User Input

User Input: Prepare to Hate



A new year is upon us, and with that shall come store shelves stocked to overflowing with all kinds of new gadgetry and technobaubles. Things that go “boop”! Things with flashy lights! Stuff from Apple that everyone will say they hate because it’s from Apple!

And, inevitably, somewhere in that giant mess, there will be those few ubiquitous items that everyone will have, and everyone will become outrageously obnoxious with, and we will all grow to hate. Some may even reach the point where we irrationally hate the person using the gadget, just because they’re using the gadget we hate. My leading candidate to cross that boundary in 2015 is the Selfie Stick. It’s an awesome invention when used properly by filmmakers, documenting their round the world trip, or something such as that. It’s obnoxious when it’s being used by a half-dozen tourists in Banff to stand in the middle of the road and document the surroundings, including all the traffic they’ve stopped to take their pictures.

What will be the most-hated new bit of technology for 2015?

  • Amazon Echo. I already hate it.

    [youtube KkOCeAtKHIc youtube]

    • Deartháir

      You know… I kinda like the concept. But that ad made me actually hate it.

      • Sooner or later I will be at someone else's house while they think of "subtle" reasons to nonchalantly show it off every five minutes.

    • Vairship

      Alexa sounds like a bit of a know-it-all.Down with Alexa!

    • Ten million internet points to the first person to publish a video of Alexa and Siri having a conversation. Twenty million to the first person to then prove Rule 34.

      EDIT: Looks like Jimmy Kimmel already riffed on this one, but it was scripted.

      (I actually watched late night TV over my vacation. Still not buying another one.)

    • If it is able to access the entirety of Memory Alpha, I am officially obsolete.

      • Our compliments to the M-5 unit, and regards to Captain Dunsel.

  • CopterBob

    Sorry, Janice, but after consulting with the bathroom scale I must refuse your request to add Cheetos to the shopping list.

  • skitter

    My current rant is about how 'Smart' HD TVs are ruining films, by 'improving' them with 'smoothing' that makes it look like the (numerically superior) higher-framerate of a three camera sitcom. Which looks (by association) cheap and crappy to me. The actors will look super sharp and bright against a blurrier background, exaggerating and spoiling careful cinematography. I've started to notice that it's not even consistent against scenes. I have some hope, because when I saw White Christmas on two different new TVs, it looked spectacular. It looked like FILM. I hope I can figure out how to make all of my movies look the way they are supposed to.

    Another issue is, despite re-ripping my entire collection at full DVD quality, I am having issues with sound de-synchronization. Mouths move before sound issues, Japanese Monster Movie style. I'm usually the only one who notices, but it makes me feel especially insane. Even worse, one particular 'smart' TV cuts all sound intermittently when running off my portable hard drive. Most movies, I can supply a line or two, but some like The Big Lebowski are so narratively dense that I have no hope of filling the gaps.

    • This is why I bypass all the "Smart" features of my TV's and essentially use them as monitors. Sound goes through the dedicated home theatre system (carefully selected components – none of that 6 ohm home-theatre-in-a-box crap!), and all sources are external and go through the home theatre receiver.

      Most manufacturers (maybe all?) do offer the ability to turn off all of their interpolation software, but they all have different names for that stuff that ups all frame rates to 60fps. (I think some of them call it clearframe)

      Also, many blu ray disks and consoles have calibration tools built in. Most Sony BluRay disks have one that you can access by entering 7669 on the main menu. The Xbox One has an excellent HDMI video calibration tool built-in.

      • nanoop

        I found a button on my receiver today that's called "Music Optimizer". It's on after wake from standby, so I need to turn it off over and over again. I hate these things.

        • Check the OSD (On Screen Display). There is likely a setting for having it on or off by default.

          All the Yamaha receivers I've seen have a "Music Enhancer" mode as well that supposed to polish up low bitrate MP3 sources, but I find that all it really does is add an annoying bass warble.

    • How are you ripping the DVDs? I've had mixed results with handbrake.

      • skitter

        Almost entirely DVDShrink. I may do a trial of DVDFab for my couple of SUPERBESTCOPYPROTECTED. It's been a while, so I can't remember if I've successfully used DVDShrink for shows that I like to break into individual episodes. I've been leaving the files as .vobs, but perhaps foolishly pulling them out of the structure folders as individual files. Seems to mess with the elapsed time display more than anything else.

        The sound issue seems to have been cured by running the USB through the BluRay player which, based on the folder load time, has a much faster processor. Now it's just a matter of disabling all of the graphics settings and MAKING THEM STICK.

  • skitter

    OT (Already.): Thank you for saving me the trouble of eventually:
    1. Learning (whatever the problem was with comments)
    2. Learning how to fix (whatever the problem was)
    3. Fixing (whatever the problem was)

    Who do I need to buy drinks for?

    • Deartháir

      The problem was that we got a deluge of spam so dense and heavy that it threatened to crash both Hooniverse and AtomicToasters. Our spam filters stopped it, but we ended up with, at one point, something like 50,000 comments in the spam queue. I got it down to about 15,000 as of last night, but the volume was just overwhelming. And honestly, with starting a new job, and fighting my way through a relationship that proves that passion means the highest highs and the lowest lows, I've only been able to putter around with it from time to time.

      The solution I came up with is just to force articles to close comments after 30 days, since most spambots look for old articles to post on so they won't attract administrator attention. There are a bunch of other filtering tricks I put in, and that may mean that some legit comments get filtered out, but it was either that, or require that every single comment get moderated before posting, and that's a pain in the ass. I'd rather offload inconvenience onto everyone else rather than deal with it myself. 😉

      (Yes, I know you probably know most of this, but I'm posting it here for any other people who were wondering. Ha. I like how I say "people" as if it would be a plural number.)

      • We, for one, were wondering. Thanks!

        • Vairship

          We, for two, were wondering too. And rejoice in seeing the nuclear powered bread-scorcher back in full working order!

      • skitter

        I will be happy to both go ruthlessly through old articles and remove spammy comments, as well as burn through the queue like Sherman to get it down to a manageable size. Resume: My inboxes have zero unread messages, and have too many refreshes on IntenseDebate throughout the day.

        Just let me know what I need to do.

        • I think at one point the entire crew was in the queue slashing away. We are down to 6K now and dropping like a rock.

          I did notice that Texan Idiot and Scrogs in particular had a bunch of photo comments caught up in our filters, most of them have been/are getting restored, but a few slipped into the cyber-bin on accident. (oops!)

          If anyone's stuff starts teleporting to another dimension, don't fret, let us know and we'll free it from limbo.

          • The Professor

            Before the comments were turned off, I made a long, valiant, but futile attempt to keep the spam comments down to a sub-lethal level. After a few months of deleting 800+ comments a night, I gave up. Hyco spent a helluva lot of time at it too.

          • skitter

            Call in the reinforcements. And it looks like we're all getting serious about researching and setting up rules, too.

          • jeepjeff

            So, you're saying, Skitter and I owe drinks all around.

          • The Professor

            Well, I doubt if anyone here would turn down a free drink, but don't feel obligated. I was just whingeing a bit, and saying that I wasn't just standing around with my thumb up my butt during the deluge.

      • OA5599

        Filter check.

        <img src="; width=350>

        Welcome back.

  • <img src="; width="600/">
    Virtual reality glasses. Goggles, whatever. I think this is the year they get cheap enough and made by enough companies to start bring used in public–long train to work? VR yourself someone better! This will lead to loud conversations witg/reactions to the VR, in said public space, terribly annoying everyone in the vicinity.

    And Raptor Jesus help us if Apple comes out with a VR set…

    • Vairship

      Just wait until someone on a crowded subway start playing kung-fu wii on their VR glasses!

      • pj134

        I joyously await this day.

        • COTD

          • pj134

            I just hope technology is advanced enough to recognize what's about to go down. A gentle whoa whoa whoa whoooooaaa will descend from the speakers and everyones VR will finish loading at the same time.

            [youtube qzPcMzy4WI8 youtube]

            "This feedback is super realistic."

    • My former housemate was an armchair champ at Jeopardy, and a moderately scary looking metalhead. We wanted to get him to start listening to Jeopardy on his earbuds so he could sit on the subway with his hoodie up, staring into space and spitting out random questions…
      "What is a particle accelerator?!"
      "What is parthenogenesis?!"
      "Who is Ted Kaczynski?!"

  • The Professor

    Dearthair is writing? I better go see if my anti-zombie CIWS vehicle will start. Battery is probably flat though…

  • The Professor

    Regarding hated technologies, I vote for smartwatches, smartrings, and those stupid fitness tracker bands. Bunch of bloody junk.

    • I'm with you on those fitness tracker bands. You'd think they'd be mostly harmless but I think some of them automatically post updates one's facebook status. Thus necessitating a "hide all from fitbit" filter.

  • Vairship

    After this summer's trip to South Korea, I can confirm that the selfie-stick is in use by EVERYONE EVERYWHERE over there, so it'll be the same way here too…

    • jeepjeff

      The future is already here, just not evenly distributed. I thought the selfie stick had been invented a few years ago by snowboarders. They'd steal a ski pole, bolt a go-pro to the end of it and use it to make videos to post on youtube and bombard Warren Miller's crew with.

  • texlenin

    Texlenin walks into the main clubroom, noting the blaster marks on the walls and ceiling, the burns from the improvised thermite grenades and Molotov cocktails, the crisp stench of burnt spam only now beginning to fade.
    As he moves toward his favorite window-side chair, he catches the eye of each and every member still conscious, wincing at the
    multitude of lacerations, bruising and bloodloss. None have escaped injury, and he can see exhaustion in every face.
    He turns slowly and addresses the group, voice low and level.
    "Gentleman, you have fought the good fight. Rest now. We Will Rebuild."

    Glad to start the new year with all my interwebby friends available again.

  • I can't wait to hate Windows 10.

    • skitter

      It's every other release that's particularly terrible. I'll probably be buying up extra copies of Windows 9.