Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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May 2007

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Why I removed the post from last Tuesday

On Thursday, I called the body shop to find out about the estimate on my car. The mechanic said that my father had been in yesterday checking my car to make sure that I hadn’t left anything in it.

I spent the next five minutes explaining how that was not okay, that my father lives in another state, and that the car was in a hit-and-run. I then called the officer handling the case to report it.

I spent the rest of the night paranoid and jumping at shadows, terrified that the guy who hit us was now trying to find out where we live, and might come try to cause trouble.

On Friday, it turns out to have been someone else stopping by for a different Honda Civic, so all my fears were almost for nothing.

Over the weekend, I spent quality time with some friends of ours, and their dubious friends. I have a whole rant I’m working on about the friends in question, but the summary is this: there is no such thing as a hashish connoisseur.

Also, you will likely notice that I have added a “beer me” link to the bottom of posts here in my blog. This link is a quick, cheap way to sponsor any blog posts that you like, or sponsor the whole blog from the sidebar. You are under no obligation to use these links, and I will probably take them up and down in some utterly random manner. Perhaps I will hold a beer-raising drive for a few weeks, then take them down. I don’t know. I’ll figure out some kind of happy incentive, too, but for now, it’s just me begging for money for beer.

As for the LiveJournal…. I still cross-post to LiveJournal. My LiveJournal has gone to unpaid status, where it will remain, I think. I was utterly and happily ignorant of the LiveJournal drama until last night.

May 2007: Book Reviews

This is an archive of my shorter book reviews and notes, which historically have been posted over at the 50 Book Challenge on LiveJournal, but which I’m starting to move over here. I’m posting them with altered date-stamps, but they might show up in my LiveJournal cross-post anyway. Bear with me, please.

Note: Many of these books also have full reviews available in the book review podcast (RSS).
Continue reading May 2007: Book Reviews

Stupid interface design (a rant)

Would someone who knows the person responsible for this interface please kick the guy in the balls for me? Repeatedly?

Here’s what happens when I go to Safeway and attempt to pay for my groceries with a debit/credit card. I use my debit card as a Mastercard always, because I get money back if I do.

I press the debit/credit button on the little card reading machine. The machine asks me for my phone number or to swipe card. I don’t know if it means to ask me to swipe my Safeway club card, or my credit card, but since I only have one of those two, I swipe my credit card.

Then, it prompts me for my PIN. I don’t want to give it my PIN, I want to use it like a credit card. I press Cancel, never knowing if doing so will suddenly drop me out of the entire transaction (as it does if I press Cancel at any other time during the transaction, or if I press Cancel at any ATM in the world.)

THEN it prompts me for Debit or Credit. Shouldn’t this step be before asking for my PIN?!?!?

I press Credit and it either prints out a receipt for me to sign, or prompts me to sign on the machine using the attached stylus, then press Done when I’m done. Except here’s a secret: you don’t have to press Done. My signature is so long, the machine usually stops accepting it halfway through because it thinks I’m done after I pick up the stylus the second time (I have three words in my name).

Other stupid pay-point machine interfaces include the ones where you have to press the green Enter button to continue, but the screen says:
“Press OK or Cancel” with OK and Cancel positioned over the gray buttons at the top of the interface. In some stores, pressing the grey buttons works. In others, it doesn’t. And in some places, you have to press the gray buttons instead of the Enter or Cancel (which makes more sense, since “Enter” is not the same as “OK”).

With all this annoyance, you would think it would be easier to hand my card to the cashier. Guess what? Cashiers are no longer trained or empowered to hand-key your credit card number anymore. Ever give them a credit card with a weak magnetic strip? They’ll run that thing through the slot reader so many times, you’d think they’re trying to make fire, but not once will they hold the card up and hand-key the numbers on it into the system.

The 2 years I worked at a hardware store taught me how to hand-enter a set of numbers into a 10-key keypad so fast, it was actually faster than running them through a slot more than twice.

Kids today….

Twitter Updates for 2007-05-30

  • @ruperthowe *snerk* That supports an argument that Christians are inherently more immoral than atheists. There are more in jail, after all. #
  • I should say “theists,” but that particular argument is used more by Christians, in my experience. #
  • From the atheist perspective: The point is that *this* lifetime is all you get. You must be moral to leave a good legacy. #
  • I got to teach someone not to use the word “smegma” in casual conversation today! (He did not know what it meant.) #

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