Wasteful Packaging

Apropos of nothing …

Since we just got married, we’ve had a pretty continuous stream of gifts showing up at our house (we have very generous friends). One of the interesting things has been seeing how different companies ship their wares.

Last week, we got two packages. After removing all the packing materials, this is what was inside:

IMG 3475

IMG 3474


Inside was about 6 cubic feet of bubble wrap and paper wrapping, followed by a single item.

Now, I’m guessing that they were set to ship as soon as each item was ready, but man, that’s a lot of wasted material and probably a lot of wasted space in the warehouse, shipping vehicles, etc.

Amazon, in my experience, tends to be a lot better about their packaging. Not great, but a lot less wasted space and wasted packing material. Bed Bath & Beyond has also tended to ship things reasonably tightly. On the contrary, I’ve had to fill up probably two or three full garbage bins with bubble wrap just from Crate and Barrel. That seems awfully wasteful. There’s a happy medium between packing something safely and filling up a box (a box that has a single grill spatula) with yards of bubble wrap and packing paper.

Please Call Me, Jerome!

From jerome@algoritz.com

Congratulations on Registering your new domain name. It looks Fantastic :)

I am Jerome, Business Development Executive at Algoritz Web Technologies, a Website Design and Digital Marketing > Company.

Let me make this short and simple

Unlike other web design companies, we do not charge even a single penny upfront.

We have completed hundreds of custom tailored web design projects and will be more than happy to create one for > you too. We will work with your requirements and show you how your website could look. If you are satisfied with > the design we will move forward with the coding work. Otherwise, you can just let it slide.

With FREE Design & Marketing, No Upfront payment and No Hidden charges, you have nothing to lose but a lot to gain.

I am standing by to hear from you. If you want to give us a try, simply reply to this email and we will do the rest.

Can I get in touch with you at (1555) 555–5555 ? Please let me know your convenient time.

Yes, Jerome. Please call me at 555–5555. I’m free any time.

(That’s why I don’t use real info on my test domains. Because leeches like “Jerome” skim WHOIS info and then spam the shit out of you.)

This is some supremely dumb shit

"i’ve been wearing an apple watch for weeks, and though i generally like it, it’s often uncomfortably restrictive for something tim cook calls ‘the most personal device we have ever created’ at every opportunity. the apple watch relies heavily on voice dictation from siri to mitigate its tiny, keyboard-less screen; you can use this to search for information or, more importantly, reply to messages.

i hate using siri to reply to messages. it listens to what i say and, if it hears me accurately, converts my thoughts into flat, expressionless, standardised prose with imperfect punctuation. i do not want this. i don’t type short messages in lowercase because i’m lazy or don’t know how to capitalise — i type short messages in lowercase because it’s the best way to render how i imagine my thoughts would come across. i like lending writing with accurate spelling and grammar a casual veneer by decapitating the caps. plus, well, i just think it looks better. i’ve typed in lowercase ever since i first got internet access and started talking about radiohead on audiogalaxy boards fifteen years ago. it’s why i’ve turned autocorrect off on every phone i’ve ever owned."

Pardon the cursing, but, Jesus Christ. The Verge is (was?) sort of a real tech news outlet. And they published this drivel. I completely thought it must have been a joke. Voice recognition tries to put your text into readable, accurate sentences. Hold the fucking presses. This has to be a parody of someone else’s bullshit, right?

Sadly, I don’t think it is.

(And, on top of that, I don’t have an Apple Watch, but I think you can get Siri to set your text in all lowercase. What a douche.)

(Via Dan Frakes on Twitter.)

An Actual Senator Said This

I meant to post this a while back, but even a couple of weeks later, it still deserves comment.

An actual Senator, Senator Thom Tillis from North Carolina, said:

I was having this discussion with someone, and we were at a Starbucks in my district, and we were talking about certain regulations where I felt like maybe you should allow businesses to opt out,” Tillis said, in remarks first reported by the District Sentinel. “Let an industry or business opt out as long as they indicate through proper disclosure, through advertising, through employment, literature, whatever else. There’s this level of regulations that maybe they’re on the books, but maybe you can make a market-based decision as to whether or not they should apply to you.

The idiocy of this statement knows no bounds. First, he’s suggesting that we replace the regulation that businesses require their employees to wash their hands with another regulation that says businesses post a sign about whether or not they require their employees to wash their hands.

I’m not sure that’s the type of savings the Tea Party folks in North Carolina were planning on.

Second—and granted, his statement was just stupid point scoring—this is where you draw the line? Hand washing? This occurred just a few weeks after the big measles outbreak in California. Hand washing wouldn’t have stopped that, but it’s probably not the best timing to talk about making it a market decision as to whether or not a restaurant requires its employees to wash their hands1.

  1. Let’s be honest, nothing really requires it today. But the threat of losing your job as a worker, and both the civil (being sued into bankruptcy) and criminal (ending up in jail) threat to owners for harming customers with poorly managed food, give us some hope that it’s happening. 

How Not To Make a Statistic (or The Downfall of Boston.com)

I love Boston Cream Pie. So when I saw an article on Boston.com talking about how Bostonians don’t like Boston Cream Pie, I was intrigued. I bit the link bait.

Massachusetts’ favorite pie is pumpkin, followed closely by apple, then pecan and blueberry, according to Facebook data. Boston crème pie came in dead last.

Well, I’ll be. Dead last. Except, in the next sentence …

Boston.com collected Facebook data on Nov. 20 that reflected 85,900 mentions or likes from Massachusetts residents expressing interest in these types of pies.

Folks are more than 30 times as interested in pumpkin pie (44,000) as they are in Boston crème pie (1,420).

Well, no shit. On a single day, a couple of weeks after Halloween and the week before Thanksgiving, from posters to Facebook, pumpkin pie got more mentions on Facebook. Surely that means it’s true year round. And is not, you know, indicative of the slice of time and audience.

There was a point in time when Boston.com was worth reading.

Ayn Rand: Still Ruining Lives

If you follow me on Twitter (or know me in real life), you’ll know I’m not fond of Ayn Rand, her books, or her philosophy. I found it entirely disheartening to read this Re/code article about the suicides of three startup founders from the Downtown Project in Las Vegas.

Damania said there’s a tendency to say the suicides were just a fluke or a coincidence, but that they’re
actually a fundamental problem with entrepreneurship.

“It’s a symptom of this performance,” he said.

It’s part of an ultra-individualistic, stoic ethos similar to one espoused by philosopher Ayn Rand.

“Founders are the worst,” he said. “There’s a Randian — I must be the John Galt — feeling. You can be as
liberated as you want, but there’s a web of connectivity, and they forget.”

It’s incredibly unfortunate that these people, who’ve often given up so much of the structure and support in their lives to go build the company of their dreams, think that they have to do it alone, because, you know, Ayn Rand.

(Yeah, yeah, that’s reductive.)

It was apropos that this week John Oliver covered, to his normal hilarious effect, “How is Ayn Rand Still a Thing?”

A great rule of thumb in life: if someone says they really love Ayn Rand’s books/philosophy/point of view, assume they’re a giant douchebag.