Tag: Humor

Messing with Kids’ Heads: A Camp Phone

If you, like we, have successfully convinced your tweeny-bopper that two weeks at sleep-away camp is something for them (as opposed to money well-spent on yourself) you may well find yourself with more free time than usual.  We would like to humbly suggest that you spend some of that time and mess, freely and joyously, with their little heads.

Our daughter, for example, is at a Girl Scout camp that prohibits electronics and, especially, phones.  So in our first letter (daily letter writing being highly encouraged) we decided to send her a “Camp Phone”.  We grabbed a picture of her phone, some screen caps of her favorite apps, sized them all in CorelDraw (but anything would do) and printed the whole mess out on card-stock.

Some highlights:

  • She has a camera app!  Her instructions are: “Frame the shot, press the button and remember what you saw.”
  • She has a YouTube App!  All she has to do is point the phone at something interesting (like a cat or a baby) and watch.  This being version one, however, there’s no rewind.  Or fast forward or pause (unless your subject is really cooperative).
  • We included the “Off” button.  So that she can save power.
  • We’re so wealthy that we included two phones!  See how good we are to her?
  • There’s plenty of games – if you flip through the cards fast enough it looks like you’re winning!

The whole project took about two hours and that includes the pre-requisite fighting with the printer about paper settings.  Pretty cheap to simultaneously let your kid know that you’re thinking about them and completely annoy them.

Max the Fixer

I have been getting flooded with scam calls from people claiming to work for Microsoft and wanting me to give them access to my computer so that they can “fix it”.  The kids they have working the boiler room are incredibly, insanely, hilariously inept so I spent some time with one of them.  Max.  Max the Fixer.

To be clear: this is a scam.  While I do not work with Microsoft I’m sure they will agree: nobody legitimate will EVER call you out of the blue to work on your computer for free.  Nobody, at no company, ever in the history of the microchip.  If you know what you’re doing spending time with these people can make for an interesting diversion; otherwise just hang up.

Consider this a reminder to review this kind of scam with the people you love and support.  It’s painfully clear that this will overwhelmingly target the elderly.  Empower them with the ability to say “No” to these lowlifes.  Free to link or re-blog this as you like.

Pants make Earth Special

I recently caught the end of “Cowboys & Aliens” on cable again and as I watched the climatic battle I remembered the bit of my original review about how Hollywood was getting in a rut with its aliens:

Grey, hairless, oddly-bent knees, big teeth, covered in mucus  and dripping with drool.  It started with “Aliens” of course but then we got “Battle L.A.”, “Super 8″, “Independence Day”, “Skyline”, “Pitch Black” and everything from “Avatar” that you weren’t supposed to want to bang.

As I watched the sequence again I was struck by something that solidified my problem with all of these designs.  The one thing that neatly represents all my complaints and frustrations.

Where are all the pants?

These are advanced civilizations.  They’ve perfected space travel, energy weaponry and (I assume) fiscal accounting policies and practices.  Don’t any of them wear pants?  Togas?  Kilts?  Uniforms of any kind?  Even if only to tell the grey, backwards-kneed space janitors from the grey, backward-kneed space generals?  Do aliens really not have a bikini area?

Fun Sloth Fact!

My favorite podcast, The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, had, as part of a segment, several facts about sloths.  As this one was a huge hit with the kids I decided to work up a little poster.  Since it made me smile I decided to share (click to embiggerize).

Sloth Poster

You might also be interested to know that sloths are surprisingly good swimmers and, thanks to extra vertebrae, can turn their heads up to 270 degrees.

Friday Development Anecdote

[I was reminded of my favorite “Point-haired boss” anecdote today.  Thought some of you might be able to relate.]

It was ’97 or ’98.  Netscape 2.0 (and the first iteration of JavaScript) were only a few months old.  I had designed a (then) novel inter-page server communication technique using graphics and cookies.  For the time it was, if I do say so myself, pretty remarkable (there are still links out there claiming it as a precursor to modern AJAX).

I explained how the new financial goal planning system we developed dynamically reacted to user data during a questionnaire to both dramatically improve performance and customize presentation zones with contextual, meaningful information during an interaction.  Income bracket, number of dependents, current savings, etc – it would all feed into a dynamic, context-sensitive system that presented tailored information and products.  Initial human factors work indicated orders-of-magnitude increases in user acceptance and confidence in the system.

After a 30 minute presentation about the business opportunities the new technique presented the lead executive in the room thought long and hard, nodded and then said “Can we make it blue?

Sunday Coding Humor

Having been doing more development recently and revisting code abstraction components that I’d written years ago but that are still proving insanely useful I imagined this little dialog in my head.  I hope that I’m not the only coder out there that can relate to this.  First when you’re building the component:

Writing a new component is like giving your furture self a thumbs up and big, goofy grin.  Hey, older self, I think you'll need to this again!  You're aces!

Followed potentially years later when you’re still finding uses for it:

Using an old component to solve a new problem is like seeing your past self give you a thumbs up and a big, goofy grin.  Thanks, younger self, I did need to do that again!

Happy coding!

The Last Polictical Posters the Right will Ever Need

Now that the conservatives are just about through tearing each other to shreds over the Republican nomination the machinery is finally being retooled to fold, spindle and mutilate the real object of their ire: Obama!  But it’s so very difficult, isn’t?  First you have to imply a lie.  Then you have to renounce that lie while subliminally insisting that it’s true.  Who has the time?!

So, in the spirit of helpfulness, I’ve created these political posters.  The last political posters the Right will ever need.

No thanks are necessary.

More Seasonal Surliness!

Getting more spam as the month grinds on about the imaginary war on Christmas.  The latest run seems to be pictorial declarations on Facebook.  In response I’ve made the following (with a censored version for the more genteel amongst  you).  Feel free to use this as your FaceBook status if you agree that you’re really just sick of hearing about this.

(Uncensored Version)

(Censored Version)

No matter what you say I hope you have to opportunity to sleep a little too much, eat a little too much and smile a little too much.