Monday, January 30, 2006

I swear every time I go into the Maverik to pick up my 12-pack of diet Dew there is some new gimmicky "energy" drink. The market seems to have really taken off for all these Red Bull ripoffs. So it got the ol' hamster wheel spinning...I need to get in on this while the action is hot! You'll notice that there seems to be a game of one-upsmanship among the manufactures of these supposed energy drinks, each new brand has a more extreme sounding name, a more obnoxiously colorful label, more and more useless supplements, and a bigger and bigger can size (not to mention price).

So I've decided to take it to the extreme and TENups anything else out know, take a few quantum leaps in the evolution of the energy drink rather than these pointlessly small increments and just blow away the competition. I give you...Turbo Death Acid!

That's right baby, Turbo Death Acid. Compared to a refreshing can of TDA, everything else will be like drinking your grandma's Metamucil shake. The can is gonna glow like that too. Not sure how yet, but I'll figure out details later. And it's gonna be big. Not some puny 12 or 16 oz'er, I'm talking like a liter and a half. And no flimsy-pants aluminum eighth inch of solid stainless steel. Turbo Death Acid promises more caffeine that the blackest of coffee, but that's just the start.

Oh you want supplements? Get a load of this list...we got Acidophilus, we got Astragalus, we got Beta-Carotene, Alpha-Carotene, and Delta-Carotene. We got Gingko Bilboa, we got Rocky Balboa, we got Cat's Claw, Pig's Hoof, and Owl's Beak. But wait, there's more! It's not called Turbo Death ACID for nothing. We got Alpha-Liopic Acid, Biotin and Pantothenic Acid, and Amino Acids galore! Ginseng? We put in the Ginseng death threshold amount...and then ADDED a couple grams! And all that is just the beginning. How about some Wild Yam, Shark Cartlidge, St. John's Wort, Black Cohosh, and don't forget the Bee Products! What do all these supplements do? No one really knows, but who cares! It's all in there. Add just a smidge of Drain-O and a pinch of Napalm and you then have...Turbo Death Acid! Coming soon to a convenience store near you.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

There's a trend in websites that has been bugging me lately. Have you ever noticed how companies will just randomly insert pictures of people, usually stock photography of business people, on the front page of their website? Usually of people that don't seem to have anything whatsoever to do with the business? Why do they do this? I guess it's an attempt to add some legitimacy or sophistication to their business, regardless of what that business may be. Maybe in some instances it works, but other times I think it's just stupid. For example:

Bob's Raw Sewage.
"We process crap so you don't have to."

I don't know. I'm sure they've done all sorts of marketing studies that show that this kind of thing ultimately is effective, but I will continue to think it's lame. :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I am a big fan of pay-at-the-pump at gas stations. It just makes sense...slip in the card, pump your gas, and go. Easy. There is one thing, however, that bugs me immensely about pay-at-the-pump, and that is how each and every one of them has a slightly different process. Do I insert the card now, or do I hit "Pay Outside"? Do I flip up the handle, or press a button? Wait, where IS the button? How do I select which grade of gas? Debit or Credit? Do I want a carwash? Do I want a receipt? Stop beeping at me!!! Did I know there is a special on Cool Ranch Doritos inside? Dahh!!!

Take note o ye designers of future pay-at-the-pumps. This is how it should go. Pull up, slip in card, open tank, put nozzle in, pump, put nozzle back, done. How can it be this simple, you ask? Defaults. DEFAULTS! Maybe it is the computer science in me, but I learned very early on in my programming career that defaults are your friend. Just before you slip in the card there should a button next to the card reader that simply says: "Press here if you would like to be bothered." If you press it then you get all the stupid options that are currently forced down our throats. Otherwise you get the cheapest grade of gas, you get no receipt, you get no carwash, and it runs as credit. Done.

Monday, January 02, 2006

I go to Walmart today during my lunch break, pick up a 12-pack of Diet Mtn. Dew, and head towards check out. You are now faced with 3 choices once you arrive: regular check out, express check out (20 items or less), and the new self check-out. Regular check out is always a poor option as you will find yourself behind several stay-at-home-mom's who have the next 9 months of groceries densely crammed into one cart. The express lane is usually not any better as people scoff at the supposed item-limit (and I swear the max. number of items gets higher and higher each year - how about a 1 item lane?). Which leaves the relatively recently deployed 3rd option, the self check-out.

I actually like the idea of eliminating the checker and doing it yourself. I've used them several times and they seem to have worked most of the kinks out of the initial models. There is, however, a major problem with the notion of self check-out. Walmart and other stores have GROSSLY overestimated the average person's ability to go through this process in a timely manner. I have never been in line to use one where the person (or persons) in front of me didn't resemble a senior citizen trying to set the clock on their VCR. I mean let's face it...these things are WAY WAY WAY too complex for your average Walmart shopper. There's a touch screen with a myriad of options and buttons. There's a credit card machine with all its buttons and gadgetry. There's a bill slot, a coin slot, a change return, a receipt printer, a laser bar code scanner, a scale, bags, etc., etc. It's simply too much. And the end result is that self check-out lanes are a viable option ONLY when there's no one in front of you. And the odds of that happening at your average Walmart, unless it's 4am Sunday morning, is basically zero.

Ideally they would have some sort of IQ scanning machine you have to step through in order to get to the self check-out machines. Like the machines they have at airport security. "ZZZ. I'm sorry ma'am...but you're too stupid to use the self lane is that way." Or maybe they could have a VCR set up in front with a blinking 12:00, and if you can correctly set the time in less than 20 seconds, you are allowed to enter. Just some ideas. Maybe someday...