Are you ready for Unsub Friday?

There I am at my computer, staring at my inbox. It sits there, right at the top of my overflowing list, staring at me.

“When the hell did I get on Aeropostale’s mailing list?”

Even if you rarely get that much spam email, from about now through Cyber Monday – and a good deal longer – you’re apt to get emails from all kinds of random stuff you never knew you signed up for. Half shit-faced and giving out your email address again, huh? It’ll cost you come Black Friday.

But why not make Black Friday – useless concept that it is in terms of sales – into something really useful: Unsub Friday!

Since every mailer you get is required by law to have a one-click unsubscribe link in it, this Friday and every day after it until Christmas is a beautiful opportunity to clean up your inbox for the coming year. Get rid of all that junk mail by just clicking Unsubscribe to everything that comes in… unless of course it’s the DFE Morning Briefing. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water…


Five things I hate about the new Gmail for Android

Agh! They’ve “improved” Gmail again.

I’m not generally one of those who insists that every new change to my software is bad. I like to at least entertain the idea that developers have something good in mind. But just a cursory scan of the new Gmail application tells me my productivity just went to shit on mobile.

5. Icons? Is that what we’re calling them?

Each email now shows an “icon” to the right. In a perfect world, where everybody is using Google Plus like Google would like them too, there would be an image of the sender and receiver. In this world, what I end up with is a bunch of pics of me and colored blocks with the last name of the sender.

I know what I look like. Why do I need a picture of me?

4. Check box? What’s a check box?

Remember those handy checkboxes to the left of every message? You know, the ones you used to check to perform actions on a series of messages on? Like tagging, archiving or deleting?

Yeah, those are gone. Replaced by the fucking icons. And as for deleting…

3. Where the hell is my delete icon??

It has seemed, for the last year or so, like Google is trying to force me to keep every email. Slowly but surely, they are eliminating my ability to delete my email. Why the hell do I want to keep my crappy spam emails?

At one point, the status bar on Android had a handy function: when new email came in, you could just tap an icon in the drop down menu to delete it. No need to read it. No need to open your inbox. Now that function has been changed to “archive.” You cannot delete from there.

Now with the new upgrade of Gmail, not only is the checkbox I normally use to mass delete emails gone, but if you open the email and look… there’s no delete option, there, either. If you click the context menu from within an email, then and only then can you delete.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Google wants to keep your emails for the same reason Facebook wants to keep every message you thought you’d deleted: advertising data. But rather than get caught the way Facebook did, they figure they’ll just let you know up front that they’re not letting you get rid of anything.

2. No seriously: why do I need a picture of myself??

Ok, I still can’t get over this one. Why do I need to see an image of myself?

1. I’m color blind, assholes

When, oh when, will Google become standards compliant with accessibility? Their insistence on color coding everything is a clear violation of that concept. The icons that don’t include an image of the sender are all different colors. Fine of those colors are blue or yellow, but am I meant to differentiate between brown and brown? Because that’s what red and green look like to those of us with color blindness.

I am a man of peace and I abhor unnecessary rancor on the Internet. I try so hard to stay calm in the face of a tumultuous world, and I rely on my tools to aid me. Google has gone after my Achille’s heel and is forcing me to respond.

It is therefore with deep regret that announce that I feel compelled to create the most powerful tool available in the social media landscape in order to deal with this. That’s right, people. I’m going to create a “Change Gmail Back” Facebook Page and bring the multi-colored giant to its quivering needs.

Pray for them.

Politics Technology

Your crazy aunt with the chain emails now joins 50% of seniors online

President Obama is a socialist Nigerian who wants to give you M&Ms for life if you fill out this survey about the girl who needs a kidney that was stolen from a dude left on ice in a bathtub. Its true. And watch for spiders on the toilet seat, while you’re at it.

And if you think these emails are going away any time soon, guess again. Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life project reports that for the first time, a majority of seniors over the age of 65 – 53% – now regularly use the Internet. Or email, which by leaps and bounds continues to be the aged set’s weapon of choice in the information wars.

While about a third of seniors use social networks, a whopping 86% use email.

Meanwhile, the growth trend for seniors continues with gadgets, as well. 69% of seniors report having a mobile phone, up from 57% two years ago.

Elsewhere in the land of magical thinking known as Opinion Poll Land, a sizable majority of Americans polled by Pew think the government has a role to play in curbing childhood obesity. But on the same day and without an apparent trace of irony, Zogby releases a poll saying three-quarters of Americans oppose the Bloomberg plan to limit the size of sodas sold in public spaces.

Its worth noting that “bans” never sell well with Americans. And what Bloomberg proposes is not so much a “ban on large drinks” as it is a “limit to the size of drinks,” which might have polled better. But it begs the question: if this plan is so unpalatable (pardon the pun) to Americans, what exactly does the “role of government” in curbing obesity look like, exactly?