Archive for Things that suck

The M. Falcon is Slow

I’d assumed for a long time that the (real-life-chronologically) first 2 2/3 Star Wars movies didn’t suck, and that made it a tragedy that the other 3 1/3 movies did suck. A while ago I realized that they all suck (example: they are called “Star Wars”. That’s right: “Star Wars”, my friend), even if they did fire the geek’s imagination, and now I feel better about it.

But anyway, I’m a geek, so sometimes I think about Star Wars and quantum mechanics, whether one sucks or both or neither.

I was contemplating on Planck units and the line where Han Solo (who shot first, btw) declares that his ship did the Kessel run in 12 parsecs, and I realized that since space and time coexist in 4 space, using the speed of light to convert units between them, then what the first-shooting smuggler was saying was that it took him more than 39 years to make the run.

And I know that others have apologized Lucas’ lack of unitary understanding away long ago, I (for the purposes of this post) don’t buy it.

I also know that ships go faster than light in hyperspace but the Kessel run is no doubt much longer than 39 light years.

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D is for Dillweed

I’ve been playing around with the D language a lot lately; it has a lot of really cool features. It also has a few rough spots, but one I just encountered that’s bafflingly horrible. This will illustrate:

uint u = 0;
int s = -1;
assert (u > s);  // assert will fail.  somebody shoot somebody.
assert ("string".length > -1);  // this one too, for the same reason.

Implicit type conversions cause more bugs than they’re worth, in general, but this is ridiculous.

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The Pizza Guy

I swear to god, it only just now occurred to me: When the pizza guy brings your pizza, and he begins that long, arduous search for that last couple dollars change, he’s trying to get me to let him just keep it. (Which I generally do.) I guess that should have been obvious.

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In Fine Form

This just in via email: “i guess what really pisses me off is how [name of coworker] tells me all about how he used to weigh in at like 180 and how he’s gonna get back down to that weight and then i see him eat 32 cupcakes in one day. then bat foy rolls his ass over to my office, sits down and eases up real close to me while slurpin’ on his 24 oh zee pepsi and tosses up some of them little gas burp things into my fuggin’ face. no wonder he’s got the pimp skitters. and he’s outta sick days to boot.”

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My New Car Is Mentally Retarded

I just bought a new 2007 BMW 530xi wagon. It drives real nice.

I hate iDrive. It’s 90 fucking clicks and prods to change radio stations. Can’t they spare 6 buttons like every Pinto ever made in my fancy new car?

While i’m at it, can the fucking display start out blank please? Why do I have to stare at a menu? At least you can assign a button to blank it but there’s a whole extra procedure. because you can’t just do it when you fire it up, you have to wait for the POS to boot, then accept the fucking EULA or whatever it is every damned time, and then blank it. And I hate that accept screen most of all, whatever it says. Something along the lines of “you will crash and die if you read this screen. Okay?” I’m going to actually read it one day, crash into a tree, and sue every living creature in Germany.

Also, when the screen is blanked, turn off the fucking backlight.

I’m technical so I can figure it iDrive, but if someone borrows my car he’ll never have a hope of changing the radio station. That BMW thinks its okay to require people to take an adult education class to play the radio is ridiculous.

Also, can’t I turn off the auto-activation of PDC or whatever the parking radar is? I know how to park by myself most of the time, so go away or at least shut the hell up. They graciously spared a real-life button for it, after all.

Also worst is the seatbelt chime. That’s what my wife is for. What is this, a Taurus? I’ll get in there with some wire snips pronto. I always meant to do this in the old VW, but it’s not nearly as obnoxious so I lost interest in that plan. (I put on the seatbelt when i reach 30 MPH, not-my-mom. It’s an incontrovertible instinct.)

And if you have a DVD player, and a video screen, make it possible to do you-know-what with them. I’ll even click through an FBI warning or whatever you like. Admittedly, I’d never actually want to watch a movie on that screen, but it’s stupid that you can’t.

Finally, car-wise, the “comfort access” fails to unlock or lock the door much of the time, so it’s pretty much useless since it wastes all the effort those times finding your key that you save the other times.

Add-On Mini-Rant: Despite my having an appointment to pick up the car, the dealer took forever to gas it up, the ski bag was still bubble-wrapped, and the whole thing took 3 hours, much of which the salesman whiled away by sucking up for that rating survey they do. No need to actually not suck — just beg for 5’s instead. BMW just called me and I told them where they could stick their survey. (Politely though.) Lucky for him I like him more than I like those damned surveys.

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Booking flights

Here’s what I’ve settled on for air travel.

Start with Expedia or Orbitz which work well and have all the options. If your search isn’t too complex, you might try Qixo before you buy. Its UI sucks, is much less flexible, and is incredibly slow…but it sometimes finds flights Expedia doesn’t. Travelocity’s UI is frustrating and they use popunders – don’t bother with it.

If I find something, I sometimes go right to the airline and buy the ticket from them, not to save $5, but to avoid the situation where the travel site and airline pass the buck to each other in case of changes to be made.

Search the “discount” airlines like Southwest separately since they aren’t included in any of the travel sites. Nowadays the major airlines are worse experiences than these “no-frills” ones, if they have your route. I use Southwest when I can because I don’t have to worry about fees for changing or not using tickets, kind of like the way the world should be.

In terms of comfort in economy class, Southwest, AA and United (only if you pay for Economy Plus) are a little better. Continental and Northwest are a little worse.

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Miserable spam

From: aarnfq5hh@halifax.com
Subject: pie
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2006 11:22:44 -0600

cold

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Hitchhiking in the Low Countries

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Amazon sucks, sometimes

I buy tons of stuff from Amazon, and here’s a brief Amazonecdote. (And an Amazantidote.)

Of late, Amazon has settled on a new packing technique. It’s not a very good one. It goes like this:

  1. Pile up the items to be shipped
  2. Find a box much bigger than the pile
  3. Put the pile in the box
  4. Toss in a handful of Fill-Air bags
  5. Seal with a minimum of flimsy tape
  6. Ship it to me

I approve of the Fill-Air bags. They’re very convenient and seem environmentally decent. But this method, as practiced, doesn’t work very well.

Just recently now, I ordered a 31 lb slab of cast iron. I recieved a huge unsealed box full of Fill-Air bags. So I contacted Amazon and they shipped me a new one. I received a huge unsealed box full of Fill-Air — but with the item still in there! I saw the UPS guy carry it in – he looked pretty disgusted by the whole thing.

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