You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2007.

Yet another useless unused forum has been added to the Internet.  Another place for spammers for other Counties to post adds for Viagra, watches and work at home scams.  Of course I will delete these.

Just in case any of my tools start to become popular, their user-base will have a central place to whine at me when stuff goes awry or if they have a great new idea for a tool. The reason that I know it will never be used? Simple, after three months of the tools being available and used by other people then just my friends, I have never received any feedback, through my feedback/comment form.

Since one of the main goals for Brettski’s EVE Tools is that it works from the IGB, my choice of forum software was very thin. After looking around for some time for a forum with a basic format (worst being nested div and table tags), I chose punbb. It’s a php based forum without a lot of bells and whistles, but it runs quick. A user or programmer of punbb, had a mod which was made specifically for EVE-Online. That mod is out of development, but he followed it up with a stand alone forum for EVE’s IGB called evebb. It’s not a bad piece of software and works with EVE‘s embedded features, but I really just wanted a plain forum that works well and could be displayed in a simple format. Punbb should do it for me for now. I just hope they keep developing it.

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As the song by Huey Lewis and the News rings through my head, with strange new lyrics saying, “I want a new fuel, one that does what it should…”

This morning on WBBM radio they said a national survey indicated that Chicago has the highest gasoline prices right now at $3.59 a gallon! It’s really just insane, because you know all the oil companies are showing HUGE revenues (profits too). What I find even more surprising is that every one seems to omit that 9/10 of a cent on every gallon of gasoline, so it’s really $3.60 a gallon. Many years ago, companies thought they would save their customers a little money by taking off 1/10 a cent on every gallon a gas, well it’s still nothing but a joke, an misrepresents the cost of the fuel. It’s corporate conditioning.

I makes me think of the Illinois Toll Way. They have these electronic devices you put in your car, called iPass,  so you don’t have to fumble with change at toll booths. We have one of the first models which has an LCD screen to show the charged amount and balance on the account. A few years ago, the Tollway Authority made many changes to their Tollway system, making express lanes for users of this Ipass device. At this same time, the display on my unit started only show zeros. Their explanation, “There is a system bug, and we don’t know how to fix it.”
More like they don’t want to fix it. See, shortly after these upgrades to the roadways and iPass systems they put down an ultimatum, “Use an iPass device or pay double.”
Yes double! A driver who goes from Wisconsin to Indiana and uses the Illinois Tollway can expect to pay $4, where I with my iPass will pay $2 (I may have the amounts too low as I don’t remember all of the toll booths between Indiana and Wisconsin).

Again, this is conditioning, I don’t see what I am paying, everything is charged to an account, which I can see most people not paying attention to as it’s automatically charged to your credit card, when the account balance reaches a defined level.  Also, there is very limited postings of the actual cost of the Tolls.  It used to be displayed everywhere, now it’s hardly displayed anywhere.  Simple psychology, out of site-out of mind.  With the next raise in tollway fees, it will not be as noticeable to its end users as they aren’t consistently reminded now what they are paying at each tollbooth now.

I am cleaning up dishes after getting my kids to bed when the phone rings–of course I allow my auto-phone assistant pick it up. Over the machines speaker I hear the voice of one of my oldest friend’s wife. Immediately I am thinking, this can’t be good. She never calls, I really only hear from her husband, specially since they moved down to Florida. As I listen to the message, my initial reaction comes true; My friend Mike Laux passed away Sunday night from an over-dose. So it goes.

Of course I called her back, after a few minutes to let the news sink in. It’s not that it’s unbelievable that it happened, it’s just nothing you ever actually want to hear. The worst part of the problem is that he was originally found by his eldest daughter, who ran to her mother saying that, “Dad is lying on the kitchen floor with blood running out of his mouth.”

Goodbye Mike, you will be missed.

Joel Spolsky wrote in his blog recently about visiting the new 7 World Trade Center building. The basis of the entry was about the elevator technology used in the building, I found this very interesting. Basically you choose your floor from the lobby and you will be directed to which elevator to wait for, thus grouping like floor requests together. Great idea. Joel, in his analytical way, found a bug with this system as such:

People who aren’t used to the new system come into the lobby and see an elevator with an open door. They jump into it, and then get stuck going to some random floor because they can’t key in their destination once they’re inside.

At first read, I thought, sure that could be an issue, then contemplated it for a moment. Joel is thinking about how elevators work now, where a door would be left open for convenience. This wouldn’t be the case in the new system as a floor needs to be chosen first. OK, small oversight on my part–there are already people in the elevator, and someone is running for it (no chance this person will wait another 2 minutes for the next elevator). The leap through the threshold before the door closes, of course causing it to open and forcing all on the elevator to wait until it closes. Now I see how this person has a very small chance to get to the floor they desire. So I guess the users learn to enter their floor first after their first building tour, kind of a hammer over the head approach.

I have a feeling a keypad will be installed on the inside of these elevators as enough people complain, or they will just have to remember and conform. It does sound like an efficient system for a large busy office building. Perhaps I will try to look this up, perhaps at Otis.

I found this at the Otis site, its a system called “Compass™ destination entry” I am curious to here their response to the hurried passenger who jumps into a car to find no floor selectors.

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