Tall Guy Racing - Dumb Stuff
Here you will find an account of some of the Dumb Stuff I encounter in my life. Note that this list is only the very small sub-set of the Dumb Stuff in my life that I can be bothered documenting.
Note: Please do not send me your examples of Dumb Stuff in your life. I have enough trouble dealing with my own and my inbox is only so big. Thanks.
Nutrition Express is an on-line / phone / mail order company that sells body building supplements and other health related nutrition products. I have made a few purchases from them and I am on their mailing list (deliberately). Recently, they sent me a free sample of EAS's 100% Whey Protein. I had, in fact, previously purchased this exact product from them (but in a different flavour). None the less, I was very grateful for the free sample.
The free sample contained a manufacture's voucher for $5 off the purchase of any product from the 100% Whey Protein range. The voucher must be surrendered when redeemed (the supplier needs to send it back to EAS to get a credit). But wait a minute - Nutrition Express is an on-line / phone / mail order only company. There is no retail store that you can go to and make a purchase. So if I want to redeem the voucher, I need to take it to a competitor (which I intend to do)1. Sending samples to customers that encourage them to go to a competitor isn't very smart, is it?
1 Yes, I probably could send the voucher in by snail-mail, but do you really think I can be bothered doing that?
Recently, Microsoft released their beta version of Windows Live. The website looks suspiciously like Google's Start page, but that's another story. When I looked at the web site with Firefox, it displayed more or less correctly. When I looked at it with Microsoft's own Internet Explorer there were some very annoying errors. See the screen shots and more details here.
While trying to put the Falcon onto a set of ramps, the Tall Guy managed this:
Squashed tool container.
Smashed indicator lens.
Nearly off the ramp.
While installing Apple's Quick Time, I got this message:
Yes or No to what?
First some stats. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in New Zealand and most developed countries. The number one contributing factor to heart disease is smoking. The number two is obesity. Unlike smoking, obesity is the caused by many things, but the most significant is the regular consumption of fast food. So in terms of the risk to one's health, the regular consumption of fast food is not as bad as smoking, it is in the same ball park. If we care about public health it is certainly a very significant problem. With that in mind, let's compare some aspects of the two:
|Children||Can't sell to under 18s.||No restrictions. Large fast food chains often specifically target children in their advertising.|
|Advertising||Pretty much can't do any advertising at all.||No specific restrictions.|
|Tax Rate||About 70%1 (2002)||12.5% (Standard G.S.T. rate).|
|Warning Labels||Must have large bold warning labels.||No requirements.|
|Contents Labels||Must list the amount of tar etc.||No requirements. Most of the time it is impossible to find out the contents of your fast food.|
|Public Education||Government spends about $28 million2 annually on anti-smoking programs.||Government spends nothing.|
... who decided at 7:15am on 9 November 2005 not to bother slowing down from about 50 - 60 kph when turning left from London Street into Barton Street. While Ford Lasers are great little cars, they aren't exactly high performance ones. The Laser could not handle the corner at that speed, so it started to go into an understeering slide. Now instead of backing off and letting the car regain some grip, this driver decided to keep his foot in it and turn harder into the corner. This resulted in a much bigger slide and he went well over the centre line. Thankfully, nothing was coming the other way. Eventually, the car did regain some grip. As the driver had turned in so hard, the car then lurched to the left and came very close to hitting a parked car before the driver was able to correct it. The next problem that the driver faced was that he had now caught up to another car that was travelling in the same direction as him, but much slower. He had to slam on the brakes, locking up all four wheels, to avoid rear-ending the other car.
While this display of stupidity and lack of car control was not very smart, it doesn't quite qualify as Dumb Stuff. What does, however, is that the other car that this guy nearly rear-ended was a marked police car.
Kui Reedy killed herself, her two-year old son and four other people in a car crash. She missed a corner on a 100km/h stretch of road and drove into a tree. Sadly, there is nothing overly unusual about that. What makes this Dumb Stuff is that:
What the hell else did she expect?
Information from the New Zealand Herald, 3 November 2005, Original article here.
"Greenpeace is to be fined 640,000 pesos ($16,570) after its flagship Rainbow Warrior II damaged a coral reef in the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park in Philippines during a climate change campaign."
New Zealand Herald, 2 November 2005, Original article here.
Please note: This entry does not relate to daylight savings itself, but the most common rationale for it being a good idea, specifically that, "You get an extra hour of daylight in the evening to do what you want."
The main reason for daylight saving's introduction into New Zealand was to save power. The idea was that if everyone goes to bed an hour earlier, the lights in people's homes will be turned off earlier and will therefore run for an hour less each day. Despite what it sounds like, this is not actually an example of Dumb Stuff. Power companies have found that overall power usage decreases by about 3.5% when daylight saving starts. In the first week, peak evening consumption commonly drops by around 5%.
Most people like daylight savings, but not because it saves them power. Ask a daylight saving supporter why they like and you will get a response something along the lines of:
"You get an extra hour of daylight in the evening to do what you want."
This is Dumb Stuff. Days are longer during the summer anyway. Even without daylight saving you would still get more daylight. If that extra hour of daylight is so important, why do we not have daylight saving in the winter? In the middle of winter it is dark when I go to work and dark when I go home again. I get no useful daylight at all. Wouldn't it be more sensible to have daylight saving during the winter so that I get at least some useful daylight rather than in summer when I would get plenty anyway?
You would think Firefox would display its own website correctly or at least as well as Internet Explorer. Apparently not:
Compare the two full screen shots directly here.
On an EA - ED series Ford Falcon (perhaps others) there is no direct mechanical connection between door key barrel (the bit that you actually put your car key into) and the door locking solenoid (the electromechanical device that actually moves the locking mechanism). When you put your key in the door and turn it, it closes a switch. That switch sends power to all the door locking solenoids and they lock or unlock the doors.
That is great - until your battery goes flat. You can turn the key as much as you like, but there is no power to go to the door locking solenoids and so they won't function. You are locked out. You can't jump start the car because you can't get to the bonnet release to get access to the battery. You can open the boot lid because there is a direct mechanical connection between the boot key barrel and the boot release mechanism - but unless you happen to have left the rear seats folded down, you still can't get into the main part of the car.
The Kodak Picture Maker is a kiosk machine that will print photos from pretty much any digital source. It prints on to normal photograph paper and if the source is of a high enough resolution and quality, the resulting printed photographs are just as good as normal photograph generated from a negative. The machines are actually quite clever - until it comes to dealing with aspect ratios.
The standard photograph size that the machine prints on to is 4" x 6" (100mm x 150mm). This results in an aspect ratio of 1.5. If the picture you are trying to print also has an aspect ratio of 1.5 there is no problem. If it isn't, the machine must do something to compensate. It can't alter the aspect ratio of the physical paper, so it must adjust the image. There are three options - each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Blanks could simply be added to the picture. The machine simply wouldn't print anything there. This does not distort the image, you get the whole image and you can physically crop the photograph afterwards - if you want. The only disadvantage with this option is that some of the space on the photograph paper is 'wasted'. Despite this, this is the most sensible, obvious option. Does the Kodak Picture Maker use this option? Of course not.
With this option, the image is forced to the correct aspect ratio by squashing it horizontally. This uses the all the space on the photograph paper, shows the entire image, but distorts the image and makes it look stupid. The Kodak Picture Maker does not use this option.
The last option is to simply chop off anything that does fit. There couldn't possibly be anything interesting on those bits anyway, right? You use the entire photograph paper and the aspect ratio of the image is not distorted. But it is too bad if you wanted a photograph of, say, your whole car. This is the dumbest option and of course it is exactly what the Kodak Picture Maker does.
Actually, there is a forth option. This option is better than all the above options. It is more sensible. It is more obvious. It is what I would have done if I had designed the software.
How about a message, "The aspect ratio of your image is significantly different from the photograph paper. What do you wish to do?" Then I can decide whether I want to use all of the photograph paper, keep the aspect ratio or use the entire image.
You might be thinking, "The Kodak Picture Maker is a pretty nifty machine. You could use the zoom function to get the whole image on the photograph paper." Nope. The zoom function will not let you zoom out past what is shown in option three.
(No explanation required.)
Imagine you are a checkout operator. It is busy and there are decent queues at the checkouts. You are halfway through scanning someone's shopping and you come across an item that needs a price check. While waiting for the price check, do you:
The same checkout operator also had to ask me to identify a particular vegetable. It was a cabbage.
Why is it that I have to pause between each number when entering the petrol voucher number, but I can enter the PIN for my credit card as fast as I like?
Cameo Hair Elastics come in two quantities - a 12 piece pack or 24 piece pack. The 12 piece pack costs $2.80 (Pak 'N Save, 30 October 2005). How much more expensive do you think the 24 piece pack is? $5.60? Maybe little less because you are buying in 'bulk'? In fact, the 24 piece pack is $2.80. Yes, that's correct, the same price.