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Ugh, stop twitching
worse than chance
rants Posted 2005-06-17 22:49:03 by Jim Crawford
There are three elevators in the office building in which I work, and they serve four floors. Extrapolating from their behavior, I'm guessing the intelligence of the elevator controller isn't a big factor in the elevator market.

These elevators are used extremely rarely, during the hours I make use of them, perhaps once every 10 minutes. Given this, and given three elevators for four floors, you would expect that three out of four times, by design if not by chance, there would be instant response to a call button. In their current implementation, there's always at least a 10 second wait. Every time. Even if the elevator doors just closed with noone in the elevator.

If they wanted to really improve performance, they could try correlating time of day with what floors people call the elevator from. Even a hardcoded “try to keep an elevator at the ground floor in the morning” and “try to keep elevators on floors 2 through 4 in the evening” would likely be a substantial improvement over chance, which in turn would be a substantial improvement over the current implementation.

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rants Posted 2003-11-06 16:56:50 by Jim Crawford
When I unplug my Oxygen8 and Windows bitches at me about a device being unplugged: mildly irritating.

When I plug it back in, and Windows requires me to dig through my stuff, find the driver disk, reinstall the drivers, and reboot the system: absolutely infuriating.

Was it so pissed when I failed to use the “Please, Windows, may I unplug my device?” icon it put in the systray that it uninstalled the drivers? Or did it just think I needed the extra 103 kilobytes that badly? What kind of moron does it take to design a system like this?

Also: if you put your documents in the “My Documents” folder, you're implicitly agreeing that Microsoft owns the rest of your computer. Just thought you'd like to know.

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experts; atari 2600 display hardware
rants Posted 2003-02-28 16:03:49 by Jim Crawford
I've been reading recently, and it's actually pretty interesting. It never fails to amaze me that just about all fields of human endeavor, even those you usually don't think about, have become deep enough to produce and require experts.

Thinking about that, I wondered whether cooking experts get indignant and write huffy writeups when cooking is depicted obviously incorrectly in film or television. The idea struck me as funny, which made me feel a little bit guilty, because it's really no more nerdly than, for instance, me getting irritated at this page of fake Atari 2600 games because the fake screenshots are far too complex for the real Atari 2600 hardware to display.

In fact, it's probably a lot less nerdly.

But come on, people! If you're gonna make a joke screenshot of a fake Atari 2600 game, at least do the research to find out whether the hardware can even display what you have in mind!

Now, okay, this guy isn't completely hopeless. Look at Peabo Bryson's Cow Tipper. He obviously put some work into it. He even put in the little black lines that appear on the left side of the screen when you hit the hmove register.

But he scattered them all over the place at random! It's like the guy wanted to draw some human faces, noticed that human faces occasionally featured crow's feet, and pasted some crow's feet all over the cheeks and forehead.

Look, friend. I like you. I'll make it easy for you. You don't have to bother to go anywhere to do the research. I'll give you quick rundown right here. Next time, you have no excuse!

. . .

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i didn't say it, he said it
rants Posted 2003-01-24 15:41:15 by Jim Crawford
Perhaps my favorite scene in Signs is the one in which Morgan reads, from a book found in the “non-fiction” aisle, that aliens advanced enough to travel through space to meet us are likely to be vegetarian because they would see the benefits of such a diet.

That's a particularly clever jab (I hope) at a phenomenon that's been ticking me off a lot lately.

. . .

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rants Posted 2003-01-15 15:58:34 by Jim Crawford
What is it with people who, right about the time they turn 50, suddenly decide to start dying their hair grey? Do they think it makes them look distinguished, maybe? Well, yeah, it does. But I honestly don't think it's an overall profit! And the slight blue tint some of them use is even less explicable.

If these people came to me for fashion advice, I'd advise them to stick to natural hair colors. There, I said it.

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is it or isn't it
rants Posted 2002-11-03 11:09:46 by Jim Crawford
Whilst browsing MobyGames for purposes of researching a detail in my piece on how Super Monkey Ball 2 Sucks, I noticed this:
“From time to time I hear people talk about how barely-interactive slideshow adventures don't really qualify as games. (For example, Myst and the series of clones that followed.) To them, I say this: If you sat down, watched it, made at least one decision that influenced the experience, and was entertained, then guess what? It's a game.” --Jim Leonard

He's wrong.

. . .

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perl 6 mugslinging
rants Posted 2002-08-23 09:03:58 by Jim Crawford
Perl 6 is looking good. I like the // operator, and if the new array operators are optimized, perl may suddenly become useful for serious number crunching operations, like audio DSP. I'd like to start using it.

But... and there's always a but, isn't there? When was the last time I posted an item here just to say I liked something?

The following body of text , which I wrote, and am having trouble describing the link to, contains a Larry Wall quote describing his inspiration to create Perl 6, and why said inspiration was dumb. No, the quote has nothing to do with God.

. . .

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typesetting pet peeves
rants Posted 2002-07-17 02:16:40 by Jim Crawford
Image of a "fl" taking up one character in a monospaced font.

Here's my latest complaint. I've been reading books lately, and on the whole, I have to recommend them... but look... look at what I have to put up with. Ligatures in monospaced fonts. What's next, you punks? Kerning? This is not just a crime against humanity, it's ugly.

It's hard to tell in this image, because you can't see the line edges in this scan, but note that this text is also justified. Which admittedly is not ugly, just stupid.

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consumer report: opera now sucks
rants Posted 2002-07-07 09:46:27 by Jim Crawford
Here's why.

. . .

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we give you the numbers. use the numbers!
rants Posted 2001-11-29 01:45:00 by Jim Crawford
I've just received exceptional service from a seller. I'd like to reward this seller by giving him a high rating. Unfortunately, due to overenthusiastic morons, 5 is considered average on a scale of 1 to 5. Foiled by morons again.
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