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You're pre-approved!

Every time I get a spam snail-mail from a bank or credit card company telling me I'm 'pre-approved' for some loan or another, I keep in mind that the prefix 'pre' means 'before' - so, pre-approved means that you are not yet approved. Your loan is in the 'pre-approval' state: before approval.

It's a word game. A weasel-word. A slimy form of disclaimer - so, if you don't have adequate credit, they won't be legally bound to give you a loan.

Used Kleenex

Apparently, you can find darn near anything on eBay.

When I enter certain search keywords in a Google search box, it seems like I see an endless stream of eBay ads - promising that I can find what I'm looking for, no problem! Unfortunately, sometimes the results are comical if not downright disgusting - and they show the weakness of the ad selection techniques.

Apparently, searching Google for 'used anything' has a pretty good chance of turning up these gems.

Here are a few "interesting" search phrases, and a snapshot of the accompanying Google ads that appear on the search results pages:

Silver Plastic Is Ugly

Not long ago, every notebook computer, every bit of stereo or A/V equipment I owned was painted black or charcoal (or was made of a black or charcoal plastic).

Now, everything is silver. Matte or satin silver. Spray-painted silver.

For some reason, silver has become the most popular car color. (Click here if the preceding link is broken.)

Silver seems like a nice color for some cars... and I even have one car that color (but that car is a 1970 Pontiac, so it was not so trendy when the color was put on the car). But there is a vast difference between a quality, glossy automotive paint finish and the chintzy look of a dull, matte silver finish painted on my notebook computer, my camcorder, my DirecTV receiver, my television cabinet (I could go on...)

I can just imagine the product design meetings held in consumer product companies everywhere: "Silver is most popular! Silver is the way to go! Let's make it SILVER!"


Overheard somewhere, sometime

Architect: "I view static helper methods as a sign of failed object-oriented design."

Nearby grunt: "I view this product as a sign of failed object-oriented design."

Disclaimer: I may have imagined some or all of this.

Do you want to stop debugging?

I catch myself chuckling under my breath when Microsoft Developer Studio 2003 asks me this question:

Do you want to stop debugging?  Oh, my, yes indeed!

My mental response every single time: "Oh, yes, very much so. Can I please stop now?"

How Cable TV REALLY works

How Cable TV REALLY works. Click here to open a window with a larger version (800x600) of the poster.

Once upon a time I worked with a 'media' company (what is now referred to as the main stream media, or MSM) - this is before the internet was available to mere mortals, back when the IBM PC had just passed being the Next Big Thing, and Windows was a new option for PC users.

Here's a little poster I made up to decorate my cubicle - using an old version of Corel Draw, printed on a low-resolution printer, then scanned a decade later (my way of saying sorry for the poor quality).

Keep your icons out of my system tray!

Related topic: System Tray Scan Utility - identify programs that have icons in the tray.

I don't know about you, but I am saddened whenever I use a non-techie friend's computer and see more than two or three active tray icons in the Windows taskbar "system tray"*. (Usually I see six, seven, eight or even a few dozen!)

Why does it bother me? Because, most of the time, the computer owner has no idea what those icons are for, or how they got there.

It means that third-party installers (or worse, computer integrators or 'manufacturers' like Dell) have hooked more stuff into the auto start chain, which also means: more memory used, longer startup times, another prime opportunity to break the user's system with even more bloated, buggy software.

Brand new Dell 1501 system tray loaded with with an obscene number of running tasks

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