Lots of crap like this abounds on C&L this week…
Whatever happened to being happy for your countryman, regardless of whether or not you agree with what he’s saying?
Recently, the minikitchens near where I sit have been stocking Kettle Chips. I have a huge distaste for Kettle Chips, so intense that I typically avoid them unless I am starving. Here is why:
Kettle Chips in my mind represent part of what is wrong with Snack Foods in America.
They are without a doubt among the worst chips I have ever eaten.
It used to be that there was no flavor or kind of chips I didn’t find appealing. That was until Krispa launched their Garlic and Parsley flavor in the mid 90s. It’s gone downhill from there, but (as any of you who’ve read my chip-rants in the past know) typically the New Zealand chips outstrip the American ones.
What’s wrong with Kettle Chips?
Firstly, their innovation is wrong-headed. I will hand it to Kettle, they innovate regularly with their large variety of flavors (the lack of flavor variation or experimentation among the mainstream brands is one of the biggest complaints I have with American chips), however the flavors they come up with are frequently just weird or nasty. Consider Cheddar Beer. Even the Spicy Thai isn’t that great. Island Jerk is pretty awful too.
Something’s up with their potatoes and oil too, because the chips frequently taste odd or crappy.
But I think the biggest issue I have with Kettle is that they (and their adherents) actually think that they’re making higher quality chips than Frito Lay, when in fact this could not be farther from the truth. From what I can tell, the folk at Kettle have either never heard of Quality Assurance, or simply don’t believe in it. Fairly often, most (but always some) of the chips in the bag are horribly burned. See photo:
There was a time when Bluebird would ship a few of these gems in their bags too, I remember it was back in the early-mid 80s, before they developedquality control and began throwing away the burned ones before they were packaged. I don’t know how the folk at Kettle Chips seriously believe that they’re making a good product this way.
These chips look bad, feel bad (they’re extra greasy) and taste bad.
But that would be OK, because typically market forces would conspire to limit such a product’s success and ultimately the company would adapt or die, right?
No, in fact people here seem to enjoy these burnt offerings… and the company advertises proudly how they take extra steps to ensure their products taste like crap - no MSG for instance (part of this irrational fear America has with the substance - it’s used extensively everywhere else and no one seems to mind). People seem to think that the low quality, burned chips actually are a sign of a better or higher class product!
I have had this debate with people who like Kettle Chips before and there’s no reasoning with them. The best test is to actually give them samples of chips from abroad. Typically once trying them, it’s hard for anyone to admit that Kettle (or in fact very many brands available on the West Coast of the US) are better.
Yes I know New Zealand has some weird flavors - Smoked Salmon and Capers or Lamb and Mint come to mind, but it’s easy to tell that that’s going to be nasty and avoid them. And New Zealand does not have a monopoly on good tasting and decent quality chips - see the delicious Bacon and All Dressed varieties in Canada from companies like Old Dutch, the delicious Cheese & Onion from Tayto in Ireland, or Paprika from (of all people) Lay’s in The Netherlands.
I sometimes wonder if the situation here will ever change - the problem is once a particular flavor gets lodged in the American consciousness it’s hard to dislodge, I think people become dependent on the sickening sweetness or chemical flavor undercurrents in much of the processed food available here, and companies then become terrified or uninterested in changing them because the markets are so large.
But really, this is the business of boutique companies - companies like Kettle, which is why I guess I’m so disappointed in their offerings.
Following the recent news that the Mozilla Corporation will be creating a separate for-profit subsidiary for the development of Thunderbird comes Scott MacGregor’s resignation from the Mozilla Corporation and his announcement that he will pursue his own path instead of joining the new MailCo.
Scott and David Bienvenu have been key shepherds of the Netscape/Mozilla Mail/News codebase for the better part of a decade. They were on the team that built the mail client in the early Mozilla builds, and founded the Thunderbird project when it became clear that building separate apps for different Communicator components was the way of the future. Over the years, many people have contributed to the Mail code, but Scott and David remain inextricably linked with it.
When I moved to the United States in 2003 to continue work at Netscape, I got to know Scott better and when I started working on Firefox we collaborated on many pieces of shared infrastructure, like the installer, the download manager and the extension system. I will always remember sitting next to him at the old Mozilla Foundation offices as we hacked our way towards our respective 1.0s.
In the world of open source, where brashness and ego are commonplace, it’s rare to find a real gentleman, but that’s Scott.
Best of luck for the future in any endeavor you pursue.
David Bienvenu, the other Thunderbird developer, has also announced his intention to leave the Mozilla Corporation. Like Scott, he will not be joining MailCo.
I guess this is what things like Twitter are for, but I’m not into all the latest web2.0 guff, so…
Visual Studio is a piece of crap. I am handling weird patch application fallout:
Not only does it get slower and slower for each g-d’ed file, at the end of it when I do Ctrl+O to open another file, the whole thing locks up and after 5 minutes of hang I kill it.
I will install Orcas later today to see if it’s any better as the commenter on my previous post suggested it might.