The Humanoids: Instant Insanity

We live in a world where when something happens, everybody knows about it almost instantly. The age of the internet, we’ve become a society that is constantly connected with every other place on earth and we demand information as it happens. And this is driving me insane. You just can’t get away from the barrage of news and reviews from around the world. The problem is, though, that the thought of turning TweetDeck off scares me because I might miss something that happens as the story develops. This internal contradiction of not caring about knowing but still needing to know is driving me insane. And today’s Humanoids column is all about those things that drive people insane.

Google Instant
You have to hand it to Google. Just when you think that they’ve maxed out the potential of a simple search engine, they find something new to put their competitors on the back foot. Now, they’ve got an “instant” search function. You’ve probably heard how this works but just in case you haven’t… Google doesn’t require you to hit Enter or push Search to actually search. All you have to do is type and the results instantly come up. The problem is that you’re going to have to sift through a lot of crap while you type. The results that come up instantly are based on your past searches and what’s popular. The instant concept is a good one if the only thing you’re looking up is Justin Bieber. If you’re actually searching for something off the beaten path, then you’re best to turn this one off. I already have.

YouTube
Speaking of Google, I’ve read two interesting bits of news about their video site over the last couple of weeks. First, YouTube is edging ever closer to profitability. Their ever-increasing pre-video screening advertisements are increasing their revenue and are more valuable than the standard pay-per-click advertising and featured videos links. Earlier this week, they did a two-day pilot of streaming video. As if they didn’t have enough of the internet video market cornered already, they are going to stop at nothing short of total domination. Remember when companies like Google and Apple were cool. There were the underdogs in a world of Microsoft domination. Now they’re the big dogs who think their shit doesn’t stink. If it wasn’t bad enough that YouTube has more lawyers than videos up its ass thanks to copyrights, they’re trying to take down other video streaming sites. They’re now just an unstoppable monster.

Twitter
Why not start off with a third Web 2.0 website to kick this one off? (Whatever Web 2.0 means…) Like I said in the intro, Twitter is my main culprit in driving my compulsion to know everything instantly. I choose the word “culprit” because I don’t know if my constant monitoring of Twitter is a cause of or symptom of my compulsion to know what is going on. Well, it’s not going to get any better now that Twitter has rolled out a brand new design and interface for web users. Basically, it’s been revamped so it’s something a bit closer to a Twitter app than a Twitter website. We’ve got infinite scrolling through tweets, keyboard commands, embedded pictures and video and it’s all done a whole lot faster than you can get it now. It’s nice to see that Twitter is willing to improve the service in a way that won’t piss off its users. Well, I’m sure some will complain but I guarantee that it’ll go over a lot better than any changes that Facebook has ever made.

NFL Week 1
Yay! The NFL is back. So why don’t I care? It’s because the first week is was a dud. All the off-season drama sucked the fun right out of the first week. The off-season was about Brett Favre’s retirement, Ben Roethisberger’s suspension and Tom Brady’s contract and Tony Romo’s current and ex-girlfriends. Oh, and there’s the whole CBA expiring and all hell about to break loose between the owners and players. None of the talk is about things that happened on the field. There weren’t any spectacular plays to win the game. A pair of wins were called back by the refs. One was the Dallas holding call, which was understandable. The other was the Detroit non-TD screwjob. The ground can cause an incomplete pass in the endzone when all you need to do rushing is to get an eyelash’s worth over the line? Only in the NFL. It’s the same league that says that you can catch a guy who jumps to catch a pass and put him down out of bounds and it’s an incomplete pass. Where’s the XFL when we need it?

Taylor Swift
Funny, twelve months ago I was writing about what happened to her at the MTV VMAs and know I’m writing about her again only days after the latest edition of the VMAs. Last year, she was a victim of Kanye West’s interruption but turned out to be the winner of the whole thing. Her big moment is ruined and the whole world rallies around this girl wronged by a man with a massive ego. Somehow, I don’t think she can be considered a sympathetic figure anymore. She performed a song that the consensus was a song to or about Kanye. I couldn’t really tell if the message was that she forgave him or not. The long and short of it was something along the lines of “I’m better than you but I have to maintain this wholesome, country girl image for my sales.” Glad she was able to put this behind her. I mean, why not drag this all back out now right before her new album comes out. It’s not like she got a publicity boost from Kanye the first time…

Rafael Nadal
So he’s finally won his career grand slam. Good for him, I guess. It’s a major accomplishment. It’s not everyday that you find someone who says that I’ve eaten all the different varieties of giant breakfasts at Denny’s. Wait? He’s a tennis player. Oh, right, he’s the guy that looks like Adam Sandler’s caddy in Happy Gilmore. While I’m sure that Nadal is a supremely talented tennis player, I don’t like him. He looks like a neanderthal wearing a hairband and shorts. Maybe my problem is that a guy like Federer seems like he’d be a cool guy to hang out with. In commercials, he’s willing to have a laugh at his own expense. Take that recent viral video of him knocking a can off a dude’s head or the Gillette commercial where he’s wearing a cheesy disco outfit. Nadal? I’ve never seen him anywhere but a tennis court. He might be the next tennis phenom but he’ll only set the sport back. He just doesn’t have the mainstream appeal of a Federer, Agassi or even that Djokovic dude he beat on Monday. How about this: How important was Nadal’s win to ESPN? The trophy ceremony was dumped on the bottom of the cable hierarchy, ESPN Classic. Yup, Rafa’s a star alright.

Mass Effect 2
I’ve finally gotten around to picking it up and playing it. I probably could have waited until it hit the PS3 in January but I already have a completed Mass Effect 1 on my computer so rather than miss out on importing my saved character. I’m about 15 hours in (which could really mean anything as those who have played the game would know) and I only have one real gripe so far. Don’t get me wrong because the game is amazing. The combat is great. Menus have been simplified. Surveying unexplored planets actually has a purpose now. My problem is that Commander Shepherd doesn’t seem to be the star of the show. Sure, you play as him but this isn’t as much Shepard’s story as the first one. It’s about your crewmates as you prepare for a suicide mission to save the galaxy. ME1’s main story of stopping the Reapers and saving the galaxy was more compelling than this game’s central tale of taking the fight to the enemy. However, the strength of the surrounding characters’ stories more than makes up for this. I’m not as fond of ME2 as ME1. ME2 does everything better than the first game in every possible way except the main plot (and maybe the cover system). That being said, if you don’t pick this game up, you’ll regret it. Unquestionably the top game of 2010.

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