Microsoft has made some puzzling, menu-related UI decisions in the last few years; specifically, they seem to be targeting all menus for elimination, citing research that they claim shows users are “confused” by the menu paradigm that they’ve been using for a couple decades now. I know I’m late to this party, but it’s only very recently that we have been migrated to Office 2007 at work, and therefore my frustration at this practice is only now reaching a fever pitch. [more]

Posted July 24, 2009 in Uncategorized • Tags:

Using Microsoft Word, especially in its newest I-hate-menus incarnation, makes me want to bash my head against a wall until it’s a bloody, pulpy mess. I defy anyone to even begin to comprehend the Style system, let alone properly use it. Because the moment you touch it, Microsoft starts making assumptions about how you want everything to be formatted. So if you’ve ever wondered why it’s changing your fonts for you or refusing to continue a list… it’s probably because you foolishly messed around with styles.

Posted July 21, 2008 in News • Tags: ,

New York’s MTA is spending a mind-boggling 7.2 billion dollars to make the commute a smidge easier for some Long Islanders. The idea is to bring some LIRR commuters to Grand Central Terminal instead of Penn Station. Take a look at the map and judge for yourself if it’s money well-spent. Note especially the distance between the two stations, and consider that there is already a myriad of options to get from one to the other: existing subways, busses, taxis, and, oh, walking (it’s less than a mile). Consider also the fact that this project entails tunneling under already existing Metro North (another commuter line) tracks that run along Park Avenue and building another level underneath the existing Grand Central. A glance at the map begs the obvious question: why not just link to the existing Metro North tracks and use the existing levels of Grand Central? Especially since Grand Central ain’t so grand any more: its only remaining service is the Metro North commuter lines! Surely there’s room among the dozens of tracks there for a few trains from Long Island.

In the meantime, another project–one which would serve a vastly greater number of (ostensibly less well-connected) city commuters seems to be languishing: the Second Avenue subway. It too costs many billions of dollars, but at least it serves a real purpose–to relieve the severely overcrowded Lexington Avenue line–and extends from 125th Street all the way down to the Wall Street area. Oh, and it’s been on the drawing board for eighty years. Which means that the next time you’re packed like a sardine on the 4/5 and it’s bumper-to-bumper traffic, you can console yourself with the fact that it was never meant to be this way.

Well, the good news is that this stupid line is about to run out of money due to the MTA’s perennial money shortage. At seven billion dollars to tunnel one mile, it’s easy to see why there’s no money. One can hope that in the meantime somebody else will come into power–someone not beholden to suburban commuter demands–and put a stop to this nonsense before it sucks in any more of our tax dollars.

Posted May 12, 2008 in Life • Tags:

The posh 10021 ZIP code in New York’s Upper East Side has been overtaken in the my-dick, er, house-is-bigger-than-yours war by one of the pieces that split off of it recently, 10065.

“People define themselves by their real-estate holdings much more than their ZIP codes.”

Well, that’s a relief. For a second I thought people were being shallow.

Posted May 12, 2008 in Life and News • Tags: ,

The following happened in Iowa:

Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement entered the Agriprocessors Inc. complex in northeast Iowa Monday morning to execute a criminal search warrant for evidence relating to aggravated identity theft, fraudulent use of Social Security numbers and other crimes, said Tim Counts, a Midwest ICE spokesman.

Agents are also executing a civil search warrant for people illegally in the United States, he said.

Anyone who’s been following the immigration issue in America during the last few years knows that one of the two paragraphs above is true, and the other is horseshit. The answer is below the fold. [more]

Posted May 10, 2008 in News • Tags:

Rupert Murdoch, owner of everything, has a brilliant idea for turning a profit at his sagging New York Post:

Mr. Murdoch said Wednesday that the company was taking separate steps to stem losses at The Post. He said the paper would raise its cover price within the next two weeks to 50 cents, from a quarter.

Some of us haven’t forgotten that the Post dropped its price to a quarter several years ago in an attempt to… turn a profit. I guess that hasn’t worked out. No mention of Mr. Murdoch having any interest in, I don’t know, improving the paper’s dreadful content, which combines the lowest of low-brow trash journalism unworthy of the weekly gossip and alien-abduction rags with the hard-right pro-war conservative editorial content Mr. Murdoch is known for. My guess is Mr. Murdoch isn’t actually concerned about turning a profit at his vanity press – otherwise it would have folded years ago.

Posted April 16, 2008 in Life • Tags:

I never thought I would turn into one of those “Remember when…” guys, but… Remember when an eight-ounce bag of potato chips cost 89 cents? I do. [more]

Posted April 10, 2008 in News • Tags:

San Francisco officials fake out the populace in order to appease China. I wonder where they learned those tactics.

Posted April 9, 2008 in News • Tags:

Will the Olympic torch’s path through San Francisco be a three-peat after the protesters in London and Paris got more attention than the torch itself? It’s getting a posse of protection normally reserved for world leaders, but travelling through America’s most protest-happy city practically guarantees mayhem will ensue. I say, bring it on. If there’s anything worth protesting, it’s the world giving China’s despicable totalitarian regime the acceptance it so desperately craves and so clearly does not deserve. China’s leaders will continue to spread vicious lies about the “splittists” who continue to demand some sort of freedom from their tyranny, while continuing to practice the same kind of “manifest destiny” tactics that the US and other countries got away with 150 years ago but doesn’t fly in today’s globalized, democracy-conscious community. Sorry, China, if you want to participate in today’s world affairs, expect to have your dirty laundry aired in public, and DON’T expect the same old torture and repression to make it go away.

Posted April 3, 2008 in News • Tags: ,

China’s regime is evil, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the shocking malevolence on display in neighboring North Korea.

Around March each year, North Korea typically asks the South to provide it with about 300,000 tons of fertilizer for its spring planting and 500,000 tons of rice to help overcome its chronic “choongoong,” or spring hunger.

“Spring hunger” must be Commie-speak for “our thoroughly discredited ideology seems to be causing another famine, please feed us”. [more]