Archive for March, 2011

From time to time, I run into an annoying but non-critical issue in my building. For instance, the hot water may only be flowing at half of the regular water pressure, or the air conditioning is a little less effective than usual. I’ve learned not to bother with reporting these problems, since the conversation always […]

I just finished reading a great book on personal finance. From what I recall, the author has been publishing this particular book for a number of years. So, the one I read was at least the second edition of that title, and maybe even the third or fourth. This raises an interesting question: if only […]

In an effort to use up a gift card from a well-known but rather stodgy retailer, I picked out a somewhat random assortment of items and headed to the checkout area. After tallying up my purchases and asking for payment, the clerk proceeded to put a price tag-sized sticker on the bottom of each item. […]

On Saturday, I walked past a new restaurant, which I believe opened earlier this month. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed not to notice the place, since it had two huge signs in the window. However, I think they went a little bit overboard with the text itself, which proclaims that the restaurant is “Now open […]

There’s a doorway in my building that has gone through an almost comical series of changes over the past year or so. Originally, the door was locked and required a key card to open it. Then, the building removed the lock, insisting that convenience trumped security. And then, after people apparently began opening the door […]

Although I’m sure it’s been that way for years, I recently noticed that some companies strategically include the word “daily” in their product names, or otherwise prominently feature that text on the packaging. For instance, they might call a product “Daily Shower Cleaner” instead of just plain “Shower Cleaner”, in the hopes that this subtle […]

While calling to schedule a doctor’s appointment, I was greeted with a rather long recorded message that I imagine contained their most frequently asked questions. However, one segment of the recording really baffled me. In between a variety of potentially relevant info, the recorded voice said “Our phone number is…” and proceeded to read out […]

A few days ago, we experienced an outage with one of the Internet connections at the office. I remembered reading about some scheduled maintenance on the line, so I checked out the provider’s system status page. Sure enough, they had a confirmed issue with the entire metro area, but the status page said that all […]

While I certainly haven’t conducted any sort of scientific study, it seems like a surprising number of the signal strength indicators on wireless devices consist of the familiar 5 bar layout. Why not 4 bars, or 6, or 3? I believe the answer lies in our natural desire to place things into just the right […]

I got a new mobile phone last week, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at some of the smart choices that the user interface designers made. Among these decisions: the digital clock on the top of the screen doesn’t say AM or PM — and no, it’s not set to military time. For instance, the clock […]