Category Archives: Technology and Society

Infinite Loop

I hate automated phone payment systems that insist on voice input. I particularly hate them when they’re stupidly worded.

After providing information, the voice says “Can I repeat that for you?”

Well, the two options are yes, or no. Obviously, the system is capable of repeating it for me. So the correct answer is “yes.” But an answer of “yes” will result in it repeating it for me. To which my response should again be “yes.” The only to get it to stop is to lie, and say, “no.” That is, the system cannot repeat it for me, even though we both know it can. And of course, being the sensitive kind of guy I am, I feel guilty about lying to it, even though it’s just a mindless machine.

I’d like to think that there’s some counter built into the system to keep scrupulously literal and honest people from dying of starvation or sleep deprivation while continuing their futile attempts to placate it, but it seems like it would just be simpler to word it, “Should I repeat that for you?” Or “Would you like me to repeat that for you?”

It’s even more irritating than asking me whether or not I had a perfect stay.

[Update a while later]

For those curious, I see no reason to protect the guilty. Maybe they’ll hear about this and do something about it. It’s US Bank.

A Generic Cancer Breakthrough?


Curley is brimming with cautious optimism.

“If we can come up with ways of delivering these particles to the cancer cells, but not to normal cells,” Curley said, “this treatment will work. There’s not a doubt in my mind. Any kind of cancer, anywhere in the body!”

Doctor Curley’s team is ready to publish their first results using laboratory animals. So far, the targeted nanoparticles and the Kanzius RF machine have passed every test.

Hope it’s not being overhyped. There’s a little too much boosterism, and not enough information, in the news story to tell.

Linked In Idiots

OK, I haven’t quite figured out why I want to be in all these social networking sites, but I actually have accumulated quite a few contacts in Linked In. But twice now, when I tried to add someone as a “Friend,” I get a message, in big red letters, that “We’re sorry, but you must provide an email address to send an invitation to a friend.”

Fine. I know their email address.

The problem is, the geniuses (<VOICE=”Homer Simpson”>I’m being sarcastic</VOICE>) who designed the web site don’t provide any text box in which to put it. Am I missing something?

[Update a few minutes later]

I did figure out, that if I check “Other” instead of “Friend,” I do get a text box for the email address. This seems like a bug to me.

In addition, there is a problem. Apparently, someone I invited disinclined the invitation, or said they didn’t know me, which is why I’m required to enter email addresses for friends, even if they won’t provide a means to actually do that. It seems like this is too harsh a punishment for a one-time occurrence of this. I’ve no idea how it happened, but inviting people you don’t know, or who don’t (for whatever reason) want to admit that they know you, doesn’t seem like such a horrible thing that it’s one strike and you’re out. Another bug, in my opinion.