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Dear Netflix

Dear Netflix,

If you are wondering why your stock plummeted 12% today and is down another 4% in after-hours trading, it's because you suck. It all started out fairly well, when I signed up for the two free weeks and got my first two movies two days after I signed up. I also watched a fairly entertaining movie on demand from your site yesterday. I spent an hour or so building up my queue, rating movies and looking at your recommendations. I liked you so much that I even upped my plan to 3-at-a-time over the 2 I originally signed up for.

I returned those first two movies last Wednesday night and you got them on Friday. You promised me three movies on Saturday and I only got one of them. I'm still waiting on the other two. I went to file a shipping problem (or at least skim the procedure) before leaving work this evening around 7:30. You were down but you told me you'll be back by 8:45 (Eastern). You weren't. I kept checking back periodically and now you tell me you won't be back until 5. What have you been doing all this time? I hope it's not something you'll regret in the morning.

I was going to stick with you after the two-week trial was up, but now I'm considering leaving you for bluer pastures. Maybe they'll treat me better than you have so far. It was fun while it lasted, but if you don't get it together soon, you'll leave me no choice. Believe me, it hurts me more than it hurts you.

Sincerely,
Martin

UPDATE:Earlier this morning it said it would be up by noon, now it's saying 2 PM. Just tell us you're down without an ETA instead of setting false expectations.

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The Digg Problem

I am becoming increasingly irritated with Digg. The amount of misinformation that gets spread on that site is appalling and makes me wonder if we aren't better off having some editor at CNN or the New York Times or even Slashdot tell us what's newsworthy (or at the very least true).

Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?

What it boils down to is desperation to get on the front page or a simple lack of reading comprehension. In a little over a week, I've come across four stories purporting rumors as fact. Despite the fact that other people notice this as well (and make it known in the comments), the story still ends up with a couple thousand Diggs. In roughly the same period of time, I've heard two people spread these rumors as facts to other people, who may or may not be Diggers, and so on, and the misinformation propagates.

If an idiot throws a rock into the water, not even 50 geniuses can fish it out.

When I come across these stories, I'll bury them as inaccurate. I like to think others do too. But the story keeps climbing. Is anything done after people bury stories? They just turn gray in my news list, but I don't really care. I already know the story sucks. It's already possible to "digg down" a user comment, why aren't we afforded the same "luxury" with stories? As far as comments are concerned, 98% of them are trash. There's no intelligent discussion because the inmates are running the asylum. Calacanis had it right, there needs to be some sort of moderation team out there dealing with the mountains of crap.

So Scoble wonders why Digg's audience hasn't grown much. I feel it's because Digg isn't a serious site. I go to Digg to pass the time, not to find late-breaking news. I figure most people on Digg do the same and the quality of the community reflects it. Perhaps I expected more from the Digg community, but I've grown increasingly disappointed with the quality of stories that appear on the site. And that's where the Digg problem lies: in the world of user-generated content, if the users are subpar then the content they generate will (for the most part) be subpar as well.

So what else is out there in the land of social news? Maybe it's time to try out the Facebook Google Reader app (what Scoble calls, "Digg for the smart people"). Still, I'd like something that's a bit more open (and doesn't require me logging into Facebook).

[tags]Digg, social news, user generated content,

For Kent: My Swivel Feeds

Kent has asked me to contribute five feeds to his swivel feeds experiment (I'm honored, by the way). I was going to include Engadget, Scoble, TechCrunch and Dave Winer as jokes, but I didn't want to pass up the opportunity so here's my contribution:

curiousgirl's playground - I discovered Jing's blog after the Penn link love that went around a few months ago. She writes about tech, business, web 2.0 and the like and her posts never cease to impress me.

Daring Fireball - I was hoping to include less known blogs in my list, but I couldn't pass up a link to DF. John Gruber is the ultimate Apple fanboy, except with an added touch of class and objectiveness, that make him the go-to guy for big-picture Apple commentary.

Information Arbitrage - Roger writes about finance and technology, two of my biggest interests, and that's what keeps me coming back. I really can't name any other blog that tackles these two areas in a way that strikes me as well as IA.

Marginal Revolution - Marginal Revolution is like Freakonomics taken to the next level. Alex and Tyler have their share of fun and quirky econ stories, but they're balanced well by more serious and/or theoretical pieces. Favorite recurring themes include "Markets in everything" and "Claims my Russian wife laughs at".

Signal vs Noise - Another popular one, but I love the simplicity that surrounds everything 37 Signals does. I can't say I'm a big user of their products, but I love their design and (by extension) their software development philosophies.

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Why iPhone Web Apps And I Don't Get Along

Let's compare how many clicks it takes to get to weather, stocks, notes, etc on the iPhone versus any web app:

Apple apps:

  1. Push sleep/wake or home button
  2. Slide to unlock
  3. Push Home button
  4. Click on app

Web app:

  1. Push sleep/wake or home button
  2. Slide to unlock
  3. Push home button
  4. Click on Safari
  5. Click on Bookmarks
  6. Best case: The app is in my top 5 bookmarks
  7. Worst case: I have to scroll/click on a folder before clicking on the app
  8. Wait for page to load
  9. Best case: App uses cookies to store my data and we're done
  10. Worst case:
    • Enter user name and password
    • Click to login
    • Wait for page to load

That's 4 actions for a Home screen app and 9-12 for a web app. Result: Web apps require 2-3x as many actions (and possibly more than that in time due to page loading)!

It's a good thing that Apple's apps are sufficient for me, though I am hopeful for an SDK eventually and those software updates rumored to be released sometime between now and Leopard.