1. Be Better at…The Internet.

    FACEBOOK EDITION: PART DEAUX

    I thought I’d covered all the annoyances to avoid on Facebook in a previous post…but alas, as time rambles on, people find new ways to be completely irritating on the internet.  

    Let’s unpack some of these, ok?

    -Complaining about Facebook…on Facebook: No one cares if you’re mad about Timeline and post threatening responses saying you’re gonna delete your account if they keep doing this sh*t. Guess what? Facebook is not your ex-boyfriend and your wine-saturated threats are really not going to make a huge difference, and give it like…4 days, you’ll get used to it. If you wanna bitch, get your journal out, play some Alanis, and go to town…but please, spare the rest of us. If websites didn’t evolve, I’d still be getting poked 37 times a day by some weirdo from high school, and wondering if it was some sort of “sex thing”. Oh and also, I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t “unsubscribe” from people. Muting “Southerners for Chicken Sandwiches and Sweet Tea” and “Gays Against Non-Organic Spagetti” is the only thing that keeps me sane these days.

    -Textagrams: We are living in a scary time here, folks. Our dear FB is starting to look alot like that red-headed stepchild..MYSPACE. It all started so innocently…just a mildly funny SomeEcard once in a while…now look at us. Stock imagery being posted of someone doing a handstand on the beach with a quote (that certainly hasn’t been fact-checked) saying, “Live Free, Dance Like Someone is Watching and Swim in the Ocean of Peace” is a frequent occurrence. People, this is how China will overthrow us. They probably have factories full of people, just churning out non-inspirational inspirational photo poems, that will one day turn all of our collective minds into viral mush. We will all start to write in Curlz MT and our souls will die a slow, slow death. I actually think I might prefer the sparkly GIFS that say “Sexy Bitch” on Myspace.

    - Job Inquiries: “Hey Guys, I’m looking for a new job…if you know of anything, let me know! -Peace” In what motherf*cking world do you live in? People that are Mensa-level smart, are making sure your fries are McCrispy. You think that by posting one sentence on FB, that suddenly Employment Santa is going to come down your chimney and hand you a 401K, health insurance, and a steady paycheck, wrapped in a bow that isn’t from the Dollar Store?  There is no doubt in my mind why you don’t have a job…here’s a nugget of wisdom-y advice: SEND OUT A RESUME, USE NORMAL CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION, APPLY FOR ACTUAL JOBS, STOP BEING A DOUCHE. You are seriously offending people that are TRYING HARD to actually obtain employment. Oh and if you do post that you need a job, maybe include some parameters/qualifications/etc?

    -The Worst Kind of Event: Me: Look here, I got invited to a party…let me check it out…”I…Lost…My…Phone…Party.” OK now I’m upset (as is Natalie Portman). You invited me to a non-existant event that is being faux-thrown for your irresponsible ass. There isn’t even vodka. Here’s what’s gonna happen, I’m coming over as soon as you get all those new numbers loaded up, and I’m going to throw your phone down the sewer. Do not tease me with party details, when all you want is for me to send you my digits, so you can “not call” me for another 4 years. Again, NO VODKA?! Hmphhh!

    I think I’m done. 

    It’s Monday…you know the drill. Write me a letter or don’t…whatever.

     


  2. Be Better at…Social Media.

    Instagram Edition:

    I have an addiction. And that addiction is Instagram. 

    Surprisingly, I almost like it more than Facebook. The perks? You don’t have to hear about people getting pooped on by their own babies, the quinoa bullshit someone ate for lunch, or how often someone is hitting their cardio yogalates class every week. BUT, warning…you may have to visualize some of these things in photo form.

    But I have a confession, even more than my addiction. 

    I am bad at Instagram. I have committed every cardinal sin that you can imagine on this social network…but I want to e-repent and try not to do these things ever again! And mostly, I’m sick of seeing you post these things too, k?

    P.S. No one is allowed to get butt-hurt over this post because I have only used my own photos and idiocy as examples.

    The 5 Instagram Photos That Everyone Posts, But Collectively Everyone Hates:

    • Obscure Nature Shots: You know what people on Instagram love? Flowery branches on a blue sky background. It’s the irresistible photo because, hell yes, it’s pretty… it sorta makes us look like we go outside once in awhile…and there is a good chance that with the right crop…we all can look a little artsy. Other favorites in the “Obscure Nature” category? Final moments before sunset, the SuperMoon, close up flowers, and lonely pier leading into choppy lake. These get boring, but they are tolerable I suppose (and I’ll probably keep posting them).
    • Moody Coffee: Coffee photos are never f*cking happy, are they? They always look like the final cup of joe before someone is going to be publicly executed. Oh, and it’s never going to be a styrofoam cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee on a formica countertop, next to a copy of US Weekly or In Touch Magazine. If there’s reading material in the shot, it’s gonna be the Times/The New Yorker/Kinfolk/Great Gatsby/Steinbeck. TRUST. We curate our coffee photos like we are trying to get laid via Instagram…the proper TYPE of coffee, perfect latte art, the RIGHT coffee shop tagged, a beautiful table surface, and some thing else like a casually-placed glasses, a book, or a pastry that cost upwards of $8. Pretention at it’s finest people.
    • Weather Update: I did this the other day..and then immediately hated myself for it. I took a screenshot of the weather on my iPhone and then posted it to Instagram. This makes no fucking sense. I act like I am getting my weather updates from some desert shaman via smoke signals that no one else has access to. Hey loser (me..and sometimes you), we all have frackin’ weather on our phones or we could do it the old fashioned way and look outside.(and yes, I am yelling at myself right now)
    • Window Seat: Shit, I forgot to bring those trophies with me today. Because you deserve some sort of award that you flew on a plane and took photos from your window seat of God’s good creation and now are taking photo credit for it right? Oh wait. No, no…we don’t deserve a viral pat on the back for breaking sky law to snap a pic of Iowa as we fly over. Also, you are just trying to piss others off completely…you’re either travelling to exotic places for work or going on vacation. Either way, I want to swiftly take both of your knees out while I look through my feed during Excel spreadsheet formatting at my desk. Stop being an asshole.
    • Cocktail Blur: When I break the two cocktail threshold, I will be putting up a blurry photo of the libation I am currently chugging. This is not interesting for anyone involved and honestly, I have to pause my drinking to take the photo and try and pick a filter that makes it look mildly appetizing. I am going to try and stop this habit, but I really get invested in my mojitos and want to share the joy with the world around me.

    All this to say…let’s try and be better before pulling that proverbial trigger. I have to say…there are two types of photos I never get tired of seeing…bring on the PUPPIES AND ARCHITECTURE!!!!

    What are your least favorite type of Instagram photos? Who are your favorites to follow?

     Happy faux-photography!

    Chinae

     


  3. Be Better at…Technology. (Guest Post by Brad Siefert)

    EDITOR’S NOTE: I have no f*cking clue about technology. I just learned what an external hard drive was like…15 minutes ago and I described it as a “cute, little black box with a tail”. So… I am leaving this SUPER tech-related post to my dear friend Brad. He’s knowledgeable about all things computer and there has been more than one occasion that I’ve called Brad frantically because the spinning rainbow wheel of death won’t leave my screen. ANYWAY…here’s his 2012 techie guest post! Show him some love y’all. 

    2012 is upon us and the new year is the best time to resolve to get all of the technology around you in order. Technology surrounds our lives and we continue to interact with it more and more so there’s no better time to get better at it. I should back up quickly and tell you a bit about myself…I am a self professing Apple and computer nerd. The most important people in my life pretty much go: Jesus Christ, Steve Jobs, and everyone else—this makes me the person who often gets the 1am text or phone call that a hard drive has crashed, a phone isn’t syncing or just that their computer is running sluggishly. The things below are a good start to making sure this year your software, phone, email, Macs or PCs, GPS, etc. work great all year long.


    1. Run Your Updates

    I cannot tell you how many times I have taken a look at someone’s Mac or PC that isn’t running quite right and noticed they have tons of Software Updates that are waiting to be installed. Whether it’s a Mac or PC, those updates can be very important security patches, bug fixes, and even new features. If things are sluggish when you surf the internet, you might double check if you have the latest version of your browser. Google Chrome updates automatically, but browsers like Safari and Firefox have recently pushed updates—and if you are still using Internet Explorer, I don’t know what to tell you. #itstimetoupgrade Don’t forget about your GPSs, phone updates, and other non-Apple or non-Windows apps that need to be updated frequently like Skype, Adobe apps like Photoshop or Illustrator, and even Microsoft Office.

    On a Mac just look for “Software Update” and on a PC you’re looking for “Windows Update”. Turning on Automatic downloading for updates is usually a good idea if you think you’ll forget to update.

    (Note: Brad slated a photo of something computer related, but I couldn’t resist a Juvenile “Back That Thang Up” reference. Apologies Brad.)

    2. Backup Everything

    Please, please please, please, PLEASE! let this be the year you start backing up if you already don’t. That hard drive sitting inside of your computer that was made in some random factory somewhere is NOT going to work forever. Just realize: IT COULD FAIL TOMORROW. Or today. You never know. One time I had an external hard drive fail on me and then my computer’s hard drive fail on me, in the time span of 48 hours. No warning, just out of the blue, boom, I have no data. Now, I am a backup ninja. I have so many backups it would be hard to lose something—and don’t just think you have to guard against a failing hard drive. Having your computer stolen or a fire can be so much more devastating. Data storage is at the cheapest rates they have EVER been at…EVER. There is no reason that you shouldn’t back up your data. Your computer is going to fail at some point, just make sure you’ve got everything somewhere safe.

    Mac users can use tools like Time Machine (update this daily!) or Carbon Copy Cloner, and PC users have: Also, cloud storage paces like Dropbox, Box, Carbonite or Mozy have great solutions for keeping you backed up via the Cloud.

    http://mozy.com/

    https://www.dropbox.com/

    http://www.carbonite.com/en/

    (Again, something technology related got replaced by a boy band. Eeesh, sorry again Brad)
    3. Sync Everything

    I saw a stat a few month back stating that somewhere around 50% of people who come into the Apple Store with a problem on their iPhone have never backed their phone up. Once your’e at the store with an issue, you’re going to run the risk of losing music, pictures, contacts, text messages, etc, simply because you haven’t synced in sometime. Plugin your phone, make sure the software is updated for all of your apps, and the operating system, and keep it plugged in until everything is completely synced.

    4. Embrace the Cloud

    Whether it’s iCloud, Evernote, Dropbox, or the new Windows Live services Microsoft keeps rolling out—the Cloud is here to stay. The Cloud is basically a big hard drive in the sky that’s your’s whenever you’re connected to the internet. If you’ve got thousands of little notes, journals, grocery lists, etc sitting in your Documents folder, consider moving things over to Evernote so you’ll always have the most current copy whether it’s on your phone, computer or on the web. There are lots of ways that apps on the phone, computer, and web apps are coming together and now is the best time to embrace that fact. Do you need to have 82gb of music in your iTunes or do you think you might be okay using Spotify? If you’re looking for new apps, check out if that app syncs their content to the cloud so that you’ll never need to think about if or if it’s not backed up.

    https://www.icloud.com/

    http://www.spotify.com/

    http://www.evernote.com/


     5. Inbox Zero

    If you’re one of those people who have 674 unread emails in your Gmail (or God forbid Hotmail), it’s time to fix that immediately. Select all of them and archive them, then start from zero. If there is anything in there that you really need, it will be there for you, it’s not gone, just archived. Also, take this as a time to unsubscribe from all the email lists that you shouldn’t be signed up for. Lastly, don’t use your email inbox as a todo list, download a legit task manager app and put it to good use. (Doing this alone just might save you an ulcer in 2012)

     http://inboxzero.com/

    http://www.davidco.com/


     6. Know about SOPA/Protect IP

    If you use the internet, you need to know how the government is trying to legislate it. Our government is looking into passing legislation that would dramatically change the outlook of how the internet is used and give Hollywood and the Record Industry the ability to sue websites they don’t like. The bill is going to be debated heavily in the first quarter of 2012, and you still have time to tell your congressperson how you feel about the bill. There are resources below to better inform you about what changes they are trying to make.

    http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa/

    http://www.theverge.com/2011/12/22/2648219/stop-online-piracy-act-sopa-what-is-it
     


  4. Be Better at…The Internet.

    Hey, welcome to 2012. It’ll probably be the same ol’ shit as 2011, but let’s add one more layer of snark and hilarity to your life with some fun Twitter action.

    The Be Better Blog is getting all interactive on your ass this year, so I’ll need you to participate. Send me your photos and stories and if they’re funny…I’ll post them up on the @BEBETTERBLOG twitter. OR you can @ reply me and I’ll retweet. 

    Follow the adventure HERE.

    Happy 2012 folks. Cheers to being better and more importantly, laughing a lot. 

    Xo Chinae

     


  5. Be Better…at the Internet.

    Online Music Roundup:

    Most days I feel like my head is going to explode when it comes to music. Overwhelmed is an understatement and something that should be fun as shit has become a nightmare. I want to listen to new music, I don’t want to spend a million bajillion dollars on an album that I’ll end up hating, and I am lazy about hunting for music. Also, I’m the asshole who wants that shizz to sync right up to my best friend, iPhone without me having to digitally Macguyver my way into a rainy day playlist. 

    BUT as of this morning, I think I got myself sorted here people. For the rest of you, who feel a little overwhelmed by the world of iPanodifty…I’ve made a handy dandy guide to the best ways to get your music fix. 

    Spotify

    Pros: Spotify is by far my favorite of the bunch here. A music lover’s dream, Spotify offers a huge selection of music, that you can drag and drop right into fully customizable playlists. It’s free (to a point) and getting an invite is pretty easy. (If you need one, email me at bebetterblogger@gmail.com) Another sick feature of Spotify, and what sets it apart is the share feature. Basically you can make online “mixtapes” (playlists) and send them to other Spotify users for no cost. Feel free to share on FB, Twitter, or in the blogosphere with ease. Spotify offers free service, but it’s limited, so do yourself a favor and pay the 9.99 a month…think of it as Netflix for music. I promise, you won’t be disappointed and you can cancel anytime. The cherry on top is the offline mode feature. Basically (if you are a premium user), Spotify can become your iTunes, and you can even listen to your playlists when you aren’t getting cell reception…i.e. riding the subway just got WAY better. 

    Cons: The free version is limiting, unless you only listen to music at your desk and comes with some jarringly irritating ads. You also aren’t going to be able to listen for an unlimited amount of hours…so if I were you, I’d buck up and pay the 9.99 a month. Another limit of the free service, no offline listening, but you can still sync your playlists to the VERY easy to use mobile app. 

    You should use Spotify if you… are a music lover, are insatiable when it comes to new music, want to listen to full albums, and know what you want to listen to. It’s not great if you want to be fed playlists, or want to have music suggested to you OR if you are wanting to “own” your music, a la, iTunes.

    Pandora:

    Pros: Sometimes it’s nice to turn off your brain and let the computer think FOR you. Pandora’s been around for a while and most of you probably have already used it, and probably still continue to. Pandora makes music simple and pretty much effortless and if you aren’t into seeking out new music, and you want new music to find you, it’s perfect. Pandora also has a mobile app that works pretty seamlessly, just like their site. It’s also nice to have Pandora open in your web client rather than having to download an application on your computer.

    Cons: My main complaint about Pandora, is that if you are a picky music listener, like I tend to be, the Pandora algorithym can be VERY off…here’s how most of my Pandora experiences go:

    ::Enters Fleet Foxes into Pandora::

    (loading…loading…loading)

    1st song: “Oh perfect…Helplesness Blues…I love this song”

    2nd song: “Umm…Coldplay’s Fix You….I guess this song is ok”

    3rd song: “Higher by Creed!!!! WTF (commence furious hitting of the “skip song” button until no more free skips are allowed and headache ensues)

    ::Close Pandora tab::

    The point is, if you want to control what you are listening to, it’s not great. Also, I wonder how deep their library is because I ALWAYS end up listening to some god-forsaken Kings of Leon song for way too many times per session.

    You should use Pandora if you…don’t want to control your playlists, don’t want to search out new music, and if you are ok with ads. Theme stations tend to also be great on Pandora, hello Summer of the 90’s station.

    Grooveshark

    Pros: Free, make your own playlists, and easy to use. Pretty much the older, less agile Spotify that lacks some good features.

    Cons: No sharing playlists, and not as intuitive and robust. 

    You should use Grooveshark if you…somehow didn’t get a Spotify invite yet.

    Turntable.fm

    Pros: If you want chatroulette, IM chat, unlimited music, and a way to kill lots of time at the office, Turntable.fm is for you. The great thing about Turntable.fm is that you can share and create a musical environment with your friends, and sometimes strangers (if you want). I love that you can comment and chat about song choices, give people DJ points for a great song played, and also, give yourself a break from g-chat for a couple hours. They have a pretty deep selection of music and the chat works seamlessly within this web-based music client. Also, who doesn’t love their little avatars? ADORBZ.

    Cons: Not a music listening service for those who want to stand back and just put their music in the background. Also, choose your friends and DJ’s wisely…as it can go awry REAL quick. You are pretty much one bad song choice away from ruining your work vibe. 

    You should use Turntable.fm if you…want to waste copious amounts of time during the work day. And you want an interactive listening experience. 

    Cheers to navigating the information super highway musically together,

    Chinae