Friday, October 17, 2008

iGoogle issues

Anyone else use iGoogle? I do, and I love it - or I did, till the past few days. They've made some changes, against the advice of their community of testers who HATED the changes, AND given us no option to continue using the old format.

Old format (just the side of the page with the mail gadget):

New format:

I realize it's a free service (at least it is to me, though there is a pay option), and I don't have to use it, but that just doesn't seem like good business to me. Plus, a lot of the members who are complaining DO pay for the service!

THE main problem (to me) is the new version of the Gmail gadget. Used to be it would show you when you have new messages, by simply putting the number of messages there. You could choose whether you wanted to show a preview of the messages, or you could choose to hide the preview. I never really thought too much about that. I don't like a cluttered page (that to-do list is there on a trial basis Razz) and I also don't need anyone else in my family seeing the first few sentences of my mail when they bring up the Google page. Not that there's anything bad in my mail, LOL! I just don't choose to use the preview feature. But people who use iGoogle in their workplace DO have a problem with the fact that it is now no longer an option -- if you have the iGoogle page up, and the mail gadget on the page, there WILL be a preview of your e-mails - any number you choose, from 1 to 10, note that zero is NOT an option. It's a serious privacy issue. One would think it was just a bug, but it made it through testing and all its complaints.

I don't like the new page for other reasons, but the mail is the biggie for me. In the new one, they also moved the Home tab to the left, which many are also complaining about. I can live with that. I don't care what it LOOKS like. But they changed the way the mail functions. Gmail was easy to use -- No longer. It's more complicated now just to read the mail, much less reply and add attachments. It's a serious pain! I confess I am set in my ways and don't like a lot of changes, but why fix what wasn't broken? Better still - why FORCE it on people? Let those who want it, choose it. Let those of us who like it the old way, keep that. It's done all the time when "improvements" are made.

I found a Google discussion group and discovered a temporary fix for the problem - I set my home page to the Canadian version of iGoogle. Cool See, this "improvement" is only for those of us in the US, for now. But it won't last forever. Quote:

The Official Google Blog :
Not in the U.S.? Don't worry. We'll also be rolling out this updated version in other countries very soon.

Great! I know my Canadian friend can't wait. *rolling eyes*

And here's what the Google rep in the Help Group had to say:

Canvas view of gadgets (and its accompanying left-side navigation) is
an important new iGoogle feature, so the old look is being retired.

iGoogle Guide

Well, Paul - important to whom? Not to your members, apparently, who have posted 10 pages of complaints on your Help Group? Not to the testers who begged Google to NOT make the changes? And apparently the customer is not important to Google. Suck it up and learn to like it, eh? Nice business model, I wonder if they also sell futons? Confused

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Getting Down and Dirty

I don't watch Regis and Kelly, but yesterday I caught this clip on YouTube.

I still don't watch Jon and Kate Plus Eight (I know. I seem to have a lot to say about stuff I never watch. LOL), but I can no longer say I never have. I've watched a couple of episodes. I loved them. They were so cute, and I could totally relate to the chaos and stress. If I were a TV watcher, I could see myself putting the show on my list.

But -- me liking the show doesn't negate what I said in my other post. I still believe they are being negatively affected and that there should be laws to protect them from the constant exposure. Me being a voyeur is my own problem. Photobucket

Back to topic...

Here is the dialogue between Kelly and Mark before the family came out:

  • Kelly: What I want to know is, why do their children never look dirty? Why?
  • Mark: they're a very clean family.
  • Kelly: But i swear they always look well dressed, their hair is always combed, we can't get our kids to put shoes on. What's wrong with us?
  • Mark: We're bad parents.

This post is not about the Gosselins. It's about kids in general. Here is a fact about kids:

They get dirty.


I know; that's a shocker to some people. My own Grandmother used to buy little white dresses for me when I was a toddler - white, smocked, dry-clean only dresses. Seriously! Who buys that stuff?? Rather, who buys that stuff and expects it to stay cute?

My own Mom didn't dress me in that stuff, or else she would put me in it when my Grandmother came to visit. She passed on some things to me for my own kids. Sweet little boy sailor outfits with 27-year-old tags still on them. So I did what IMO any normal mother would do - I put it on my son. And when it got dirty, I washed it (I don't do dry clean for my own stuff. Dry cleaning for kids - ain't gonna happen.). If it was still usable after that, I put him in it again. What good is an outfit you can't wear? What, I'm gonna pass it on to my kids with the tags still on? Or donate it to a museum maybe. LOL.

I am not a huge fan of messes. I never did allow much playdough in my house. At times I felt I was cheating them, being a bad Mommy by not allowing playdough. But having to sweep up minute pieces of dough from everywhere in the house once or twice changed my mind. We tried the kitchen, we tried outside. It just wasn't worth the stress. So I can definitely relate to not doing certain things because of the mess.

Eventually they went to preschool, anyway, and got to play with playdough to their little hearts' content. They don't even remember that their mean Mommy took away all the Playdough and hid it in a very safe place. No future therapy bills - from this, anyway. Photobucket

I am torn on markers. Of course you can easily get washable ones. My biggest problem with markers is they inevitably get up and walk from the art cabinet in the kitchen, and end up in the living room, on the carpet, with the top off. Then, when they can't find their washable ones (because I'll be honest - I throw out any marker I find in the living room, on the carpet, with the top off! No questions asked), they get the stepladder and get my Sharpies out of the high cabinet. That explains the nice, long, straight lines drawn on the new, cream colored dining room carpet on the first day we moved in here (but hey, I'm not bitter or anything!) and the little marks on the kitchen table that give it such....character. Yeah, that's the word. Photobucket

I'm not against picking and choosing how your kids will get dirty. But I do think kids ARE being cheated if they are never allowed to do so.

The thing is, kids are messy. Life is messy. That's why we have soap. Seriously. I haven't found much that soap won't get out. Even cheap soap. If it doesn't - voila, new paint shirt! Photobucket

Another obvious benefit to having pre-stained clothing is that when you're going somewhere you KNOW will be messy, you can just dress the kids in clothes you don't care about. Remember your own childhood? I'll bet we all had different classes of clothing: church clothes, school clothes, play clothes. After church or school, we would change into the play clothes. We would not have worn church clothes to the Crayola Factory or the Bakery. We do not wear our nicest things to play in the sandbox, or finger paint, or even just play on the swingset in the back yard.

I never understood parents who won't let their kids get dirty. We have friends we used to camp with. I was expecting my first, so of course anything I had to say about kids was crap since I didn't actually have kids yet. Our friends' daughter was at the early crawling stage. They spread a huge tarp on the ground for her to crawl on, and put some toys in the middle. But she didn't want to stay in the middle with the toys, oh no. Well, of course not! You're a baby, newly mobile, and you're in this cool new place with neat new things to explore. So our friends spent the entire weekend trying to keep the baby in the middle of the tarp, even to the point of yelling at her. And any time she did manage to get off the tarp, they would whisk her away, bathe her and change her into a new frilly (spotless) outfit.

They didn't enjoy a single moment of the trip from what I could tell. And frankly, neither did I. It isn't fun for me to listen to people yell at their kids for any reason, much less for just being kids. Subtracting from the fun was the yelling at me that I don't know jack since I didn't have kids yet. But it would have been un-fun enough without that part, as I found out once I did have kids.

Judgment of their parenting aside - why did they even go camping? It's one thing if you expect your kids to stay clean around your house. Why go to a primitive tent camping area if you don't like dirt? Why not bring a playpen for the baby? There are places you can go and expect to get dirty, and camping is one of them. If you don't want to get dirty, don't go; problem solved. Photobucket

I dunno. Photobucket Personal opinion alert: I think parents who expect their kids to never get dirty have serious issues. I'm guessing Mark and Kelly were joking about being bad parents. I sure hope so. What I would like to say to them is, you are normal parents. And I'm with you on the shoes, girlfriend! Photobucket