Posts tagged "rants"

Disturbed

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The streets around our house are often really noisy in the hours around midnight at weekends. We live directly opposite a pub, and people tend to pile out -- drunk and belligerent -- to bellow at their friends or enemies^1^ for hours on end. If it's not drunkards disturbing the peace, it's youngsters on mopeds opening the throttle right up and letting the street hear all 50 cc of raw, wasp-in-a-bottle power squeezed out by their irritating machines. Continue reading →

Assisted opening

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Shop doors usually come in three basic flavours when it comes to opening them. You have your basic manually-operated doors, which can be difficult for people with physical disabilities, especially if the doors are large and heavy. Then you have fully-automatic doors, which usually slide or swing open when you trigger an infra-red proximity sensor or pressure pad, or press a button. More rarely, you come across a hybrid door which can be opened manually, but which also offers automatic opening via a button. Continue reading →

The sad story of Mailbox

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Back when I lived in Oxford, I used Mailbox as my broadband provider. They weren't the cheapest around, but they were really reliable, and had the best customer support I've ever come across. It seems incredible (not to mention quaint) to say so now, but when you phoned them for support, a real human would answer the phone immediately. No pressing 4 divided by the number you first thought of to report a fault, or being robotically reassured ad infinitum that my business was very important to them. Continue reading →

Wi-fi madness

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I caught the end of a really dreadful Panorama programme on the supposed 'dangers of Wi-Fi' yesterday, and was glad that I hadn't seen the rest, because I might have put my own health in danger by lobbing a heavy object through the screen of my TV. After a bit of calmer reflection later on, I wondered if I'd got an unbalanced view of the show by only watching the end. Continue reading →

Schadenfreude bites back

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Sometimes it's better not to think unworthy thoughts. As I was leaving work today and loading my bike up, I heard the tell-tale bing-bong-bing announcement tone from the University station, which always presages cancellations, delays and other associated rail-commuting hell. "Haha, Suckerz!!" I thought. "I'm about to breeze home on the bike, no delays." That was my first mistake. It was raining hard, but of the cyclist's nemeses, rain is the weakest. Continue reading →

More

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More. I'm beginning to think that 'more' might be the most insidious word in the English language. More beautiful. 50% more! Do more. Earn more. Buy more. Be more. More than ever before! More minutes, more texts. More speed. More channels. More bandwidth. More downloads. More time. More money. Get more. Get more. Get more. What's wrong with 'enough'? Why do we have to be accelerating, accumulating? Why can't we stand still, or even stop? Continue reading →

Apple battery recall

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I haven't been having a lot of luck with stuff recently. My car packed up (in a potentially expensive way^1^), and yesterday I discovered that the battery in my PowerBook is one of the ones Apple is recalling. Brilliant. I've filled in the form to get a replacement, so now I just have to wait 4-6 weeks for it to show up. In the meantime, I'm advised to remove the old battery and power the PowerBook from the mains. Continue reading →

Design flaws

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There are few things more irritating than everyday objects that are badly designed. In our building at work, we have stainless steel sinks in the toilets, which are circular in outline, and more or less hemispherical in shape. They look lovely but are hugely irritating to use. You know what happens when you turn on the tap in your kitchen sink without realising that there's a upturned teaspoon in the bottom of the sink? Continue reading →

Moving House

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Our landlord wants to sell the house we're renting, so it looks like we're going to be moving again before long. It's not totally unexpected, but my heart still sinks at the prospect of going through the whole house-hunting thing again. This time, we're tentatively looking in to the prospect of buying a house, mostly because we desperately want to put down some semi-permanent roots. Initial enquiries about mortgages have not been encouraging. Continue reading →

Plastic peril

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If you'll indulge me for a moment, I want to vent a little spleen over a particular kind of vicious plastic packaging. I'm sure you've also seen the type I mean; they are rigid, flat-ish boxes made of clear plastic, designed to allow you to see the goodies within, but also to allow the package to be hung on a metal rail or stood on a shelf. Several years ago, similar packaging tended to be designed in two distinct halves like a clam shell, which were held together by plastic 'blisters'. Continue reading →

Marginalizing pedestrians

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I'm afraid that this is going to be something of a rant. I get increasingly annoyed by the way in which we seem to be imitating the US in designing our urban spaces around cars, with little regard for people who might prefer to (or have to) walk. I know that some cities in the US are quite pedestrian-friendly, but others just assume that you have a car and use it for even the shortest of trips. Continue reading →

Democratic wrongs

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Well, for what it's worth, I've executed my democratic rights. I can't say that trying to find the least worst party (if you'll forgive my contorted syntax) feels very good. Mr. Bsag on the other hand didn't even get that opportunity. We submitted a form to get ourselves on the electoral register when we moved, but when my polling card had arrived and his hadn't, he called the Council. After a long delay, they got back to him and said that they did have a record of our application, but because of a 'clerical error' he hadn't been entered on the register. Continue reading →

Dental anguish

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I went to the dentist yesterday, and found out that — as I had feared — I will have to have my rogue upper-left wisdom tooth removed. I've already had both lower wisdom teeth out as I don't have enough room on my lower jaw for even the full adult set of teeth, but I was hoping that I might get away with the upper one. Being the kind of free-thinking, radical, out-there tooth that it is, this wisdom tooth seems to have decided that growing straight down is for squares, and that jutting out at a jaunty angle would be much more groovy. Continue reading →

Trial by Electrical Equipment Store

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After a long and productive life, my phone[1] died today. So I ventured forth to my local electrical shop (hint: rhymes with 'murrays') to buy a new one. Anyone who lives in the UK will know what an undertaking this is--especially on a Saturday morning. As we're a bit strapped for cash at the moment, I was looking for the cheapest cordless DECT phone I could find, that didn't look as if the buttons would fall off after one call. Continue reading →

Oooh, they REALLY don't want me

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As I'm now technically semi-employed after the end of my contract (it's a long story), I've been frantically applying for jobs. This morning, a University which shall remain nameless rejected my application. Just to rub salt into the wound--followed by a nice dash of vinegar--they sent me two identical rejection letters. Thanks a lot! I think I've got the message now.

Spam comments

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I've been somewhat plagued by a deluge of spam comments on the site recently, so I was very interested in this hack to delete a spam comment directly from the email notification. I agree with Erik though--a direct link to also rebuild the site and add the offending IP to the banned list would be just perfect. Does anyone have any clever strategies for dealing with this kind of thing? I check my email fairly frequently, but I find it irritating to have to immediately wade through several pages of options to get rid of some objectionable comment so that I'm not inadvertently promoting a p0rn site. Continue reading →

Equal opportunities

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Here's an interesting situation; a shop called Bravissimo is opening up in Oxford, selling lingerie for the larger-busted woman. They recently placed an advert in the appointments pages of the local paper for bra-fitters. Of course they couldn't specify that it was open to women only, because of equal opportunities legislation, but do you think that they would actually invite any male applicants for interview? Assuming that they would be worried about--how can I phrase it delicately--applicants getting an inappropriate level of satisfaction from the job, then they might also be worried about gay women applying. Continue reading →

Mis-targeted marketing

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I subscribe to MacUser magazine: a very fine publication for hopeless Mac fanatics everywhere. The last issue came bundled with another magazine called Jack, in a small, paperback sized format. "What's this?", I thought. I read the explanatory letter which was included: Dear subscriber, Along with your regular issue of MacUser, you'll find a copy of Jack. Why are we sending you a free magazine? Well, we'd really like to know what you think of it. Continue reading →

Stuffy offices

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Why is it that office buildings are so badly designed for ventilation? My office — in common with many, I'm sure — has been like a sauna for the past few days, with none of the benefits of being able to sit around semi-naked doing nothing. It's cold in winter, boiling and airless in summer, and even when it's bright and sunny outside, we need to have the lights on. Quite apart from the discomfort, it seems a terrible waste of resources. Continue reading →

Frustration

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I've had a frustrating weekend. For a couple of weeks my posts have been slightly sparser than usual because I've been distracted by trying to set up a new site for Mr. Bsag to sell his paintings from. This was supposed to be a fairly leisurely affair on my part, as there was no great deadline looming. However — as it has a habit of doing — fate intervened, and the other half got an exhibition of his work at a local alternative therapy clinic (which also has gallery space to soothe patients while they wait for their appointments). Continue reading →

Six steps

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[26th March 2003] I've noticed that in the toilets (or 'restrooms' in US English) of most restaurants in the States, there's a notice by the washbasins informing employees that they MUST wash their hands before they return to work. I find this both annoyingly patronising towards the employees and slightly unnerving for the customers. Starbucks reached a nadir though: their notice was accompanied by instructions for washing hands with no fewer than 6 steps -- accompanied by detailed diagrams. Continue reading →

Can't get no/dur dur dur/satisfaction

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Maciej comments on the "web of trust" in academia: We don't normally think about cultural norms in science, because it is supposed to be a dispassionate pursuit of knowledge. And after all, many famous scientists were also famous misanthropes. But just because the regular social rules don't apply to scientists doesn't mean they don't have their own set of norms, equally strong. Some of them are strong enough to be taboos. Continue reading →

Elementary, my dear Watson

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Well, I've been quite the detective today. I noticed, when having a periodic check of my site statistics, that my biggest referrer (by a long way) was a Navy Wives bulletin board - somewhat of a surprise, to say the least. I couldn't see any obvious links to my site on this page, but after a bit of digging in my recent visitors log, I found out what was happening. Continue reading →

Down with adverts!

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I've written before about the brain-melting tedium of adverts in the cinema. Now it looks as if the punters are starting to strike back. Film-goers in the States are suing chains of cinemas for damages for advertising a certain start time and then showing three or four minutes of adverts before the film itself. Good for them, I say, though I think that they are getting away lightly with only four minutes — it seems like we have to endure about 15 minutes when we venture to the Odeon cinema in Oxford. Continue reading →

Doh!

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You know how some women who get beaten-up by their partners claim that they have walked into a door? Well I actually do walk into doors. I managed to clout my arm on the door handle in our living room yesterday morning. It was early, I only had a few neurons firing, and they evidently hadn't got their act together yet. My brain failed to center my body on the door opening, with the inevitable result of a painful impact between arm and metal door handle. Continue reading →

Hustling for grants

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I've been trying to write grant and fellowship applications today — what a pain! Obviously, I'm trying to get money out of these people, so I don't want them hating me for naming names (though they are all much the same), but the application forms are driving me crazy. To give one example, they ask for aims and objectives — what's the difference, for crying out loud? Then, to cap it all, they ask you to outline the outcome of the project and publication plans. Continue reading →

‘Tis the season for the partwork

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Yes, it's that time of year again. The time to start collecting that new partwork on Understanding Your PC/Collecting Miniature Teapots/Worming Your Opossum. Who buys these things, and more importantly, why? You can buy a book with identical information in it, and pay about the same, so why wait every week for some pathetic little magazine thing? Do they need that sense of anticipation? Or can they only digest a certain number of words at a time before their brain becomes dangerously overloaded, and might explode? Continue reading →

Someone’s not having a good day

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I wasn't able to check my email all day today, so I was expecting to have quite an overflowing inbox when I got back. However, I hadn't bargained for the flood of mailing list posts I was going to receive. I hadn't bargained for it, because I hadn't signed up for it. It seems that someone called Jason T. Slack has bought a text editor, Pepper, from its original creator Maarten Hekkelman. Continue reading →