foo to yoo

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The "No solution" rejoinder to criticism-- weak

No one likes to be told that something that they have done was done poorly, or stupidly, or just incompetently. We all react (naturally) with a combination of irritation, defensiveness, or hostility. Often a "discussion" will ensue regarding the merits of the "your (work | decision | product) sucks" statement, and this is a natural part of the process of confirming that the thing which sucks does in fact suck.

However, I have noticed a growing tendency to assert that the statement that something sucks is insufficient-- the critic is required to offer an alternative that would be better. This should always be rejected. There is no requirement that criticism of a decision, product, or action also have a full project plan for addressing the less than adequate elements of the criticized thing.

I noticed this relatively recently when a competitor was reacting to multiple references to the UI of their currently in-market product. The UI in question does, in-fact, suck. The reaction (from a company executive no less) was that those criticizing the UI weren't very useful, as they weren't stating that should be changed. He was quite wrong-- they were saying that the UI should be changed, not applying for the job of UI designer at this competitor. What they were pointing out was that the UI does suck, and that there should be some effort by this company, if they want to sell software, to address the suckiness of the UI. I can see, for instance, inviting additional comment on how the UI sucks, or asking individuals to join focus groups, etc. One can even ask what would be done differently, but asking what would be done differently does not negate the criticism if no answer ifs given.

This little trick is an old standard of Republicans and the current administration defending the Iraq war. Most recently I have seen this as a statement which roughly is "let's stop talking about how we got here, what you critics need to offer to be taken seriously is a plan to move forward." (this was recently offered to us here) Like the company executive above, this is weak. In fact, it is still required, in this case, to point out how much that decision sucked, and how many, many actions stemming from the decision have sucked. I am sure that this criticism is tiring for the administration, the GOP, and their legions of defenders. However, we really haven't gotten much in the way of an explanation of how this tremendously bad decision was made, so pointing out how much it sucked has a useful element-- highlighting that the current decision makers are the same ones who made the very, very bad decision to invade Iraq (which includes the decision that post war planning was adequate). So the ongoing criticism of that decision, and it's outcomes, is worth continuing to make.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Loving this album

Dog Problems by The Format. It's really just great-- XPN (great Philly radio station-- we miss you in Seattle) describes it as "infectiously danceable indie pop", and it has exceeded my expectations. All the more so as the album is about a difficult long term relationship between the lead singer and his girlfriend-- not the stuff of "infectious pop."

Highly recommended.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The deluge of posts

That the zero non-ackfoo/Mrs. Foo readers of this crappy blog expected have not materialized. The we're busy dodge has gotten old, so I guess that for all our best intentions, our missing legions of fans will have to hang in there for a while longer.

Why aren't we more prolific in posting on this sad little unvisited blog? Well, we are busy. The fantastic Mrs. Foo has finally determined which of the many suitors for her workplace services will get the pleasure of her company (some travel outfit I've never heard of), while work and the mountain of home projects that we have been doing has slowed us down.

So until Mrs. Foo seizes control of this humble blog and guides it to the great things she expects of it, you, our fair reader (ghd3), should expect only sporadic and uninteresting updates.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Welcome Mrs. Foo!

Well, Mrs. Foo found the blog, and is chastising me for the long delay in between posts. She's a publisher now, so I'm sure that the action will be way more cerebral and frequent here!


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Deserves a link, has for a while

Ladies and gentlemen,
I return to this posting every few months, and each time (especially when I think of how many Americans [and Iraqis] have died since it was written) I feel a combination of anger at the political leadership of the US from 2001-2007 and sadness at the fact that I, as an American, abetted this situation.

I have several good friends who are former military (Army, Navy, and Marines), and I have to admit that the thought of any of them being mistreated the way our current military is by the "pro-military" GOP enrages and disgusts me.

So here, for my one reader, is Lions Led by Donkeys, from Memorial Day 2006.

That is some strong Kung Fu.

What's first? A Black President or a Woman President?

I was talking about this question this weekend with some friends, and today i realized how close we might be to the answer, looking at potential candidates in the 2008 cycle.

Hilary is the 900- pound gorilla of the Democratic party. I'm not that disappointed by this. Many think that she would be a doomed candidate, but I am not so sure. Bottom line, it is difficult to handicap a candidate as unprecedented as Hilary Clinton.

Barak Obama is is wildcard. His charisma is obvious, but he has not been tested as Hilary has been, which gives me pause. However, he is a very interesting candidate, and as difficult to handicap as Hilary is. One advantage is that he is less distanced from the retail campaigning that is critical in early primary/caucus states (having only recently moved from the state senate to federal office), and that could be an advantage in the early going.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A cell phone rule

It's fine with me if you talk on the mobile. It's also fine with me if you have inane conversations on your mobile (though I would prefer not in my vicinity, but I assume that you [and you know who you are] don't always know you're in the presence of greatness).


If you're having an inane conversation on your mobile (i.e., I and everyone else on planet Earth know it's not your boss or a dramatic family emergency) and because of that you are keeping the long line behind you from moving forward expeditiously because the addition of a mobile is too much for you to handle, you must hang up.

If you are in line within my reach, this may be done for you. That is all.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hi Troy

We had dinner with the only person on the planet who has this blog in his RSS feed, our friend Troy. So shoutout to our boy Troy!

It was great seeing you and your lovely wife on Friday-- hope that you and the women in your life had a good, if rainy, weekend.