Archive for the ‘My Plan for Improving Things’ Category

Skull Candy for Minors?

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Having made it through high school without a fake ID, I fully appreciate Skull Candy’s attempt to be inclusive of the up and coming party people. This time however, I think they missed the boat. There is something a little creepy about the phrase “Skull Candy: Minors are Welcome.” The model with the stubbly chin doesn’t help either.

Skull Candy: Minors are Welcome

Better luck next time, dudes.

Dear Apple, Please lower my expectations

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

I visited the Apple Genius Bar yesterday between 6:10 and 6:30pm to see about a rattle sound in my new iPhone 4s. Thankfully, it turned out to be nothing. Most of the new ones rattle due to the positioning of the vibrating motor. I would sooner have the damn thing removed and not have to hear the rattle at all, but that is besides the point.

Today Apple sent an email asking me about my visit. I felt this was an opportunity to let them know how to improve. They did ask, after all. What follows is an excerpt from the survey.

Is there anything else you would like to share with Apple about this visit or the Genius Bar in general?

I always have a good experience in dealing with the Apple employees. My only issue with the visit is that I had to wait 20 minutes to speak with someone, after having to choose such a precise time slot as 6:10 pm a day in advance.

Forcing customers to choose such a precise time creates the expectation that they will be seen at precisely that time, and not a minute later. I would be less annoyed if I was given time ranges to choose from to make my appointment or some other less specific method of choosing. The online scheduling system promised what the store could not deliver. If my expectations for the timeliness of my visit were lower in the first place there would be no issue.

I would not bother to mention this if it seemed to be an isolated incident, but this has been a consistent issue with the appointments I have tried to make with the Genius Bar. It seems as though there is a great disconnect between the scheduling demands you put on your customers – and the promises you make on your website – and the syncopated rhythm that the Genius Bar actually operates. It sends a message that the time of your employees is more important than the time of your customers and this is unacceptable. Please lower my expectations or live up to the illusion of clock work created by 10 minute intervals of customer service.

Thanks for reading,
Roger Estes

The U.N. is Going To Pay Up, Finally

Monday, January 10th, 2011

I got this email over the weekend. I have been working on this deal with U.N. for six months now and they are finally giving me the $500,000 I deserve. It seems a little risky, but if I don’t go for this, I am going to want to kick my own ass later, I just know it.

UNITED NATIONS OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIR.  Good Day.  In line with the United Nations millennium development goal to eradicate poverty and hunger by the year 2015. I am directed to inform you that your payment verification and confirmations has been completed, therefore we are happy to inform you that arrangements have been concluded to effect a payment to you as soon as possible.  It is my pleasure to inform you that ATM Card Number: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX have been approved in your favor, the ATM Card Value is $500,000.00 USD (FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLARS). You are advised that a maximum withdrawal value of $5,000.00 USD is permitted on withdrawal per day and are duly Inter Switch so you can make withdrawal at any location and ATM Center of your choice, and we have concluded delivery arrangement with the FedEx Express courier services.  Kindly be informed that you are to provide a delivery fee of $95.00 USD for the effective delivery of your package to you, as the delivery will be made to your address in 48 hours (2 days) after the confirmation of your payment for delivery. Also, the delivery fee receipt will be attached to your payment delivery documents to avoid any delays from the customs service.  Kindly provide the details below for delivery, and please do confirm that you will take responsibility for the cost of delivery ($95).  1. Valid delivery address: 2. Country: 3. Name: 4. Phone Number: 5. Occupation:  Treat urgently and note that your ATM Card is ready and available for dispatch to you.   Regards, Mr. Harris Conklin HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT FOR UNITED NATIONS

Blast Off!

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

This is the first of my experiments with the animated GIF, the most underrated file format known to man. Once my series of studies is complete I will begin work on my feature length animated GIF, which will be screened in Philadelphia with live musical accompaniment. More details to come.

Blame Ralph Nader for Bad Drivers

Friday, February 19th, 2010

That’s right. Remember “Unsafe at Any Speed”? It’s his fault we have all these free wheeling jack-asses driving around thinking cars should drive themselves and keep everyone of out danger, all the while simultaneously smoking a cigarette, making a playlist on their iPod, talking on the phone, and trying to drive. Driving is a job that should be taken seriously. Ralph Nader, although he had many good points, was the person who made it acceptable to blame the machine and not the operator. It is nice to able to blame corporations for our problems, but a better solution is to blame the drivers. They are, after all, the ones behind the wheel.

This quality issue with Toyota is the latest example of blaming the machine. Safety is a choice people make. If people don’t know when the accelerator sticks they should jam the brakes and take the car out of gear, then maybe the brick wall they slammed into was a wake-up call.

Rule 1: If you don’t know how the machine works, don’t use it. By this rule, most people on the road today should not be there. Sure, Toyota fucked up, but so did the people driving these cars by not knowing what to do during system failure.

Rule 2: Never assume the machine is going to work the way you want it to. I learned how to drive when I was twelve years old, on vehicles that were far more dangerous than anything Toyota has ever made. I was lucky to have experienced drivers around to teach me how the vehicle worked and what to do when something went wrong. If these Toyota drivers had the training that most farmers have, none of these crashes would have happened.

Rule 3: If you crash, it is your fault. This was the level of accountability I was given when I was operating machines before I was in high school. Because of this, I became an expert in dealing with control problems. By making every problem with a vehicle the fault of the manufacturer and not the operator, the operator has little incentive to learn about how to deal with system failure. If we are going to use this system of blaming the manufacturer, the people making the machines should have some say over who uses their product, and require training before a potential buyer is allowed to drive the vehicle off the lot.

So be safe out there, and if you wrap your car around a pole don’t come crying to me or the person who made it. Go cry to yourself or maybe Ralph Nader.

My Suggestion for USPS.com

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

In the Christmas Rush, there is a lot of shipping and receiving. Below is my email to the United States Postal Service about how they could easily improve their Track & Confirm system by using more consumer-friendly language instead of just shop talk:

This message pertains to the Track & Confirm system available on USPS.com.

The phrases “Arrival at Pick-Up-Point” and ” … ready for pickup” as used in your Track & Confirm system are confusing to consumers. This language makes it seem like we may be able to go to a post office location and pickup our package. Based on the information I could find online, this is not the case. With terms like this, that I am assuming are part of USPS shop talk, it would be helpful to have them defined on your site somewhere, or use consumer-friendly language instead. For example “ready for pickup”, could instead be represented as “waiting for carrier pickup”. With a few extra words, the reader knows that it will not be him doing the picking up, but a USPS employee.

The whole point of the Track & Confirm system is to build consumer confidence in your product. When information is incomplete or ambiguous it has the opposite effect. In my effort to find the definition of these terms, I found numerous threads online about this confusing language, but no clear answer. I also went to the FAQ section of the site to the Glossary, and was disappointed to find that these terms were not included. In any case, the Glossary of Terms pertaining to the Track & Confirm process should be available on the Track & Confirm page and not three clicks away.

I do appreciate the Track & Confirm system in general. Technically it seems to work great. The only problem is with the language being used to describe the process to consumers. It needs to be defined more clearly, as in a Glossary of Terms, or written more clearly in the first place. Thank you for your time and Happy Holidays!

Holiday Weight Loss Tips

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Around the holidays, we all like to overeat to show our relatives and coworkers that we appreciate the good meal they have put before us. But if you are vain, like I am, you also want to be in shape for the holidays, so that you can show all the people you don’t see very often that you have achieved success and are taking care of yourself. No one likes to hear whispers behind them like “Wow, that bastard really let himself go. Remember when he was skinny?” “Yeah, what the fuck happened?” At least that’s what it might sound like on Christmas Day at my Grandma’s house.

So, we are left with a dilemma: How do we overeat for an entire month, and not look like a disgusting blob by the time the ball drops on New Year’s Eve? This is where I can help. The trick is to cut dietary corners at all the meals that are not celebratory. If you lower your intake at all other times, you can gorge yourself without fear when the time comes. And you will need to gorge yourself, because you are going to be fucking hungry when the time comes. Just follow rdesigno.com’s Top 7 Weight Loss Tips:

(1) If you are hungry, drink water. It is calorie free and you can really taste the moisture.

(2) Think about motorcycles. It worked for Nelson’s teeth on the Simpsons, so it will also work for your stomach. Remember “Sometimes my teeth hurt, but then I just think about motorcycles”?

(3) Drink beer for dinner. You will go to bed drunk and hungry, the perfect combination.

(4) Have a handful of Captain Crunch for dessert.

(5) Play video games for dinner. This is lowest calorie option, but not the least healthy.

(6) Eat rotten food so you lose your appetite and don’t eat very much. Bonus: You might puke up all the food you ate that day!

(7) Smoke cigarettes. If you don’t smoke, the holiday season is a great time to start. Cigarettes will fool your body into thinking it is getting nourished, but the joke is on you, body. You aren’t getting anything. HA!

Environmentalism-How Pack Rats Help to Save The Planet

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

People give pack rats a hard time. “Why do you save all that crap?”, people ask. Because I might need it later, and it is perfectly useful. There is enough stuff going to landfills without putting useful stuff there too. Do you work for the pro-garbage league? Do you get a kick out of destroying everything?

I am a pack rat, and I often have conversations like this with “haste wasters”, the opposite of pack rats, the people who value empty space over saving useful stuff until they need it. In my collection, I have 20 pairs of shoe laces, 23 square yards of fabric that will some day be used to make a five-ply quilt, 15 pairs of scissors, 4 box fans rescued from the curb, 5 sheets of ply-wood, 704 blank envelopes of different shapes and colors, 10 patched bicycle inner tubes, a dozen elastic bands cut off worn out underwear, two industrial size rolls of bubble wrap and 27 cardboard boxes I will use when I move to a new house. The pack rat lifestyle is all about planning ahead. Before you commit anything to a land fill, think to yourself, “Does this have the potential to be useful, to anyone, at anytime in the future?” If you can honestly answer no, then by all means, chuck it. But don’t lie about it, the earth probably knows where you live.

Golfer Spotted on Bus–
Going Green?

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

During a recent bus ride I spotted a golfer on the bus. Are green marketing tactics finally affecting people? Or is the economy so bad that even golfers, a species once famous for driving fancy cars and being really cool, are being forced to cut corners like every one else.

This brings up a great point though.* Could going green actually save us money? Yes, and being a cheap skate is the greatest immediate logistical reason to go green. Barack Obama is right about checking our tire pressure, but this is only the beginning.

I propose we have separate buses for the rich. While this harbinger pictured below was willing to swallow his pride and cram on the shame train with the rest of us, golf clubs and all, most golfers are not willing to make this sacrifice. Having separate “Rich Person Motor Coaches” (a normal bus repainted to look like wood paneling) would encourage them to conserve resources by using semi-public transportation. It would also mean less drunk golfers on the road, fewer pedestrian casualties, and as a result fewer people in the hospital using up electricity to run their life support mechanisms. This would snowball into a giant slip ‘n’ slide of environmental savings. Let’s do it.

If I can change, and golfers can change, we all can change.

*NOTE: This does not “beg the question“. If you thought it did, please click on the link and do some reading, so that next time you are in a meeting, you can use this phrase correctly and not degrade this language any further. Thank you.

The Moment of Truth Returns August 28 on FOX

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

It has been months since the season finale of The Moment of Truth on FOX. I knew something had been missing from my weekly routine and on August 28, 2008 I can get back to feeling good about myself, by comparing myself to the scumbags on this show. Great.

There is something amazing about a show that pays people to ruin their lives on national television. This isn’t some Real World garbage, where at the end they shake hands and go their separate ways. These people are ruining their real lives that they have to go home to at the end of the show. Any honest person will tell you they love gossip, and this show is like rocket powered gossip that sells crack to grade school kids and then screws every person in your office. Good job FOX. No one knows as much about being a big sack of scumbags like FOX does, just ask Nas.