August 2009

10 most annoying things people do on twitter

Here are my current top 10 annoying things that other people do on twitter, in no particular order. I of course do none of these things because I’m not annoying at all. Ask anyone.


  1. Retweeting someone elses #FollowFriday list that includes your name – you are basically telling your followers to follow you.
  2. For that matter, listing the same people in your #FollowFriday list every single week – we get it already, move on.
  3. Auto DMs of any kind, be they of ‘thanks for following’ or ‘check out my shit’ variety – these are generally met with instant unfollows and frequently blocks as well.
  4. ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME – unless you are @THE_REAL_SHAQ this is never OK. Ever.
  5. @replying to someone’s real name rather than their username (assuming they aren’t the same thing) – thus screwing up the whole reply thread.
  6. Having a twitter stream that is 100% retweets – clearly you are boring and have nothing to say on your own.
  7. Having a twitter stream that is 100% replies, even worse if those replies are frequently to celebs and people with millions of followers ensuring there is no way they will ever see that reply – stop trying so hard.
  8. I forgot what 8 was for.
  9. Allowing spam from other services like Brightkite, Spymaster, Foursquare, etc – No one cares.
  10. Begging for retweets.

I offer this list in hopes of making the world a better place. Please retweet.

Dear Metblogs readers & writers, we fucked up. Sorry.

Photo 122Yeah. So… Hey. Hows it going? Good. Glad to hear it.

We’ve made some changes over the last few years in efforts to make things better but have realized that some of those changes might have done the opposite so we’re trying to change the changes. The truth is the changes we initially made were made with good intentions, some were at the request of readers and writers, some were heading the advice of business people who were giving us advice about business. Really it doesn’t matter who we were listening to because we forgot one of the main things that helped us get this whole network off the ground in the first place. We forgot the part about not giving a crap what other people thought and just building sites we liked and wanted to hang out on ourselves. We tried to please a lot of people at the same time which is always, always a bad idea.

And we’re sorry.

Truly and seriously. And while we know we have egos, they aren’t so big that we can’t admit when we screw up and the only thing to do when you screw up is take a step back and try to fix it. So here are some of the things we’re doing.

Coach seats on airlines make us hate each other

There is something inherently aggressive about airline seats pushing back into fellow passengers. It shows a complete disregard for their personal space, especially when slammed back in one swift movement without even a look behind to see what might be in the way at any given moment. I’ve been hit, had drinks spilled and nearly cracked a laptop screen because someone someone pushed the recline button and went back full force. And of course because I think about this I’ve become extremely self conscious about it and won’t dare to recline my own seat if the one behind me is occupied out of fear that I’m being an ass. But that’s kind of the problem, when someone does this I immediately hate them. Meanwhile they are only doing exactly what the seat they paid for was designed to do – so where is the middle ground?

The problem is that these seats were designed many years ago and as we all know airlines haven’t been raking in the bucks they used to so they’ve been forced to try and add more seats on flights by pushing rows closer together which makes a reclining seat back far more intrusive than it used to be. I’ve actually taken to asking people if it’s ok if I put my seat back just a little bit before doing it, and I resent when people don’t do the same. And don’t get me started about kids who put the seat forward and backward 300x times in a single flight.

On my last flight back to LA from Washington DC the plane was rather empty, including the seat in front and behind me which was nice because I wasn’t worried about any of this. Until midway through the flight when some guy decided his row was too crowded and moved into the empty row in front of me, in the seat in front of me and promptly threw back his seat. I tapped him on the head and asked he he had any idea that he’d just slammed his seat into my legs and knocked my laptop onto the floor (which he had). He replied that he didn’t, but it wasn’t his fault. I told him of course I didn’t blame him, and hoped he also wouldn’t blame me when the turbulence we were about to have just as I was standing up caused me to dump my beverage all over him.

I guess he realized I was serious and brought the seat back up and moved to a different row with no one behind him.

But my ranting and raving point to this is these seats suck major ass, but taking 3 seconds to check with the person behind you before moving into their space goes a very long way towards maintaining positive relationships with your fellow man (or woman).

I am an addict. This is my confession.

Dear Friends,

This was not an easy realization, nor is this an easy admission. Especially considering my history of very vocal opposition, it would be right for you to call me a hypocrite. I will accept that and take it into my heart, knowing that this acceptance will only help to make me a better person. I stand before you today, free of all excuses, to make this confession. I am an addict.

It’s true. For years now I’ve been addicted to e-mail.

I check it on my laptop, on my phone, hell sometimes I even borrow other peoples computers and check it through their web browsers. In a given day I might do this thousands of times. It’s embarrassing to admit, but there are days when I would start to check e-mail in the morning and realize hours later that I’ve done nothing else with my day. When I started having dreams about Inbox Zero, I knew I had to do something.

I’m not proud of this, but I’m hoping with your strength and support I can help beat it. Admitting this here today is my first step.

Now I know this sounds frightening but I assure you I’m working closely with the best doctors in the field and they have assured me I have not past the point of no return. There is a bright future for me, if I am dedicated to reaching it. And I am, I promise you that.

I am going into rehab for this addition and at the very strict orders of these professionals I will not be checking e-mail more than once a week. This is a drastic measure I know, but sometimes that is what is required.

I know there will be detractors who will argue this will make me harder to reach, but don’t be silly. Of course I’ll still be online and reachable 24/7 through any number of other communication methods. Just not e-mail. The people who will make those claims are the pushers, the dealers, the modern day wine merchants and purveyors of this e-mail plague that are plaguing our minds with their plague.

Stand with me, stand against them.

I just want to thank you in advance for your support, with your courage I know I can beat this demon. We will beat it together.


Sorting it all out

As I mentioned in my earlier post today I’ve been writing a ton the last few days and making a decent dent into some projects I’ve just been day dreaming about for a while. One barrier I’ve been obsessing about but recently just decided to ignore and figure out later is how things fit together and what the overall message is.

I felt that I needed to know that before I got started.

I don’t know why that fool piece of advice was stuck in my head, because that’s actually the complete opposite of how I usually write. And by write I mean sort out what I’m thinking. Writing as always been my own form of self therapy and when something is on my mind the best way I’ve been able to sort it out and get my thoughts in order is to just start writing about it. If you’ve been reading this blog for more than 3-4 years you’ve seen that in action on countless occasions. But I look at those as one off rants even when they are just a piece of a bigger situation.

I think because these other writing projects are much larger I felt that I needed a clear roadmap so I’d know where to head but I think that was what was keeping me from getting started. I’ve tried to put that out of my head and just start writing and let it shape it self as it might. I had a stupid idea that I’d just write the whole thing and be done with it but in reality I’m going to write tons, write more, rewite a bunch, chop out a bunch and then see what is the common thread through it all.

That elusive common thread is what I always seem to be hunting for. I was talking to a friend tonight about “experience” in the context of the job market and when your experience is something specific, like doing a particular job for X years, that is easy to present to others. But when you “experience” is lots of “experience” in many areas it gets much harder to explain, but also more valuable to people who understand what that really means. With this writing I want it to be X years of a specific thing, but more likely it’s lots of loosely tied together things that are joined by a common thread that I just haven’t isolated yet.

Yeah, I’m sure that makes no sense to you at all. Sorry!

Not So Quick Travel Blip

I’m prone to those revelations where something blinks and things suddenly make sense but your excitement for this new understanding is clouded by your annoyance that you didn’t figure it out earlier and save yourself mountains of stress and frustration. And sometimes those revelations aren’t even that clear, you know know that you’ve jumped back on the right track somehow after being off it for some unknown period of time, even if you have no early idea where that track is leading you.

For me the moment of inspiration happened for me about 20 minutes ago while sitting on Green Line train somewhere underneath Washington DC. I’ve been reading ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King which I can’t recommend enough – it’s one of the best books I’ve read about being creative and life in general. I didn’t buy it thinking it was a philosophy book but it’s turned out to be an amazing one. Actually I bought it almost a year ago and it’s been sitting on my shelf most of that time. I’ve taken it with me on two trips and never cracked it open. Recently I realized that I’ve been enjoying reading books on the kindle app on my iphone (nothing else to carry, easy to manage, etc) and bought the kindle version of it before I left LA just in case I found the time.

I’ve found the time and much more. What I know is this, I’ve read almost 6 books on the kindle for iphone app in the last 2 months which is a better pace than I’ve read in hardcopy since I was required to read 10 books over sumer vacation one elementary school year. I also figured out that the more I read the more I write and I find inspiration in how others compose their thoughts and tell stories about their lives and experiences that I would have previously thought trivial. Since Friday I’ve probably written 10 full pages, in addition to reading most of this book and going to a wedding. For some people that is nothing, but for me it’s a massive milestone.

What I’m figuring out is my routines get in my way. At home I go all day long trying to get in the mood to write and by the end of the day still haven’t gotten there or gotten the general life things out of the way either. That’s not to say I need to get away from real life to find this motivation, but more so that I’ve created these blocks in my daily routine that clearly aren’t real if I can shed them simply by sitting on a subway for a few minutes reading a book on my phone.

So now that I know where the walls are I can start to avoid them or better yet break them down. I’m feeling really inspired right now, and very happy with what I’ve put to paper. Maybe it’s the coffee or cupcakes I just ate, and maybe it’ll fade away but it feels really good and I’m hoping I just took a step that I’ve been trying to take for years.

A few Spymaster tips

spymaster-notificationsWhen Spymaster originally launched I instantly hated it because of the default set up to spam the crap out of your friends on twitter. I really hate anything that does that and to get spammed by something that was in private beta so you couldn’t even follow through if you wanted to was extra annoying. I started blocking and banning anyone who was playing it. I guess a lot of people had that problem and they corrected some of the issues and I kind of forgot about it. Recently Joi talked me back into checking it out and it’s actually kind of fun, even though it still rewards you for being a douche by spamming your friends. If you want to check it out, the very first thing you have to do is turn off all the notifications, it’s not worth annoying everyone you know for a small cash bonus in game. This is actually my biggest problem with it and I wish they would just kill that option all together. Other than that, here are a few tips and tricks I’ve figured out:

  • Level from 1-10 doing MED level tasks. This will give you good experience and a little cash to get started and you’ll level pretty quickly.
  • Don’t buy any weapons except what you need for the tasks until you hit lvl 10.
  • At 10 sell everything you have and buy only the top tier item for attack/defense, try to get one for each spymaster you have.
  • Also, ignore the bank. Depositing anything in there is useless because of the fee, a better place to store cash is in safe houses because they don’t depreciate at all and also make you money.
  • At level 10 switch to PVP/assassinations. Focusing solely on MED level opponents will bring you in much more cash than doing tasks can and about the same experience. This will keep your cash level high enough to constantly sell off and upgrade your weapons to the highest level you can buy.
  • Attacking LOW targets is a waste of time and attacking HIGH targets can be fun but it’s risky. MED is fairly safe and pays off.
  • When you get the opportunity to buy cars, DON’T! They are not a good value for the most part and are easily lost in losing battles.
  • Take a second and do the math on equipment upgrades too, just because something new is unlocked doesn’t always mean it’s the best value. To determine how much a given item is worth take the price and divide it by the number of points it gives you and that gives you the price per point. Buy the items that have the lowest point per cost ratio to get the best bang for the buck
  • At around level 35 the cash payoff on attacking MED targets drops to nothing, so if you want cash you need to switch to HIGH targets. That said, the experience payoff for attacking LOW targets multiplies considerably, so if you want to level quickly switch to them. Sorry LOW peeps.
  • If you want to kill a director, buy the suicide attack option with your points.
  • Transfering cash via the bank sucks because they take fees each way and there s a $1MM limit each day. If you want to transfer a bunch of cash to another player, say just before you go elite and all your stats are reset, sell all your weapons so your stats are stupidly low and then attack a high level friend. You’ll loose obviously and they will get a huge chunk of cash from you. You can keep doing this all day, even dying several times. This method will allow you to transfer tons of cash.

That’s just a few tips off the top of my head that I wanted to jot down for friends. If you have any others, please post ’em in the comments.