ianstopher.com

Gym upgrade?Monday 28 September 2015

I'm not too keen on the new turnstiles at the refurbished gym reception, they've got the distinct whiff of public lavatory about them, I definitely preferred the aesthetic of the glass door rather than the revolving metal prongs.

The old exit gate had been out of action for months so I was surprised to see the new one set in it's open position. Then I discovered why, the gates weren't working. This was pointed out to me after I tried my card, which seemed to elicit the correct response, a green light, but the gate itself wouldn't budge. According to the person on reception it wasn't working because “it wasn't connecting to the Internet properly”.

I didn't want to have a potentially protracted conversation about it then, so I went straight in. However I did give it a fair bit of thought. The only even vaguely sane reason I can see for doing validation remotely would be to allow for the fact that your membership can apply to multiple gyms. Surely it'd be much safer though to simply replicate that authentication list to each gym, every few hours or even overnight, then checking could be done locally and the possibility of the connectivity point of failure is removed. The only time I can see it causing an issue is if a member newly joins at one club then immediately tries to visit another on the same day but surely that's very much an edge case? Instead the system they appear to have in place inconveniences everyone there's a problem with Internet connectivity.

My suspicion actually is that when the staff member referred to “the Internet” they actually meant network and simply the computer controlling the gates locally had in some way failed. I didn't get a chance to confirm though as when I left no one was at reception. I'm sufficiently curious though I'll definitely ask the question when I get the can.

Supermoon SundaySunday 27 September 2015

Red Moon

Software PollutionSaturday 26 September 2015

Branding TwitterFriday 25 September 2015

Brands are everywhere these days both on and offline, Twitter is no exception. So far the intrusion into my timeline by what Twitter euphemistically calls "sponsored tweets" have not been too excessive; yet, but that could easily change.

Unsurprisingly it seems an awful lot of tweets directed at brands on Twitter are complaints. It's quite interesting to watch the dialogue with dissatisfied customers, be they celebrities, the Internet famous, or just your average Joe or Josephine.

I have to admit I did spontaneously do this once, I'd just had an advert for a major chocolate brand injected into my timeline. I wasn't feeling kindly disposed to the brand as it had variously been bought out, promised not to move production overseas then done just that, and lastly had already begun altering product quantities and recipes. Some time before I'd decided to stop purchasing that particular brand. Their tweet was about a competition offering flights to European destinations, and I couldn't resist making a sarcastic remark linking their overseas promotion with their relocating of jobs. Unnecessary perhaps, but I left it at that.

However many people take to Twitter to have protracted rants at brands. It can be quite amusing to watch people doing the online equivalent of shouting down the phone at some poor call-centre workers. Where it gets particularly interesting is when it's either someone who's Internet-famous or a genuine celebrity. Now obviously you're not going to see the A-listers doing it, they mostly don't run their own Twitter feeds, but mid-level celebrities with plenty of time on their hands are quite prone to it.

I was watching one such two-and-fro today. Aside from the fact that such things can sound a little “ranty”, I was broadly agreeing with the celeb. They'd been promised a delivery, it hadn't arrived, and the courier company was making claims about why which were being refuted by said celebrity. So far so good, I'm sure we've all had “we tried to deliver” cards posted when we were at home, or waited in all day for a delivery which never arrives. However the last Tweet was, and I'm paraphrasing “Monday's radio show will be really good though @CourierCompany so thanks for that”. Now it's only my interpretation, but that felt a little too close do “don't you know who I am.” in fact the last person I recall threatening to use their radio show as a platform to get their own back was a rather odious ex-Tory politician and I'm not sure that's someone you want to be grouped together with.

Wrong day to shopThursday 24 September 2015

While my dna might be a genetic dead-end, if I were to have some theoretical children the first thing I'd teach them is spatial awareness. Not in some philosophical sense, but rather an awareness of their surroundings. The number of people these days that appear to have no awareness of what is going on around them is truly astounding. The occasional lapse in concentration is fine, a fast moving accidental collision is acceptable as we all make mistakes but a consistent ignorance is not.

Normally I can deal with the odd idiot, but the shops seemed rammed with shuffling, mindless, automaton today. I patiently waited while they blocked isles with trolleys and gawped endlessly obstructing shelves I wanted access to. My frustration level was reaching absurd levels and I still had another shop to visit.

Having avoided dying of old age while waiting for the blue-rinse brigade, the next shop contained quite a few shoppers at the opposite end of the age spectrum This time I was cut-off by a pram wielding woman probably consumed by her hunt for frozen pizza or some such, But to her credit she did realise her mistake and I was treated to a delightful apology in the form of "Sorry, maaaaate". Her lazy drawling of the a's nearly made my brain vomit, and it my head I imagined delivering a withering "I am not your mate". But in reality I conceded I shouldn't be churlish and instead managed a "Ok, don't worry" through slightly gritted teeth and a rictus grin.

Headphones vs SpeakersWednesday 23 September 2015

I was trying to concentrate today, and music via headphones didn't seem to be helping. I didn't want silence so instead I tried using speakers. That seemed subjectively to help.

What I'd now like to know is presuming the same volume when measured at the ear, is there a difference in effect to concentration if noise is delivered via headphones versus via speakers?

Email WaitingTuesday 22 September 2015