Thursday, May 28, 2015

Odds and Ends

Woke up early today as I have a doctor's appointment in the morning. Noticed I had passed the million visitors mark for this blog, after deleting it the third or maybe fourth time. Which means, realistically, this could be the second or third million hits.

Over, I dunno, 11 years? 12?

Those journalists who once told me that this Internet thing is a fad and that yes, they've seen similar fads come and go (like Smell-O-Vision, perhaps?), that it will soon die off in 2004 and people would go back to buying newspapers are now plying their trade at Internet portals.

If there is a literal interpretation of eating one's words, I guess that would be it.

In any case, things keep on changing. Internet media is a nebulous, ephemeral thing. People keep on repeating nomadic patterns. The numbers shift from one thing to another. Now, that is a fad behaviour.

Myspace and Facebook are interesting examples. Myspace died quite properly some hundreds of cyber years ago. Facebook didn't. Or haven't. Facebook is no longer sexy, of course, but the late adapters number more than the attention-deficit Xs and Ys.

While the cool and hip leftist-leaning urbanites moved their overpriced coffee pictures to Twitter and now Instagram, the majority who just discovered broadband Internet access also stumbled upon Facebook.

The bulk of the BN audience is on Facebook, which remains their most effective platform. Twitter was won over by seemingly endless bots, as demonstrated by the ill-fated and easily-discovered bot-fuelled 3 million tweets campaign one Merdeka Day.

I sent a message to one of the bots, that were tweeting the same message even though sporting the Twitter equivalent of Osman, Muthusamy and Lai Kok Seng multi-ethnic Twitter handles. I told them, "We come in peace and look forward to serving our machine overlords."

While numerous Opposition agents try to convince me - someone they marked as Government-friendly, though I'm nothing of the sort - that Twitter is no longer cool, I understand it still has a role to play in the coming election. The big one. The one BN is supposed to lose due to their own stupidity.

And yes, BN as a political party has played the cyberwars quite stupidly. Their tactics are easily uncovered and the stance or direction - when they have one - has always been arrogant and standoffish.

There are people and brands who succeeded by being arrogant and brusque online, myself included. There is a reason why and how it is done that way. Mostly due to the pursuit of vaginas. It is not one would expect from people begging for your votes to stay in power and does not inspire any confidence or endearment whatsoever.

When the giant BN cyber machineries fall and fail, and they will fall hard and fail catastrophically, I hope somebody notes the numbers. Would be fun, dissecting just how much they royally fucked up.

So where does that leave blogs? I wrote in 2008, after the GE that blogs are done and dusted. That bloggers are now inconsequential. Those who believe otherwise are delusional.

Sure, there is still a role for blogs to play as a platform. But lose the tired idea that personalities drive blogs. Nobody cares anymore. Post-lonelygirl15, nobody really believes in the interesting personality online. And Lonelygirl15 was a thing - a scandal - before even the big Malaysian blog boom.

Blogs are sites. Sites are sources of information. Sites are tools. Blogs, sites, FB pages have all blended under the generic 'Internet Tools' banner.

Nobody cares who you are, unless you are DrM. The rest care about WHAT they get from this... tool. Naked pictures? Weather forecasts?

The age of the thought-leaders are over around seven years ago. You have mob-leaders now and at the post-peak point of the Information Age, we will have hordes of the most mis-informed crowds going at it with each other. All shouting, non-listening, hordes of idiots flaming online. This is the future? This is today.

The future exists in tangible things. I have gone back to working at a newspaper and updating this blog. Why? Because despite everything, I have never done this for money (except the newspaper, TV and movies part) or attention or fame. I do it because I want to. I rather enjoy it.

Few things give me greater pleasure than reading my own writing and admiring how great and intelligent I am.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Malaysia Airlines Website - The Hell is This?

Planning a trip, so I checked the prices of airfare and decided even though Malaysia Airlines' tickets cost around a hundred ringgit more or more than a hundred ringgit than Air Asia, I wanted to buy one.

The reason is logistics. I'm going to Bangkok sometime in the near future, so I wanted to go to Suvarnabhumi airport as it is closer to where I want to go. A taxi ride from Suvarnabhumi is around RM110 or I can take a bus for RM15. A taxi ride from Don Mueang Airport - basically the KLIA 2 of Bangkok - would be RM160. Or I can take a shuttle to Suvarnabhumi from Don Mueang or take a taxi to a bus station before I take a bus to where I want to go.

Malaysia Airlines land in Suvarnabhumi while Air Asia lands in Don Mueang. So to keep things simple and clean, I thought I'd take Malaysia Airlines and make up for the difference in fares with land transportation by taking the bus.

So I went and filled in whatever info on their website - a website I had problems with in the past for refusing to take my money - and it went crazy. Again.

Here's a screencap:

I tried the website again and again for maybe a total of an hour, over a few hours. Same error message.

I tried reloading, restarting the whole thing, and nada. Nope. Zilch.

So anyway, I decided to take things to the real world. I went and took a cab, paying RM15 to KL Sentral and plonked my ass down in front of the Malaysia Airlines counter to buy the goddamned ticket. Manually.

I haven't bought a plane ticket this way since... ever. I have never done this.

So keeping my rant and whining to a minimum, I told the nice counter person I wanted tickets to such and such destination, at such and such dates and time. The price quoted to me on the website was RM577 and I wanted the same price or slightly higher.

Upon a cursory check, the price she could give me was RM700++. Later, there was an improved offer of RM600++.

No can do, man. I decided to just fuck it, went home (after paying RM15 for another cab ride) and bought an Air Asia ticket. Air Asia website booked my flight, took my money in 5 minutes, from start to end.

See, the problems with Malaysia Airlines are many and varied. I have no interest whatsoever in their corporate tussle, the share swap fiasco, whatever, man. I don't give a flying fuck.

But this is basic elementary stuff here. I have a website selling comic books to people and if we find an error, that shit gets fixed within a few days - hours if we had nothing to do or not at our jobs.

For a massive company to fuck up their website on three separate occasions when a customer is practically trying to throw money at them is just plain stupid. This is user experience. This is website functionality. This is fucking bullshit.

The fact that I couldn't use the website is one thing - a major thing. Not having the same price for the ticket at the counter is also insane. It's not like Malaysia Airlines is the only game in town. Hell, there's KLM and Jetstar with their shit on offer as well as Air Asia.

The previous problems I had was when I tried to pay Malaysia Airlines using their website and the damned thing wouldn't take my money. It just wouldn't. Straight up wouldn't take my hard earned cash I wanted to throw at them like a hooker in a strip club.

This latest shit is the third time something stupid happened to me while using the Malaysia Airlines website.

I don't know how many other people faced the same problem or how much money is lost simply because the website sucks balls.

I don't know who's in charge up there at Malaysia Airlines, and I don't give a fuck. White guy, yellow guy, brown guy. Whatever. You fix the website, dude.

Just for fucks, I will go to the website again several months from now or maybe next year to book another flight. It better be ready to take my money.

I mean, come on!