The latest ATMs

Jul 2, 2005 | | 0 comments |

I drove up to my regular ATM this morning with the intent of depositing a cheque only to discover my bank has changed to a new style of ATM. The old ones had deposit slips and envelopes where the new ones don't.
So I read the screen - insert card for service - fine. I inserted my card and nothing happened apart from the continual rambling adverts on the screen. Weird. So I pulled my card out and as I did so it asked for my PIN. Ah. So what it means is insert and remove card for service.
So far so-so. I followed the usual instructions for depositing, wary of the fact that there was an envelope slot but no envelopes or deposit slips, and after filling in the amount and indicating which account, it asked "do you want an envelope?" Great. Out pops an envelope and immediately the ATM asks for it back with the check and deposit slip inside. Well first we don't have a pen in the car to fill out the envelope, and second we don't have a depost slip because the ATM doesn't have any. Meanwhile its insistently blinking red and beeping, demanding a full envelope. So I hit cancel. Then I hit it again. And again. And after about 13 or 14 presses of the 'cancel' button, the ATM finally cancels the transaction and goes back to its adverts. You'd think that with all the info I had to put in about the deposit, they would no longer need a deposit slip or a completed envelope. But apparently the design of this ATM requires you to be psychic, and to be able to write at the speed of light.
New ATMs are fine, but when they change the interface to be as hostile as possible, as well as having misleading instructions on the screen and a cancel button that doesn't cancel, it's just a sign of poor management and planning. I bet a marketing guy came up with this idea - the user hostility of the new ATM reeks of a marketing department "triumph".
This is Zions bank, by the way. So for those of you about to use a Zions ATM this weekend, be warned that they've been replaced by extremely user-hostile ATMs that are an ergonomic nightmare (the screen and keypad are too high up now, and the cancel buttons don't work). The user interface and lack of friendliness is so bad it could almost have been devised by Microsoft.

Final thought for friday

Jul 1, 2005 | | 0 comments |

www or not www, that is the question.

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The problem with hotlink protection is that sometimes the request for an image comes from www.thedomainname.com and sometimes it just comes from thedomainname.com. Of course, I'd allowed hotlinking to images on my server for blogging, but only for the "not with a www." option.
Fixed now :-)

The trouble with War...

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...is that you just can't get the recruits. There was a funny story last night on the news about how the number of college-leavers joining the military was "disappointingly low" this year. The government don't seem to understand why, so they're introducing a sign-up bonus of $30,000 payable upon return from tour of duty. There's only a couple of problems with that. The first is that you could end up dead, in which case you don't come home, meaning they won't pay out. The second is the back-door-draft of continually extending tours-of-duty meaning you don't come home, meaning they don't pay out.
Apart from that, the plan is a surefire winner.



At least in the red states.

Another grim day :(

Jun 30, 2005 | | 0 comments |

We just lost another critical engineer today. He gave his two week notice. It's getting harder and harder to get anything done.

Equifax crying.

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Equifax's chief executive says he opposes federal legislation that lets consumers obtain a free copy of their credit report to help them monitor financial accounts for fraudulent activity. CEO Thomas Chapman called the legislation unconstitutional and un-American because it cuts into profits that Equifax earn from selling credit reports and monitoring services.
"Our company felt, and still does ... that it's unconstitutional to cause a public company who has a fiduciary responsibility to return profit to shareholders to give away the product," Chapman said. "Most of my shareholder group did not think that giving away our product was the American way."


Interesting. So he's admitted, that like all private companies, Equifax has no regard for its customers and is sheltering its shareholders instead. If Chapman had his way, he'd make everyone pay for their credit reports, which is a great disincentive to keep tabs on your credit, which could lead to identity theft that you don't know about.

Chapman has shown with this statement that he could care less about the American public as long as he and his shareholders get their dividends.

Looks like we'll be invading Iran then.

Jun 29, 2005 | | 0 comments |

More embarassment for B*sh. Turns out Iranian President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the leader of the hostage-takers in the 1979 siege of the American Embassy.
Oops.
He's not friendly to America at all so I guess B*sh will be sending the troops over to "spread democracy" in Iran.
http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/098882.php

The disturbing thing about this isn't so much that this guy has become President-elect. It's that they've had free, democratic elections (something B*sh is all about), and the result is someone B*sh doesn't like. You just know the message back to Iran is "keep having those elections until you vote for someone we do like, or we'll come and occupy your country too."

Last night's B*sh speech.

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It continues to baffle me how so many supposedly clever people continually fail to see the farce that is their "President." Seriously; last night B*sh actually said that the reason he wasn't going to publish any timetable for a pullout was because - wait for it - "it would tell the terrorists all they have to do is sit and wait for us to leave."

Uh? Erm - that's exactly what they want - for the American occupiers to leave! The only reason there are so many attacks every day is precisely because of the occupation. Leave, and the violence will die down. Continue to stay and it will carry on. It's pretty fuckin' simple when you think about it. B*sh lied, invaded a sovereign nation (that had never attacked America) as a "pre-emptive" war, never actually declared war and then occupied the country. Do I need to repeat that or did everyone get it first time around?

Still - came across this site which is a nice application of web technology : http://george.says-it.com

Heil Livingstone

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Red Ken is turning into a real dictator back in London. To wit : today he announced that Londoners must now:
- take showers, not baths
- downgrade power showers to regular showers
- don't flush the toilet if they've only taken a piss
- not wash vegetables under running water
- not run the washing machine unless it's full

Zieg Heil, Herr Livingstone! Let the Londoners all fall sick due to the lack of cleanliness you demand from them.

God Forbid you should actually do something to help Londoners continue to have a good water supply. After all, London is only in the wettest part of the country, on a river, upstream from the sea. Obviously there's simply nothing at all that the mayor can do. Best blame the citizen instead.

I bet you $100 this is the predecessor to yet another tax - water usage tax. I bet that by this time next year, Londoners will be taxed or fined if they use more than 'x' amount of water per household per day.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/water/story/0,13790,1517040,00.html

Speaking of Red, it seems that history is being obliterated by political correctness now too. Yesterday was the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. The largest re-enactment of its kind took place in the English channel where the British defeated the French and Spanish navies. Well, sort of. Because they didn't want to offend anyone, the re-enactment was done with a blue fleet fighting a red fleet.
As one descendent of Nelson put it : "the idea of the blue team fighting the red team is pretty stupid. I am sure the French and Spanish are adult enough to appreciate we did win that battle."
But no. In the black light of political correctness, the powers-that-be decided it would simply be too offensive to show the British beating the French, so away with the country names and in with the colours.

(rolls eyes). Typical. You know what - I was going to buy a new domain name called fuckpoliticalcorrectness.com but someone beat me to it.

http://tinyurl.com/92kxl

Embarrassing for B*sh

Jun 28, 2005 | | 0 comments |

The Taleban - the same ones B*sh and his gestapo told us had been destroyed some years ago - have claimed responsibility for shooting down a US Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan. I think I might bring popcorn to the big B*sh speech on TV tonight to see him sweat.

BFC

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Now that is a Big Fucking Cloud I'm looking at out the window right now. It's a storm front and it covers the whole valley. Methinks fist-sized rain is about to ensue.

US Supreme Court - insanity personified.

Jun 27, 2005 | | 0 comments |

The US Supreme court has ruled on a few issues today. The first one I agreed with for a while: they ruled that Ten Commandments displays are not allowed at courthouses. This is fair enough. You should not, ever, link church and State. B*sh needs to learn that lesson. It all looked pretty good for about an hour until the Supreme Court then ruled that Ten Commandments displays could be allowed in State Capitols. D'oh!
Verdict : Supreme Court is insane.

On the second issue, which was obvious, the court has lost its head. They ruled that companies that manufacture software or hardware which facilitates the theft of copyright (such as file-sharing) are now to be held liable. This is really all about the RIAA and the MPAA and their continued insistance that everyone with a computer should be put in jail. But taken at its most basic wording, the US Supreme court has just overturned the Sony Betamax ruling from the 70's and made all electronics manufacturers liable for prosecution. So anyone who makes a VCR, digital camera, analog camera, photocopier, MP3 player, PC, a modem, a cable modem, telephone companies, ISPs - everyone (according to this ruling) can now be prosecuted if you record something off TV, make a copy, or download a file from the Internet.
The RIAA and the MPAA have got to be stopped. They're slaughtering the industries they're supposedly trying to protect.
Verdict : Supreme Court is insane.

The third issue proves that the Supreme Court is in B*sh's pocket : they have ruled 6-3 to allow cable companies to prevent rival ISPs from using their lines, thus killing the idea of competition stone-dead and helping the already deep-pocketed cable companies to rape us for even more money.
Verdict : Supreme Court is insane.

The fourth issue proves that the Supreme Court sides with B*sh on the issue of non-responsibility and removing people's rights, freedoms and protections. The Court ruled that local governments now have no constitutional duty to protect you from people against whom you have a restraining order. In other words, if you've got a restraining order against someone, local governments have no obligation to enforce it. ie. restraining orders have just been rendered null and void.
Verdict : Supreme Court is insane.

Props to Valve

Jun 26, 2005 | | 0 comments |

So I've been playing Half-Life 2 for ages now and over the last couple of days I've been looking at some of the modding tools that have come out, specifically the things that allow you to suck models and textures out of the game. 10 out of 10 to the modellers at Valve. The 3D models are top notch. Check out this 3ds max rendering of a Combine Helicopter. The most you ever see of this in the game is when it's hurling bullets at you.