How to fail at the internet, staring eBay.

eBay’s hack is all over the news today, so I decide to be proactive and change my password. Here’s how it went.

Me: Go to eBay, expect to see standard “there was a problem, change your password” prompt.

eBay: eBay!

Me: No prompt. Maybe I have to log in.

eBay: eBay!

Me: Logged in. Find account settings. Then CTRL-F for “password”. Nothing.

eBay: eBay!

Me: Find “Personal Information” link. Click to find password change link buried in other settings. Click through.

eBay: Hey, you should probably change your password. You know, now that you’re four levels deep in our site and already found the well-hidden password change page.

Me: Okay, time to change password.

eBay: LOL gonna make you enter your old password again, then click on a button to send yourself an email with a link that’ll let me change your password. Instead of just letting you change your password.

Me: Annoying, but fine. I’ll click the link.

eBay: HAHA enter your old password again.

Me: [old password, then new password, twice, because no one's figured out that maybe displaying a password on screen is okay sometimes]

eBay: Thanks! Here’s another login screen. Enter your new password.

Me: Christ, don’t most sites just have some secure cookie or something so that when I change my password, I don’t have to keep entering shit?

eBay: Please change your password!

Me: What? I just did that.

eBay: Please change your password! But enter your new “old” password first. You know, the one you changed it to two minutes ago. Oh, and your new new password can’t be the one you just changed it to. Also, there will be unclear instructions about ALSO entering a security question that’s below the “submit” button. You can’t move on until you figure it out!

Me: eBay, you’re fucking stupid.

eBay: eBay!

Goodbye, from a fan.

Remember when Angels baseball was on broadcast TV? No longer: Over-The-Air games have dwindled in number significantly over the last few years, especially after the team’s latest deal with Fox Sports. This year is the worst it’s ever been, though: of the 161 games slated for broadcast this season, 158 of them (98%) are cable-only. Only three are scheduled to be on Fox (all Saturday afternoon games), and none on KCOP.

Why is this? A 2011 deal between the team and Fox Sports, worth around $3 BILLION, means that if you want to watch games live, you better be willing to pay for cable. And don’t expect it to change – the deal is in place until the 2030s. Think of all the technological advances in the last 10 years (specifically mobile and streaming television), and realize that no matter what else happens with technology, we’re locked in having to pay for hundreds of other channels (to companies we all universally hate), all to watch live baseball.

The Angels, in all likelihood, probably don’t care (at least right now). They’re able to pay for big-name players with the money, and they honestly couldn’t care less if poor folks aren’t fans – poor folks can’t/don’t come to the stadium in the same numbers as the better off, more-likely-to-have-$80-to-$120-a-month-for-cable crowd.

I think the Angels (as well as the dozens of other teams that have signed similar contracts) will eventually come to regret the long-term nature of their choice. By then it may be too late, though, and a whole generation of potential fans, for whom cable TV was either too expensive or “something my parents used to have, before the internet”, will have moved on. This fan pretty much already has.

Who are you? Where did you see this?

Taking a very unscientific poll on who’s reading Insignifica, and how (i.e., directly from this page, RSS, some other aggregation, etc.).

Leave a comment if you see this!

An open letter to beer festivals

Dear Beer Festivals,

It’s not you, it’s me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love beer. And I love variety. And the social aspect is great, as is discovering new beers from breweries I’ve never bought a bottle from. I just don’t feel like I’m getting as much out of you as I could be.

Sometimes the venue is too small or too hot. Sometimes (like this summer), the whole event is so poorly run that it’s not worth waiting another hour in line for. And it’s always expensive, because even at a “no-limit” event, I can’t try anywhere near enough beers to justify the price. Some events are amazing, and they’re what has kept me going back. But honestly, I’ve had more fun lately at good brewpub restaurants – even some chains.

I know, it sounds like blasphemy. But they’re just really good at what they do.

By most measurements, this weekend’s LA Beer Fest was a Good Event. Lots of vendors with lots of choices. A mellow hipster crowd, and just a wee bit too crowded (midway through – there was plenty of space early). I had a pretty good time, and drank some amazing beers. But it also had a lot of problems I’m seeing across the board at these things. There was poor line/ticket management, and anyone who observed it for a few minutes could have snuck in, no problem. Promises were made about food that didn’t come to pass (this is a very common issue). The event, put together by big-names BevMo and Golden Road brewing, wasn’t mentioned on either’s website, and the ticketing agency (and its URLs) were so sketchy that I almost didn’t buy. And the “VIP” expereince, which is a common upsell at these things, was once again limited to getting in early, despite promises of special tastings and exclusive features and other fun things worth paying a 25% premium for.

In the end, I can’t get too mad at any leisure event. No one’s forcing me to attend, and as far as beer goes, I get what I expect. But even that’s not enough lately, so I think I’m breaking up with you. Maybe we’ll get together sometime in the future, but a dozen friends with a bottle each of something they like, or 4-6 of us at a 100-tap brewpub with a tasting menu is looking much, much better to me lately.

Sometimes you make good decisions when you’re young, and one of mine was to buy before any of the other few hundred people with the name bought it. ┬áMostly it’s just forwarded here or had a generic landing page, but with some free time this afternoon I installed forum software and now have a working, useful place for all the other people named Michael Doss to come and chat.

This will either be a grand failure or a grand adventure. Oh, and the rest of you are welcome as well, though I have no idea what we’re all going to chat about.

What’s going on here?

Welcome back to Insignifica! You’ll notice some changes, mostly that the site I’ve had for the last couple years is gone – the victim of a hosting company that won’t/can’t give me my backups. But luckily for me my “classic” site (2001-2011) was backed up separately, so much of it was easy to import, and exists right below this post. Good work, me!

So what’s going to happen here? I’m not sure. I’m very, very happy having the old site (complete with comments!) available again, if for no reason other than I miss having the temporal references for life events. I’ll likely post here some more, and if I can get a hold of the 2011-2013 posts (which were a radically different format and much less regular), I’ll get them up. Otherwise, who knows. Let’s surprise each other and see what happens.

Hello and Goodbye!

Hello and Goodbye!
Picture of the day!
Thumbs up!
Today is the 10th anniversary of my blog – Back on January 10th, 2001 I started a blog at using Blogger – so long ago that it didn’t even have an integrated comments system yet. A year later (January 2002) I started using Movable Type (which I still use), and a couple weeks later started posting to Insignifica instead of Michris.
Features have come and gone, but otherwise the format remained the same until January 2006, when I started the “Picture of the day!” and started posting 5 days a week (and cutting way back on off-hand, one-subject posts). When POTD! started, I had 1,234 pictures in my Flickr account. Last month I hit 10,000.
And that brings me to today. After 2,754 entries and 3,914 comments, I’ve decided to retire the blog. When I started out, Facebook and Myspace were years off – “Social Networking” was something old dudes did in leather chairs while smoking cigars. A blog let me get information about my life to my friends and the occasional random reader, all in one convenient place. But times have changed – I can get information to friends much more easily via Facebook, and see what they’re sharing too. My “random person” quota is down, but I’ve made friends-of-friends, too, which figure in to everything.
There are definite advantages to a blog in terms of data, but for the time I spend every day, the return isn’t nearly as great as it used to be. Comments are down significantly, and I assume readership is too. I’ve been struggling to find good daily content, and that’s just been getting harder. And when I noticed my 10th anniversary was coming up, I figured it was just as good a time as any to put it out to pasture.
There may be more content here to come – this’ll be as good a place as any to put together a non-facebook page of automatic feeds from all my online places. We’ll see how that goes.
A very big thank you to everyone who’s read and commented in the last 10 years – it’s made it a pleasure to write every day. I’ll still be writing other places, too – retiring the blog might inspire me to make more food posts or start something new. What ever that is, I’ll let everyone know. Thanks again, and happy interneting!

Weekending, Tangerines, Clean Desk, Voice, Short Long Week, Friday and Beth!

Hello and happy Friday! Happy Birthday to Beth this weekend!
Picture of the day!
Katie and a neighbor boy going for a spin in his new ride.
For being the first 5-day work week in a long time, this one certainly seemed to pass quickly. Weirdo relative time.
I’m losing my voice, and it’s weird – that’s a rare illness side effect for me. This little cold is annoying but persistent.
I’m not sure how it happened, but my desk at work is super clean. It’s not that it’s usually messy, but typically work piles up. Right now, it’s just about clear.
It won’t last much longer, but I love being able to pick a tangerine from my tree on the way to work. They’re good, too.
Come back Monday for a special announcement! Happy weekending!

Enjoy Your Thursday, Harmony 300, Chilly, Inception, Minor Cold, Thursday!

Happy Thursday!
Picture of the day!
iPhone 041
Katie at Ren Faire.
It appears I have a minor cold. Compared to the illnesses of the past few weeks, though, it’s a walk in the park. I’d love to be healthy again, though. Seriously.
Finally saw “Inception” last night. Good flick. Spoilers: Was expecting more of a surprise ending, since everyone told me there was a surprise ending. Still entertaining.
It’s not that cold, but the miser in me hates running the heaters all the time, so my house is chilly. I can’t imaging living somewhere where you could die if you didn’t run the heat…that’s just crazy.
I got a new universal remote – the Logitech Harmony 300. It works great, but I think it’s really weird that you NEED to use the internet to program it, and you need to use a Windows computer (my Linux machines don’t use Microsoft’s Silverlight, so no go for me). I’d like that ability, but it’s a dumb requirement. That said, it does great things, especially for a low-end programmable remote (and works with my Roku). Ah, technology.
I’m out of things to talk about – enjoy your Thursday!

That’s All, Tacos, Vegas Offer, Gmail Spam, Little Cold, Hump!

Happy Hump Day!
Picture of the day!
I may have a little cold, but it ain’t holding me back. Illnesses are dumb.
Gmail seems to be celebrating the new year by letting all sorts of spam through my filters. I forget that before Gmail, I manually dealt with several hundred pieces of the stuff every day. So they get a pass – this time.
I’ve only been back a week, but I got another offer from Excalibur for three free nights in Vegas, most anytime. If I can manage NOT to lose money every time I go, it might be worth it…
I’m gonna have vegan taco truck food today, and I’m very excited.
That’s all for today – lots to do! Have a fantastic Wednesday!