of upgrading the album should work better than an upgrade from 5 to 10. But still, the entire thing has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Do people really not use software for years anymore? Do companies really expect you to be on the new version as soon as it’s out? Elements 5 is just over 5 years old. That doesn’t seem like an unreasonable amount of time to use a piece of software you paid for.
I suppose it’s also hypocritical of me to use Elements organizer when I decided not to get a Kindle because of the lock-in effect on Kindle books.
I do have all of my tags written to the photo metadata, so I could potentially switch to anything if I absolutely had to without losing them completely, but I would lose all of the organization I currently have of the tags (like categorization of people tags, separation of people tags from location tags, etc). That’s nontrivial when you have several thousand tags.

I guess this has been a list of things that have been making me sad lately. #firstworldproblems, eh?

Edit: From Ian:

I see SOPA in a very different light from you, I think. I don’t see Congress and media execs having any misunderstandings. They’re old, don’t have a use for the Internet themselves, and accumulating short term earnings for retirement. Fuck the rest of the world.

Yeeeeeah. :\

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