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Month: April 2007

copyright 2007 jim reardon

I have created an ingenious new phrase that Republicans world wide should adopt.

Instead of “global warming” we are instead experiencing “unscheduled terraforming.”

apparently it was while I was watching firefly

Since switching to the Mac I’ve gotten addicted to using Google Desktop Mac. It makes doing anything much easier – if I want to launch an application I don’t have to move my mouse. I hit the Command key twice and like so:


I type in the first few letters of what I want to do, for example “Remote Desktop” and hit enter, and my program launches:


Saves me clicking around a bunch, certainly.

I was working on my NEW EXTREME VISTA BOX ULITMATE and noticed they built a little search box into the Start menu.

“Nice,” I think, “now I can type what I want and it appears. And without that stupid dog that froze the system for 3 seconds.”

I then realized the “new feature” I really like in my operating system is a grep-enabled command line box. So apparently operating systems have come full circle – from text interface, to graphics and little things to click on, back to a text interface again. Nice. It only took Microsoft 6 years, too. Not too shabby.

did they even do one usability study?

Have you tried to read a newspaper lately? Specifically, at Wendy’s while enjoying a nice chicken nugget?

Newspapers have never made sense to me. Even before the internet, I was never sure how people handled the frustration of dealing with them. You read two paragraphs, get interested, then have to flip over 10 pages back to read more. And what else? It’s a huge pain to even get to that page, because for some reason the page is double sized and bent in the middle. It’s aloof.

Why is the newspaper user interface so poor?

I assume it’s a legacy feature from the first newspapers, which had to be printed cheaply and quickly. Why hasn’t technology enabled a newspaper size such that it’s more like a big book, where you don’t need to fold it in half, and you can flip pages easily?

Someone – get on fixing that.

this post is actually about netflix ratings

So statisticians and other pedantic* jerks like to say things like:

“More than 85% of people think they are above average looking! LOL wtf omg ponies”

Suggesting that people don’t get what average means, and also that ponies are magnificent creatures. They are half correct – a purebread pony is most magnificent. However, the question itself seems to assume one could systematically and objectively rank people on some proverbial list such that there is an average “look” quality for human beings. It seems to ignore the fact that, perhaps, people are drawn to characteristics similar to their own and, thus, are biased towards finding themselves attractive.

Anyway, as the title says, this whole thing is about netflix in reality so the above was just my attempt to seem clever based on the pony remark.

A few weeks ago a blog on Netflix pointed out that the average review on Netflix was, well, above average. It’s about 3.5 stars. This is slightly above 3, which is in the middle and is thus the median ranking. They suggest that this suggests that people are bad rankers and have misaligned rating judgment because the average movie should have an average ranking.

This is dumb.

First off, people are more likely to see (and thus, be able to rank) movies they enjoy. Obviously this would bias things towards the positive scale alone.

Second of all, aside from “Snakes on a Plane,” studios attempt to make movies that are good. Okay, yeah, they fail miserably and squeak out an “Envy” or “The Day After Tomorrow” or heaven forbid “Babel,” which was pure trash. But in general, if a movie gets a budget and is made, it’s more likely than not to be at least watchable to a main-stream audience. Thus even more of a bias towards a positive ranking.

Anyway, just felt like sharing. If you see a statistician, kick him in the knee(s) for me.

* – I’m pedantic but not a jerk about it. Unless it’s something important.
** – There are some people that do not know how to rank movies and should not be allowed to do so. One such person is Aarthy, who ranks how pretty the cover is.