Memo to Mozilla,

It’s great that you’re doing all of this legwork about how to improve Firefox. I have an alternate proposal: before worrying about improving, fix whatever the heck is wrong with it! It’s finally reached the point that I can barely recommend Firefox to anyone anymore. It’s not like it used to be with few other options. Internet Explorer has suddenly become a pretty good browser. Google Chrome is pretty cool, too, and is expanding it’s plug-ins at a pretty rapid clip. Meanwhile, it’s gotten to the point that if my computer has stopped responding with reasonable diligence, closing Firefox is the first thing I do and it fixes the problem 90% of the time. Even right now, with only 14 tabs open and a window I opened just a few hours ago (and no instances of Adobe Flash open), you are taking up 65% of my CPU usage and nearly a gigabyte of RAM. I know I type fast, but I do not type that fast. This is unacceptable. It did not used to be this way.


Memo to Plantronics,

Your Explorer 330 Bluetooth headset is the best Bluetooth headset the market has seen before or sense. Why, oh, why, did you stop making it?


Memo to Verizon,

Just because I am now your customer does not mean I have decided to stop hating you.


Memo to Garmin GPS Maker,

I wish you would allow me to set View Map as a default. Instead, you put up a screen asking if I want to View Map or Find Route. It’s a fair question. Sometimes I do want to Find Route and other times I just want to View Map. However, if I want to Find Route I can hit the screen an extra time to get to that menu. Really. I can. It’s not likely to create any greater a safety risk because if I am going to find a route I am going to be focused on the GPS anyway. Anyway, while sometimes I want to Find Route and sometimes I want to View Map, I never want the device to simply ask the question indefinitely. At the very least, switch to the map after two minutes of no response. Or add a feature for it to turn off. Cause sometimes I don’t want to use the GPS, and sometimes I want to Find Route, and sometimes I want to View Map, but I repeat I never want that question just sitting there indefinitely.


Memo to Bloggers and Website Administrators,

Unless you’re actually updating your blog every five minute, you do not need the blog to refresh every five minutes. I can hit F5 for myself.


Memo to Electronics Makers Everywhere

Stop the LED abuse! Do not underestimate the power of LED! The power splitter for my car has an LED that lights up the entire car at night. My old Pocket PC docking station had an LED so powerful I had to place black electrical tape over it and it’s still distracting.

Category: Market

About the Author

14 Responses to Memo to Customer Support

  1. web says:

    I’ve taken to putting black electrical tape over most LED readouts by default. Especially in the bedroom – if I wanted a night light, I’d have bought a fucking night light!

  2. DaveinHackensack says:

    I come back to this blog because the authors and commenters seem like smart and interesting people. But some of the posting topics are so boring it hurts. Maybe mine is a minority opinion though.

    Forgive this bit of tactlessness on my part. Just felt like sharing that.

  3. trumwill says:

    To each their own. The upside to writing a blog that I don’t aim for money or widespread success is that I can write about whatever comes to me.

  4. DaveinHackensack says:

    True, and fair enough. But as a novelist looking to get published and sell books, presumably, you’d have to think a little about readers’ tastes. Is that why you haven’t attempted to get the novels you’ve written published or is it just that you’d rather polish them first (or write something else as a first novel/calling card)?

  5. trumwill says:

    On the novel front, I am at the point where I am writing foremost what I am interested in writing about. I may or may not pitch it to publishers in the future, but probably not. At least not the current stuff. However, I am also developing story ideas to be written later with more mass appeal.

  6. trumwill says:

    Actually, I probably shouldn’t present myself as being too indifferent to reader response either for novels or for Hit Coffee. When I read your comment this morning, I filed away in my head “one vote against consumer gripe posts.” And I keep track of what posts generate response (and, more importantly, what kind of responses they generate). But it’s something I keep in mind rather than something that guides my output.

  7. DaveinHackensack says:

    Re the novel stuff, a cool trick is if you can write something with literary merit that is also a great read. Easier said than done, of course. An example of that, IMO, was The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen. If memory serves, before writing it, Franzen had written a critical essay about literary fiction, noting how so much of it was turgid, pretentious crap. And The Corrections was him stepping up to the challenge.

    Another book that might be of interest to you as an aspiring novelist, is Martin Amis’s The Information. I read that back when it came out in the ’90’s, and just did a quick Bing search for it and got this description by a fellow named David Edelman:

    “[It’s a] novel that’s glibly self-conscious about the entire literary publication process, and bitter as horseradish about it, too. It’s a novel that’s sure to offend, horrify, and amuse anyone that’s ever indulged in writing, book reviewing, editing, or publishing.”

    One of the two main characters in The Information, the one “who has written a dismal piece of politically correct pap and became fabulously rich because of it” reminds me a little of Jonathan Safran Foer. If Foer went to Southern Tech U. instead of Princeton, I doubt he would have ever gotten published.

  8. trumwill says:


    I sort of backed in to what you’re talking about, sort of. My fourth novel was received by those who read it somewhat luke-warmly (criticism that was disappointing in one sense, but I also give it to people I trust in part so that I can good feedback).

    The nature of the criticism and the nature of the novel meant that a major retooling will be in order. The story and characters simply weren’t compelling enough for it to be a straight-up character piece without changing the entire pace of the novel (where the major revelations that make the characters more interesting come towards the end).

    The result is that the retool will be to take a character piece and turn it into a more suspenseful murder mystery. The murder was already the catalyst to the novel, but it’s importance was downplayed as there was little reason for the characters to believe that it had a whole lot to do with them. So I decided to keep the murder and its police investigation much closer to the plot with a closer eye on why people are behaving (and have behaved) the way they are.

    That way I should still get to explore the characters the way I wanted, but in a way that will hopefully be more compelling to the reader. Probably not compelling enough for a publisher, but enough so that I will be more proud of it.

    It’s these sorts of things I am hoping to iron out and get a better instinct for before I start writing stuff with the intent of approaching a publisher.

  9. trumwill says:

    Regarding the criticism of Foer, I know that writers are supposed to write what they know and all that, but artists need to be more careful when writing about the artistic experience (and by extension the artist-vs-establishment struggle). I actually think more of musicians in this regard. A lot of the local Colosse musicians write too many songs about being a musician on the road. One every now and again is fine, but there should never be more than one on a specific CD unless it can be done creatively. One artist did a great job relating his touring experience by making it from the point of view of a traveling salesman, but most of the time it’s straightforward “being a travelling musician is tough, but I love it!”

    One of my novels is partially about writing a novel, so I break this myself. However, it’s mostly to do with a storytelling style rather than an actual part of the plot. The narrator is a novelist trying to follow up on a previous success. She’s relating to what she’s observing while staying with a friend through the eyes of trying to novelize it. Whether she succeeds in writing the novel or not is secondary. It’s sort of like a conspiracy story that is uncovered by a journalist trying to find a story. That he gets the story written (or doesn’t) is far less interesting than the story itself.

  10. DaveinHackensack says:

    Regarding Foer, there are less well known writers who have covered the same ground far more intelligently than him. He better connected than he is talented.

    Interesting point about the songwriters writing about being a musician on tour and you writing about writing (to some extent). Injecting bits of autobiography can be tricky, and probably isn’t a good thing to do initially.

    Sometimes it works — in songwriting, an example that come to mind is Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4. Bruce Springsteen occasionally has done a nice job of writing a song outside of his experience, relying on newspaper articles, etc. An example of that that comes to mind is Youngstown, off of his Ghost of Tom Joad album (in a post on the old blog, “From the Dust Bowl to the Superbowl”, I noted the irony of Springsteen writing Depression-inflected songs during the dot-com boom and upbeat songs today, during the worst recession since the Depression).

    One successful example of injecting autobiography into a novel, IMO, was Richard Powers’s Galatea 2.2. Highly recommend that one.

  11. trumwill says:

    I don’t think the question is whether or not autobiography should find its way into writing. There’s a saying that everybody’s first book is essentially an autobiography. The question is what aspects of yourself to put in the story. Focusing on being an artist, which is pretty distinct from most other careers, is going to make it harder for your fans to relate.

    It doesn’t stop the works from being really good sometimes. There are some good songs by country musicians about life on the road. But it’s harder to make those songs relatable compared to songs on subjects more familiar to the audience.

  12. Bob V says:

    >But some of the posting topics are so boring it hurts.

    For what it’s worth, I didn’t hate this.

  13. DaveinHackensack says:

    There’s a saying in screenwriting that goes something like this, “Don’t write your autobiography. What would be the sequel?”.

  14. trumwill says:

    I think at some point you need to move beyond leaning too heavily on your personal life. I look at it like training wheels.

    A lot of it also depends on how you do it. A lot of people do it with an axe to grind against someone that wronged them. Or they feel their life is just that darn interesting. That’s problematic because a real person’s life generally isn’t. However, using some of your own experience as a starting point to tap into something more universal… that can be helpful.

    The real problems occur when they feel the need to accentuate those aspects of their lives that a lot of people are going to have difficulty relating to. Of course, that can happen in pure fiction, too. We build the characters into something that is so much an exemplar of what we love/loathe/admire/whatever that they cease to be realistic people.

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