What’s with the four digit numbers in a square thing?

Ironically, the very same road I drive down to take Brian and Lucas to school has a large, brick mailbox that has its 4-digit street address arranged in a square pattern. I would have commented on it to Brian himself, but it’s going the other way away from the school. So, no one’s in the car with me when I pass it. (Of course, that didn’t stop me from commenting on it to no one in particular.)

This mailbox’s numeric address is supposed to be 1624. But that’s not obvious, nor is it easy to decipher. The numbers are stacked like this:

1 6

2 4

So, is that 1624 or 1264 or 1246? I have no idea in the quick second I glance at it. Now, I know it because of context clues, like the house before and the house after it. But isn’t the entire purpose of the number on the mailbox to make it easier to find the house in question quickly?

I even noticed this at Starbucks recently. This is a picture from the coffee Caroline got on Saturday morning:

I’m assuming it’s supposed to be 1971 because 1791 or 1719 wouldn’t make much sense. But I don’t know that right off hand. The only context clue I have is that I’m pretty sure Starbucks was not around in 1791 or 1719. In fact, Washington state wasn’t even Washington state back then (that happened in 1889, if you were wondering).

But why make this difficult? To be cutesy? To be designer-y? To me, it just makes the user experience that much more difficult. And that defeats the purpose. Boo 😦

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A Character Test? Really?!?

I was recently listening to one of my weekly podcasts (Do By Friday, if you were curious), and Max brought up an interesting conundrum that he asked the panel of hosts. It went something like this:

You are interviewing for a job. The CEO of the company invites you to a breakfast in a downtown restaurant to have a chit chat to see what you’re like. Unbeknownst to you, the CEO has asked the waiter to intentionally mess something up in your order. The breakfast is brought out, and you recognize that it is not what and/or how you ordered it. What do you do?

Max went on to say that the point of this scenario is to specifically see how you’d act in the given situation. Do you stop the waiter and say “excuse me, but I think something may be wrong with my breakfast” or do you more boldly say “Please take this back, it’s just wrong”? Are you rude or empathetic? Nice or mean? Haughty or humble?

I asked a friend of mine what she thought and she said it would depend on how messed up it was, how busy the restaurant was, and what her current mood was that would determine her reaction. But overall, she thought it was a shit “test”. “It’s not a good way to judge one’s character” is the way she later phrased it.

I can’t say that I blame her for thinking that. In the podcast, Max went on to say that this is rumored to happen in the big investment firms on Wall Street to test the candidate’s “alpha”-ness. Sigh.

What a dick way to judge someone who’s going to be working for you. I mean, honestly. Is there even a right way to react and/or behave in this scenario? Are you really expecting the candidate to be a dick to the waiter and show their butts in the middle of restaurant to prove that they’re not there to take any crap from some lowly waiter? Is that a sign that you’re looking for?

I’m sorry, but if that’s the person you want me to be, and that’s the way you want me to behave, and that’s considered GOOD, then no thank you. I’ll be looking somewhere else, thank you.

Of Two Minds

I read Ethan Marcotte’s article about Google’s recently announced service / product called Duplex. In it, he lays out the following argument:

Frankly, this technology was designed to deceive humans. That’s not a value judgment, mind: the aim of the product is to act as human-sounding as possible. What’s more, the demos above are impressive because Duplex specifically withholds the fact that it’s not human. The net effect is, for better and for worse, a form of deception. Duplex was elegantly, intentionally designed to deceive. (And given that reality’s on shaky ground as it is, I don’t think this is the most responsible goal.)

I’m of two completely separate minds on this. One the one hand, I completely agree with the doubters thinking. Let’s not mince words here, Google, given its history, stands to be viewed upon with a hefty bit of skepticism when it comes to doing what’s “right”. But let’s say that’s not it. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say Google has every good intention in this particular space. What about others? What about the malicious folk out there? What about the people who are out there to scheme and cheat and rip people off? Isn’t Google giving them, right out of the gate, a tool to aid in their shenanigans?

This ultimately comes back to the old adage of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. I don’t know that we’ve held technology to that standard enough recently. A perfect example of this is the creation and, more importantly, the use of self-driving cars when the tech is not absolutely rock-solid.

Having said all of that, I was reading a tweet last night from someone whose name I have known for a while, but didn’t know a particular fact about. This gentleman stutters. Like me. He viewed this in a completely different light. His idea was that the Duplex “product” could be used in a very nice and productive way by people who have speech disabilities. Like he and I do. It was eye-opening. I think I even re-tweeted it with “Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, etc.”

Because I can completely see his point. I HATE talking on the phone. It makes me anxious, nervous, and scared. I get over it, and conquer it, but it’s an every-single-situation kind of thing. What if I didn’t have to do that but 40% of the time I do it now? That would help me. Would I like to be 60% less anxious? You’re damn right I would be.

The well-being of global society is still winning in my head, and I will go on record as thinking this might not be the best thing. But it’s not as much of a slam dunk as I would have originally thought.

Educated

Educated

Earlier this week, someone left a comment on an article I’d written to shame me over a word they considered “not a word”. A few years ago this would have stung and left me feeling like an imposter. At age 42 I have very few fucks left to give about such pedantry.

Formal education gives you words and technical understanding, it helps you interact with other people on a level where you can all assume you have the same starting point. It isn’t everything, and perhaps my hard-won knowledge, learned from trying and failing and figuring things out alone is my greatest strength.

While I am a firm believer in higher education, and have spent a tremendous amount of time teaching and guiding my kids toward a successful future in college, I love the “fuck you” attitude from Rachel here. It’s unapologetically defiant. And coming from an unbelievably intelligent person that is shaping the world of web design as we speak, I applaud her so much.

Bravo, Rachel. Bravo.

Guns are ridiculous, Reason #2746

“Keep honking…I’m reloading”

Yep, what an advertisement in this day in age where people are suggesting we arm everyone (including kindergarten teachers) to combat other people being armed!

Yep, let’s make sure to arm people who are driving, so if they don’t like how someone else honks at them, they have the opportunity to simply blow them away.

Perfect.

Doesn’t sound plausible? “People would never do that”, you say?

This fucker has a bumper sticker that says so. Because people are ALWAYS rational when it comes to driving.

FFS

P.S. This was less than a mile away from my kid’s school. People suck.

Arming Teachers

A Series of Questions for Those That Advocate Arming Teachers In Order to Prevent Innocent Children from Being Slaughtered

  • Where does the money come from to train these teachers?
  • How much training is required?
  • Who is doing the training?

This is such a detail-oriented list of questions for these political fuckwads that are proposing this lunacy. It’s so pedantic that I would have thought I wrote it. So many kudos, Casey. So many.

Umm, is she wrong?

I was perusing Facebook after all of the Florida shooting stories. Shocking that none of the normal gun freaks were speaking up in the aftermath.

Anyway, not the point here.

I came across the post above, and was struck by something. Number one, my aunt left a comment on the post that said “Thank you, Mr. Vice President.” Sigh. Number two, Joy Behar is not altogether wrong for saying what she said.

Think about it. If I publicly ran for office and said I discuss my issues and problems with my imaginary friend named Alan, people would say I was crazy.

“No, no, he’s my spiral advisor,” I would say.

And they’d call me even crazier.

And you know what, they’d be right. Because I’d be talking to someone (or something) THAT’S NOT REAL. There is no Alan. Just like there is no Jesus listening to you or talking to you.

It’s not there. It’s not real.

So, I would question my aunt. Why do you say “Thank you, Mr. Vice President”? Because you talk to imaginary friends, too? Is that ok? And if it is, I would presume you’d support any candidate or leader that talks to an imaginary bunny rabbit, right? Or a robot? Or what about an alien?

Those things are just as “real” as Jesus. (Oh, and by the way, there are “religions” that don’t believe in Jesus either, so it’s not just coming from this atheist.)

FFS