Ramblings Of a Madman

Yeah, like i would know a good description…

Posts for Tag: complaints

Some people are retards, but traffic signs don't help

Disclaimer: This post is mostly about Portuguese roads. Adapt to your own country as needed :)

Some people are retards. Period. No matter what, they will drive on the wrong lane, "forget" to indicate a direction/lane change, or just plainly drive like madmen. Here's a good example:

![A retard](/images/retard.png)

Others however - as i want to believe - are just misinformed or misled. In the following picture you can see a typical Portuguese highway.

![A retard](/images/2-lane.png)

What's wrong with it, you might ask? If it was you driving would you be inclined to drive on the correct (right) lane, or would you naturally assume that the right lane will exit? Why - oh why - would someone create a sign that spans 2 lanes when all 3 will continue normally throughout the highway? Makes little sense to me.

But let's look at another - more critical - example:

![A retard](/images/3-lane.png)

These 3 lanes will all continue for the rest of the highway. That being said, why would they put up these signs? Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to have one sign - that spans the 3 lanes - indicating the continuity of the main destination (A5 Lisboa - Linda-a-velha) and then - on top of the right lane - the indication that this lane will let you access "A9 Loures"?

I think with some improvements like this it would be easier to change drivers' mentalities and contribute to safer roads, don't you think?

Update server not available (error- 12) on OSX

Here's the definitive fix for this annoying-as-hell problem:

1. Run the following on the command line: sudo /Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate/GoogleSoftwareUpdate.bundle/Contents/Resources/GoogleSoftwareUpdateAgent.app/Contents/Resources/install.py --uninstall 2. Restart Chrome.

Taken from here.

 

The knee- it no worky!

A couple of years ago I sustained a knee injury while snowboarding and, although not very dramatic, it did leave kind of a light pain that comes out every now and then, especially when I put a lot of effort in my left leg.

After not giving it much thought for some time I recently discovered that, after putting on a bit of extra weight due to weight lifting every day, my knee started complaining again. So I went to a doctor to get some x-rays done and try to figure out what's wrong. Today I got the results.

Now, I don't know if the guys that write the x-ray reports have a 'cryptic writing' lecture in college or something like that, but it sure seems so. No simple folk can understand what they write on those things. And I don't even mean the medical terms. The sheer effort they put into sounding more "professicocky" (a word I promise I didn't just make up) is astonishing.

[caption id="attachment_1413" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="They're simple folk, you know, morons....."][/caption]

Why, oh why, can't you write for the simple people like me? :)

 

Apple store delivers orders to the past

So apparently my iPad's smart cover will be delivered on the 6th of April. Today is the 21st...

But i'm not complaining. Not about that, at least. You see, they split up my order in two because the iPad is to be shipped later (25th of April). The problem is that an iPad cover is of no use without an actual iPad :)

A statement, a question, and a cool car

Let's start with the question: Who the hell can live happily in negative temperatures? Maybe i'm biased, given my warmer origins but - man - there's no way i could be happy living in a dark, cold place. It's no wonder people who work in dark places (miners, underground train drivers, etc) tend to be more depressed than people that live in warm climates. I mean, take South America for instance; even though they are not amongst the world's richest populations, they are all extremely positive and happy people.

Which brings us to the statement: If we were meant to live in the cold, we would not have been losing body hair along the centuries like we have. And yes, that's my 2 cents of "guessing" science to back up the previous question :)

Finally, i have to say i found this car really intriguing. If i didn't love my Citroen AX so much i might be tempted to buy one of these Daihatsu Materia:

Adventures at the Indian embassy (or how Portuguese services suck)

Where should i start? Ah, yes, the motivation: In about a month i am supposed to go to India in a business trip and - as such - i will require a visa.

I went to the embassy on Wednesday morning only to find out that visa applications are not handled on Wednesdays. Just my luck! It was clearly my fault, since i did not properly check the opening times on their - extremely hard to find - website. Did i mention you spend one hour in traffic just to get there? Suffice to say i was pissed, though mostly at myself. I did try to call them, but the automated response only directed people to their website. Why they bother having a phone is beyond me.

The next day i went back again (1 more hour in traffic) and finally got a ticket. The system works like this: You wait in the streets until a security guard calls you. Then he checks to see if your papers are all in order, and finally gives you a numbered ticket and sends you into the actual waiting/service room where you... wait some more. I arrived at the gate at around 11 am. I got ticket number 35. The embassy opens at 9.30 and they only had served around 19 tickets. I did my math and promptly went back home, at the risk of spending the entire day waiting. Again - probably my fault - but one should take some time to see the number of people that uses our services and get the appropriate amount of workers to be able to deal with them in a timely fashion. Two workers for 50 people, when the average time per person is 20 minutes, will not work.

Third day: Decided that i should be one of the first people to get there and get a ticket. Left home around 8 am. Arrived at the embassy at 9:15. Got ticket number 4. Not bad. Funny fact about lines in portugal: they don't exist. I arrived at the embassy gate and there were around 10 people there already (the embassy opens at 9.30, though they only started actually working at 10). I asked politely "is there a line?" and was greeted with the response "not really, you know how it is with us portuguese, we just remember who came first". This is exactly the kind of crap that pisses me off: lack of order and organization. But then again, looking at my living room right now, i shouldn't really complain :)

So, i got my number and went ahead into the waiting room. Now, the website states that - for business visas - one is required the following:

- Invitation letter from the Indian partner,

OR

- Invitation letter from the Portuguese company explaining the details of the visit.

Note the emphasized "OR".

After waiting for roughly 30 minutes, the lady tells me that i'm missing a letter from my company (i only had the one from the Indian company). I tried to explain that the website said i only needed that one but there was nothing that could be done. She told me how long it would take, explained that it had to be analyzed by two different entities and told me how much it would cost. Since - up until then - i saw everyone paying in cash i decided it would be a good idea to ask if they accepted cards. No cards. Really? What century is this? And you could put out a sign explaining that so that i would know about it - oh call me crazy - before i waited in line or - i don't know - you could put it IN YOUR WEBSITE?

So here's my summary of improvements, if anyone closely related to the Indian embassy in Portugal reads this and cares enough to help people not waste their time and money getting a freaking visa:

Update your website! Seriously, read that again: Update your website. It's the 21st century and pretty much everyone uses the web to know information about this kind of things; Put up a sign that you do not take cards as a method of payment. I do understand why you make the entrance process so explicitly phased, but people need to know what to count on when they get in there. I don't want to stand in line for 1 hour (a very typical case, trust me) only to find out i cannot pay with my card. Also, see point number 1! Get more people working there. Clearly the waiting times should tell you that you are understaffed.

There, ended up being constructive. I feel much better now :)

UPDATE: As a good friend of mine very well pointed out, i should help other people find their website :)

Good blogging desktop client for mac (osx)

When i think about my mind's typical excuses not to write on this blog, the one that pops up the fastest is usually the lack of a good blogging desktop client for mac.

I know, i know, i should just shut the hell up, use Wordpress' web admin interface, and quit whining. But i have a big problem when it comes to writing: i'm lazy. Anything that takes more than a few clicks in order to start writing will make me want to fire up my desktop PC and play something. I once bought a desktop blogging client called Ecto (which i still use, from times to times), but i think it's no longer maintained properly since illumineX acquired it from it's maker - Adriaaan Tijsseling - in the spring of 2008. And to be honest it never felt quite awesome, complaining all the time about the malformed-ness of my youtube embedded code.

So i was wondering if any of you - the 2 people that actually read my blog - know about a nicer (WP) desktop client for the mac.

In other - completely unrelated - news: I have my own parachute rig now. Here are some pics:

DSCF0866 by nocivus

DSCF0867 by nocivus

Seal skin? Really, Crowne Plaza?!?

This is my fourth time in Amsterdam since i started working remotely. Obviously, once i moved back to Portugal i took all my belongings there and gave up my house in Holland so, every time i come to Amsterdam i have to stay at an hotel in the city. I have experienced three, so far: the Movenpick, the NH Caransa (in Rembrandtplein), and the Crowne Plaza.

All of them are pretty good hotels, though my preference goes definitely to the Movenpick. Probably because they are located in a place that was stolen from the waters, hence allowing them to build a proper hotel building, and not confined to an old historic, small, city centre edification. This means the rooms are bigger, and the whole place looks - well - newer. It is also closer to the central train station, though further from the city centre. But i still prefer it even though their website is done in Coldfusion. Sorry for the geeky comment but i could not help myself :)

But this post is not about the hotels; this post is about something i noticed this morning while showering at the Crowne Plaza. Turns out that the shower curtains in that place are made by a company called "SealSkin". That's right, seal skin.

Now, i'm no hardcore environmentalist, but i would assume the Plaza (and especially this company) to be a bit more sensitive about company names. Is this a thing from older times, when wearing skin was fashionable, or do typical 4/5 star hotel customers (i'm guessing filthy rich business men) still think like this?

Reddit's RSS only shows article titles

Am i the only one who is pissed off by this? Aren't RSS feeds supposed to be the awesome way of consuming information? And for what? Web page hits? Here's a newsflash, dudes, your website isn't that good looking :)

Here's what i mean: http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/.rss

Software does not evolve; software degenerates

Today at lunch i felt taken by this concept once again. A long time ago it came to me that software, au contraire of living beings, does not evolve; the best description for it, in my not-so-humble opinion, is of a big tower of LEGOs building blocks: You start stacking them up and, when a certain amount of time passes, you end up with something that is no longer very stable at the base. It degenerates and - in time - you have to kill it.

Every good developer knows this simple fact: requirements change. They do, there is no point in denying it. And continuing to build on top of a base that was thought for one thing and now needs to do another one is just plain crazy, inevitably. The problem here is that, i believe, non-technical people still think that software is a living thing that keeps evolving and that, no matter what you come up with next, there will always be a way to make it do "just that one more thing that we need".

So my question is: What is the best way to convince non-technical people that software needs to be killed or heavily re-factored from times to times in order for things to be maintainable and faster to build upon? I can't help thinking about "Bruce Almighty"s quote when i ask myself the same question: "(BRUCE) So how do you make people love you without affecting free will? (GOD) Welcome to my world, son. If you come up with an answer to that one you let me know!".