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27 September 2007, Thursday

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“I was in class one day when the professor asked what would constitute a “substantial step” toward the commission of statutory rape. He called on a fellow in the back, who said, without a missing a beat, ‘When I chill the wine glasses.'”

– Prof. Leipold

26 September 2007, Wednesday

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“It is Learned Hand’s tribute to liberty: ‘The barge must not be the bargee’s prison!’ It is up there with, ‘Give me liberty or give me death!’ To stare out on the glittering lights of Manhattan from the barge is so sad.”

– Prof. Meyer

Scary, scary. 24 September 2007, Monday

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So, in response to a poor confused student’s incoherent attempt to answer his question, Prof. Maggs says today,

“Here’s a helpful hint that many lawyers get hung up on. When you read something, keep reading until you get to the little dot at the end.”

Ouch!

Microsoft is dead. Long live… Microsoft? 21 September 2007, Friday

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Paul Graham writes a convincing essay regarding how Microsoft bungled their lead. He addresses the (admittedly well-known) influence of the ‘Net as well as other “emerging” technologies such as Ajax and… bum da bum… Mac OS X. I think that parts of it is old hat, parts are tripe or fanboism, but on the whole, I like where he went with it.

Microsoft’s biggest weakness is that they still don’t realize how much they suck.” This line sums up pretty much what I think is the point of the piece and really is the hubris that lay the giant low. For as much as they talk the talk about recognizing their mistakes and giving people what they want, between Vista and the new Office 2007, I see the opposite happening instead.

To be honest, there are two things worse than not doing any user research:

  1. Doing incorrect user research and concluding that it will be THE MESSIAHTM to give people either what they don’t want or need and not giving them what they do want or need.
  2. Screwing over your indie developers for apparently no reason at all.* (By the way, is it just me, or does this remind me of the PS3 fiasco? Another giant, if I may be so bold as to suggest…)

Rome, China, … Microsoft and the US?

Of course, to me, what the most interesting (and thought-provoking) aspect is, however, is when the reigning king**, Google, is going to go the same way as Microsoft.

Scary thing is, JP suggests that it may already have started.***

I’m inclined to agree.

It seems that while some things seem to have inexorable progress and growth, sort of like a “boom gene“, there’s always a terminus; it’s just that at any given particular point in time, we don’t have, as a collective, the perspective to anticipate, or, sadly, predict its boundary conditions or driving and retarding motivators with any regularity (Moore’s Law, anyone?).

I wonder whether the sort of theoretical acceleration that we gained with the rapid information dissemination of today’s information society works in a way to also speed up boom-and-bust trends. (Again, viz. China and Rome vs. the US in terms of the “evil-will-eventually-eat-itself” philosophy.)

Of course, that’s assuming that by ‘information‘ we mean ‘communication‘…

* You have to admit that the functionality to view the size of a folder in a list view is… um… useful, to say the least. You must then admit that Apple’s OS has been able to do this since 1996 if not earlier, and that while there was a third-party hack to enable the functionality in XP, the mind-blowing stupidity of removing such an API in Vista is incomprehensibly boneheaded.

** As an exercise to the reader, may I present another reigning king, Exhibit A: Adobe. ‘Nuff said.

*** The thought that the “company that does no evil” should succumb to the perpetual consequence of being evil seems like an impossibility, but it does make one contemplate the meaning of “evil”.

M1’s sifu gives us wisdom. 20 September 2007, Thursday

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The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

*nod*

Funny stuff Thursday, 20 19 September 2007, Wednesday

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“I went to Grenades-R-Us to buy these hand grenades, and they TOLD me that they register your grenades for you!”

“Two days out of every 100, there’s rat droppings in my Captain Crunch in the morning. Hey… I didn’t know they added blueberries to my cereal. ”

“If Mr. Park gets the premium plan and bring in the five guys with clubs, he has to pass on the cost. My Captain Crunch is going to cost $9 a box and I won’t be eating Captain Crunch. Instead, I’ve got Private Crunch which is full of extra…. blueberries.”

– Prof. Leipold

Followup on the Scrapyard 18 September 2007, Tuesday

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So, curiously, USPS Insurance carries tracking information.

The caveat is that it can only be checked at the post office.

It’s also odd, because delivery confirmation (which you pay additional for) doesn’t have this… useful information.

Anyhow!

The story is that the Scrapper 6 got stuck, two days into transit, in the Jersey City Bulk Mail Sort facility. The scan data shows that between the 8th and the 10th, it’s been scanned five times at the… Jersey City Bulk Mail Sort facility.

Fascinating…

“Hay George, what’s this box doing here?”
“I dunno. What’s it say on it?”
“Priority Mail.”
“Ok, put it in the bulk sort section. Where’s it going?”
“New York.”
“Oh, so send it to Jersey City!”

Later, in Jersey City…

“This address doesn’t exist in Jersey City, Bob.”
“I know, that’s why it says Bronx, NY on it. Put her on the shelf over there and let’s go get another drink!”
“Yipee!!”

*puke*

Goddamn US Postal Service… 16 September 2007, Sunday

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So to add insult to injury, I sent a Scrapyard Scrapper 6 to a fellow in the Bronx on the 5th via Priority Mail.

It still hasn’t arrived.

And of course, this is the first one that I failed to add a delivery confirmation service to, even though I bought insurance.

Why didn’t I get delivery confirmation?

BECAUSE THEIR FUCKING KIOSK HAS A FUCKED UP PROCESS FLOW AND DOESN’T LET YOU ADD DC AND INSURANCE AT THE SAME TIME.

Someone deserves to be fired for their ridiculous interface design. It only has one exception flow for adding additional services. If you buy insurance, you can’t buy delivery confirmation. If you buy delivery confirmation, you can’t buy insurance.

Of course, the business process doesn’t preclude this — you can get both if you get your stamp online or at the walk-up desk… just not at the little kiosk.

What does this mean?

I’m not going to get reimbursed, even though the USPS lost it, since I “can’t prove it”.

Fucking dipshits.

Anyhow, if you see a Scrapper 6 with a Penetrator tip ground into the front, it’s probably stolen. I put the tip in custom, and I don’t think anyone else has done it like that.

US Postal Service… meh 15 September 2007, Saturday

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So, when I lived in California and Maryland, I relied almost exclusively on the US Postal Service for my Mailing and Shipping NeedsTM. They were fast, reliable, and courteous. Oh, did I mention timely, dependable, and… fast?

Oh, and those Needs were Quite Rigorous Indeed. I could wallpaper a house (two storey, with an unfinished basement, wink wink nudge nudge) with those silly delivery tracking slips they gave me.

Problem is, now that I’ve moved to what is apparently the Great Wasteland and God-Forsaken Boondock of All Boondocks in the Beautiful But Abandoned Heartland of America Where There Exists Only One Goddamn Postal Sorting Person and He Apparently Has Only One Leg and One Hand, Upon Which Two Fingers Were Shot Off In The First World War, the postal service has gone to All Types of Unimpeachably Righteous Shite.

In a handbasket.

With pink ribbon, natch.

Let me present for the prosecutor’s exhibit:

  • Today I received a letter sent First Class from Maryland to Champaign. Nine (9) days in transit.
  • Last week it was a small padded envelope sent First Class from New York to Champaign. Seven (7) days in transit.
  • The best, of course, was the box sent Priority Mail (“Usually 2-3 days!”) from Maryland to Champaign? Twenty-three (23) days in transit. HELLO!! THERE’S A DASH!! TWO TO THREE DAYS, NOT TWENTY THREE…sigh. Nevermind… His hearing aid’s fallen out again, mum.

This is about as bad as UPS. Hell, when I was on either coast, First Class from the other coast (“Yes, Ma’am, clear across the motherfucking U.S. of A! And you’re gonna LIKE it! Hooah!”) took 4-5 days.

My goodness.

Where am I, Toto? Fucking Antarctica?

If so, I’m going to sue.

I want my penguins, Daddy!

“Look, it even says Intoxo-pills on it!” 14 September 2007, Friday

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“Here it comes! The assault on my house I’ve been anticipating all these years… IT’S G-DAY! AUUGHHH!!”

“Most people wouldn’t have such an apprehension of a puppy dog, but OHHH, I have such a fear of puppy dogs!”

– Prof. Meyer