April 2008

Google, these are not my friends.

Google Reader (1000+)This is driving me nuts. It’s entirely possible that I just can’t find the right setting but I’m having an issue right now where every single time I log into Google Reader a have a bunch of unread stories under “Friends’ shared items” but when I look all the stories are shared by people who are definitely not people I consider my friends. I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from and had to keep manually unchecking them in a list of contacts they were magically getting added to until I figured it out. These are people who have e-mailed me. Or worse, they are people who have posted a comment on something or filled out a form somewhere that eventually gets e-mailed to me. Google is seeing an e-mail from them and assuming if they are e-mailing me I must be friends with them and there for want to read anything they are sharing in Google Reader.

This is not the case at all. I’m not saying these people are not sharing interesting things, or that they might not be great people to be friends with, just that they are people I don’t know and don’t want their stories clogging up my listings. In this example all 17 of those unread stories are by people I’ve never once spoken to, but who have for some reason done something that landed an e-mail in my gmail box with them as the reply to address. Now I have to go in and manually uncheck each one of them, only to have to do the same thing over again tomorrow with a new set of people I’ve never heard of that Google has decided I must be close friends with. HALP!

Wish List: Contact Priorities

I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the recent talk about how to classify relationships online and how that translates, at least for me, into actual practice. The truth is that as interesting as it would be to have hard data documenting exactly what kind of relationship I have with someone (be they a an old college roommate, an ex-girlfriend, a current coworker, a close friend, etc), that doesn’t really have a lot of functional use for me. I mean really what happened yesterday between me and someone else is already in my head and I don’t need a code to represent that. Besides often that isn’t a static piece of info, relationships change and who wants to be constantly updating that? I’m not saying it’s not important for a lot of reasons (I certainly understand the idea of letting this group of people have access to this group of info, and that group having access to a more limited amout of info), what I’m saying is that really what is more interesting for me is looking at tomorrow and how those people and relationships impact my daily life.

Depending on the kind of relationship I have with someone they have different priorities in my life at different times. If a business contact e-mails me during the week I’d like to see that relatively quickly, where as if they e-mail me on a Saturday I’d be perfectly happy not even knowing about it until Monday. If my family calls me I want my phone to ring, if the dry cleaner calls I’d prefer if that went stright to voicemail. If a friend IM’s me I don’t mind being interupted, however if someone I’ve only just met pings me I’d like them to see that I’m busy and will be back in touch later. What kind of relationship I have with these people isn’t really as important as what priority I’ve placed on their contact with me.

I realized while talking with someone about this the other day that what I really want is what already exists for so many other kinds of info but just hasn’t been applied to people yet. I can rate songs in iTunes and then tell it to only play songs with a 3 star or higher ranking at certain times. I can sort RSS feeds in Google Reader and chose which ones to read when. Why can’t I do this with my contacts? So that is what I’m wishing for – I don’t want something that better describes what kind of relationship I have with someone so much as I want something that helps me prioritize incoming contact from them. I want 5 star contacts to be able to reach me any time any where, and 1 star contacts to leave me messages I follow up on when I have a chance. Half of me feels like this is a horrible thing to ask, but in reality that’s what all this sorting is headed towards just in a much more round about fashion.

You call that dating?

From a random conversation today, I forget the wording exactly but it went something like this:

Her: …we made out in the back of a cab and next thing I know he was totally acting like we were dating, and I’m like “please, until I’ve imagined you naked we are totally not dating”

Him: I think I imagine a girl naked long before I ever make out with her.

Her: Haha, ok well acting like a lot more had happened then just making out.

Him: Right, a lot more can happen and I still don’t consider it dating!

Her: Awesome! We are so on the same page!

Brooklyn Zoo

Successfully traversed the Oceans once again and landed on the hard ground of New York where I’ll be hanging out for the next several days. I’m staying in Brooklyn which is a first as I usually stay with friends in Manhatten. Of course the friends I usually stay with happen to be getting marriend this week so I decided I’d not push to sleep on their couch as they might have other things going on. Turns out the greatest vegan restaurant in the world just opened a second branch right around the corner from Bre’s place in Brooklyn so after visiting NYC Resister and Etsy we went there directly. And feasted.

Dessert at Red Bamboo

This morning I’m going to brave the trains in search of more vegany goodness and delicious coffees in Manhatten. Pics forthcoming of course. My usual NY checklist is as follows:

Red Bamboo (now both locations!)
Atlas Cafe
Thailand Cafe
Babycakes

Out of Berlin, back in Vienna

Since Vienna is so close to Berlin (relatively speaking for a guy who lives in Los Angeles of course) I decided it was worth it to swing by here for a day or two before transcontinentaling it back to the US just to feast on some vegan schnitzel and see friends I made while living here last year. I have to say I had a great time in Berlin at re:publica08. While a lot of the conference was in German and thus out of my realm of understanding, I got to see a lot of friends and made many new ones.

One thing I really love about Berlin is the cheep as hell falafel you can find on every corner, all of which is simply amazing, cheep as hell, and open super late. It wasn’t unusual to walk a block or two from the Hostel where we were staying at 3am and for the cost of 2 or 3 Euros get some of the most delicious falafel I’d ever had in a matter of moments. Definitely an area lacking in LA.

Arriving back in Vienna today was interesting, when I was living here the town had a very central base kind of feel to it. All of my stuff was here, I was settled in, and had plenty of time to take care of anything. This time I’m only here for a few days and so it feels a little different. It’s also not covered in snow and icy slush, but there’s also not punche and roasted chestnut vendors on every corner like there were most of November and December. It’s the little things you know. Getting back on the tram on our way to dinner felt so normal though, like a trip through an old neighborhood which I guess isn’t too far off. Just weird for me to think of Vienna that way. Weird in a good way.

I’ll be in NYC by mid week for a friends wedding and looking forward to seeing more friends, talking more business, eating more vegan cupcakes, and all the things I usually do there. I’ve got an iPod full of new stuff from Torche and Black Keys, as well as Bourdain and Palahinuk audio books so the flight should be more than managable. The time travel effect of leaving London at noon, flying for close to 10 hours, and arriving in NYC at 2pm will take a little more management.