Apple’s stock price plummets: public fears they are “making too much money”

Yep, I’m back. Deal with it.

There’s been a lot of chatter recently about the stock price of Apple. This past November, it crashed to a six-month low, and continues a steady decline. In case you haven’t been watching, here’s a visual summary of its losses against the forces of gravity:

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 12.10.25 AM

To be clear: I do not invest in stocks at all, and have not incurred financial losses over Apple’s stock. However, I always thought that if I was going to invest in anything, it would be in Apple. The truth is, the foundations and operational successes of the company, by all critical measures, should result in an incredibly healthy stock price. Unfortunately, stock prices are determined more by speculators and those within the trading world that would benefit directly from the prices hitting certain points. Thus, they are controlled by forces we cannot truly understand as outsiders.

Still, it’s not the price that bothers me most, it’s all the people who have deluded themselves into thinking they actually understand the stock price behavior. Here are just some of the inane brain farts I have encountered:

“Steve Jobs’ death killed Apple.”

False. Since Jobs’ passing, Apple’s shares have soared more than 80% percent.

“Tim Cook cannot innovate.”

False. While he may not have Jobs’ stage presence, Cook has innovated his way to quite possibly the most efficient distribution network possible for his products. As noted in Information Week, he is considered a master of logistics, and is credited with “re-engineering Apple’s supply chain to increase profit margins while allowing for more flexibility to produce new products and make changes on the fly”. This is new territory that Jobs was never able to conquer.

“Apple is too expensive, so they don’t make much money in sales.”

False. Unless the next thing you say is “I have noticed that I tend to speak nonsense, so I will cease speaking”, please stop talking. This is a critical point, so pay attention. Apple is not just a profitable company; it is the most profitable company in the United States.


In their most recent quarterly report, Apple posted a record-breaking fifty four and a half billion dollars in profits. They generated more revenue in one quarter than Google did in all of 2012. Coincidentally, that is about fifty four and a half billion dollars more profit than Amazon makes (hint: they kind of don’t make money).


Think about that.

Then be silent and humbled, and think about it again.

Then go do some humble yoga, eat some humble pie, and practice your impression of an inanimate object.

Okay, you may now continue reading.

Apple’s net profit margins (i.e. cash they get to keep) are the stuff of dreams for most CEOs, and it puts them in a completely different league as their competitors. The next two most profitable companies are oil companies, which, as we all know, have a contract with the devil to trick humans into buying his urine to power their go karts until the end of days. So, they clearly have an unfair advantage.

Despite the numbers, Apple’s stock tanked by a whopping 10% after they reported those record earnings. Why? Well, it turns out that Apple calculates that particular quarter as a 13-week instead of 14-week quarter, so the numbers were (logically) lower than other quarters. Somehow, this freaked people out, and consumer confidence fell again. The absurd thing is that Apple always informs the public regarding the 13-week impact ahead of time, but it still gets drowned out by the loud screams of ignorance and panic.

Apparently, even Captain Obvious is no match for the likes of The Human Idiot.


Somehow, Apple’s stock continues to dwindle despite record profits, sales and revenues. Overall, stock prices seem to reflect an increasingly contorted picture of the health of a company. Even expert traders for the most part find that their best results will match average performance of the market, assuming they are patient enough to wait for for them over the long term.

So, the next time you’re thinking about investing in stocks for short-term returns, just try your money on the slot machines instead. They are both impossible to predict, yet delude you into thinking you’re mildly in control. Think doing your stock homework will change the outcome of your investment? It might — the same way that pulling the slot machine lever while holding your lucky Honey Boo Boo keychain might just get you a jackpot.

Good luck with that.

P.S. Why in God’s name do you have a Honey Boo Boo keychain, anyway? What is wrong with you?

Booking flights is like eating cereal… except the ‘special’ marshmallows are razor blades.

A few folks have queried me regarding my lack of posts over the last year. I attributed it primarily to my own relative happiness, implying that I tend to only compile the agglomerations of rage commonly known as my ‘rants’ when I am angry.

Well, I’m angry now.

Of late, I have had to book a lot of flights. Thinking back, the word ‘flying’ once exuded overwhelmingly positive connotations; freedom, the open skies, and being one with the mythical Gods themselves. Over time, as the novelty of human flight wore off on society, the commercial component of the experience dictated its identity entirely. Today, with excruciatingly few exceptions, flying is quite possibly the worst way to get anywhere. From paying exorbitant flight fees, to paying to check your bag, to wading through cancer-inducing security lines, to seats with legroom appropriate for a pelican. Flying just plain sucks; so much so that it drives some people toward mental breakdowns, at which point they literally jump out of planes to escape the horror of it all.

On the surface, booking a flight online seems like an ideal experience: simply go online, click a few things, and voila, you’re done! Unfortunately, as it turns out, it’s actually one of the most rage-inducing processes known to man.

At present, I have a few flights I’m trying to book over the next few months. One of these flights has literally doubled its fares in a matter of a week, for no apparent reason. On its own, this issue would not bother me — this would be manifested in a common marketplace as one store having inflated prices. The typical reaction from me, the consumer, would be to simply never go to said store anymore, and purchase my product elsewhere. The store would then realize that their customers may, in fact, think on occasion, and then reduce their prices to meet the market levels. This is a natural balancing act present in most fair marketplaces.

Of course, online flights do not follow the same economy; rather, they more accurately reflect a monopolistic environment. The minute one web site’s flight prices skyrocket, every other flight search website in existence also has its prices skyrocket, at the exact same time, with the exact same prices. This is not a coincidence, and everyone knows it. The immediacy of the change negates the natural balances normally at play, and heavily abuses the flight search sites’ collective ability to control supply. There is no justification for the service of flying an individual from one location to another change its value by 100% within 24 hours. The sad part is that no one even claims such axioms to be true; instead, the sites silently practice this openly without any ramifications. It’s robbery in broad daylight, folks.

The truth is, even the savvy consumer cannot defeat this system. The erratic nature of the pricing means that no system can predict it, so the typical consumer barely comprehends the extend of abuse that is happening. On most occasions, buying flights earlier is cheaper, but sometimes waiting a few days drops the price by hundreds of dollars. Why? No one knows, except the vendors, of course.

There is no perceptible logic behind the prices; they embody a proverbial entropy of possible values. Furthermore, because the technology that facilitates this is still relatively new, there are no regulations to prevent companies from openly abusing the system to take advantage of consumers. To supplement my case, I interviewed a hypothetical traveler in my head, and transcribed the result below. Obviously, everything below can be interpreted as 100% factual information.

ME: So, how much did the last flight you booked cost you?
TRAVELER: Umm, something like $500.
ME: I see. Is that a lot of money for that flight?
TRAVELER: Well, all the web sites I checked had it at that price. So, I did my research. Usually when I’m buying something I go to all the stores and check to find the lowest price; that way I know I got the best deal. So, it must have been the best price.
ME: Have you flown this flight before?
TRAVELER: Yes, a few times.
ME: How much did it cost in the past?
TRAVELER: One time it was around $350, another time I paid around $400.
ME: Why do you think the prices changed so much?
TRAVELER: I don’t know… maybe gas prices went up?
ME: I just searched the flight you went on — it’s $300. Did gas prices just halve since you flew?
ME:: Even if they did, that would mean flight prices were based on gas, so the longer the flight, the more expensive it would be. Right?
TRAVELER: …yes, that would make sense…
ME: There are hundreds of flights that go twice as far as your flight for half the price.
TRAVELER: You are making me sad now.
ME: You just buy flights without having any idea what their actual value is worth, so you just pay whatever price you see.
TRAVELER: I… I… don’t have a choice…
ME: Exactly.

I hope someday a savvy entrepreneur or developer sees the opening here and builds a service that optimizes flight searches for you. Bing has tried to do this, but I find their forecasting system to be occasionally reliable at best. I want to be be able to put in some dates for my flight, and expect that I will pay the standard amount for that flight. End of story. Is that really so much to ask?

For all of you flight buyers out there who blame yourself for “missing the price drop”, stop beating yourself up. Instead, target your rage towards the flight search companies.

My suggestion: procure a harpoon and deploy a variety of arrows to their collective faces, and then charge them an inconvenience fee for making you waste time buying a harpoon.

CNN: Breaking (the integrity of) News

All across America right now, people are celebrating the beautiful victory of democracy, and hailing the dethroning of a leader who has lost favor among the people. I began to wonder: what sources do Americans they have to follow along with the latest updates? How do they view the latest videos? Well, Al-Jazeera is not available, so viewers resort to the largest news network in the country: CNN.

I can say without any hesitation that CNN is providing the absolute best, most in-depth, and up-to-date coverage of their Top Story right now. Unfortunately, while CNN is highlighting a democratic victory, the victor in their story is not Egypt. Instead, their celebrated hero is none other than the Canadian band Arcade Fire. Furthermore, the forum of their victory is not a country’s government, but rather the 2011 Grammy awards ceremony.

Although it has its detractors, CNN generally has a reputation of being at least somewhat unbiased, and is mostly expected to provide news for a global audience. After all, it’s not like the head of CNN just woke up one day and arbitrarily labelled his network the Most Trusted Name in News… that would be silly. In case there is anyone out there who is still deluded enough to buy into that, I present to you Exhibit A, CNN’s current front page:


CNN strongly feels it is important for everyone to know the outcome of the Best Album award…but sees no reason for its readers to know that parliament has literally dissolved in Egypt. Priorities.

Having read the article, I now know exactly how long Pop Music has been unfairly ruling the awards. I know the hardship fans have had to endure as their favorite untalented bands failed to make a dent in the Grammys. Thankfully, I can breathe easy knowing that literally hundreds of people can now live their lives free of the oppression and hardship involved in being a fan of a Grammy-less artist. Words cannot express my joy at this point.

Now, let me be clear: I have absolutely nothing against Arcade Fire. I have never even heard their music. My problem is with how much importance their story was given by CNN relative to other, more pressing stories going on at the moment. I can’t think of too many specific examples of important stories right now, but I did overhear some vague rumours about some sort of mildly glorious upheaval of a half-century long dictatorship. Something like that.

To learn more about the colossal failures of news networks, watch the white knights of news: Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert. They will likely tell you (in the most entertaining fashion) that the alternative to CNN, FOX news, is even worse. I won’t get into a FOX rant right now though, as that merits its own extended tirade.

Wake up and smell the Egyptian flowers, CNN. Maybe if your Senior VP spent less time coming up with nicknames for himself (“KC”? Seriously? Where is a harpoon when you need one?), he would have more time to deliver on his responsibility to the viewers.

At this point, I’m fairly certain that Kanye West puts more thought into what he says publicly than CNN does into their front page prioritization.

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NEWSFLASH: ‘American’ is not a measurement system

Many centuries ago, humanity decided it’s probably a good idea to measure things in a consistent and uniform manner. Pretty much the entire world agreed on this, but there were some children in the class who wanted to use a ball of clay instead of a pencil to write their homework. America was one of those dumbass children.

With the creation of the “American system” aka the Imperial system aka the United States customary system, the world was given a brand new way of doing everything wrong. Below is a summary of the system’s greatest features:

  • CONSISTENCY FAIL: The relation between units is completely nonsensical (Why is 12 inches a foot? Why not 13? Why 3 feet in a yard? Who the hell picked these numbers?)
  • MULTIPLICITY FAIL: It’s impossible to denote orders of magnitude increases in the same unit (There is no such thing as a kilofoot)
  • TERMINOLOGY FAIL: The unit names are absurd, and include fan favorites such as:
    • Furlongs
    • Chains
    • Leagues
    • Rods

Rods. Rods. Seriously? I got in touch with the original creator of the American Imperial unit system, and had a conversation with him about what some of these units actually mean:

ME: So…what the hell is a rod?
FOGHORN: A rod is a unit of measure.
ME: How big is a rod?
FOGHORN: A rod is exactly 1 rod in length.
ME: Okay… How long is 1 rod in length?
FOGHORN: Oh. Simple: 25 links.
ME: You mean like sausage links? It’s the length of 25 sausages?
FOGHORN: No, no. Links. The unit of measure.
ME: I’m hungry now. What was I saying?
FOGHORN: A link is a unit of measure.
ME: Oh, right. So how long is a link?
FOGHORN: A link is exactly 33/50 fractions of a foot.
ME: …Why?
FOGHORN: Why not?
ME: You know what I’m going to ask next.
FOGHORN: I assume you want to know the length of a foot.
ME: You’re quite bright for someone who invented something so retarded.
FOGHORN: …Anyway, a foot is the length of a foot. You know what a foot is.
ME: Right, but whose foot?
FOGHORN: A good old fashioned red-blooded American’s foot, of course!
ME: So… you invented a system that uses a human foot, even though you are a giant chicken? Isn’t that depressing?
FOGHORN: Well I wanted to use my own foot but I am about eight times the size of a normal chicken, and I didn’t want people to use normal chicken feet sizes by mistake. So, to avoid confusion, I used human feet.
FOGHORN: By the way, if you’re still hungry, I actually do have some sausage links.
ME: No thanks, I don’t eat pork.
ME: Don’t you feel weird eating a pig, though? I mean, the pig pen is like right next to yours in the farm.
FOGHORN: I am an oversized cartoon chicken, why do you assume anything I do makes sense?
ME: Touchè.

NOTE: Just to be clear, all of the measurements used above are accurate. 1 rod = 25 links = 33/50 foot. Look it up if you don’t believe me.

Seriously though, when I say the US is alone in this, I mean it. The map below indicates which countries don’t use the metric system:


As you can see, the red countries are communists. Need I say more?

…Well I’m going to, anyway. It’s not just about the metric system. Let’s not forget the wonderful Fahrenheit system. The other temperature systems chose their scale based on logical points of significance, like the freezing point of water. Fahrenheit chose a completely arbitrary point in the temperature scale to base the system off of. Want to know how? There were actually three references points which led to his scale. Here’s my favorite:

“The third point, 96 degrees, was the level of the liquid in the thermometer when held in the mouth or under the armpit of his wife.”

Holy shit dude, it’s hot outside. Like really hot. Hell, it’s almost Mrs. Fahrenheit’s armpit degrees outside!

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Why is every smartphone still so stupid?

Most people don’t actually realize how much processing power the typical “smart” phone has these days. They are capable of a lot more than what they do today. But when it comes to the evolution of the phone, I feel like the focus is on all the wrong things.

Watching video on a phone makes me feel like a palm reader in training

Yes, there are occasions where it’s convenient to watch a YouTube clip of a cat doing stupid shit on your phone so that you can show your friends on the train home. Of course, this is simply to wet their appetite for the real epic cat video watching session, which will happen on a much more appropriately sized screen.

Even so, the fact is, you should be watching things on a large screen. That is why large screens were made. No one wants to watch a 2 hour movie on a 3 inch screen. No one. So why is there so much effort and emphasis toward video capabilities in the phone? This is just another example of lack of focus. The truth is, cell phone manufacturers love to implement new functionality which falls into the bucket of glittery unicorn features, whose sole purpose is to distract from the utter failure of modern day cell phones to do what they were designed to do: successfully make calls.

There is no such thing as 3G

I’m not sure where in this world a 3G network actually exists that delivers 3G speeds (which might justify emphasis on technologies like streaming video), but it certainly isn’t on this continent. Instead, the most popular apps are ones that are based solely on sending a maximum of ten words to the internet in hopes for some meaningful response. This is actually a very popular trend, mainly because every other person is also unable to get any videos to load and thus resorts to the only reliable form of communication today: text messages.

Cell phone carriers charging for text messages is like McDonalds charging a toll for the freaking drive-through

The fact is, carriers like AT&T will provide customers with unlimited data for $20 / month, yet charge them $0.10 for each text message. I cannot stress how convoluted, absurd, and downright satanic this is. I don’t know why there aren’t class-action lawsuits against text messages. The cost to transfer a single message is so miniscule, the fact that they even measure it is just plain ridiculous. To give you a sense of the numbers, I’ve constructed this handy diagram below. It compares typical text message usage to typical data plan usage. Of course, in order for a slither of a bar to even appear on the graph, I have added a couple of measures for more trigger-happy texters.

I’d like to point out that if you were to get charged for your data plan usage at the same rate as text messages, you’d be paying a whopping $10,000/month. I guess we should be thankful?

A phone that only talks to other phones is essentially a racist

If I am sitting in my living room, and I want to change the channel, and I have my phone in my pocket, I should be able to take out my phone and change the channel. It should be that simple. You can buy a freaking universal remote to accomplish this task, and yet the microprocessors inside today’s phones cannot accomplish the same feat.

I want to be able to control the lights in my room with my phone. I want to control the volume on my speaker system. I want to play music on my phone and have it play on my speaker system. I want to view pictures on my phone and then have them show up on my TV. All wirelessly.

Yes, I understand there are complexities in getting such things to work. But I feel like if you want to make a “single device for all your needs” actually serve your needs, it needs to stop trying to emulate personal computers and televisions (which were kind of designed to do things like watch video), and instead innovate on being a control system for more specialized devices. The phone should be a communication device not just between people, but between devices themselves.

What pisses me off the post is that phones cannot even manage to send and receive calls without problems. Dropped calls, shitty phone quality, weak bars, these are just part of the normal phone experience. Despite this, all the innovation goes toward stupid shit like making everything a goddamn touch screen.

I long for the day when I wake up and my phone sounds its alarms on my speakers, turns on the weather channel on my TV, turns the heating off, and flashes a message on its screen telling me how many minutes I have left until the next bus comes. And no, I am not asking for too much. It’s two thousand freaking ten.

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Airlines to begin charging passengers for oxygen

What’s amazing about the title of this post is that I had to actually spend a minute thinking about what would be ludicrous for an airline to charge for. Ironically, everything from your checked baggage to in-flight movies to freaking peanuts is already not free.

Yes, peanuts. This one upsets my soul. First of all, any company that cannot afford to give people free peanuts should probably not be authorized to maintain a fleet of aircraft. Secondly, you will usually have to pay some insane fee like $5 for peanuts on an airplane. Peanuts are supposed to cost peanuts. It’s an expression for a reason.

Once upon a time, I used to actually look forward to flying. It was alluring, filled with the romantic excitement of being thousands of feet above the ground. Back then, everything was complimentary. You would get free snacks, free meals, free headphones, free drinks, free checked bags, and more. Once you stepped into an airplane you were given a level of comfort that you simply didn’t get anywhere else.

Nowadays, flying is an experience everyone dreads. And it’s not just the airplanes. Airports have now become like the entry gates to jail. You get stripped, scanned, interrogated, and humiliated, and even if you somehow get through all that, you’re headed straight into a crowded hell-hole where you will have absolutely no privacy, a bathroom the size of your nightstand, and meal selections which consist of various cardboard-based cuisines.

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 11.54.04 PM

The TSA is the warden of that jail. They love making up all kinds of dumbasstacular rules to compensate for the fact that they have yet to actually stop anyone who posed a real threat to a flight. Even when that Nigerian stuck some Pop Rocks in his pants and triggered an “explosion”, it was the handiwork of nearby passengers, not the TSA, that stopped him. The TSA has since banned passengers from carrying this new, deadly weapon.

The latest decree from TSA included restrictions which prevents passengers from using the in-flight entertainment system (at all), having items on their lap, or using the bathroom in the final hour of the flight. Also, things like Wi-Fi will no longer be allowed at any time.

PRO TIP: When carrying passengers on flights which may last many hours, it is generally not a good idea to place them under conditions that actually promote suicidal tendencies in normal passengers. In addition, if there ever is a hijacker on the plane, this genius set of rules will ensure that they are bored, hungry, groggy, agitated, dying to pee, and eagerly anticipating the opportunity to karate kick every single thing in sight just so that they stretch their freaking legs out.

I think the biggest indicator of reaching sub-neanderthal levels of intelligence is when even FOX news is making fun of you. Speaking of retarded, Sarah Palin finally admitted that she is, in fact, mentally challenged and checked into a facility where she will be surrounded by her kind. But wait, it gets better. She recently made an appearance on Leno (insert scathing anti-Leno pro-Coco remark here). While on the show, she stated her reason for joining:

“I think that the mainstream media is quite broken and I think that there needs to be the fairness, the balance in there. That’s why I joined Fox.”

Two words: Irony Explosion.

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Avatar in 3D IMAX: An epileptic experience

When I first saw the Avatar trailer, I immediately denounced the movie as a complete waste of time. It is a well-known fact that a trailer is a collection of the best moments from the entire movie, and so, it was very clear this movie had little to offer besides graphics.

However, the movie reviews and the box office told a different story. One could almost be convinced that this movie is indeed an epic, after hearing how it has made a billion dollars already.

PRO TIP: Box office performance is indicative of nothing. Typically, one assumes that if a movie tops the box office, it must be at least a decent movie. This theory used to be valid, in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, our population grows exponentially, and there are now enough teenage douchebags with credit cards out there to destroy any statistical value in ticket sale trends.

The fact is, everyone wants to see this movie simply due to the hype. Sadly, I succumbed to this effect as well. Thinking I would give the movie its best chance of being entertaining, I decided to go to the 3D IMAX show, which required booking tickets 3 days in advance. It was a disappointing experience. Here’s why:

3D glasses have not improved since they were invented in 1754

It’s 2010 now. Come on. Are we seriously still wearing these plastic antiques? Here is a summary of my experience, annotated with my mood as it went along:

[NEUTRAL] Put on 3D glasses.
[HAPPY] Realize it is too dark for anyone to see how retarded you look with these idiotic glasses on.
[CONFUSED] Discover giant black gap between the two lenses. Spend 10 minutes in a futile attempt to get your eyes to ignore the black, althewhile staring directly at it.
[ANNOYED] Finally begin to see a full picture, but find that 50% of the screen is blurry.
[HOPEFUL] Convince yourself that your eyes just need some time to adjust, it will get better.

*30 minutes later*

[ANGRY] Still blurry.

*2 hours later*

[ENRAGED] Tylenol Tylenol Tylenol.
[ENRAGED + HOPEFUL] Finally accept the fact that 3D just plain looks like shit, and take off glasses in hopes to just watch the movie normally.
[THOUGHTS OF GENOCIDE] Discover that things are now a different kind of blurry without the glasses.
[HAPPY] Close your eyes.

I’ve watched three movies in 3D by now, and they have all been disappointments. I’m now completely convinced that the 3D format as a whole is an epic failure. I will only be watching movies in regular/sane/meal-friendly mode going forward.

IMAX does not improve the experience with 3D, it magnifies the problem

The quality of picture in 3D is very dependent on the angles being correct. If you sit in the absolute center of the screen near the back, you may get an enjoyable show. Anywhere else will result in blurred vision in at least some portions of the screen. I would literally stare at one person on the screen, and if I turned my head a bit to the left, that person would become blurry.

Of course, it is physically impossible to stare at one portion of an IMAX screen because it is obscenely massive. 3D and IMAX were simply not designed to go together, and any notions that their combination results in a higher level of enjoyment need to be silenced immediately. 3D may be tolerable on its own, but when you double the size of your screen to the IMAX size, you double your epilepsy dosage for the day, along with the price of your ticket.

Sam Worthington should have played a robot.

Did anyone else find the main character’s emotionless-marine personality a bit dry for the storyline? I kept seeing scenarios where Jake was about to die, and I personally did not care one way or the other. I felt no connection with that character at all.

The lead woman did a great job though, I felt sorry for her since she fell in love with a robot (especially since robots destroyed her entire family and half her race). On that note, how did that happen, exactly? The first scene she interacts with him and says he has a good heart. What is that based on? He has shown no heart. It doesn’t take heart to fight dogs that want to eat you. It doesn’t even take intelligence. It’s called instinctual self-defense. Even neanderthals have it.

The circle of life in Pandora is actually a giant arrow pointing up

There are no small animals in Pandora. Everything is a giant pterodactyl or rhino. Did anyone stop to wonder what the hell those animals actually eat? And don’t tell me they are herbivores. All the giant birds were always trying to eat other giant birds, or the humans. Even the giant insect (what’s with all the unrealistically massive insects these days?) wanted to eat the aliens. The only time they stopped their carnivorous tendencies is when the Tree God Lady told them to stop eating and perform their sacred duties of turning into rides.

All in all, the movie itself was not that bad. In fact, I have a feeling if I watched it in a regular theater, it might have even been a great movie. Unfortunately, the 3D and IMAX combination ensured that my mind was too busy silencing thoughts of vomiting to actually pay attention to the movie’s storyline. Luckily, it was predictable as hell, mainly because it was based off of a children’s story:


I will summarize my experience by saying it was like eating a bowl of Campbell’s soup in jail. While normally you might enjoy a potentially tasty soup, the fact is you’re eating it while in jail so it automatically tastes like shit.

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In case you didn’t notice, Television is dead.

At least, television as we know it. In the two years I’ve lived in this apartment, I’ve probably tuned into an actual television channel a grand total of five times. Generally, I do it as an absolute last resort for entertainment when I have no other options. Here is a typical sequence of events, represented for no reason whatsoever as a conversation I have with several versions of myself:

[Pessimistic Salman]:  Holy shit, I am so freaking bored. Life is so boring.
[Optimistic Salman]:  Umm… well there’s always TV! Television has many interesting programs and so many channels. I’m sure you’ll find something interesting!
[Pessimistic Salman]:  You said that last time. I don’t believe you.
[Optimistic Salman]:  Oh c’mon, that was 6 months ago. I’m sure at least one thing worth watching is on TV right now.
[Pessimistic Salman]:  Sigh… fine.

*Salman spends 4 minutes flipping through all the channels, including some show about Jon, Kate and their 8 Mistakes*

[Optimistic Salman]:  *shoots himself*
[Pessimistic Salman]:  Told you.

Now, there are actually several contributing factors to the downfall of Television as we know it:

1. There is no such thing as a reality show

Some people say things like “reality television is really popular these days”. I have no idea what that means. There is nothing realistic about any of the shows that claim to fit under the fake umbrella known as “Reality TV”. I now present you with a collection of modifications that I would make to several such shows which would induce more realistic conditions, and thus give them a chance to qualify as “Reality TV”:

  • Survivor: A bunch of people are stranded on an island, and everyone dies because they are stranded on an island.
  • Big Brother: A bunch of idiots spend their entire lives living together in a house, and everyone dies because they spend all their time in the house, go broke and cannot afford food or water.
  • The Real Housewives: The husbands of a group of incredibly annoying housewives all decide to get a divorce after seeing how awesome life is without their incredibly annoying wives. The show is quickly renamed Desperate X-Housewives, and then subsequently sued for copyright infringement.
  • Jon and Kate Plus 8: Jon and Kate both die tragic deaths by inserting a cotton tip too far into their heads. They never have any children. (OK, fine, this one is less realistic and more me just dreaming).

In all seriousness though, there are a few examples of excellent Reality TV out there. Discovery channel is one of them. On that note, if you haven’t seen BBC’s documentary entitled Planet Earth, you need to download/rent/buy it immediately. It’s quite possibly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen on TV.

2. The black hole of character exaggeration

If you think back about a decade, you will reminisce in the glory of what a typical TV week used to be. Shows like Friends, Seinfeld, and The Simpsons used to dominate prime time. The issue today is not a lack of good shows. Rather, it’s a lack of good shows that stay good for longer than 2 seasons. Every time a show demonstrates potential, it proceeds to shoot itself in the face, and begin an immediate campaign for cancellation.

Take Family Guy for example. This show suffered the same fate The Simpsons did. Basically, when a show has no real ongoing storyline, it is just a sequence of random events, which is supposed to keep it interesting. Unfortunately, even random events will get repetitive eventually. As a result, the writers stop writing actual material, and instead excrete endless amounts of what I like to call character exaggeration episodes. That is a fancy and somewhat complementary way of saying that they basically just make every character act like an extreme version of themselves. Peter/Homer no longer is a regular guy with some eccentric characteristics, instead he is just plain demented. Meg is no longer the unpopular geek, she is just a 5-second hate crime scene inserted into every episode.

This effect also plagued Friends in its final seasons. Ross was a never-ending divorce joke, Monica a psycho-cleaner joke, and Phoebe just a plain joke. Once that happens, viewers can’t identify with the characters and it just becomes a puppet show with fake laughter (side note: did you know they still use dead people’s laughs?).

3. Arrested Development was cancelled

No comment. David Cross put it best.

4. Lady Gaga is allowed on Television

She/he/it induces ocular damage on a regular basis. Need I say more?

All in all, these are just a few reasons why TV has lost its appeal. I finally cancelled basic cable the other day, even though my cable internet now costs more without it. I could no longer tolerate the idea that my hard-earned dollars were somehow contributing to a freaking bird’s nest plastered on Lady Gaga’s face.

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Kanye West innovates new technique for getting murdered really quickly

As if his prior comments about him being the voice of this generation were not egotistical enough, Kanye has actually begun a full-blooded campaign to ensure that any of his remaining fans are eradicated.

It’s not always his message that’s the issue, it’s his medium. For example, when there was a Twitter user impersonating him, rather than being mildly flattered and just letting the world know that user is an impostor, he somehow manages to sound more childish than the 8 year old pretending to be him. In fact, his blog post about it is so phenomenally asinine, that it deserves a full analysis on each individual component that led to the creation of such a massive brainfart.

Kanye actually edited this post several times before posting

Let’s begin:

“(This spaz comes courtesy of losers making fake Kanye West Twitter accounts)”

You’re right. Anyone who would impersonate you is, in fact, a loser.


Oh. Snap. You are too cool for school yo. Laying on a beach and shit. Damn. I wish I was you.


Wrong. Twitter enforces a 140 character limit, which would mean more shutting the hell up, which is definitely something you need more of.


When I become rich and famous, I’m going to buy the Lucky Charms cereal factory and ensure that when you buy a box, the special charms will be razor blades.

Of course, we must remember that Kanye is not just a douchebag, he’s a professional douchebag. He will not limit the scope of his campaign to just the interwebs. He wants to go public. He wants the world to know Darwin was wrong. His latest asstardian demonstration is perhaps the worst of them all.

EDIT: Viacom took down all the YouTube videos of Kanye making a complete ass of himself at the VMA awards. Click here to see it in a news update video (watch from about 0:46).

Now he is actually insulting others while insulting himself. Make no mistake, folks, that is a skill. His ability to cause so much damage to his reputation in such a short period of time is a new feat in moronic efficiency. The expression shooting oneself in the foot comes to mind here. Having shot himself in the foot, a neanderthal will discover that such an action is not something he should do again, and will probably avoid it. Kanye, on the other hand, is a special kind of neanderthal, and simply does not learn. He will just keep on shooting. Luckily for us, the human body will cease to function once it is drained of all blood. If all else fails, there’s always Lucky Charms…

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Apple forced to rename Genius Bar on grounds of false advertising

Everyone is getting a Macbook these days, and with good reason, I suppose. The Macbook and Macbook Pro series of laptops have helped Apple pick up quite a bit of marketshare in the laptop space. The Apple brand itself has gained a fair bit of popularity with the help of the ipod and iphone, and its users like to associate with the brand in a variety of different ways (read: fanboyism). As a result, any blaring flaws tend to be brushed aside and accusers are promptly burned at the proverbial stake for blasphemy (of course if you were in Ireland, you would be fined $5000 instead).

Just to be clear — I do like my Macbook Pro. It’s a good machine, my favourite part about it is the display. The font rendering is just incomparable. Even so, there are a few things which just need to be said.

Appleland is not an impenetrable fortress

Firstly I want to address the increasingly popular belief that the Mac operating system exudes awesomeness, and has thousands of magical pixie-horses constantly patrolling your system to ensure that no bad things can get inside. No. The only reason you do not get attacked from the rear on a daily basis in Mac OSX is because the attackers don’t give a shit about you. If you were a bored child with fireworks, and you had the choice of lighting them inside a mall where you could cause mass chaos, or heading over to the pottery barn where a small collection of hippies is protesting evil technologies like the wristwatch, which would you choose?

At the end of the day most trojans/viruses/exploits are written by bored hackers trying to maximize the damage caused by their efforts — hence they will attack the platform with the most users. I can’t wait till OSX becomes popular enough to garner the attention of hackers. Apple will have to hire a special support team just to respond with “They don’t exist”, when thousands of idiots simultaneously call tech support and claim that their pixie-horses are not working anymore.

My Macbook should not double as a mirror

With the latest line of Macbooks, Apple has decided to go with Gloss as the default display type (versus matte). When you walk into an electronics store and see a bunch of laptops, sometimes you run into one where all you can see on the screen is the gigantic lights reflecting from the ceiling. That is a gloss screen (more here). All previous Macbook Pro’s used to come with matte, and they’ve now change the default to be gloss. The only way you can get matte is to buy the 17inch macbook pro and pay an extra $200 odd to choose the matte option. That is just plain retarded. For someone like Apple who claims to be all about user experience, this is a pretty awful decision to make (not to mention the genius idea to ship 8-bit displays on the new 13-inch macbook pros). I am going to latch onto this Macbook Pro for as long as I can. Of course, Apple has other ideas, which brings me to my next point…

Fruitflies have longer lifespans than my Macbook battery

At our company, no less than 3 Macbook Pro’s have had their battery’s lifespan degrade to nothing in less than two years time. This is completely unacceptable. No other laptop will cease to function so freaking quickly.

My own laptop’s battery life started to dwindle quite drastically of late. It used to last for 3 hours, now i’m lucky if it goes for 45 minutes. I figured since it’s only a year and a couple months old, this is probably a defect of some kind. There’s no way this level of performance can be by design. So, I took the battery into the Apple store and told him my story. I actually expected to walk out with a new battery.

What actually happened? He proceeded to plug into my laptop what could only be described as an ipod nano with a piece of tape stuck on it. Apparently this was some kind of battery tester. He then performed a test on my battery, and a picture came up. This is pretty much what I saw on the screen, combined with his verbal explanations:

He then proceeded to relate to me how, despite the fact that my battery is only a year old, it has gone through 412 cycles. I asked him what defines a cycle. He explained that it means whenever a battery goes from full charge to empty, including partial discharges. So, if it went down to 50, back to 100, then 50 again, back to 100, that is considered a cycle. I explained to him that I plug the laptop in when I get to work, and I plug it in when I get home. I’ve had very normal usage patterns for the past year, and so I don’t understand why my battery is almost dead.

He suggested that, when it came to using my computer, I must have been doing it wrong to get it to 412 cycles, and the battery is actually only supported up to 300 cycles. 300 cycles! First of all, I’m pretty sure any normal user would hit that number in no time. What this means is, if you use your laptop under uncommon conditions like on top of your lap, that is the equivalent of your battery taking up chain-smoking. As a result, most people will kill their batteries within a year or so (which is exactly what happened to my peers).

Granted, Apple has somewhat resolved the matter with their shiny new batteries (5-hour charges and 1500 cycles supported)… but personally, I’d prefer to shell out $120 for a new battery rather than deal with those retarded gloss screens.

I think what really bothered me is how strongly that Apple employee believed in the validity of the bullshit 300-cycle clause. He didn’t even try to recognize my argument about normal usage patterns resulting in abnormally rapid deterioration. Typically, I have little to no expectations of competence when it comes to support. But it has to be noted that the support center at Apple is called a “Genius Bar”. He actually wore a t-shirt that said “Genius” on it.

Einstein is probably rolling in his grave right now, in an effort to reverse the earth’s rotation, go back in time, and patent the word genius just so that Apple can’t use it. At least then when I walk into Apple and head to the Mediocrity Stand I’ll know exactly what I’m in for.

UPDATE: Apparently there are rumors that Apple might bring back matte to the 13-inch and 15-inch macbook pros (thanks Faraz). Maybe there’s hope after all.

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