March 23, 2017

Dear Patrons,

We are experiencing significant delays on your Muni line due to: Choose your own reasoning

A) We removed much of the overhead cabling to improve the views around the city for upcoming festivities.

B) Four Metro trains broke down and caught fire simultaneously blocking all traffic in and out of the Muni Metro subway system. No, we don’t have any way to move or bypass these trains. We designed our tracks without a way to bypass stalled electric trains. (Did you know electric trains can stall out? We just did!) In our defense, though, we thought Italian-made electric trains would rarely break down!

C) Someone spilled some water in one of the stations and now the power is out in the entire subway system.

D) AT&T upgraded their cellular services in the Bay Area and no longer support 2G EDGE service which we relied on for GPS tracking. Thus, we have lost track of all Muni vehicles. Yes we were told for years this would happen, but we just kept saying Update Tomorrow” for the past few months.

E) Our tunneling project for the Central T subway is now a crime scene. It was actually a long con for several of Muni officials to steal everything in the Apple Store. They have escaped onto Caltrain. Which has hit a pedestrian and is now holding in all directions for 2-3 hours. 

F) We tried to install Norton Anti-Ransomware and it bricked all of our Windows ME machines. We can’t open fare gates or turn on the trains right now.

G) We had a meeting with the General Manager of Cincinnati’s historic subway system and took some of their advice a little too close to heart. 

H) We forgot to clean the trains and buses for a few days and it seems that a troupe of small animals have taken shelter. They are well armed.

We apologize for the inconvenience. We never planned for any one part of our transit system to ever stop working, so we have no alternates to suggest. Thanks for riding Muni.

Sincerely,

The San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority

March 20, 2017

Brightlines

Normal quintin.org programming remains suspended

Dear supporter of the current Administration,

I hope you are having a good week. Me? I’m a little stressed, thanks for asking. Anyhow, let’s get started:

We have a short activity planned for today’s post.

Please grab a piece of paper. Yep, something physical; preferably some sort of dead tree. Maybe you can recycle an old excel sheet. Yep that works, just turn it over. Grab that pen over there. Perfect.

Now, hold the paper in portrait mode. I want you to draw a line in the middle of the paper. From right to left, centered in the middle.

Okay, now let’s think back across the past year or so of all the scandals that surround Donal Trump’s presidency. If you are unsure, here are the Top 50 things Keith Olbermann thinks are offensive since he was inaugurated and a few things I picked out:

  • Having his business partners and family sit in on diplomatic briefings
  • Running a Ponzi scheme
  • Trying to evict an elderly woman so he could build a parking lot near his casino
  • Defaulting on dozens of payments to consultants and contractors
  • Sexually assaulting multiple women
  • Lying about election fraud
  • Discriminating against people based on their religion
  • Encouraging discrimination against LGBTQ identified persons
  • Making fun of physically disabled people
  • Using a private email server as President
  • Add your own fun scandal here

Now that you have a full top section, let’s look below that line. That blank section.

Below the line, I want you to write the few things that would make him lose your support. Is it cruelty towards animals? Running uninformed military missions? Getting bribed to sneakily support his business partners or his companies? Lying to the American people? Making it legal to discriminate against a minority? War crimes? Deporting legal residents or citizens?

It should be something with a clear indication of when it has happened.

Now, I want to you keep this piece of paper handy. Keep it updated, add new scandals above and worries you have below. Keep it filed somewhere in your desk or posted to your refrigerator. If our President or his Administration crossing that line, does an act that you wrote or deemed unrecoverable, make a promise to me and to yourself:

If he or his people cross that line, I agree that I will not longer support his administration. Instead, I will support impeachment and dissolution of his administration.

This is a bright line. It’s something that is crystal clear when it’s been crossed. Considering how slippery the slope of American politics has been, we all need bright lines to determine at what point we will act.

Lastly, before we go, one more thing. Run a Google search for your bright line + Trump and make sure he hasn’t crossed it already. It’s not your fault, but our new cycles have gone from weeks and days to hours and minutes.

Sincerely yours, Quintin Carlson

February 24, 2017

You Said to Give Him a Chance

Normal quintin.org programming remains suspended.

As our disappointment of a president continues to claw away our fundamental liberties, I cannot help but look back to those who decided that he was a qualified candidate. He never proved himself to be, at any point during the campaign. As he continues to bar the press, endanger innocent schoolchildren, and degrade what we hold dear as a county, I turn to you.

Your decisions effect the whole country. Not just you. Remember that if/when we get a chance to vote again — our flawed democracy depends on you considering the multitudes that are the citizens of our country. Not simply what is best for you financially.


As a side note: how did any of the news sources attend the White House Press Briefing knowing that their colleagues were barred?

Keep it locked to the fake,” liberal,” elite” media coverage by press outlets like the BBC, BuzzFeed, and CNN. At least while we can.

February 1, 2017

Your behavior is unacceptable

Normal quintin.org programing has been suspended.

It is unacceptable and utterly un-American for some asshole to enforce such a shitty, useless, self-harming policy under the false guise of safety.

Please call your representatives, write your legislators, and do something. Anything.

For an immediate and brief digest, I give you John Green:

Let’s get to work.

January 25, 2017

What do you call a dark pattern that isn’t that dark?

Today, when opening a link from the Gmail iOS app that I recently installed (as per my usual behavior, I’ve been hopping around emails apps regularly) I ran into this odd behavior by the Gmail app.

Gmail’s annoying browser dialogGmail’s annoying browser dialog

When opening a link from the app, Google has inserted an interstitial dialog box asking you which Browser you would like Gmail to open.

First, I don’t have Chrome for iOS installed. Thus, showing me this dialog asking me to choose browsers is an advertisement for their browser. This would be fine if phrased as Look, we have Chrome for iOS now!” But it isn’t.

Second, the dark pattern emerges when you see that their default setting for this dialog is to ask me each time.

Google thinks it’s appropriate to remind me each time I click a link in their email program that they have a web browser they would also like me to download. That way it becomes a conscious choice to open Safari and not download Chrome. It’s an annoying and ugly user experience choice. Ugh.

Understand, this small tweak will increase downloads of their Chrome for iOS app, but this dialog is not automatically dismissed after selecting Safari once or twice. (Which I think was their original behavior, which has changed.)

If I had Chrome installed, I also might feel differently. Google could ask upon opening Chrome if I would like all Google apps to use Chrome as the default browser, then save those details to my Google Account. That setting would then propagate to Gmail and other Google owned apps. (Perhaps, even third parties authenticated with my Google account could sync that detail down.)

I know it’s not as bad as Microsoft’s dark pattern usage that got them into a court case with their users, but this is pretty damn annoying.