Archive for July, 2008

Navigational signage really seems to suffer in the suburbs. During my latest trip on the Metra train system, I came across the following sign: “Passengers traveling to Chicago should wait on east side of station by the shelters.” This has two problems. First, there’s no way to tell which direction you’re facing at the station. […]

A few days ago, I needed to buy some printer paper on short notice. I didn’t have time to order it online or trek out to Staples, so I decided to try the little OfficeMax store that’s only a few blocks away. However, when I got there I found only a vacant storefront. In fact, […]

In preparation for an event that I’m attending this week, I decided to look up how to get to the meeting facility. But no matter how many ways I typed the address into Google Maps, nothing came up. Figuring that I must be typing the address in the wrong format, I did some web searches […]

Many grocery stores have started to place complementary items together, e.g. all the components you need to create a certain meal can be found in the same area. Perhaps the most common example of this is putting salsa near the tortilla chips, even though salsa normally appears in a different section entirely. Generally, this is […]

YouTube seems to do a good job remembering which audio volume you’ve chosen. In other words, if you turn the volume way down for one video, the volume slider will start in that same position when you watch other videos. This is helpful for users and probably encourages them to spend more time on the […]

No way out


Windows is a really obnoxious piece of software. Lately, the situation has gotten worse, with more and more software updates being forced upon users. Perhaps you’ve seen this on your own computer. The system suddenly says “Your updates have been installed”, and then shows a dialog box where the only option is “Reboot now”. A […]

Merchants like will often fulfill a larger order in several shipments. Sometimes the items come from different locations, or one is ready before the others. Either way, this means the customer receives more than one box and sees separate charges on their credit card for each of those shipments. The problem, of course, is […]

It’s very convenient to have a program notify you automatically when a new version is released. Typically, the program asks if you want to perform the update, and then completes the process on its own. In fact, security programs like antivirus software are designed to do this every day. As long as I don’t have […]

Yesterday, I helped a family member troubleshoot why her Internet connection suddenly got a lot slower. It turns out the problem started right after she switched her phone service to one of those digital phone products from the cable company. The trouble is, she’s still using dial-up for her Internet access, which relies on an […]

Signs of hope


Like most people, I have low expectations when calling a company’s customer service department. And when you limit this to notoriously bad industries like travel, cell phones, and healthcare, the bar is set even lower. So, I was quite shocked when I called my doctor’s office to ask about an error on my bill, and […]