Your Health Is Your Life… Or Else.

Posted in Economics, Health, Rants on November 10th, 2007 by Дмитрий

I have often tried to do a comprehensive essay about my opinions on universal, single-payer health care proposals. Unfortunately, when addressing a general audience, I am likely to come off as a right-wing kook screaming about the downfall of American society. The fact is, like any welfare option, I simply dislike the idea of helping others, especially in an area of my life which I feel has required lots of work and direction on my part to get to a point that I feel secure about my own health. Therefore, what I give you here is more a disjointed rambling - I welcome comments to pull it together, but since I’m not trying to be persuasive as much as merely argumentative, this is the best I can do for now.

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San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

Posted in Bad Design, San Francisco on November 17th, 2007 by Дмитрий

Muni, why does your tech have to suck so bad after 20 years in the heart of the tech industry?

Muni is trying to pretend that it’s becoming more customer-centric and friendly (and “cutting edge”).

So I try to buy my pass online (actually, I’ve been doing it for the past 3 months). I can do this, as long as I have it shipped to work. That’s a problem, since I arrive in SF after passes stop being sold for the month. So I have to pay for the first bus ride to work (assuming I arrive on a work day) to get my pass.

You see, their website (despite having standard eCommerce templates with 50-state drop-down menus) restricts purchasing to Northern CA zip codes. So I have to give my work address in order to get a pass at all. Strangely, they DO allow the credit card billing address to be out-of state and different from the mailing address, so they are OK with fraud, as long as it’s someone in SF stealing a CC from someone outside CA. But they’re too lazy to modify their eCommerce template to only display CA on the state list.

Muni agents have repeatedly told me I could purchase passes and have then sent to NC after I explain my situation. Apparently they don’t give much training to these agents. Three months now and I’m surprised if I’m the only one this has inconvenienced.

This is also not friendly to tourists or visitors who want to pre-purchase a pass. This restriction baffles me and is totally inconvenient.

Of course, when I use their “questions about the website” form to send them this feedback, they apparently don’t accept comments from people with “@” in their email addresses.

Dollar Distress?

Posted in Economics on November 26th, 2007 by Дмитрий

I’m not all that concerned with the Dollar’s fall. It’s been pretty steady and uneventful so far. Despite the combo of a looser dollar, higher fuel prices and further monocropping of US agribusiness, inflation’s remained fairly tame. The lower dollar might encourage more foreigners to visit the US after the post-9/11 drops, and cheaper dollars should help US companies, especially service companies like mine.

I have only two complaints on how it’s affected me personally:

First, I buy lots of stuff on Ebay, and due to my preference for prolific British post-punk bands, I’m paying a whole lot more for my favorite media.

Second, I wanted to take another trip to Toronto in the new year, but it turns out it will be cheaper for us to go to New York. Go figure.

The Seller Doth Protest Too Much Methinks

Posted in Geekdom on November 29th, 2007 by Дмитрий

This Listing is an example of a seller I would probably not buy from even if I needed the item. The bold and over-aggro warning at the top of the message has already convinced my 99% positive buyer-self that I’ll probably have some sort of bad experience with this seller - they seem very angry with the world and upset that they have to deal with buyers in the first place.

Hint: if your bold-faced disclaimer-like preamble is more roomy than your item description, you probably shouldn’t be selling on eBay. If you’ve had so many problems with buyers and transactions that you feel you need to put these sorts of aggressive and wordy notations at the start of your listing, the problem probably isn’t buyers, it’s probably you.