Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Link roundup

1. I saw this long William Gibson interview linked a few times today, not sure if I've read it before, or just read so much by him that it seemed familiar, but anyway, it's very interesting about his childhood. He's a great storyteller:

Wytheville was a small town. I wasn’t a very happy kid, but there were ­aspects of the town that delighted me. It was rather short on books, though. There was a rotating wire rack of paperbacks at the Greyhound station on Main Street, another one at a soda fountain, and another one at a drugstore. That was all the book retail anywhere in my hometown.

My parents were both from Wytheville. They eventually got together, though rather late for each of them. My father had been married previously, and my mother was probably regarded as a spinster. My mother’s family had been in Wytheville forever and was quite well-off and established, in a very small-town sort of way. My father’s father had moved down from Pennsylvania to start a lumber company. Once the railroads had gotten far enough back into the mountains, after the Civil War, there were a lot of fortunes being made extracting resources.

My mother had had some college, which was unusual for a young woman in that part of the world, but she hadn’t married, which was basically all a woman of her class was supposed to do. When she did eventually marry my father, he was the breadwinner. He had had some college, too, had studied engineering, which enabled him to wind up working postwar for a big construction company. My earliest memories are of moving from project to project, every year or so, as this company built Levittown-like suburbs in Tennessee and North Carolina.
2. Apparently I'm not the only person who thinks the new Google Reader design is inexplicably horrendous. It's so bad in such obvious ways that I wonder if it's a preliminary step toward eliminating the service.

3. Here's a talented artist looking for commissions to make custom action figures. (I post his work often at my custom toy site.)


  1. No one launches a redesign as a preliminary step to getting rid of a service. What's wrong with you?

  2. I agree that the Google Reader look is rather horrible. Have you tried the new GMail they're getting to roll out? It's equally horrendous. My main issue with it is that the lack of colour definition in between subjects makes it very hard for the eye to scan over it and identify individual subjects. (That, and they've dropped the practise of putting your name and your correspondent's name in different colours in a threaded conversation.) If you try out the new GMail and then switch back, a dialog box provides a link to submit your reasons why you're switching back, which I have used liberally.

  3. The purpose of the change was to eliminate half the service's features (to pressure people to switch to G+) and the result of the change was to render the service's remaining features dramatically less pleasant. So, two possibilities, right?

    They're heartless and inept. Or they're heartless and this is a step on the path to forcing more people to use G+.

    Let's see if when they "allow" people to use pseudonyms on G+, they demand that everyone sign up for the service.

  4. Heard the new version of Gmail was bad, so didn't switch.

  5. Agreed about the new Google Reader - it is such crap. My biggest disappointments were the removal of the ability to "star" a post at the bottom and top of a post (I found this sooooo useful) - and they moved the "next item" and "previous item" buttons to horrible and completely different place. So frustrating...