Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Last Remaining Starfish

Once upon a time, before the new facebook layout, the other new facebook layout, and even before bumper stickers, there was a fabulous little application called "My Aquarium." In My Aquarium, the user collected coins each day to buy different kinds of fish for their own tank, or to send fish to their friends along with little messages. It was simple, fun, never nagged you about adding more friends, and provided a great, creative way to semi-privately communicate. (That is- once you'd figured out how to say everything you wanted to say in 100 characters or less, along with an appropriately picked marine species).

But today I got a notification saying that the whole app, in order to "focus on something more exciting" would be entirely revamping itself...into SpeedDate. One- what on earth does the My Aquarium demographic (those of us who already have friends to send fish too) have in common with the SpeedDate demographic (losers that probably lack said fish-loving friends, and who just really need to get laid)? Which brings me to two- How on earth do they think this is going to be successful? And three- Whatever happenned to facebook being an uber secure way to keep in touch with people you already knew instead of the next eHarmony?

But then of course there's four (which in some small ways brings us back to one)- Really, Fates? Really? This has officially become the last time I ever blatantly challenge the Universe ever again...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Going To The Mattresses

The other day, I moved back home from college with the help of my parents. As everyone knows, this is a truly grueling experience. It's not so much the heavy boxes to be lifted, or the ocassionally balmy weather, oh no. As we all know, the true strain is psychological. Whenever a family congregates in the face of a task, any power battle that has ever existed between members immidiatley becomes encarnate in the best possible way to pry the remaining adhesive off of the walls, or which exact vessel is best for the packing of clothes vs. shoes. In my case, this means that several minutes can easily be spent figuring out which boxes should be put in which car, for reasons that essentially boil down to "this might be easier now," "this might be easier later," and "can we just do it this way and not waste time discussing it already?" Oh, and then there's also your parents being in increased contact with your personal shit, which is never a good thing, and an excellent reason to stay up until 6am the night before packing away anything that might cause the ever dreaded "Juicy, why do you have these?"

...But the trial is over, and I am now free to veg to my hearts desire for the next few weeks. "You've Got Mail" is on Bravo, and I think I might have overlooked the complexity of what first appears to be just a typical late-80s-mid-90s-New-York-City-based chick flick (Truly, their glory days, starting back When Harry Met Sally). It reminds me of the glory days of AIM too. (Well that, and the fact that I actually am confined to Dial-Up internet until friday. *Shudder*) Remember in middle school when the person you had a crush on got online, and your heart jumped a little when you saw their screen name in bold, followed by the cheesy "door opening" sound byte? (double cudos if you got their screen name from a friend instead of awkwardly asking them directly.) Ever think of all the crazy things people reveal online that they would never actually say in person? Ever slightly grateful for the natural pauses in conversation that somehow just aren't awkward like they would be on the phone? I downloaded Skype last week. I still have AIM but I barely ever use it, and facebook chat (shitty² as it is) has taken over by pure conveniance. Common sense would tell us that video chat will fade IM out, along with snail mail and cassette tapes, but I don't think that's true. Just look at the texting phenomennon- it's cheaper than ever to call anyone and actually talk, but tons of people would still just rather text 75% of the time. Skype was just developped within the past year or two, but there's still a simple Instant Messaging option for those who prefer it. (Or for those like me, whose internet at both addresses magically crapped out on her in the same week.)

Oh, and another thing I've always wondered about- the Dial Up sound effects (music to our ears oh so many years ago): just for show or actually necessary and meaningful?