The "little black book" taken to a whole new level

Content advisory: this entry is about software that’s billed as “100% Free Sex-Trick Management Software For Gay Men” and is pretty raunchy. There are no explicit photos, but the screenshots of the application contain hardcore sexual terms.

It was a cliched device in situation comedies of the seventies: the “little black book”, an address book containing the names and phone numbers of women with a rating, often expressed as a number of stars, beside each name (“Karen? She gets four stars, fer sure”). The little black book that sticks out most in my memory is the one belonging to Larry Dallas, Jack Tripper’s best friend from Three’s Company.

(Like many popular American television offerings, Three’s Company is an Americanized version of a British television show, Man About the House. My favourite Three’s Company episode is where they make a pointless fuss over a misunderstood double-entendre.)

Now that we’re living in the age of incredibly affordable computing power and the Internet, someone has decided that it’s time for the little black book to enter the 21st century. To that end, he has written iTrick, which he bills as “100% Free Sex-Trick Management Software For Gay Men”. It’s written in Java, so it’ll run under Windows, Mac OS X and GNU/Linux.

According to its features list, it tracks:

  • Who he is.
  • What he looks like (stats, pictures, website, etc.).
  • What you two did (in lurid detail, no less), and how good the sex was.
  • How to get in touch with him.
  • If he’s a flake/fake and wasted your time.

iTrick, being a database-based application, can create a number of reports for you:

  • A “Top 10” report that ranks your tricks (“so you always know who’s the best cocksucker, etc.”)
  • What’s the average age of your trick? Cock size?
  • On average, how many times per week do you hookup?
  • How often do you play safe?
  • How often do you fuck, suck, kiss, swallow, etc.?

Of course, all this is possible using conventional paper-and-pen methods. iTrick, being social software, apparently networks with other iTrick users so you can search the iTrick community to check that the guy you met online is really who he says he is. You can also speed up the pickup process by using the feature that gathers “your stats, contact information, and as many pictures as you like in a single file that you can e-mail to other iTrick users.”

Ironically enough, iTrick has some privacy protection features as well. You can set it up so that it can only be run if you enter a password first, and its database is encrypted.

I’m going to leave the more philosophical points of iTrick for discussion in the comments. Feel free to chime in. In case you can’t think of anywhere to begin, may I suggest:

  • How come the only way you can rate someone as a person is “flake/not a flake”?
  • Ratings on a scale of 1 to 10 are always tricky. What is that little difference that determines whether someone’s ass is a 7 or 8?
  • There a field into which you enter the duration of your encounter. Who the hell times sexual encounters?
  • What kind of life are you leading that you need a database to keep track of sexual encounters?

What I may comment on at length in my other blog (The Happiest Geek on Earth) is the user interface design. Frankly, it’s a complete mess, and as a guy who makes a living doing user interface programming (and even user interface makeovers), I must speak out. Take a look at these screenshots (these are for the Mac version)…

(The term “screenshots”, when used in a discussion of iTrick, takes on whole new double-entendre-powered dimensions.)

Photo: Screenshot from iTrick's 'Edit Hookup' window.

The “Edit Hookup” window. Here’s where you rate the encounter, which in this case is a bathroom redezvous in San Francisco’s Castro district. If this encounter took place in a Microsoft iLoo, you could probably make your entry as it happened!

The problem with iTrick’s user interface is that it’s just a bunch of information thrown together without any sense of organization. In the Edit Hookup window above, the name of the person with whom you hooked up is displayed only in the title bar of the window, which is normally ignored by users. It would help if the window were more cleanly divided into sections with the most quickly scannable information placed first: perhaps date and place first, followed by ratings, then safety, then comments.

Photo: Screenshot from iTrick's 'Edit Trick' window.

The “Edit Trick” window. Here’s where you rate the guy, who in this case is Bathroom Boy from the encounter documented in the window above.

Once again, in the Edit Trick window, Although this window seems to show a little more organization, there are too many controls thrown at you all at once.

Photo: Screenshot from iTrick's 'Search Community' window.

The “Search Community” window. Here’s where the social software aspect kicks in.

This is probably the best-designed window in the application. I’d probably separate this into two windows, however: one where you entered your trick’s screen name and email address, and one where the search results are displayed.

If iTrick sounds like software that could be part of your digital lifestyle, you can download it from the iTrick site.


If you meet the Buddha on the road and he asks you a smart-assed question, ask a smarter assed-one back

If I ever become even half as clever as the student in this comic, I will die a happy man.


Even the kilogram has gone on Atkins

Well, not really. But scientists do have a “weighty” problem: the standard for the kilogram is getting lighter.

(Yes, I know the kilogram is a measure of mass, not weight. I’m making a funny here.)


More Kickass Karaoke stuff

Here at The Adventures of AccordionGuy in the 21st Century, we strive for factual accuracy, and we run our corrections on the front page. Not like other sources of news, who have outright liars on their staff.

And now, the facts (you might want to see the Kickass Karaoke story in this entry first):

  • I got my numbers wrong. There were 180 karaoke discs stolen from Kickass Karaoke host Carson T. Foster, not CDN$1800 worth. Their value is closer to CDN$5000. A hefty chunk of change.
  • More on Flyerman. Although I didn’t get a picture of him, there are photos of him at a site for a company that makes light-up clothing. Flyerman even has a film about him.
  • Getting our Star Trek science right. After Flyerman entered the room and danced to my rendition of Nine Inch Nails’ Head Like a Hole, Meryle (who often holds the mic to the accordion during my numbers) said that having me and Flyerman in the same room might open some kind of vortex. Carson then remarked that “all we need now is Jaymz Bee“, not Digeridoo Guy. He mentioned Digeridoo Guy after Michael J and I did the trumpet-and-accordion treatment of Istanbul (Not Constantinople). I still think with all these ridiculous pseudonyms, we could start a second-rate superhero team a la Mystery Men.
  • Meryle has more. Surely you’d like to read someone else’s perspective on Kickass Karaoke, and I’ll let her tell you the story of me, her, and Mortimer the Molesting Hand. “Let’s make biscuits! Let’s make biscuits!

Coming up tomorrow: the Canadian Idol story

Yup, I spent a couple of hours this afternoon, giving my friend Liz moral support as she waited in the corral of hopefuls auditioning for Canadian Idol, the Canadian version of American Idol, which in turn is an Americanized Pop Idol.

Yes, I brought the accordion, and yes, hilarity ensued.


More on TV, movies and life

(You might want to read the previous entry first.)

Truth be told, I’m not some kind of anti-TV snob. I will drop a Simpsons quote or Star Trek reference at the drop of a hat; I am, after all a pop culture aficionado. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have bothered to dress up for The Matrix: Reloaded.

(I draw the line at dressing up for Lord of the Rings or any of the Harry Potter movies. However, I know a supreme Harry Potter nerd who wears a Gryffindor scarf.)

I’d love to catch more episodes of 24 — I believe the first season is available on DVD. I caught up with my Sex and the City viewing — people gave me the first two seasons on DVD for my birthday. I have to get around to catching all those Sopranos episodes I missed. I have two strategies for watching TV that allow me to lead a bloggable, gooftastic existence and still stay reasonable up-to-date on plotlines:

  • Doing it at the gym. My gym’s got a very nice room full of tradmills, stairclimbers, stationary bikes and cross-country skiing machines, each equipped with a multi-channel headphone jack that allows you to get the audio feed from several sources: the six TVs in the room, or from a bank of CD players, FM tuners and tape decks. I managed to catch of couple of episodes of 24 this way.
  • Time-shifting. I usually catch Enterprise episodes and The Daily Show by programming my VCR to record them and watching them over breakfast. I’d rather this were a little more automatic, but until TiVo service comes to Canada, I have to remember to plop new tapes into the machine.

As for movies, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi that makes it feel less like a passive experience. Maybe it’s because it’s still an outing, or perhaps it’s that there’s still a social aspect to it. I’m trying to see a few more movies, and yes, especially films (film aficionados will tell you that there’s a difference between the two).

Books, in my opinion, are a different beastie entirely. I will always set some time aside for a good book. Maybe the McLuhanesque distinction of books as a “hot” medium may be a little silly or New Age-y sounding, but I think he has a point; you do have to do a little more work when reading, even if it’s extremely light fare such as the Captain Underpants series (which I highly recommend). I also notice that I’ve done more reading since starting the blog; perhaps it’s that reading leads to writing, which in turn leads to more reading.

That being said, you might want to re-consider your options if the highlight of your weekend is invariably making Saturday night a Blockbuster night. Maybe silly accordion-powered mayhem isn’t your scene, but life’s too short to always spend in front of some screen whose primary purpose is to convince you to buy more stuff. Go for a walk, a bike ride or a swim. Help your mom bake a cake or clean the garage. Whittle wood, stone or even soap. Join a gym or a sports team. Kick someone’s ass in the first-person shooter of your choice, chess, Trivial Pursit or Jenga. Go dancing. Hit the library. Hang out at a cafe or patio with friends. Explore the streets or the woods. Play darts, shoot a bow or take a BB gun and shoot cans off a fence.

Just do something.


Buffy overload

Not me, but Aaron Swartz: in an attempt to get caught up with the cult hit TV shows created by Joss Whedon — Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly — Aaron watched all the episodes, managing to do so between February and last week.

Simply put, he’s probably watched about as much television in three months as I’ve watched in three years.

(Aaron can be forgiven: being one of the people behind Creative Commons, a good programmer, a well-linked-to blogger and someone who gets invited to stuff by Lawrence Lessig, he’s probably the most influential teenage guy who is not in a boy band. Yet.)

That’s one of the side-effects of the accordion, blogging and coding — life’s gotten so kooky that my need for TV and movies dropped dramatically. I’ve got to get around to seeing 24 and Alias on TV, I go to Blockbuster more for late-night Diet Coke than for movies and the last time I made any kind of effort to watch MuchMusic was to catch the segment of Much On Demand on which I appeared and played accordion. This was especially so in the first couple of years of the accordion — I managed to miss Titanic and I may be the only person I personally know who’s never seen There’s Something About Mary.

After all, why watch other people live when you can do it yourself?