Showing all posts tagged annoyances:

Don't Tell Me What I Can Or Can't Do

So I was watching that Spike Jonze-directed HomePod ad, and I noticed something odd:

See it? No?

How about now?

See, the funny thing is – this was a full-screen video. However, I could not dismiss the warning, which also meant that all the controls stayed visible on the screen, instead of disappearing as they should.

What is this, incompetence, or malice – or both? This was a video embedded on a third-party site. Was Google attempting to prevent me viewing it full-screen unless I clicked through to, presumably for some adtech or tracking reason of its own?

Anyway, it’s a good thing that Safari is quite happy to ignore these sorts of shenanigans. It also lets me do picture-in-picture, though I have to click twice to dismiss Google’s useless context menu.

While we’re on that topic, Google’s menu is not just in the way, it’s also insulting: "Stats for nerds"? What is this, elementary school? If I want statistics on the video or the stat of my buffer, just give them to me, without silly names.

Google are of course hell-bent on taking over absolutely everything about your browser, whether it’s constantly nagging you to use Chrome, trying to get you to agree to some T&C document before you can do a search, or actually hijacking your keyboard commands:

Can’t we just go back to Google giving good search results and leaving it at that?

Stick THIS in your carry-on!

Airline carry-on restrictions: WTF?

On my last few trips I’ve noticed a marked uptick in the probability of pax being pulled up for a check of their carry-on bags, leading almost certainly to those bags being gate-checked.

I travel a lot, and mostly for short trips - meaning one to three nights away, often with multiple stops in between. This means that having my luggage checked dramatically increases the chance of SNAFUs. Therefore I own a super-light roll-aboard, pack sparingly, and weigh it before departure to make sure I’m below the stingy 8kg limit.

Lately, even this level of paranoia has not been enough. I have had my below-weight roll-aboard gate-checked because my rucksack was "too big".

Now this is a standard 20L day-pack, not some expedition-grade monster, and it contains a MacBook, an iPad, their retinue of charger bricks and cables - and that’s pretty much it. Sure, there are usually some mints and a stick of lip-balm rolling around the bottom, but it’s not like I have a tent and a sleeping bag in there. Yet, this is apparently outside the regulation size for a "personal item".

My question is, what do airlines think a "laptop bag" should be? The only way I could lose any significant weight would be to leave the charger cables at home, and that would negatively affect the usefulness of the laptop just a bit. Meanwhile, women’s handbags are never checked, despite the fact that my wife carries a bigger and heavier bag when she goes shopping than I shoulder for travel.

There is some sort of assumption here about what a laptop bag is that I’m not sure airlines get.

The paranoid assumption would be that they are trying to make us pay extra for checked bags. I do indeed often travel on hand-luggage-only fares, but it’s not to save money. In fact, it’s the other way around: I never check luggage unless I am forced to, and therefore I take advantage of these (very slightly) cheaper fares.

The real problem here is people - monsters - putting two bags in the overhead lockers. Regardless of size, this is a jerk move. Unless you’re sitting in an emergency-exit or bulkhead row, where you have to, don’t do this, period. Your roll-aboard goes in the overhead locker, and your personal item goes at your feet. If it doesn’t fit, that’s a clue you’re doing it wrong!

As for airlines: enforce what matters. If the limit is 8kg and someone rocks up with a bag that’s practically spherical and straining at its zippers, and which weighs in at 15kg, that’s fair game for a gate check. In fact I would argue that such blatant fare evasion would be worth a paid gate check, but I don’t want to give airlines any ideas!

However, if someone has a rollaboard that fits in the cage, doesn’t abuse the weight limit, and has one more bag that they keep "at your feet or under the seat in front of you", as the announcement puts it - let it go. Seriously, those people are good customers who don’t cause trouble because their entire ambition is to get through the airport as swiftly and efficiently as possible. They have the equipment and experience to do this; all they ask is that you work with them, rather than against them.

This has been your First World Problem for the week.


While wrestling my slides into shape for BMC Engage, I saw this:

"If you would like to copy and paste text into this document, please paste as text-only or paste into Notepad first to clear styles."

- In a template for some 451 documents. It’s 2014, and this is pretty much where all the white-collar workers are. That whole "plain text and markdown" rebellion you see among tech-separatists is a weird reaction, but almost an isolationist response to the weirdness of Word.

Who ever, in the history of anything, wanted to preserve formatting when pasting? Nobody, that's who. You always want the format of the destination.

PowerPoint is the worst offender, ignoring the "paste as plain text" option that everything else uses. Of course PowerPoint is also where it is most obvious if the formatting is off. So now I have to paste into TextWrangler1, copy back out of there, and finally paste into PowerPoint.

The future is stupid.

It doesn’t suck.
" )'s little brother. Check it out.

  1. [BBEdit]( "
    BBEdit 10. 

Travel mysteries

I like to fly in window seats. Despite all the flying I do, I still enjoy looking out the window and seeing the world go by.

One downside though is when it comes to deplaning. There is a certain class of passenger who will storm up the aisle, barging past passengers in window seats (me) trying to get out into the aisle.

Now if they were in a hurry to get to their meeting or make a connection I would understand. I've been there often enough myself. What I don't get is when after aggravating half the plane to be first out, they then stroll along the jetway, seemingly without a care in the world, while all the passengers they
blocked overtake them...

May their beds always be full of crumbs, and may a family pet make a mess in their favourite slippers - that they only discover after putting on the footwear in question.