The Substance of Things

On Giving the People What They Want vs. What They Deserve

“It’s not rocket science, you ratchet up the level of enforcement so people leave on their own.” – Kris Kobach co-author of AZ Senate Bill 1070 (source)

While we’re on the subject of institutional racism, a quick little note about Arizona and what I’ll call their “papers, please” law.

A lot of people have been talking about boycotting Arizona, and I’m all for that, monetarily, but I think that those of us of the swarthier complexions should perhaps stop short of what might be our natural inclination to avoid the state altogether. I know when I first heard that Arizona was making themselves poster children for discrimination, my first thought was “well, guess I won’t be going to Arizona any time soon”. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that this may actually be more of a reason to vacation in Arizona. The reasoning goes like this: the good (read: white) people of Arizona have voted for and supported a law that makes life more difficult for us fer’ners because clearly they want fewer of us around – they don’t mind making life more difficult for brown people because in the end, the fewer of us they have to deal with, the better. I’d rather not give them the satisfaction – I’m a legal immigrant (citizen, even) and I’m not going to be bullied out of your state because you don’t like people with my complexion. Brown people – any of you always wanted to see the Grand Canyon? Now’s the time. Let’s pack Arizona so full of mocha skin that anybody despairs who hoped that making the law more hostile to us would help keep the riff-raff out.

Poly Ticks
The Substance of Things

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Ann Coulter’s Godless

Dust Jacket of Godless by Ann CoulterI was in Barnes and Noble the other day, and from a distance, I saw the cover of Ann Coulter’s newest book, Godless.
I don’t have a lot of love for Coulter, but I know she or the people packaging her, are very good – they sell grandstanding and posturing in a way that they could never sell reasoned or sensible. She says the most egregious, obviously idiotic and unthinkable things and it sells, because she says the unreasonable things a certain segment of the population wishes they could say, and which another (hopefully larger) segment of the population finds compellingly repellent.

So, I ask you, how the hell did she come up with the cover for this book? From a distance, all you see is “Ann Coulter [scribble scribble]” and a photo of Miss Coulter herself leaning on what appears to be a nice big label. Maybe she needs new image management. Maybe it’s intentional – maybe they’re playing up her negative reputation among the thinking masses. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s proof that the media package that is Ann Coulter is sheer parody. Imagine it. Could it be, I wonder, that Ann Coulter is a liberal satirist who has been trapped in the hell of having her lampoon of the worst of the other camp be taken seriously, and worse, turn lucrative? Surely you can sometimes see the glint of sadness in her eyes through the books signings and talk show appearances — a glimmer of repentance, perhaps? Or a plea for escape?

Then again, maybe she just is the worst of that camp and in these day and age, public opinion has given her the bullhorn. Maybe she’s just her own parody.

Media-tion
The Substance of Things

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Why I’m Never Getting Another Motorola Cell Phone – A Case Study in Design

I own a Motorola V180. I hate this phone. I want to chuck it at walls so very often. I explain why here.

I’ve been meaning to post this, as undoubtedly some of you have noticed, I am very upset at my cell phone. It’s not just its abject failure to work as any stable form of communications, though that’s part of it.

Just to start out, I want to make a few clarifications:
First, when I say “never again”, I mean “until proven wrong” (this is in contrast with my “never use Sprint” policy, which is deep-seated and will last as long as it possibly can). Secondly, yes, I mean any Motorola phone – this includes the RAZR and the ROKR, because, despite these two phones’ respective sexiness factor, as far as I can tell, these design issues apply to all of Motorola’s current lines of telephones, including my friend’s RAZR I played with. Thirdly, this is not a vendetta agains Motorola – I had a StartTAC back in the day and loved that phone like a brother, even in the face of the new-fangled color screens, non-alphanumeric displays, and cameras. It’s just they don’t seem to have kept up with the pack (or at least Nokia). Finally, my next phone will probably be a Nokia. I have experience with Nokias, and loved my old one, even if it got dust inside the faceplate a lot – I put that thing through enormous abuse, and it never stopped delivering like a pro. Plus, the design decisions in terms of the software were so subtly useful, except for one, which I’ll get to in a bit. Anyway – on with the show.

For fairness sakes, I ought to start this off with Motorola’s successes with this phone in my eyes:

Things Motorola Did Right

  • Standard USB connectivity with a standard 5-pin mini USB connector built into the phone (of course, if you’re a Windows person, you have to shell out big buck for their accompanying software.
  • Having four different customizable functions a simple click away from the home screen is very nice.
  • Works with iSync. (I’m not sure this is Motorola’s doing, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.
  • It uses a standard hands-free set connector
  • There is a microphone, and two speakers (one for speakerphone, one for the earpiece

That’s more or less it. Now for the meat:

What Motorola Did Wrong

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The Substance of Things

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