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February 24, 2006

what's in a name?

I started thinking about the name of my country-- The United States of America. It's really kinda weird, when you think about it. I mean, the name is not really a name, but more like a description. It basically says: We're a bunch of states on the continent of America that are united. That's not a name like England, Ireland, Germany, or Mexico. We can't even rightfully call ourselves America, because that name is already taken by the continent upon which we live. Hm.

But then I thought some more, and realized there are other countries with descriptive names like ours: United Arab Emirates, the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and Booboo's Island of Pleasure, so we're not alone (but definitely in the minority). OK, I made that last one up, but you get the idea.

If we could rename our country, what would it be? The Republic of Steve? Great Stephen? New Stephen? Or maybe just Steveland? I'll have to think some more on this one...

As an aside, I wanted to find a list of all country names on the planet, and Wikipedia was quick to answer: List of Countries.

I think Trinidad and Tobago has a cool name, plus it's a two-fer.

That is all.

Posted by Savage Steve at 8:38 PM | Comments (1)

February 14, 2006

week 6

The PAW Week 6 entry is up, in glorious black & white.

Also, I seem to have broken the template with my non-standard size image, so I will have to do some CSS snooping to see just what's going on and fix it.

It's always something.

That is all.

Posted by Savage Steve at 10:45 PM

February 11, 2006

i'm trouble

Dear United States Postal Service,

I tried to print a simple USPS Priority Mail label from your web site. The Click-N-Ship web application is one of the worst web applications I have ever seen. After spending over 30 minutes trying to print ONE label, I gave up.

Here's what's wrong with your application:

I could not print a label from Safari on OS X. I got all the way through the process and tried to print the label, but nothing happened (yes, I have Acrobat Reader installed). I clicked "retry", but nothing happened again. I went through the entire process a second time... nothing, nada. WRITING WEB APPLICATIONS FOR SPECIFIC BROWSERS AND PLATFORMS IS BAD BUSINESS, LOCKS OUT A PART OF YOUR POTENTIAL USER POPULATION, AND IS JUST PLAIN STUPID, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE IT'S SO EASY TO MAKE THEM COMPATIBLE.

I switched over to my Windows XP computer and tried Internet Explorer. I entered all the address information, clicked "continue", and was unexpectedly brought back to the Click-N-Ship start page. I tried this again... same thing. Then I realized that you are probably using cookies, so I enabled them and entered the address information a THIRD time, and was able to continue to the print page. IF YOU ARE GOING TO REQUIRE COOKIES, YOU NEED TO EXPLAIN THAT IN YOUR SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS, AS WELL AS AUTOMATICALLY DETECTING IF COOKIES ARE ENABLED BEFORE SOMEONE WASTES TIME TRYING TO USE YOUR APPLICATION WITHOUT COOKIES ENABLED.

I tried to print the label, but this time was unable to print because your web application is trying to do too much for me automatically. See, I don't have a printer installed on my Windows XP computer (it's not my main computer), but your web application wouldn't allow me to save the PDF or do anything other than try to print it automatically through Acrobat Reader. NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO PRINT THE LABEL IMMEDIATELY OR ON THE SAME COMPUTER THEY ARE FORCED TO USE TO GENERATE THE LABEL IN THE FIRST PLACE. A SIMPLE OPTION TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF WOULD HAVE SOLVED THIS PROBLEM AND WOULD BE EASY TO PROVIDE. OPTIONS ARE A GOOD THING! DON'T DUMB DOWN YOUR APPLICATION- -IT'S MAKE IT THAT MUCH HARDER TO USE FOR PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

I gave up at this point.

Thank you for another frustrating United States Postal Service experience, but I guess I set myself up by having a reasonable expectation that I could print a shipping label from your web site.

Note: This actually happened, and I actually sent this letter to them. I am a magnet for bad customer service.

That is all.

Posted by Savage Steve at 11:13 AM | Comments (6)

February 8, 2006

caught up

I'm caught up. Astute viewers will notice a pattern. I hadn't planned on it, but there it is, in black and white... and color.

See what a good collimated tachyon beam can do?

That is all.

Posted by Savage Steve at 10:59 PM | Comments (3)

three, four, and five

Ok, so perhaps you've noticed that my "Picture a Week" project fizzled out after two weeks. As no less than three friends (certainly no more) have given me shit about being behind on the project, you are hereby asked to choose your excuse:

  1. My dog ate my camera.
  2. Um, dude... it's like hard work coming up with a picture a week!
  3. Pure unadulterated laziness.
  4. I was waiting for my new camera to arrive so I could take much nicer pictures.
  5. I'm actually not behind on the pictures-- instead, you are caught in a quantum time loop, endlessly repeating the first two weeks of my picture a week project. Aim a microburst of collimated tachyons towards your nearest cosmic string and all will be well again.

The truth may be found in some combination of these excuses. But now that I do have my shiny new Nikon D200 DSLR camera in hand, it should be much easier to make HAWESOME photos. Yes, that's right... HAWESOME! Either that, or I'll still procrastinate on the project, but now I'll do it more expensively and with more megapixels.

Ok, I promise I'll get back with the project. But now I have a conundrum-- do I backfill the missing weeks, or should I just skip them and pick up with week six? It doesn't seem artistically pure to post a week three picture that was taken during week six, but then it also doesn't seem right to skip them. What to do, what to do...

Ah to hell with it... weeks three, four, and five will be coming up shortly!

That is all.

p.s. HAWESOME. It's the new buzz word taking over the nation. The NATION I tell you! So sayeth the Shane. Mind the language... turn your speakers down a bit if you are at work or have small children in the vicinity! His first vlog in which he spouts HAWESOME may be seen here.

Posted by Savage Steve at 9:19 PM | Comments (4)