Is this the change all those politicians are babbling about?

It finally happened. I resisted for months, but there’s no more resisting. Facebook forced me to switch to the…*shudder*…new Facebook.

I joined Facebook in 2005 primarily for one reason: it was a simplistic alternative to MySpace.

MySpace pages were cluttered with annoying colors and fonts, stupid songs, and general Useless Information Overloads. But Facebook…Facebook was different. A picture of the person, some basic information, some groups so you could discern their interests, and a place you could leave messages. The layouts were all uniform, nice and organized, so there was no way to make your profile look hideous. Simple, elegant, to-the-point.

Of course, this idyllic internet world would not last forever. As I recall, photo albums were the first major addition during my Facebook tenure. I didn’t have a problem with those, though–in fact, I enjoyed them. For one thing, they were unobtrusive, just sitting their in the corner of your profile if you happen to want to see them.

All that changed, of course, with the dreaded mini-feed. Now, I didn’t have the same “invasion of privacy” complaints some people had. (“Those BASTARDS! How DARE they share with my friends the information I put on my profile for my friends to see!”) But I thought they were stupid, unnecessary, and took up too much space on what was once a nice and simple homepage and profile page. Of course, as I predicted, originally I got used to it. At least for a while those were collapsible in profile view.

Applications only made it worse. Goodbye, carefree days of simple information-and-communication; hello, overblown mass of unnecessary games, trinkets, and other shiny distractions.

This actually brings us to the one good thing about the new Facebook: putting applications in a separate tab. So, one point for the new design, but that’s the only one I notice.

Aside from that, the new design is loaded with aesthetic and practical problems, which I am going to attempt to break down for you now. Continue reading

A great disturbance in the Force…as if millions of voices cried out in terror…

My ire has been raised, and whenever my ire gets raised, the ol’ “post new entry” button doesn’t know what hit it.

My favorite British show of the past ten years is probably “Spaced”. I first illegally downloaded and watched the entire series some time after I saw and loved “Shaun of the Dead”, and before I saw and loved “Hot Fuzz”. The show was very well written, directed, and performed, with likable and offbeat-yet-real characters, delightful bits of surrealism, and a great use of geek-culture references. “Spaced” was a show about geeks that was actually created by geeks, not by network suits attempting to pander to the geek crowd through generic, vague sci-fi allusions and easy jokes about social awkwardness. (Not that I’m above joking about my own social awkwardness, but there is so much more to geekery than that.) As a geek, I can truly relate to the characters created by Simon Pegg, Jessica Stevenson/Hynes, and Edgar Wright, because the creators themselves are geeks, and know how to write a true geek who is more than a flat stereotype. In lesser hands, or at the very least, in the hands of people who couldn’t identify with the characters they were writing, “Spaced” would be a disaster.

The sad news is, it looks like we may actually get to see just what kind of a disaster. Continue reading

Lamentations about a sadly underappreciated form of geekery.

Over this past month, I’ve made a few long-overdue geek purchases. These included the second season of “The Simpsons” (two down, sixteen to go) and the complete “Clerks” animated series. Perhaps the most important one, however, was the Space Quest Collection, purchased for twenty bucks at GameStop.

Space Quest is, of course, one of Sierra’s best-known adventure game franchises, and with good reason. The games are loaded with plenty of humor, puzzles ranging from the amusingly simple to the frustratingly (but hilariously) difficult, parodies of and references to everything from Sci-Fi movies to other adventure games by Sierra (and its competitors), and, naturally, the classic high-dreaming-but-underachieving everyman hero, who unwittingly finds adventure thrust upon him time and time again. Continue reading