Category Archives: Friday Fun

Spell checker FAIL

It’s awesome that this got out onto the shelves;  it’s beyond awesome that it was still there and photographable three weeks after I first saw it.

Makes it hard not to worry about Sainbury’s attention to detail in other things, though.

Sainsbury's Paw Ridge

Sainsbury's Paw Ridge

How many spells can a spell checker check if a spell checker can’t spell cheques?

UPDATE:  This is actually a Brand Awareness FAIL on my part.  Turns out that “Paw Ridge” is a children’s brand from Quaker.  Who knew?  Not me, obviously.

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Sign design

If you go into the loo today, you’re in for a big surprise…

This elegant and witty pastiche is in the Lighthouse in Glasgow.  Makes me feel the need to go just by looking at it.

This second one from Espresso Mondo in Edinburgh is more worrying: the arrow means I find it hard not to read it as a process diagram.

I’m glad they explained this

Operating Instructions.  To turn on the heater - please press the white button.

So glad they explained this

Sign in a ticket office in a Scottish railway station.   It’s beyond comment, really.

Valley girl

Oracle, Redwood Shores

Oracle, Redwood Shores

That’s not just an Oracle campus.  That’s THE Oracle campus.  I’m not a fan-girl of the database company, but I still squeaked with excitement every morning when we stopped at the lights on our way from our hotel in Redwood to the office.

Redwood Shores.

Menlo Park.

Palo Alto.

Santa Clara.

Cupertino.

These are the birth-paces of our modern age, as important as Athens, Rome or Sumeria and, to my geeky mind, as breath-takingly exciting. Yes, if you visit California, then it makes much more sense to hang out in San Francisco than to do a tour of the business parks.  But… but… these are the earthly homes of cyberspace. Giants walk here.

Apple moved out of the garage and into Cupertino.  Electronic Arts and Oracle are at Redwood Shores.  Santa Clara has Intel inside, not to mention the Googleplex and Stanford University.

Stanford would matter if it’s only contribution had been Google and Yahoo. But it helped to give us the very Internet itself: one of the four original internet nodes was at Stanford, back in the day when the internet was ARPANET and years before the Stanford University Network was incorporated as SUN Microsystems.

And then there’s Palo Alto.

It’s hard to over-estimate just how many innovations that shape our daily lives started in Palo Alto as scribbles on an engineer’s blackboard. It’s no surprise that Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center – Xerox PARC – brought us laser printing. It’s more of a surprise to discover that WISIWYG text editors and windows-based interfaces were first thought of here.  When Xerox made the decision to focus on hardware, Apple and Microsoft took their ideas about software and ran away with them.  And the tech-savvy might be interested to know that object-orientated programming and ethernet also came out of PARC.

So there I was, San Francisco smiling at my inner tourist and Silicon Valley whispering to my inner geek.  I’m civilised.  I didn’t even try to persuade my colleague that we should do a tour of the local business parks.  We went into San Francisco to watch the Giants play baseball, and we ate seafood and drank Californian wine on Fishermans’ Wharf.

Sucks to be me.

Different strokes for different folks

Head shot

Head shot

The chap in the badge on the right is my husband.  Don’t worry, he’s fine. He’s researching strokes and dementia; if you stand still long enough near a research MRI scanner you’ll be cajoled into lying still in it while the radiographers calibrate some particular sequence of scanning.

So of course I got hold of the scan and of course I got those nice folks at Zazzle to make it into a badge.

What’s been fascinating is the range of reactions I get when I tell people what it is.

  • Colleague – female – late 20s – “Euch – no, sorry, that’s gross”
  • Artist – male – mid 20s – “Do you have a larger copy of the image?”
  • Career counsellor – female – early 50s – “… how… interesting … “
  • Accountant – female – early 30s – “But why can’t you see his teeth?”
  • Neuroscientist – male – late 20s – “Where did you get the badge made?”
  • Cousin – female – early 70s – “Hmmm. Why did you do that?”

Me, I think it’s cool.  And at least I didn’t get it made up into a t-shirt.

Banality 1822-style

I was standing in a pub the other day, reading the writing on the wall, when I discovered that newspapers 200 years ago were just as banal as newspapers now. The pub in question (The Royal Mile Tavern) has a copy of the Edinburgh Advertiser from March 26th 1822 pasted up conveniently near some bar-stools. It seems editors then recycled trivia from other local papers in the same way editors now recycle it from wire stories.

For your amusement and delight, banality 1822-style:

Bees swarm

Bees Swarm

Bees Swarm

Prisoners want to escape

Prisoners want to escape

Prisoners want to escape

Prisoners don’t escape

Prisoners don't escape

Prisoners don't escape

Student nicks paper

Student nicks paper

Student nicks paper

Thief nearly gets away

Thief nearly gets away

Thief nearly gets away

Thief does get away

Thief does get away

Thief does get away

Men get drunk

Men get drunk

Men get drunk

Man gets wet

Man gets wet

Man gets wet

Lads attack policeman

Lads attack policeman

Lads attack policeman

And the cute one right at the end:

Cows on ships

Cows on ships

Cows on ships

So it seems that lazy, unimaginative and gossipy news reporting is not new. But when it’s almost 200 years old it does become fun.

Ben’s top tips

Paddy’s created a meme and since it is basically “give advice” I decided to take him up on it. Rude not to. His actual wording is:

Three things which make my life easier that everybody else should also do but they just won’t no matter how much I bang on about it.

1 – Hang things on pin-boards

I’ve only just started hanging my beads and necklaces on a pin-board, and it is worrying how much difference it’s made. I knew years ago that this was the way but ignored my own good advice. No more tangles, I can find them when I want them, and I know immediately if something’s missing.

Sorted and Lean

Sorted and Lean

Likewise: if a hitch-hiker always knows where their towel is, a householder should always know where their torch is. Mine hangs from the handle of the door nearest the fuse box.  (Sorry about the poor quality photo – dark room, dull day).

2 – Buy fresh flowers

There’s an ancient Chinese fable about a poor man who found two pennies in the mud. With one he bought rice and with the other he bought a lily. When his wife remonstrated with him, he said that the rice would feed their bodies, but the lily fed their souls.

Soul food

Soul food

If you find a good florist then spend a fiver each week on three perfect blooms. But the sunflowers and pretty blue things in these photos were two or three quid from Tescos. Flowers are cheap, but they uplift the spirit.

3 – Use the camera on your phone to take notes

Timetables in a railway station, small ads in supermarkets, shopping lists, workshop notes.  You’ve a camera in your phone.  Use it.  It’s quick and easy and you keep it with you.  It always amazes me how few people do this.

Use the camera on your phone to take notes

Use the camera on your phone to take notes

So, how about you?  What do you do that makes your life easier that everybody else should also do but they just won’t no matter how much you bang on about it?