The Disaster That Is Gmail

Once upon a time, the makers of the most ubiquitous search engine in the world set out to create the most ubiquitous e-mail system in the world.

They made it light and simple and elegant. And they introduced a completely new concept to e-mail: Rather than e-mail being individual, disembodied messages, e-mail is actually a conversation and should be constructed as such.

This is how Gmail worked initially, and it was awesome. I was sold at the time by Gmail’s ability to handle e-mails as conversations, but I also enjoyed how simple and elegant it was and how easy and efficient that made navigation.

Why is it that a company creates such a simple, wonderful tool and then eventually loads it up with clutter that eventually makes it impossible to use?

That time has come with Gmail, and, by way of digression, Twitter as well. Gmail these days is next to impossible to use. My window is cluttered with chat buddies, a feature that I never configured and buddies I never added, and commands are now run by icons that are about as intuitive as trying to read a bowl of soup.

Gmail was once a breath of fresh air, such a grand new service that it not only improved e-mail, it actually elevated it. It has recently become a bucket of mush.

This is why my e-mail is moving to a new service. I’ll let ya know if you need to know.

The Voice > Idol

Of all the godamm things I feel compelled to come back to my blog to write about and it’s NBC’s The Voice. Am I that shallow?

Okay. So I am. Whatever.

I have just gotten done watching this television program for the first time, having just watched episodes one and two of season two on-demand. I have, in previous seasons, been known to watch the Idol. And friends, I’m here to tell you: The Voice is Idol’s smarter, better, faster cousin.

Let’s face it: Idol is a disorganized mess. There are judges, and the judges and their drama eclipses the show. Then sometimes these “coaches” come in and offer some idiotic platitudes about singing from your diaphragm and crap, and then there’s the Idol Cares segment, which is when you get up from your chair and go off to drop a load or have a sandwich or something. It’s a mess. I’d say it’s a Jackson Pollock painting, but even Pollock watches Idol from the grave and he’s all like “What a fucking mess! What the hell is that supposed to be?”

The Voice, however, was designed with nifty, contoured edges. The “judges” ARE coaches, looking to build a team for competition. They sit in big red barber chairs facing away from the performer, so they have only the voice to help them choose. If they are for the performer, they bop a button and the big chair turns around so they can see said performer. If more than one coach selects a performer, then the performer must choose what team to be on, and the coaches can argue their case.

These are the television producers you want on your team, people. It is clear that these geniuses of media designed this show utilizing a flow chart, unlike those who designed the Idol, which was clearly created by throwing balogna at one another’s bare asses.

And. Not only is this program’s planning and execution terrific. But at the start of episode #2, the coaches, who are Christina Aguilera (have I mentioned that, secretly, I am a fan?), CeeeLo (formerly of Goodie Mob and currently of whatever the heck he wants), Adam Levine of Maroon 5 (whose band turned in a killer performance live and early in the morning on The Howard Stern Show) and some country guy, performed a medley of music by this guy called Prince.

This performance could have easily sucked. But it did not suck. Because, clearly, someone who actually knows and loves the Purple Guy’s music put the thing together. I mean, if you’re doing a Prince medley and you include “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” you’re a fan. Only a cover of “She’s Always In My Hair” or “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” would have further knocked off my socks. I’m not sure what purpose this performance played, but it did not suck, as well it could have.

As I said, I have watched the Idol show there previously, and I couldn’t help but to feel drowned in its own pomposity. The Voice is a much better alternative if you insist on watching one of these silly televised talent programs. Which, apparently, I do.