Jukebox hero.
kitten   July 21, 2003

I've noticed an obnoxious trend among p2p filesharing applications such as Kazaa, that of misnamed or mangled filenames.

For example, I came across a file named "Mozart - Pachabel Canon in D.mp3".

The person who ripped this file was an idiot. He clearly saw, on the back of his CD, the word "Pachabel", probably in a different font and definitely in a different column from the title of the song, "Canon in D". Yet he incorrectly interpreted "Pachabel" as being part of the title.

Then, when naming his file, he had no idea who the composer was, and wrote "Mozart" as a catch-all (similar to the phenomenon you'll find when searching for parodies or comedic mp3s - they're all, miraculously, by Weird Al.)

A number of alternate explanations other than sheer, mind boggling stupidity have been offered. One stated his position thusly:

Mangling one track with the information from another track is probably the result of a simple error - wrong CD in the case, mixing track numbers on CD compiled from several artists, etc. This is especially plausible if the mangled information is similiar to the factual information - one pop band for another, one metal band for another, one 80's band for another, etc.
I assume he is talking about compilation albums, where many artists will be featured on the same CD. According to dasunt, the person looked at the CD case, and saw "Canon in D" but accidently looked at the row above or below it when typing in the composer's name, hence the "Mozart".

However, I argue that he clearly saw "Pachabel" there, since he did include the name, and only out of sheer idiocy did he misinterpret it as being part of the song's title.

It has been suggested that such a situation

is a mix of #1 (already stated) and #2) Lack of familiarity with the media and/or the software.
By 'media' he means that this person is not well-versed in classical composers, and so got confused.

However, let us suppose we have a CD with the following tracks listed so:

  • Mozart ..... Symphony No. 40, First Movement
  • Pachabel ..... Canon in D Major
  • Chopin ..... Trio in G Minor
  • Wagner ..... Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla

    Even if one is unfamiliar with classic composers and their songs, one should be able to infer, from context, that one column is the composer's name and the other column is the song title.

    However, this is only one example of misnamed files (albiet a common one - it seems that every classic song was written by Mozart, unless it actually was, in which case it was Beethoven or Wagner).

    Consider this example. Here, someone ripped a song by Angie Martinez, and when the time came to give it a filename, wrote "Star Trek TNG - The Offspring" and included the wrong extension while they were at it. (The file in question is, in fact, the Angie Martinez song, in case you're wondering.) They typed up the description properly, including the keywords, category, and artist name - yet completely fucked the filename beyond any possible comprehension.

    What about this intellectual powerhouse? He named this file "Mozart - Carmina Burana", attributed it to Mozart in the album field and the song title field. One could say he merely made a mistake, glanced at the CD too quickly, whatever. However, we then see that for the description, he clearly writes, "From Carl Orff!", indicating that he was well aware of the composer's name, and simply fucked up because he's an idiot.

    Finally we have this clown. Notice that he titles the song, "Mozart - Piano Concerto #21", lists the artist as "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart", but lists the album as "Beethoven". He then names the file "Beethoven - 5th Symphony".

    When I downloaded it, it was Mozart's 15th piano sonata in C major. Go figure.

    So, given the contextual clues, and the fact that the titles and composers are clearly listed in a simple, easy-to-understand fashion, are we to assume that these people are just "lazy" as some suggest, or "unfamiliar with the media"? Or can we conclude that these people are idiots?

    How does laziness or a lack of familiarity with the artist's work lead to such mistakes as naming a file "Star Trek.avi" when in fact it is an mp3 of Angela Martinez?

    One user, in a dissenting opinion, opines:

    [dasunt] You are bitching that he is a moron since he does not know the rather useless information (for 99% of the people) of the difference between classical composers, and seems to mistook an entire CD for being composed by Mozart.
    No, dasunt, I am arguing that even if he wasn't familiar with the composers or their works, he had enough clues to figure it out if he had the intelligence of a brain-dead tree frog, especially when Mozart is one of the composers, thus providing him at least some basis for distinguishing composer's name from song's title.
    [dasunt] You are asking me to believe that he knowingly misnamed his files, or was too stupid to notice. I am arguing that most people who owned Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears CDs could tell the difference apart, and that some sort of error was probably at fault.

    I agree. There was an error at fault. We call that an ID-10-T error.

    Pay some attention to what you're doing, people. Naming mp3s should not be this difficult.

  • Thoughts on education.
    kitten   July 20, 2003

    This evening I got involved in a rather long-winded argument (as if an argument with me could be anything but) regarding educational priorities.

    It started with someone lamenting that people should know, but don't, what he referred to as "basic math" such as the quadratic equation, or how to prove a formula.

    This is what I call a mispriority.

    The linchpin of my argument is that people only really learn what they need to know (or that which is of personal interest to them, but that's an aside).

    I allegedly "learned" the quadratic equation in high school. I put this in quotation marks because the truth is, I didn't learn a damn thing. I memorized it long enough to pass a test and promptly forgot it. Today, I couldn't tell you what the quadratic formula is if a gun was being held to my head, and the same goes for the majority of the population that isn't currently a) in high school or b) in a profession that requires such knowledge. In both cases, the information is in that person's mind only because they need it (either to do their job, or to pass a test).

    The rest of us, generally speaking, have no idea what that equation is, and there's a simple reason for that: because it is fundamentally useless information to us.

    I'm not saying it is useless knowledge in general - only that the vast majority of the population has absolutely no need or use for it in their day-to-day lives. Only those who have a specific need for that information will actually know it.

    To me, "basic math skills" are arithmetic, percentages, and fractions. These are things that we use almost every day, and precisely because they are useful to us, we know them.

    When it comes to education, students are being force-fed an astonishing amount of what amounts to trivia and useless information. Math classes are particularly notorious in this regard - beyond the three skills I mentioned above, there is little in any high school math class that will ever be used by ninety percent of the population. For all intents and purposes, this information is worthless trivia. (There are, of course, other subjects of a typical high school curriculum that are equally guilty, but for now, math will serve as an adequate example.)

    The proof that most high school math classes are worthless lies in the fact that very few people can remember any of it; because it is useless to most people, they never use it, and thus, forget it. Yet they have no trouble remebering things that are useful to them - if they're actually taught those things.

    Schools are turning out graduates who can barely construct a coherent essay, or even a paragraph. They are completely unable to express their thoughts in a linear fashion, almost totally ignorant of basic spelling and grammar, and have no concept whatsoever of how to progress from one point to the next.

    They cannot comprehend what they read or hear, and are completely devoid of the ability to derive meaning from a piece of text. For evidence, look at this and check out the IM logs and hatemail. That is what today's students are capable of - and every one of them will graduate high school, completely unable to read or write to any respectable degree, and completely unable to think logically.

    I do not insist that everyone be a gifted novelist or up to the level of Chaucer and Shakespeare. However, I remember many English classes where the teacher would instruct us to hand our essays to another random student for proofreading; I would be astonished by the utter gibberish that would come across my desk. Essays would ramble incoherently without ever coming to a point. Fictional stories would be incomprehensible masses of confusion. Spelling errors were rampant, paragraph blocking was ignored, and the grammar would make a third-grade teacher weep. These students had absolutely no idea how to stop one thought and begin another; they were almost totally incapable of conveying their ideas to someone else.

    Being able to communicate effectively is a fundamental skill for life. In any profession, and any relationship, being able to express ideas to someone else is absolutely paramount, and one's ability to communicate is probably the secondmost important thing they are judged on (with appearance, it seems, being the first).

    This is what I mean by "educational priorities". Schools are so hung up on the idea that they need to turn out "well-rounded" studentia, when the fact of the matter is that graduates haven't really learned much of anything, and it shows.

    Students exiting high school can't write or speak with any more force than they could when they entered high school, and they still can't remember the quadratic equation or anything else they supposedly learned, so what was the point?

    Perhaps it's time to focus the curriculum on things that are useful - to priortize. I for one would like to see math classes cut down to a ridiculously bare minimum, and have schools turn out graduates that are well-versed in the art of logic, and who can write an essay, or express their opinions verbally, on any topic (given, of course, the necessary foreknowledge). By ensuring that students know how to think, and can express themselves well, we arm them with realistic, useful skills for any walk of life.

    Most other "skills" taught in high school are promptly forgotten, and only relearned when needed - if the student enters a profession where such skills are needed, he will learn them there, and remember them since they're actually useful to him.

    Anything else is just a waste of time. The quadratic formula, sines and cosines - these things are not "basic". They're a personal interest to a select few, a necessity for a few others, and to everyone else, they are entirely useless.

    Let's stop forcing trivia into student's heads - trivia they won't remember because they'll never use it - and start focusing on making sure they come out of high school with useful, applicable skills - things they will remember because they're useful.

    Line them up, one by one, just to watch them fall.
    kitten   July 14, 2003

    "It's so soulless," she said, twisting the volume dial, "just stacks of synthesizers."

    "I don't know," I replied, "it's still expressive. Sure, it's synthesizers and stuff, but listen to the voices. There's meaning there, right? And the music can still provoke emotions - the synths are just another instrument, that's all."

    "Soulless," she insisted, her face lit green by a graphic equalizer she was fiddling with.

    "Maybe," I conceded. This booth, her little soundbooth, was always so smoky, from the cigarettes she'd light and then forget about, letting them slowly smolder into ash on the tabletop.

    She complained a lot about this job, but I think underneath, she enjoyed it. The darkened booth, her private domicile among the throngs of weekend partygoers and club-hoppers, and from within it, she played their moods and dancing with the deft flick of a switch here, a track there, like a director calling the blocking to his actors.

    "So maybe it is," I continued. "A soulless sound for a soulless age. Where the digerati connect through servers and switches instead of arms and voices, and empty their heads under neon lights when the music starts. These people," I indicated the writhing mass of dancers on the floor below, "they want their digital-spun silicon dreams, and pushing the less-than-perfect analog reality at them just won't cut it anymore. Too gritty, too cloudy. So pack up that guitar, my dear, and move to the groove of a new era."

    She paused a moment in her dial-twisting and record-sifting to give me a look, but her eyes glittered and maybe she almost grinned.

    "Yeah," she said. "Who needs guitars, anyway?"

    Supplemental.
    kitten   July 8, 2003

    This is a supplement to this post.

    . . . . .

    First up, we have "Zankai", with this gem:

    Hey there!

    I've got.. a little comment, for your little Friday 4th post.

    I just want to say that the internet would be a dull, I repeat, dull place, if everybody thought like you. I think it's wonderful that you expressed your opinion, but honey, I can't do anything but disagreeing with you. I'll continue to live my 'internet life', or whatever you'd like to call it, the way I like it, and did before, and just want you to know your blog certainly did not affect my opinion, but thanks anyway!

    And I'm positive you've hurt, and offended many people, but if you want to be like that, it's up to you.
    Yes, the Internet would certainly be dull.. that is to say, if your idea of excitement is "Woo hoo! This website won't render at my screen resolution!" or "Yay! This website doesn't work with my browser!" or "Right on! I can't read any of this text because it's 8pt font and shoved into a 2-inch square off to the side!"

    This is also the first of many, many, many emails that pointed out how rude and mean I was.

    Next, we have a reply from the same person, but under a different name. Here's their input:

    You don't have 'balls', believe me. Don't think you rule because your
    graphics feature walls and staircases.
    If people put commenting options on their sites, it's their fucking
    bussiness. Some people (have you ever heard of the word 'friends'?) like
    having people to comment on what they go through and post about in their
    journal, blog, whatever.
    And if you think everybody who owns a blog and 'doesn't know shit from
    sushi' can't handle criticism, I'm sorry to say you can kiss my sorry ass.
    This is the first - again, of many - which harped over and over on how the walled city doesn't blow you away with ten thousand graphics and all kinds of visual bells and whistles and other pointless wastes of time. Although I addressed that clearly and concisely in my original rant, it seems to have been lost on most people, who continue to blither about the lack of flashy graphics. It's a running theme.

    Ah, now here's a winner. This is from "Tina," who writes:

    You must think that you are so good, to sit there and judge like that.
    So what if there is an "enormous preponderance" of personal sites on the
    web. I actually am a webmaster, in that I mean I do have websites, and I
    run a few business websites, as well as designing websites for a living, and
    I started out exactly like some of these people on the web.
    Right away, the predictable, yet totally unverifiable, display of credentials.
    I started off
    running my own personal site, with pretty cruddy designs. But with
    encouragement - not your slagging off - I got better, I learnt more.
    "Encouragement" in this person's world apparently means having twenty of your buddies - which you "plug" incessently - show up at your site to post comments about "WOW! YOUR NEW LAYOUT IS SO GREAT!" every other day. Take special note of the continuing theme of "rudeness".
    Oh and
    more to add on that - YES you are a webmaster or webmistress if you have
    your own domain. There are no rules to say that you have to run a business
    or anything like that, before you can become a webmaster/mistress.

    I never said there were, my dear. I simply said that inflating yourself with some trumped-up title like "WEBMASTER" is absolutely ridiculous, because it doesn't mean anything. As you yourself pointed out, any idiot with a webpage can call themselves a "webmaster" - it doesn't imply any particular talent, skill, trade, insight, or education. It doesn't imply anything. It's a completely meaningless title.

    Your site, if it even deserves that name, is not a whole hell of a lot
    better than some of those that you mentioned. It might load fast, (but then
    I went to most of the sites you listed, and they loaded pretty quick for me,
    and I'm on a laptop with a 56k modem), but it's boring. Where's the
    excitement? Where is anything at all that would want to draw the user in?
    There is nothing!! At least these people that you mentioned have the guts
    to go out there and experiment. What's your excuse.

    Well, I addressed this in my original rant as well, but apparently reading comprehension skills aren't being taught in schools anymore. I'll say it again: The walled city is about content. It's about words. There's everything from essays, to fiction, to random babblings, to theological expositions, to lectures, to poems, to personal updates on life. There are very few topics we haven't covered and continue to cover. What keeps people coming back is the things we have to say. Substance, not style.

    Hey, you might not like what we have to say. You might disagree with it, or think we're idiots. But regardless, the content is there. There's more than enough to keep the casual reader entertained.

    What do the sites I linked to have to offer? Hell, once you've seen their NEW LAYOUT, you've seen everything they have - there's nothing to keep anyone coming back unless they know the "webmaster" personally. Content is nonexistant, unless you're really into reading "I went shopping today and got new shoes! Well, time to plug my friends! Link, link, link, link!"

    Oh and you know what? That message you wanted to get across? Well every site I went to got their message across too. I was just more interested in
    what they had to say.

    Ah, I'm sorry. You like seeing the same HTML tutorials over and over and over, with a tiny-font blog detailing what someone got at the mall. That's deep. Well, if you're interested in that, good for you. I ain't stopping you.

    Well I've had my say, and I think I was a hell of a lot politer than you
    deserved.
    You say these other sites suck! Well no, that would be you who does.

    Goddamn, I guess you told me!

    "Erin" writes,

    Yeah, well, if you're not "concerned with flashy graphics and pointless embedded mp3 files and "vectored" graphics of celebrities and other pomp and circumstance", why the fuck are you slagging off these sites, huh?

    Do I really need to explain the nonlogic here? You can work it out for yourselves, I'm sure..

    If they have flashy graphics yadayadayada and what not that you are not impressed with, the [X] button is there for a reason. You need to learn that people have feelings too.

    Once again, I'm TOO MEAN and TOO RUDE and I'm not making people FEEL GOOD about themselves. Let me call the waaaah-mbulance.

    I'm sure you would'nt like it if I slagged off your ugly excuse for a site. I mean, all you did was insert in a picture, put a blue background and badaboom, you have a "layout".

    Yet another two-bit twit who doesn't understand - even though I explained it - the difference between "the graphic at the top of a page" and "the layout of a page". And of course, we're back to the "your graphics suck" speech.

    Oooh. Am I supposed to be impressed? At least the sites you mentioned have created their OWN graphics with their HARD work.

    I wonder how many of these people have ever said "That movie sucked." Don't people work really hard on movies? Like say.. a fuckload harder than anyone works on a pathetic personal website? And yet, they callously dismiss the filmmaker's HARD WORK with a casual "this sucks".

    Apparently the graphics on m.org aren't my "own", yet someone stealing a picture of a celebrity and applying Photoshop filters to it makes it their own. That also counts as "hard work". Write it down, kids.


    I hardly think copying an image from the web and uploading it to your domain is that hard.

    Here's a tip, ladies and gentlemen: If you don't know what you're talking about, don't insert technobabble to make yourself sound authentic. Those who have a clue will call bullshit, as I'm doing now. "Uploading to your domain," indeed.

    Or maybe it is for someone as incompetent as you. Whatever. The point is, if you don't like something, thats your right, but do not insult them publicly. Didnt your mother teach you manners, little boy?

    Oh no! I insulted them PUBLICLY! How dare I have the audacity to do such a crass, horrendous thing! I do apologize for that - you see, I forgot that we live in Happy Land in a Gumdrop House on Lollipop Lane where everyone skips and frolics and nobody is ever mean and the golden rule is to never ever OFFEND anybody.

    That's it for the hatemail. From Atlanta, good evening.

    Bitch, bitch, bitch.

    Well. I hadn't planned on making a follow up to what was, after all, just a brief little rant. But it seems that a bunch of whiners take things way, way too personally. I have gotten dozens upon dozens of emails, IMs, ICQs, and various other comminuques just about this rant.

    Most have been extremely supportive, from "I admire what you said" to "You have some good points" to "This made me laugh" and "I'm glad someone told me, because now I know what to change." You people know who you are. Thanks for the support.

    But there's others. Most of them are either the owners of the sites I linked to, or people who have sites just like them. In the past few days I have endured some of the most inane, immature, and outright incoherent frothing-at-the-mouth nonsense it has ever been my extreme misfortune to deal with.. and yet at the same time I have been endlessly amused by it all.

    I'll provide some links at the end here, so you can all read some of the emails and IMs, and laugh.

    These people apparently feel that I made some sort of personal attack on them, and have taken it upon themselves to spew forth endless amounts of half-cogent gibberish in their defense. Most of their arguments, I addressed clearly and concisely in the original rant, but I suppose it's asking too much of people to, you know, read and comprehend before going off half-cocked.

    Even worse, every single one of them has brought the exact same arguments to the table, none of which are even remotely valid.

    As far as I can see, all the arguments come down to just a few points:

    1. Well, your graphics suck too!
    If you noticed, I specifically addressed that in my little tirade. This site is about having actual, real content - you know, like words? - and not just a display case for graphics that I change every three weeks. Looks like I have something to say with this site - something other than "look what graphics I can make".

    There's plenty here to keep the casual reader entertained. But once someone has seen your NEW LAYOUT, they've seen everything you have to offer - there's no incentive whatsoever to bother coming back.

    Besides, attacking this site is just ad hominem. I didn't say "So-and-so sucks," I just linked to some examples of what I was talking about. You're all ripping viciously into it like it was some personal affront against you. And whether my site sucks or not doesn't alter the meaning of what I was saying - who said the words is less important than what the words said.

    2. It was rude and mean and nasty! It wasn't polite!
    Well, maybe so. Tough break, eh? Do you know me? Do you know any of my readers? Then what the fuck do you care if they click through and see these examples?

    Did you honestly expect everyone to kiss your ass like they do in your comment boards? It's amazing to me how someone can have a public website with public comment boards, so that their friends can come by and "ooh ahh" over "how great the layout is", yet ONE person says something you don't like and suddenly it's "YOU'RE BEING MEAN LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU".

    Step outside your front door once in a while, kiddies. The world isn't sunshine and daffodils, okay? You're completely mad with hysteria that someone had the unmitigated gall to say something you don't want to hear, and then harping endlessly about how "rude" it was, like the entire world is some happy utopia where people's only goal is to empower you and make you feel good, and everyone holds hands and sings songs under bright happy sunshine while dancing in a meadow.

    What your third-grade teacher told you was wrong: Your self-esteem is not the most important thing in the world, and the rest of humanity does not exist to support and validate you and append every criticism with disclaimers.

    3. I make my website for myself, not for anyone else.
    This is one of the most amusing ones. Come on, people - this is the internet, okay? Nothing is "private" and "just for myself". If you put it out in public, the public can and will form opinions on it, and not everyone is going to like it. There's no such thing as "just for myself" online. That's a fact of the digital world, kids - get used to it, or pull the plug on your net connection.

    4. Those people worked hard on their sites!
    Well, maybe they did. But if everyone just tells them how great it is, and nobody bothers to point out what's wrong with it, how are they ever going to learn? Or are you going to callously dismiss any criticism that isn't tempered with four pages of disclaimers about "I don't mean to be rude, and everything is pretty, but.."

    Besides, how many of you can honestly say you've never said "This movie sucks," or "That band sucks"? People work a lot harder on movies than any of you will work on a website - yet that doesn't stop you from casually waving it away with "This sucks."


    Can any one of you look past your own pride for two seconds and admit that yes, cramming all your text into a little square off to the side is a bad idea?

    Can someone admit that maybe making your text in some illegible 8pt font is hard to read?

    Can one of you maybe admit that, when I say putting obnoxious backgrounds in completely obscures the text, I've got a point?

    Can one of you shove aside your knee-jerk reactionary lunacy and admit that there's more to webdesign than changing your graphics every month?

    Can one of you admit that maybe having good content, and saying something worth reading, is more important in the long run than seeing how many iframes you can stuff into one page?

    Can you admit to yourself that usability and functionality is more important than how many new toys you can shove into your page?

    Can someone out there stand up and say "Not everyone uses IE with the exact same settings as me, and learning how to do things correctly might not be a bad idea!" God forbid you learn something even if you don't "need" to.

    The world is not out to validate your feelings. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. Grow a thicker skin, everyone, and quit acting like a bunch of fourth-graders in a playground, running to the teacher because someone made fun of you.

    Especially when your arguments are as predictable as the rising of the sun.

    . . . . .

    Some of the hatemail - along with my commentary - can be read here.

    Some of the AIM logs can be found here (the follow-up is here), also here, and here.

    Caveat: The AIM logs are, to put it mildly, painful. They're long - though amusing - and the people talking to me are extremely difficult to understand, thanks to their utter lack of brainpower and cognitive functions. This is your only warning.

    . . . . . .

    Update 7.13.03
    Seems some of the crybabies got even more upset, and in between their incoherent blithering about how immature and mean I was, decided to sign me up for some spam mailing lists.

    I'll leave it as an excercise for the reader to figure out why this is both funny and pathetically sad.

    You have lost the lead.
    kitten   July 4, 2003

    As most of you are aware, there is an enormous preponderance of so-called "personal sites" on the web today. Generally run by the 14-25 age group, these people will register a domain name, find a vhost, and put a webpage up for the entire world to see.

    If this more or less describes you, listen up, cause I've got something to say:

    Your site sucks.

    I'm not going to sugarcoat it, or try to be diplomatic about it, or worry about whether or not I'm polite. The world is a cruel and harsh place, and if you can't handle the heat, get away from the oven. I'll be honest and tell you like it is.

    You are not a "webmaster" (or "webmistress") because you have a website. Any two-bit punk can do exactly the same thing - inflating yourself with self-granted titles of grandiose stature doesn't change the fact that your site sucks.

    Look at this garbage. A horrendous mishmash of impossible-to-read, tiny text. An asstastic graphic at the top. A background that makes reading the text nigh unto impossible. Absolutely appalling.

    Here we have the revolting "cursor crosshair" crap which is done for absolutely no reason whatsoever, contributes nothing to the experience of the site, and is irritating. You can't even get your shit to render on a page without having to sidescroll. The text - again - is ridiculously small, especially on any respectable screen resolution. Here's a hint: Not everyone has a tiny-ass monitor set to 800x. Learn some adaptability. And the crappy Photoshopped (sorry, I meant "vectored") images of various people is not only ugly, but overused, and was never something to be admired.

    I really appreciate how your site needs endless declarations about what the requirements are. So now I have to resize my desktop and get a different browser just to see the hideous site you puked up, because you're such a piss-poor designer (sorry, "webmaster") that you can't figure out how to make your shit compatible with anything but what you personally happen to have pre-loaded on your Win98 box.

    Thanks for making your links ugly as sin, or indistinguishable from the rest of the text, and how your text is virtually the same color as the background. That really helps a lot. While you're at it, why don't you cram all the text into a tiny square off in the corner to make room for your repulsive display of Photoshop incompetence?

    Let me explain something. A "layout", in printing parlance, is the overall design of a page, spread, or book, including elements such as page and type size, typeface, and the arrangement of titles. Everything that is visual, in other words. A smeary picture you dessicrated in Photoshop is not a "layout". Nobody wants to see your "tutorials" on HTML when you can't do it properly yourself. Go look up the definition for "content" - it's generally understood to mean "subject matter", not the same five links you've recycled from every other site out there with a pithy block of text about yourself and what you hate and which incarnation of this "layout" we're looking at. Frames went the way of the dodo and the leisure suit, and that includes iframes.

    Q: Oh, you think you're hot shit, do you? Those websites have talent.
    A: No, I don't think I'm hot shit. I'm less concerned with updating the "layout" every two weeks to showcase some overinflated sense of talent, than I am with getting a messege across. While this weblog is certainly not a fantastic display of linguistic prowess, at least we've got material to speak about that doesn't involve "plugging" the mindless drones that left comments on the previous post or advertising how many cliques and fanlistings we've got.
    If "talent" means making ugly sites that can only be viewed in certain resolutions and browsers, which take two minutes to load even on broadband, and has ten thousand scrollbars and dropdown menus all over the place, then color us talentless. Here's me caring.

    Q: It's their site, they can do whatever they want with it.
    Yes, they can. And this is my site and I can insult and slag them all I want. Especially when my criticism is valid.

    Q: This isn't the prettiest site in the world either, you know.
    Perhaps not. Like I said, I'm not concerned with flashy graphics and pointless embedded mp3 files and "vectored" graphics of celebrities and other pomp and circumstance. All that stuff is just smoke and mirrors to disguise the fact that your site is utterly devoid of anything interestng. Once someone has seen your fancy images with their three-minute load time, they quickly realize there's no point to coming back.

    The walled city is simple and functional. I'm not just saying that to bolster myself, either - I didn't design it. Bryan is not a webdesigner by profession but he's got his shit together, and has a decent sense of user interface. Lo and behold, the text is easy to read on the background! It's a decent size, is fully compatible with any browser (even text-based browsers), renders exactly the same at any resolution and window size, and it's obvious what you're looking at - you don't have to dodge and weave through a slalom course of twenty five menus, banners, link buttons, and other useless crap to get to the important part. The menus on the side are convenient but not in the way. The pages load in the same window without inane popups. The links are readily distinguishable from the text. It is, in short, the mark of someone who understands asthetics and UI and that form follows function, not the other way round.

    It is, in short, everything your site is not. Your site sucks.