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Friday, 20 Oct 2006

Do we love to hate Microsoft? Well, I work as a developer with their technology every day and yes, I admit it - if I am honest I love to hate them.

Why? Well, because it's so easy!

So please join in and enjoy the following review of an old version of Microsoft Word. I cannot remember how I came to chance upon the web site, even though I found it only days ago. (This seems typical. Is the internet populated by amnesiacs redistributing untraceable jokes and tidbits? I think it is.)

Anyway, here's your article:-

Here's the text of the article, for keep's sake:-
Microsoft Word Sucks
Original author unknown.


[Warning: Extreme language follows.]


For reasons which are completely beyond my control, I've spent half a week writing a document in Word 98.

I have never in my life seen, heard of, or even imagined a more malodorous piece of steaming shit than this little slice of Microsoft. Words fail me, and all that follows is the faintest Platonist shadow-on- a-wall of what is, in my heart, the Ideal Peeve, perfect in its sincerity, bottomless in its depth, and unassailable in its accuracy.

This bloated, pestilent gigabyte-swamping piece of ordure takes up enough computational resources to accurately model the world's weather for the next billion years, and what do you get for it? Something that will format and display text? Don't make me fucking laugh. What you do get is a profusion of bells and whistles thrown in a careless heap, each bauble lovingly designed to make the straight path crooked, the intuitive arcane, the simple impossible.

Take the ``Help'' for example. It's not just help, it's a new friend!

I don't want a new friend, you shit-slurping choad-munching bunch of retards; I've all too many as it is. What I want is something simple where I can find a technical detail with a minimum of fuss and interruption. I don't want animation. I don't want natural-language interpretation. I don't want to be led by the fucking nose. Give me a fucking index and get the hell out of my damn face. If I dismiss a window, I want it gone. I don't want it to wave goodbye, or hesitate, or sneeze. I want it gone.

The document I was working on was very simple. No images, no tables, no nothing. One font, one style, that's it. It would be perfectly simple in other system, even earlier versions of Word, but, oh no, not in this latest magnum opus of the word processing world.

This helpless, hapless, hopeless, buggy piece of offal insisted on changing my fonts every couple of minutes for no reason. Random chunks of text, at random times. And bullet points, don't talk to me about fucking bullet points. It's a little known fact that in the bullet-point mode of Word 98 every single button on every single toolbar is the ``Fuck Me Over Now'' button. I've got bullet points going left, I've got 'em going right, and down and up, I've got 'em changing indentation, and style, you name it.

You'd think in 20 or so megabytes of RAM there'd be room for one scenario in which it doesn't actively do anything wrong, but for that you'll have to wait for Word 2023, which will have a user interface like a retarded version of ``I have no mouth, and I must scream.''

And don't try telling me that one need only configure the options to avoid these problems; I'm not a fucking moron. I quickly configured the preferences so as to minimize all this bullshit, at which point Word promptly changed them back. Lather, rinse, repeat. If you don't want fast saves, then fuck off, you're gunna have 'em. Don't want your grammar constantly corrected by some shitty little subprogram that doesn't know the first goddamn thing about grammar? Tough shit. Empty your wallet and move off to the side.

How did this come about? It can't be incompetence, at least not the usual mundane sort one is constantly immersed in simply by having to share a planet with a bunch of fucking primates. This is either some transcendent type of incompetence, or active malevolence.

My money's on malevolence. This software was obviously created by a company who's motto is ``We're Microsoft, and you, the customer, aren't worth fuck to us.'' It matters not one iota what their official motto is, watch the hands, not the mouth. Well, Microsoft, your time will come. It may not be Linux that does you in, it may not be the DoJ, it may not be this decade, but you're going to go the way of the dodo, and I for one will cavort naked on your grave, pissing effusively on your memory, and screaming, ``Animate this, you bastards!'' to the sky.

But in the here-and-now, I shall finish this document with the quiet dignity with which I have always comported myself, and then I shall un-install Word, and swear a terrible oath that I would rather daub dung on paper with a stick than write a document using a Microsoft product.

Saturday, 14 Oct 2006

Ebay is famous as an auction and general trading platform. No-one can deny its usefulness and extreme success. So it must be good, right?

Ebay is not without its flaws and critics. I have a criticism of its feedback system that seems so wholly apparent that it is to my mind negligent that they have not plugged the hole by now..

Ebay's "feedback system" is supposedly a real plus point for the web site, allegedly helping buyers and sellers alike by enbaling them to see the feedback ratings of other potential sellers or buyers before doing business with them. I disagree with the usefulness of the feedback system as it is implemented currently. I can't believe that I am the only member of Ebay who finds a gaping hole in the way that feedback is administered.

* the problem

Some buyers and sellers in my view abuse the feedback system by deferring giving the other party a feedback comment until they have received a comment first. Some who do this claim that they have lost out in the past because others have not bothered to leave them feedback and this policy increases the likelihood they will get a feedback score. Presumably this also affords them the luxury of responding with a negative feedback, whether or not justified, in return, if they don't like what they get.

Some eBay members - buyers and sellers alike - actually state that it is their policy not to leave feedback until they have received it first from the "other party". So what if that is my policy also and I happen to be the "other party"? - neither of us gets feedback? I believe this situation is not uncommon, yet it does no-one any good. In fact, I suggest that it is mildy insane.

Have you noticed that some Ebayers leave negative feedback in retaliation for receiving negative feedback themselves? While this is understandable human nature, it is not correct.

Suppose you have done a transaction with another Ebay member and you are not happy with the way it went? Suppose you went through all the courtesy of trying to straighten out whatever the issue was but could not get satisfaction? What should you do?

Well, this excellent, transparent feedback system has been put there for you to leave a comment and a rating (positive, neutral or negative) for the performance of the other party in that transaction. Aren't you somewhat obliged to leave an honest assesment if you write anything? Oh, but if you do that and it's not good news, might not the other member leave you a bad score out of spite? - even if you did everything right? And you don't want that, do you, because it messes with your own feedback rating, doesn't it?

So you could you leave a positive rating (neutral is no better than negative, really, is it? - we all know it's just as bad) and thereby essentially mislead other Ebay members, to preserve and possibly increase your own cherished positive rating.

What a choice! How transparent is that?

For instance, if you are the buyer and you pay straight after the auction's end using PayPal ("This seller's preferred method of payment is PayPal" etc), what more is there that you can do? Not much!You've executed you part of the transaction fully and completely. You're just waitng for the goods. You should get a positive rating for that shouldn't you? (I suppose in the event that you subsequently abuse the seller in some way, you should forfeit a good score, but is that common or likely?)

But it does not work that way. A situation of bartering and stand-offs emerges, rendering the feedback system less than reliable.

* a proposed solution

Hold publication of feedback by both parties until both have provided a feedback response for the transaction. When they both have left feedback, display the two comments. This way there can be no stand-off, no bartering for kind words, and the comments are more likely to be honest. And if either person does not like the feedback they have received, let them respond to it and add another comment if necessary, just as they can do with the present system.

How hard is that? Well, compared with the other complexities that have been added to the Ebay platform over the recent months, it can't be too hard.

"Well, James, why don't you suggest it to Ebay," do I hear you mutter? I have done. On two occasions. More than a year ago. I got the standard, non-commital, "We value your comments highly" type of reply and that was it.

So I am taking the liberty of doing the only other thing I can to further this micro cause - publishing it in my own blogspace. Watch out, Ebay, you intransigent bastards!


EXTRA! EXTRA! - 31 Oct 2006

Finally I have found that it is not just me:-

This is a blog's archive from 2004, so people were discussing this very same issue and suggesting the same and other solutions and improvements two years ago.

I feel at once delighted and disappointed. I am heartened to know that I'm not a lone bonkers voice in the wilderness; there are others like me and they're not loons for hire. I'm sad because eBay can't give a flying fuck about this; and I'll admit to being at the same time a little sore that my idea was not original in time; it was original in my mind though, when I conceived the idea a year or so ago.

So that meme has been kicking about for at least two years and what do we have to show for it?



Hats off to eBay's management, who probably are still far too busy, trying to dig themselves out of the pile of money they had made fiscal year 2003,

Wednesday, 11 Oct 2006

  1. Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things
  2. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.
  3. Atheism is a non-prophet organization
  4. If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?
  5. The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live
  6. I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose
  7. What if there were no hypothetical questions?
  8. If a deaf person swears, does his mother wash his hands with soap?
  9. If someone with multiple personalities and threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?
  10. Is there another word for synonym?
  11. Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all?"
  12. What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?
  13. If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages?
  14. Would a fly without wings be called a walk? (LOVE this one!!)
  15. Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone will clean them?
  16. If a turtle doesn't have a shell, is he homeless or naked?
  17. Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?
  18. If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to start speaking?
  19. Why do they put Braille on the drive-through ATMs?
  20. How do they get deer to cross the road only at those yellow road signs?
  21. What was the best thing before sliced bread?
  22. One nice thing about egotists: they don't talk about other people
  23. Does the Little Mermaid wear an algebra?
  24. Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?
  25. How is it possible to have a civil war?
  26. If one member of a synchronized swim team drowns, do the rest drown too?
  27. If you ate both pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?
  28. If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?
  29. Whose cruel idea was it for the word "Lisp" to have "S" in it?
  30. Why are hemorrhoids called "hemorrhoids" instead of "asteroids"?
  31. Why is it called tourist season if we can't shoot at them?
  32. Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?
  33. If you spin an oriental man in a circle three times does he become disoriented?
  34. Can an atheist get insurance coverage for acts of God Beacon