May 13th, 2004

Tom Lehrer is Smug

Mr. Data Entry Mans presents: SURVEY LAW #17

If presented with a field marked "Additional comments?" at the bottom of a
survey, filler-outers will cleverly deduce that this is their one chance
to let the entire world know their feelings on whatever they're feeling
that's however related to the survey at hand -- whether or not the
survey actually deals directly with those feelings.

Case in point: I'm working on a survey given to gauge local interest and
potential demand for a new commuter rail stop. It was given to people
who regularly ride a shuttle bus to and from -- well, I'm not quite sure
where. This survey was not given by the MBTA, nor do I think by the
shuttle bus company itself. It's not a survey to gauge rider
satisfaction, either on the commuter rail or the shuttle bus itself.

These facts do not deter stalwart commuters from recognizing a free
soapbox when they see one, though, and so they use the "Additional
comments?" field to complain about such things as:

* The buses leave too early.
* The buses leave too late.
* The buses arrive too early.
* The buses arrive too late.
* The buses leak in the rain.
* There need to be more bus stops.
* It costs too much to ride the commuter rail (a valid reason, though, for
answering "Would you use the new commuter rail stop?" with "No")

One person ended a diatribe ("Cont'd on back!") with a frowny face; I am
loath to add ":(" to the end of any official spreadsheet entry.

Still, there are some gems. You gotta admire the person who checked off
"Not sure", crossed it out, then re-checked it. That kind of
indecisiveness takes talent.
Tom Lehrer is Smug

oh so that's what it does

On the occasion of the third anniversary of the death of Douglas Adams (Tuesday, in case you had forgotten) the cast and crew of the Hitchhiker's movie got together and took a picture. At least, that's what I was told they did. I visited the film's official site and was greeted with a Flash gateway page. It's the Earth with a big red button underneath. It said "Please don't push this button." I pushed it. Then it said "YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!" So I pushed it again.

And a big-ass Netflix pop-up then took over my monitor.

Well! Consider me well and duly warned.