Patrick's Rants



12/28/2012

Touch Screen in Your Car

Filed under: Geek News and Stuff,Goofy Commercials,Stupid Ideas — site admin @ 5:34 pm

Cadillac is adding a touch screen panel to your next car because, well because your phone doesn’t have any buttons anymore. It takes much longer to make a phone call with these new “smart” phones than it used to. And how many accidents are there going to be while you screw around trying to find the radio volume app on your car? Oh, they do have a disclaimer in really tiny print in the commercial about driving distracted. What’s more distracting than trying to figure out which screen you are on or trying to get to? Tactile buttons make the most sense when you think about it… so please car manufacturers, think about it.

6/16/2010

Say What?

Filed under: Geek News and Stuff,Stupid Ideas — site admin @ 5:20 pm

My interim boss just sent me 3 emails with attached documents. There was no message body. Just a single attachment per email. Then she sent me an instant message to tell me that she sent the emails. I won’t go into the content of the attached documents as I didn’t spend much time looking at them to compare them to existing documents. It is the rest of the comment that really has me scratching my head. She asked me to create a “web presence” that will indicate when a bus is running over 15 minutes late. I’m guessing, since she did not respond to my “WTF?” reply, that she told our incoming boss that this was easy to do. “Web presence”? That doesn’t sound like the interim boss. The new guy is supposed to be tech savvy. That sounds like a PHB or someone who really knows what it takes.

Even if I could find a widget that would do what I she wants, the underlying technology isn’t there. The buses would have to be equipped with some type of GPS unit. The unit would have to report and compare times to the routing software and determine when the routes are overdue. Unless of course, we just log into the web site every time a bus is running late and update the page. Oh wait, we run bussing from 4:00am to 7:00pm and I’m the only one with a login to that web page. I’m guessing that installing and configuring GPS units and then installing the tracking software – complete with connector software to talk to the routing software – will run $300.00 – $500.00 per bus. That would be roughly $25,000.00 to $50,000.00. I’m thinking that whoever thought up this idea did not take into consideration the costs to do this automatically nor did they take into consideration that I’m currently the only person who can update the Transportation website nor the fact that I work 11:00am to 7:00pm and I’ll be mufuggin damned if I’m getting up at 4:00am so little Johnny’s mom can see if a bus is running 15 minutes late to Johnny’s stop. I don’t usually say this, but they don’t pay me enough for that. They don’t even pay me enough to update it during my shift as, due to budget cuts, my office is the de facto receptionist. I don’t have, nor will I have time to update the damned thing when the phone is ringing off the hook.

12/1/2009

Windows 7 Was My Idea

Filed under: Goofy Commercials,Stupid Ideas — site admin @ 8:26 pm

The commercial introduces us to “Sophie” who wants a touch screen computer. She flies to Tokyo and states that Windows 7 is her idea. Really? The touch screen is over 30 years old according to James Walker on ehow.com. And guess what? The touch screen has been around longer that Microsoft. She didn’t need to fly to Japan or wherever, she could have just gone to Starbucks and seen that flat screens are in use.
Windows 7 was my idea, heh. Your “idea” has been around longer than you (“Sophie” looks to be in her 20s) and it’s more likely that IBM – the absolute king of retail touch screens – had its patent slide into the public domain.

As for the guy who says, a computer that doesn’t crash, that was my idea. Haha. Really. A computer that doesn’t crash? Anyone who has booted a Microsoft operating system has that idea. Windows 7 might be better, but it’s still a crap shoot. I have a Windows 2008 (based on Vista/Windows 7) server that has failed updates and I have to work around critical vulnerabilities. How about updates that don’t fail to install, no reboots required (oh yeah, you better believe they are still required), a company that doesn’t treat its paying customers like thieves and a secure by default operating system. That’s my idea. And it’s not Windows 7.

11/9/2009

Does It Make Sense to Go On Strike Now?

Filed under: General,Politics,Stupid Ideas — site admin @ 10:34 am

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99 is threatening to strike over a purported dispute with Fry’s Food and Drug. Fry’s is taking a defensive move by advertising for temporary Clerks at $9.50/hr in case the Union actually calls the strike. According to whnt.com, the main sticking points are raises and health care.

The workers typically make between $7.20 and $12.05 per hour and can expect to receive $100 per week in strike pay if they walk out.

$100.00 per week to walk the line. As Dr Phil might say, “how’s that working for ya?”

Again from whnt.com

“Some of our members haven’t had a raise in six years,” said Jim McLaughlin, United Food & Commercial Local 99 President.

In what world does every single person deserve a raise every year? Not this one. Just because you belong to a union shouldn’t guarantee a yearly raise. When I was in high school a couple of my classmates worked for a grocery store, Publix if I remember right, and they talked about scanned items per minute and things like that. They were proud of their scanning rates and competed with each other over it. The company wants your line to move quickly and smoothly and so do I when I’m standing there. There is a checker whose line I won’t go through at Safeway because he is tediously slow with no apparent mental or physical impediments. He proudly wears his union pin, but if I were the manager I would not be giving him the same raise as the checker who can process twice as many items without breaking the eggs or smashing the bread. I would be checking the “conscientious” box for our Fry’s checker on Saturday who opened the 18 pack of eggs to check for cracked eggs (something my wife does anyway). That checker cares and deserves a regular raise.

Now, if you can bring yourself to read this obnoxious black on lavender blog1

(And if you block Myspace.com such as yours truly here is the Google cache from which I pulled my comments)

When I started Fry’s Food and Drug a while back, we were 6 months til our new contract was to be negotiated and to begin. Well, it’s a year almost to date and Fry’s hasn’t brought a dime to the table for they’re employees.

*FRY’S WILL ONLY GIVE A 25 CENT WAGE INCREASE TO EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE ALREADY TOPPED OUT ON THE PAY SCALE*

Really? Is that so bad? If these were bus drivers who were topped out they would have gotten somewhere around 1%-2%. Except not this year because they froze pay steps. Boohoo, only $0.25/hr when other employers are cutting employees and freezing pay. Period. End of story.

As of now, Fry’s is responsible for paying our Health Care Premiums which cost between $740 and $780.

*FRY’S WANTS ME TO PAY MY FAMILY’S PREMIUMS OUT OF MY POCKET WITH NO PAY RAISE*

Number one, that’s dirt cheap. Number two, most employers will not pay for your family. Not my (government) employer. If I wanted my family on my insurance plan I would end up with about half of my (not huge, but not minimum wage either) paycheck going to my family’s health insurance. So I’m not shedding any tears over you having to pay some of your insurance premiums. In fact, I’m on my employer’s policy, my wife is on her employer’s policy and our children are on a standalone policy that we bought that only covers catastrophic events. So full coverage for $780.00? That’s pretty damned good. Mouth, Gift Horse. You get the drift.

Ah, let’s see this little gem

Fry’s wants to give me and every other worker who has not topped out on our pay . . .

*20 HOURS A WEEK OF PAY WITH UP TO $780 TAKEN OUT OF MY PAYCHECK AND NO WAGE INCREASE UNTIL 2019.*

As George Costanza might say, “beep, beep, beep. Back up the truck.” Are you telling me that you are working part time and Fry’s pays for your insurance? And you are going to walk out on that benefit? Yes, I see that Fry’s wants to make you pay for your family’s health insurance. You are part time and good luck finding another employer with benefits that generous. Fry’s is coming back down to earth a little here.
(more…)

8/10/2007

Man Sues 1-800-Flowers for Ruining His Marriage

Filed under: General,Stupid Ideas — site admin @ 7:24 pm

Man sues 1-800-Flowers for ruining his marriage by revealing affair. Ok. This has got to be one of the stupider stories today. It goes something like this: woman files for divorce, man decides to see someone else and sends her flowers and a teddy bear, man reconciles with estranged wife, estranged wife receives thank you card from 1-800-Flowers, reconciled wife boots his ass to the curb – again.

Here’s where it gets stupid. His estranged wife is now asking for more alimony, more child support, etc. Man sues 1-800-Flowers.

First of all, his wife filed for divorce. She filed for divorce, meaning she didn’t to be married to him anymore. Can she be surprised that he sought the company of another woman? No. If she is, she’s stupid. Men aren’t that nebulous, really.

Second, why in the hell did he give his home address to 1-800-Flowers? If he was getting divorced, he needed his own place. Stupid, times two. IF he was expecting to get back together with his soon-to-be ex-wife, then he should have kept it in his pants. Period. I’ll repeat it for the cheap seats, I know sometimes you can’t hear me up there. If you are separated from your wife and you expect to be getting back together with her, keep it zipped up.

Third, she booted him out and expected him to remain faithful? I mean, she basically said, “you’re outta here” and she’s faulting him for what he did after she said, “see ya”. I hope he has a decent lawyer – then again, he’s suing 1-800-Flowers for a standard business practice.

Fourth, he’s suing 1-800-Flowers for a standard business practice. It goes something like this:

Wife: “What the heck are these charges?”
Flowers: “Yes ma’am, here is the receipt.”

In this day and age of identity theft and credit card fraud it would seem that 1-800-Flowers did the right thing by verifying charges. That’s what I would expect them to do if I questioned a charge.

Wife: “Oh no he dient!”

So. If there is any justice in the world here is what will happen: they end up on Judge Joe Brown, who’ll tell them to TCB – Take Care of Business – and dismiss the case.

Of course, justice is hard to find so he’ll just have to sue himself for negligent stupidity and tie up his assets for the judgment.

8/7/2007

DMCA?

Filed under: Geek News and Stuff,Stupid Ideas — site admin @ 3:20 pm

I’m researching hot swap drive trays… I found a site called “The Tray Man” through Google. I like to use this browser called “Firefox” and use this thing called a “mouse” to right click on links so I can open them in this novel thing called a “tab”. That way I can be looking at many different items in multiple tabs. It means I can navigate a site the way I want to. It also means that I can save multiple pages as “bookmarks” and I can open the pages all at once if I want to.

Well “The Tray Man” has a Javascript feature that “disables” right click with a popup box that states:

“Protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. No part of this site may be duplicated. Thank you. The Tray Man”

Go ahead try right clicking on this page. Too bad. I probably won’t buy from these guys since there’s an assumption of guilt cause I know how to use my “mouse”. And yes, I’m being really condescending and yes it is my opinion that this behavior is really stupid. I mean, do you really have people trying to “steal” images of hard drive trays that they can get from the manufacturer?

4/11/2007

No Need for New Laws

Filed under: Politics,Stupid Ideas — site admin @ 6:24 pm

Lately there has been a push to make employers “certify” that the employees they hire are legal to work in the US. This push seems to focus some on companies that have government contracts, but it’s also being applied to employers in general. The thing is, we already do this. It’s called an I-9 form. The employer reviews a couple of forms of ID from their prospective/new employee to verify work eligibility. The employer keeps the form on file and has to renew it every so often – once every three years I believe. Employers can even, and are required to in some cases, verify the employee’s employment information – ensuring that the employee’s information matches the files at the Social Security Administration.
There are also penalties for not maintaining the information. Instead of making employers “certify” their work force, get out of the office and go see if they have the paperwork in place.

I just don’t understand why we have to write new laws to do the same thing that we can already do.

11/23/2006

Keep The Change

Filed under: Goofy Commercials,Stupid Ideas — site admin @ 11:17 am

Bank Of America has a program that lets you keep your own money. If you use a debit card and have a savings account with them, they will round your debit card purchases up to the next dollar and put the “change” in your savings account. This amounts to an electronic change jar. Sure you might earn a little interest – probably very little, have you taken a look at what savings accounts are paying lately? – but it’s your money. It’s not like you are making money, although there is a slight incentive. For the first three months they will match your change jar. And after that all you have to do is leave the money in the account and they will add a whopping 5%.

I suppose that for people who hate to balance their check book not having to keep track of the $.05 might make life easier – except that they have to track it in the savings account now.

This just blows me away, I had to add a new catagory for this one. Stupid Ideas.