Because it’s Tuesday, here’s a grab-bag of stuff that I find irritating to one degree or another. Feel free to add yours.Facebook buying Instagram for $1 billion. This pisses me off because it proves again that Facebook has become the Standard Oil of this century: It no longer has to compete with competitors; it simply has to buy them.
I like Instagram because it does a few small tasks extremely well: you take a picture, apply a filter or frame, and upload it on the fly. It’s very smooth, unlike the Facebook app. I don’t follow a lot of people with Instagram, but one of them is a professional photographer who gets some remarkable street shots with it. This guy probably has $100,000 in photo gear, and he’s out there every day shooting pics with his iPhone.
Now those photos will be the property of Facebook. I liked it better when my Instagram “content” was owned by a small company with less than a dozen employees. Facebook is too big. And I suspect it is slowly taking over the minds of my friends.George Zimmerman’s web site. Look, when you’re at the center of a case this polarizing, a crude web site like this one is only going to make things worse. Check it out: Pages labeled “My Race,” “The Facts,” “Album” and “Contact” contain nothing. I’m pretty sure the PayPal button works though. Zimmerman can’t and won’t shed any light on this case, but he would appreciate some help with his legal bills. Sorry George, but I’m a great believer in personal responsibility.
I doubt Zimmerman is at heart a violent racist, just as I doubt Trayvon Martin was either a saint or a thug. But the essential facts of the case — the guy with the gun is soliciting donations, while the guy with the Skittles is dead — are not in dispute. So this one will have to play out without my financial involvement. And for God’s sake, if you must have a web site, at least design the damned thing.Episode 4 of Mad Men. I know, it must sometime seem that all I do is carp about popular television shows. Well, if you’re saying that all I do is carp about popular television shows, then I guess I’m guilty, your honor. Actually, I did enjoy the creepy “Mystery Date” except for one thing (SPOILER ALERT): That extended dream sequence involving Don and the shady lady from his past. I recognized it as a dream sequence from the get-go, and I was groaning louder than Don himself toward the end of it.
Once more: Dream sequences are a poor excuse for storytelling. They cheat the audience and they make writers lazy by erasing the need for subtlety. Since this is probably the last season of Mad Men, I suppose it was tempting to slip this one by. But man, what a disappointment.
As an aside, how about that Grandma Pauline? Sally is so lucky to have the guidance of such a thoughtful and caring woman while fat Betty is out on the town. “Here, have another Seconal while I describe some more serial slayings.” Sheesh. Makes Betty look like Mother Theresa.