Archive for February, 2008

Broken promises


We’ve all been there: You’re typing a bunch of text into a website or application program and you’re just about ready to press Save. At that very moment, the computer crashes or you accidentally hit the secret key combination for “quit now without asking”. Sometimes, the program is smart enough to recover where you left […]

Inspired by a brochure I saw yesterday, here is some text to look out for before publishing your new documentation or product specs: 1.) “Need this updated.” 2.) “This can’t be right. Didn’t we fix this before?” 3.) “Clean this up before anyone sees it.” If you’ve ever let this sort of thing leak out […]

When I was in college, I took my car in for some body work. You see, some idiot keyed the whole side of it when it was parked, so they had to repaint the door and fenders. When I got the car back, the damaged area looked great. But the excitement wore off quickly when […]

1.) Emit a high-pitched shriek. (My laser printer could wake the neighbors when it’s low on paper.) 2.) Provide a woefully inaccurate estimate of what to expect. (My laptop will say you’ve got ten minutes left on the battery, and then it shuts down one minute later.) 3.) Taunt people with a useless error message. […]

Last week, my travels took me through San Francisco and Vancouver. While at the airports in both cities, I was reminded of how poor the bathrooms are in most airports. I’m not talking about cleanliness or peak traffic capacity, although those are often a problem. Rather, I’m referring to the lack of places to put […]

As part of my ongoing flooring saga, I purchased a neat electric broom made by Hoover. It’s too early to tell how well it works, but I was impressed by the easy assembly. Like most people, I put it together first and looked at the instructions later. To my surprise, both the quick start guide […]

1.) You take days to answer basic questions via email. 2.) Your company’s main number goes directly to voice mail for at least two hours a day. 3.) You just told the customer that you made blatant mistakes while delivering or installing the product, without offering them any compensation for your negligence.

My company has been using IP phones for years. Generally, they work great. There’s just one small problem: if the clock on your phone is wrong, you can’t change it. Apparently, the people who designed the phones decided to rely exclusively on network time protocol (NTP), and removed the settings for changing the date and […]

I recently purchased a bottle of Method stainless steel cleaner in the hopes of getting my appliances a little shinier. Foolish and naive, I followed the instructions on the bottle. I sprayed the cleaner on a soft cloth, wiped down the appliances, and was greeted with a streaky mess that looked ten times worse than […]

I’m getting tired of people making up lame excuses for why they can’t deliver a functional product or service. It seems like it’s always someone else’s fault: the customer failed to read the disclaimer, or the subcontractor forgot the supplies, or UPS dropped the box in shipping. Frankly, it’s all a load of crap. No […]