Bad User Inteface: Login Popup

This website has a standard box for a username and password. After typing the password I hit enter. Here is what happens:

99 out of 100 websites let you hit the enter key to submit information. Therefore, there must be a simple, well understood, way for that functionality to exists. It probably takes extra effort to avoid equating “enter” with “login” in this context. But this web programmer couldn’t figure it out.

And even weirder, the website knows what you are trying to do. It knows you are trying to login, but it’s too dumb to do it itself. Why not? If you know I’m trying to login, why don’t you just log me in!?

NBA 2010

In case you didn’t notice, last night the Boston Celtics crushed barely beat the Miami Heat. Who’d a thunk it? I have very mixed feelings about Shaq being a Celtic, but if he keeps playing like last night I will quickly come to peace with it.

LeBron was roundly boo’ed during his introduction. What are the acceptable reasons to boo him?

  1. Because he screwed Cleveland over so bad.
  2. Because of the incredibly egotistical way he promoted the show of changing teams.
  3. It’s always fun taking someone down a peg.
  4. You always boo the other guy.

#2 and #4 are okay. He had the right to play for whoever he wanted, and #3 is just being a jerk (or living in Philadelphia).

Gourmet Food

(I’m stealing this story from my boss about his young daughter.)

“Hey sweetie, we’re going on a special father-daughter trip. We’re driving out to a fancy gourmet doughnut place.”
“What does that mean?”
“What does which part mean?”
“Gourmet – what does that mean?”
“Well, gourmet means… gourmet is like the word ‘fancy’, but just for food.”
“Oh. Okay!”

His wife came down as they were getting in the car.
“Where are you two going?”
“To get more gay doughnuts!”

Settle the Bet

I was about to go through airport security with a friend. We made a bet that the first one through security wins a dollar from the other. He beat me through the metal detector by 30 seconds. But it took him too long to put everything back together, I beat him out of the security area by a good minute.

Who wins?

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Business Lingo

Business people talk in weird ways. For instance, Mrs. Muttrox hated it that I call people “resources”. No, she says, they are people, call them that! But when you run projects, you quickly learn that you can adjust the timelines, the people, or the money. People are a resource you can utilize, and they are similar to money or equipment in that way. When Mrs. Muttrox went corporate she started seeing people as resources also.

Business people talk in weird ways. Business people have a way of turning nouns into verbs and vice-versa. And, of course, there are people who just say things wrong or have their own unqiue ways of phrasing things. Here are some of my favorite phrases and words I’ve personally encountered in the workplace.

• Key Learnings: I hate the word learnings. It means things you’ve learned.
• Dimensionalize: This means understanding the parameters of a problem. I think the idea is that each issue is a separate dimension, and the “-izing” is the understanding of that particular dimension.
Opening the Kimono: Oh, how I hate this one. The idea of showing you have nothing to hide could be expressed any number of ways, without bring foreign cultures and sex into it.
• Liase: The act of being a liaison(derived from interface?)
• Disconnectivity: When two groups aren’t talking to each other, they have disconnectivity.
• Incenting: This means incentivizing? This turns out to be a popular topic.
• Agreeance: When two people agree, they are in aggreance.
• Confliction: The state of having conflict.
• Concepted: It means an idea was conceived
• Using something very specific to mean something general. “This campaign isn’t aimed for your New Yorks or Chicagos, it’s for your Greensboros and Portlands.” Why don’t you say it isn’t aimed at big cities, it’s aimed at mid-sized cities? I find this construction very annoying. yet it’s very effective. By using concrete examples, the brain quickly understands the categories. I would settle for adding one more word, “like”: This campaign isn’t aimed for DMAs like New York or Chicago, it’s for ones like Greensboro and Portland.
• Followership: What apparently used to mean leadership, or the state of having followers. This quote was from the promotion notice for one of our executives.

In all of his various management roles, he has showed tremendous leadership and ability to see opportunities… He also has a unique talent for creating “followership,” which is the quality that makes people want to follow him and perform at the highest level”

That’s all true, and it’s great, but that’s leadership!
• Getting micro: looking at the details
• Ownable: The advertising should have an ownable concept. Spend a few years in marketing and this makes sense. Advertising can be based around a concept that gives the consumer a sense of ownership, driving engagement and action with the advertising.
• Historical: Historical is a word. But this is always used instead of historic. “This is a historical event.” No, it isn’t. It’s happening right now.
• Futuristically: Things that haven’t happened yet?
• Solutionize: To come up with a solution.
• Transgressing information (instead of transmitting)
• Visioning: A kind of thinking. This is an explicit phase of several development processes where I work. I’m lost how this is so different than “ideation”, or “figure out what you want to do.”
• That got “permeated” through the entire site.

And completely at random, here’s a great quote from our always quotable CMO discussing calls to action:

My view is, consumers are lemmings. You tell them to click here, and goddamnit, they do it!

French Sundries #11: Automated Hotel

After a full day, we had been driving for 7 hour straight to get as close to Paris as we could for the end of the trip. At 11:00 pm, we finally pulled over at a highway hotel. They were full up, and pointed us across the way. We shambled over to the front door and went in. Or at least we tried to. The door was locked. There was no apparent way to open it. (We took this picture the next day, imagine it in the dark with heavy mental fatigue.)


We could not figure out what to do. We pressed every button and nothing worked. What kind of crazy hotel has no one on duty and no way to contact anyone? These crazy French people!? We gave up. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the ATM… and gradually realized what it was.


The hotel was automated at night. You paid with a credit card at the “ATM”. It gave you a code number that was good for 24 hours. You could use the code number to open the door and get to your room. As you might imagine, a hotel that thinks having a single employee at night is too much is rather spartan. Our room:


There were no pictures on the wall, nothing that could be stolen. It was basically a stripped down, bare bones dorm room. The next morning we got up and went on our way.

French Sundries #10: Road Signs

The highway exits for each town had graphics telling you something about the town. We loved this. Many of them were beautiful images. And we got a good laugh out of towns that couldn’t muster anything better than a hill.

sign 2

On one strech of road, for no reason we could ever figure out, there were large statues of mushrooms. Statues of small children would be playing near them.

mushrooms in france

(And yes, those are dead french bugs on the windshield.)

French Sundries #9: Toilet Paper Dispenser

The heavy metal piece is serrated on the inside. When you pull on the toilet paper, the motion pushes the metal piece out of the way. When you stop pulling, it falls back, and the serration cuts the toilet paper. You don’t have to rip it off, it naturally cuts itself just how you want it.

french TP

French Sundries #8: Downtown Bikelanes

I think having the cross symbol on the stop light instead of a solid color is confusing.

stop sign in Paris

Paris is a biking city. They have velo stations every couple of blocks. You can rent a bike for 30 minutes and it only costs one euro. We loved it. Despite the scarcity of space Paris has bike lanes everywhere. Some of them even go against traffic! This is a stop sign that is only for the bike lane that goes against automotive traffic. You have to have a lot of faith in the system to proceed on green. (Actually, that’s not true. Parisian drivers are extremely aggressive, but are also extremely aware of their surroundings, and the net result is a scary but safe environment.)

bikelane stop sign

French Sundries #5: Digital Pricing

I liked this innovation. Each product has a digital pricetag. That way all the prices can be updated automatically. I assume it is integrated with the cash register technology so that it always scans the right price. I’ve heard this is done in some places in the USA, but I’ve never seen it. A further idea is to automatically update the price based on market conditions. CVS headquarters could increase the price of some products because it’s a hot day, or it’s rush hour, or a competitor just opened up, etc.

digital pricing

Oh, Grow Up CNN (and Jon Stewart)

Rick Sanchez got fired for anti-semitic comments. His sins appear to be:

  • Saying Jon Stewart was bigoted. Which he later amended to “prejudicial”. He claimed the Stewart is bigoted towards people that aren’t from his wealthy suburban background.
  • Saying that even though Latinos and Jews are both minorities, they are worlds apart in terms of their relative power.

I’m not sure I agree, but both of those are reasonable points. Neither seems particular bigoted to me.

(I can’t find the full transcript, but the first part is here, and the full video is here.)

Jon Stewart should be laying into CNN for their actions. It is sad that they don’t see a distinction between talking about minorities, discrimination, and power, and actual bigotry. Getting outraged about things like this takes away from outrage when truly bad things occur.

Links o’ Interest

Germany has finally finished paying off World War I reparations

The Goodfellas guys reminisce, 20 years later.

The US Treasury has turned a healthy profit from the Citibank bailout. Total cost of TARP program approaching zero.

Court Hijinx


Growing up

That’s what friends are for

This guys obituary is going to be awkward

Watermelon to the face

Maps of Europe by stereotypes

Together forever

Funny Iphone configuration

That’s not gravel, that’s dead fish

How to Rock

Allright, that is impressive

Kurt Vonnegut posters

Ultimate combover

Internal footage of a cruise ship in very stormy seas

The party

How to climb a transmission antenna. I get vertigo just watching.