Amazon, fix your search already!

The earbuds of my iPod start to disintegrate. I still use the standard Apple ones, the ones with all the rubber that starts to break after 6 months or so. I’m actually waiting for a pair of hopefully really decent ones, but those won’t come until some weeks, possibly months. So in the meantime, let’s get some cheap ones from Amazon, after all that Amazon Prime membership needs to work out!

Let’s start with a simple filter: I want Prime Eligible, sold by Amazon.com, $15 or less, 4+* rated earphones:

Easy, is it? Well, not for Amazon:

Look, I know the economy is bad and the US Dollar sucks, but if we just look at the numbers, then 22.50 is bigger than 15, is it?

Oh, wait, actually it is listed as less than $15 because one of your third party sellers of Amazon’s Marketplace has it:

Amazon, why do you have a filter for "Seller: Amazon.com" only to ignore it then? But let’s look at the $13.69 offer:

Wow, so you got some shitty seller with 50% positive ratings that charges $15 for shipping a product that weighs a mere ounces from Texas to California and you think that this offer is so good it should be in my search results for "Prime Eligible" (=NO shipping Costs) and "Seller: Amazon.com" (=NO third party vendors)?

Inflating shipping costs to undercut the competition on the product price while still making a decent profit is the oldest trick in the book, even eBay reacted to it and is now sorting their auctions by "Price + Shipping Cost", and yet your crappy search isn’t smart enough to do that?

If you need an Engineer to fix your shitty search in his spare time, drop me an email and I’m sure we can arrange a little side-contract for less than a $100k. And don’t tell me that’s not worth it, after all you’re the company that came up with the "Milliseconds equals money" equation – and if each millisecond is costing you a truckload of money, how much money is your shitty broken search costing you?

I don’t like Single-Player DLC

DLC is all the hype nowadays, with every game getting a few pieces for money after release. Fallout 3 and New Vegas had DLC, Deus Ex Human Revolution had its first DLC released, Assassins Creed 2 had DLC and so did Mass Effect and Dragon Age.

I don’t think I played any Single-Player DLC, possibly with the exception of Gears of War 2: Road to Ruin and the Dragon Age DLC when I bought the Platinum Edition.

The reason is quite simple: DLC is too small. When I play a game, I want to really dive in and be immersed, live through the story, see my characters succeed and fail. After I’m done with the campaign, I’ll detach myself from the game again and move on. Picking up the game later means I have to get my mind back into it, remember all the events, characters and little nuances that immersed me the first time around.

Most DLC is over before I’m really back in the mood. A lot of DLC is poorly integrated into the story line and feels tacked on.

Please, don’t charge me $8 for an hour of game play.

I want $30 expansions that have a full, fleshed out story line, like Dragon Age: Awakening. Or a $50 sequel. But please, no more Bring down the Sky or Operation: Anchorage.

(Of course, this only applies to Single-Player/Story content. Feel free to sell as many mods, skins and weapon textures for $8 as you want, people buy them)

The price for the most braindead feature goes to: Mac OS X

For all that’s good about Mac OS X and Apples legendary usability, it has the single most dangerous, stupid and braindead function of all operating systems, ever:

This happens when you drag a folder into another folder, which already contains a folder with that name.

If you are a Windows user, you know what happens next: The folder contents will be merged, which is usually what you expect.

What happens when you click "Replace" here? Well, Apple is at least honest, because it will do exactly what it says: It Replaces the folder. Your old folder is gone.

The braindead thing? The old folder doesn’t go into the Trash Can. If you delete a file in either Windows or Mac OS X, it goes into the trash can, so you can restore it. If you Replace a folder in Mac OS X Finder, the old folder is permanently gone.

With all due respect for the fine work the software engineers did in the past decade and a half: Whoever is responsible for thins function needs to be punched in the face, preferably once for every single folder that users – who are expecting a OS that values user friendliness to perform better – permanently lost.

What’s even worse: There isn’t even an option to merge. Really guys? "The world’s most advanced desktop operating system" does not even have a function to merge two folders through its primary file management tool?

(PS: For a similarly dangerous function, try moving a folder over the network and briefly interrupt the connection. Chances are good that the folder gets deleted from the source since it was moved, but doesn’t fully arrive at the destination because the connection got interrupted. Yes, the worlds most popular desktop UNIX fails miserably at basic network functionality.)

Update: Turns out that OS X Lion finally learned to merge, but only when copying stuff. If you are moving folders within the same Volume, move is the default. Holding down the option key allows you to merge:

This is arguably a lot better than any previous OS X Version. Still, it’s way inferior to Windows 95 which happily merges on move (saves me the cleanup afterwards) and can also merge a subfolder with it’s parent folder, something else OS X can’t do:

This isn’t needed that often, but useful when extracting a zip file yields a folder/folder/files structure.

Thoughts on Growl 1.3 being a paid app now

I just browsed the Mac AppStore and saw Growl on sale for $2. At first I wanted to give a 1-Star Review and call it a scam, selling free software for money. Then I went to the Growl Homepage and saw that this is true.

Now, I don’t have a problem with them charging now, it’s their right. And $2 really isn’t much, I bought it immediately since I use growlnotify a lot.

What is prompting me to write this blog posting: I wonder what this means for third party app developers?

When Growl was free (1.2.2 still is), it was a no-brainer to implement it in your App. You could tell your user to download it, or you just snuck it in with your apps (much to the dismay of the developers, who had to put up a notice on their web site). Now, your users have to make an additional $2 purchase regardless if your app is free or paid. And due to the way the Mac AppStore works, you can’t just decide to pay the $2 for your users and bundle Growl with your app – even if you include a $2 git certificate, your users now need an iTunes account.

Now, in an ideal world where every user has an iTunes/App Store account this isn’t an issue, but I still wonder if this decision will lead to everyone reinventing the wheel and adding their own notification system again? (Or forking/distributing Growl 1.2.2 for all of eternity or until a Mac OS X version that doesn’t support it comes up).

Again, I don’t want to speak ill of developers who created an amazing piece of software and now charge a minimal amount for it. I just wonder if this may cause issues for us Third Party app developers?

In an ideal world, Tim Cook will announce that Mac OS X 10.8 comes bundled with Growl, that all Apple Apps support it, that GNTP becomes an integral part for distributed notifications, that it integrates into iOS’ notifications system etc. pp. Your move, Apple.

You can remove Ads from your Ad-Supported Kindle now

Previously, I blogged about my new Kindle 4 and that I was bothered more by the ads than I thought. With the Ad-Supported Kindle 3 that meant tough luck – send it back under the 30 day money back guarantee and get a new one.

Now, Amazon finally has an option to remove the ads. Log in to your Amazon Account and select "Manage your Kindle", then "Manage your Devices".

There should be a column for "Special Offers" in which you can remove the ads (the column will only be there when you have a Kindle with ads).

Obviously, Amazon will charge the difference ($30 for the basic Kindle 4) and within a minute or two your Kindle will happily proclaim that Special Offers have been removed (provided it’s connected to WiFi).

I have no idea if it works for the Kindle 3 as well.