More Elevator Troubles

Loyal readers will recall the problems I reported with elevator door buttons some time ago. Well, I’m displeased to inform you that it doesn’t stop there.

The building I currently work in has five elevator banks (not including the service elevator), and I seem to be experiencing an occasional but recurring problem when I’m at the top and want to go down to the ground floor. You see, everything within all of the elevators is identical except that one uses a different arrangement for the floor number buttons.

Before I continue, I need to point something out: I’m a rote boy. That means I do things by rote. I’m not good at remembering things based on meaning, and I don’t always want to think repetitive tasks through before I do them. I just develop kinetic patterns and try to leave it at that.

Unfortunately that is a pretty lousy way to do things and I’m always getting in trouble because of it. For example, if you ask me to recite my postal code, I am stumped. I haven’t a clue. But put a pencil in my hand and I can write it down without even thinking.

It’s the same thing with phone numbers. Ask me my home phone number and I’ll blurt out random digits like a bingo caller yet I won’t even come close to getting my phone number right. But give me a telephone and I can call home easily by following the rote-learned pattern on the keypad.

OK, back to the elevators. In all five of the elevators in that building there are two rows of buttons. In elevators one through four, the button for the ground floor (“RC” here in Quebec) is below the rows of numbers, centered between them. But in elevator five, the “RC” button is at the bottom of the left row (i.e., not centered).

That’s a 4:1 ratio, so I use elevators one through four way more often than elevator five. When I’m going down, I step into the elevator and push the centered button at the bottom of the rows with barely a glance. I don’t have to bend down and try to read the numbers on the buttons (brushed metal on brushed metal in a dimly-lit elevator – who designed that?) because “RC” is thoughtfully positioned differently from the others.

But every now and then I board elevator five. The “RC” button is not in the middle, but I’m not thinking about that, I’m just automatically reaching for the button in the middle. And of course, there is one; the alarm bell. (Elevators one through four have a similar bell, but you don’t notice it because it’s below the centered “RC” button.)

BRRRRRIIIIINNNNNGGGGG! Then I have to explain to the crackling voice in the speaker that whoops, I hit the wrong button. How many times do you have to do this before the guard thinks you’re an idiot? (Probably not many.) But if you ask me, the idiot is the person who decided to use a different pattern of buttons in one out of five elevators!

Note that in the above illustrations, the “RC” button is already pressed, so it is illuminated. But when you get on the elevator it isn’t lit, so they all look the same when you’re not really looking.

The solution is actually quite easy. Since it would cost a fortune to re-design the panel to accomodate a centered “RC” (and the mysterious “D” button that only appears in elevator 5), they should instead spend about two bucks on a cheap metal non-functioning button that says “RC” and has an arrow pointing to the real “RC” button.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep bugging the security guard once or twice a week.

Which is it?

It’s 4:12 P.M., late November, in Montreal. That means it’s dark – practically night. It’s also cold and icy-rainy out there. Yet several hundred protesters are banging on drums, right now, at the corner of de Maisonneuve and McGill-College Ave. I don’t know who they are, or what they’re protesting; it’s just a bunch of noise (like those protests always are).

Given the circumstances, (dark, cold, icy-rainy), and given that nobody knows (nor cares) what they’re protesting, are they:

(a) Very dedicated,

or,

(b) Retarded?

Mystery claim check

I was cleaning out my wallet the other day and I found this claim check:

Notice a few things wrong with it? How about this; no date, no business name, no phone number, no address. What kind of an idiot designs a claim check like that?

WTF!? Where did that come from? Or more importantly, what did I leave behind?

It most likely came from somewhere in Montreal, and it would have been from some time in the last eight months. If this claim check looks familiar to any of you, please let me know, as I’d like to get my mystery thing back.

Another lame photography Web site

Within the next couple of months, Sigma is going to release its long-awaited DP1 digital camera. Why that is a big deal, and why people like me would drool over a camera that doesn’t even have a zoom lens, are subjects for another post. Today I’m going to introduce you to one of the worst photography Web sites on the Web: CameraSpace.net.

That site’s badness is a matter of content, not design. CameraSpace.net presents itself as a buying guide for cameras and photographic equipment, but in fact it seems to be little more than a Google Ad farm. It’s tricky though, as it looks way better than the average link farm one finds on the Web.

I’m deliberately not linking to it. But I followed someone else’s link there recently, hoping to find more information on the DP1. Instead I found a few descriptive paragraphs and a table of camera features. That’s would be OK if the information made any sense, but it does not. It refers to the camera as a “digital SLR” (it is not) and talks about interchangeable lenses and a “Power Grip;” neither of which apply to this model.

So I did a test; I checked out the descriptions of a couple of other cameras, namely the Panasonic DMC-LX2 (a pocket camera that I own) and the Nikon D-80 (a digital SLR that I would like to own). Here are the descriptions of all three:

Sigma DP1:

The Sigma DP1 Digital SLR Camera comes loaded with a large LCD monitor, fast shutter speeds and an effective megapixel range that would make Eastman Kodak blush. Two of the key elements that make the Sigma DP1 camera so appealing are the Sigma DP1 powergrip and the wide array of Sigma DP1 lenses available.

Effective buyers of the Sigma DP1 will take advantage of the Sigma DP1 Kit which will include the Sigma DP1 Manual, Sigma DP1 leather case and the ever-popular Sigma DP1 Power Grip. Taking advantage of these items in the Sigma DP1 Kit will also possibly earn you a Sigma DP1 Rebate!

Panasonic DMC-LX2:

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Digital SLR Camera comes loaded with a large LCD monitor, fast shutter speeds and an effective megapixel range that would make Eastman Kodak blush. Two of the key elements that make the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 camera so appealing are the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 powergrip and the wide array of Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 lenses available.

Effective buyers of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 will take advantage of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Kit which will include the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Manual, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 leather case and the ever-popular Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Power Grip. Taking advantage of these items in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Kit will also possibly earn you a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Rebate!

Nikon D-80:

The Nikon D80 Digital SLR Camera comes loaded with a large LCD monitor, fast shutter speeds and an effective megapixel range that would make Eastman Kodak blush. Two of the key elements that make the Nikon D80 camera so appealing are the Nikon D80 powergrip and the wide array of Nikon D80 lenses available.

Effective buyers of the Nikon D80 will take advantage of the Nikon D80 Kit which will include the Nikon D80 Manual, Nikon D80 leather case and the ever-popular Nikon D80 Power Grip. Taking advantage of these items in the Nikon D80 Kit will also possibly earn you a Nikon D80 Rebate!

Um… do you see any similarities there? Except for the camera make and models, the same text is repeated, verbatim, for each one! Oddly, the table of features are customized (although poorly stated and not very accurate), but at the bottom of each is another three paragraphs of similar text in which the only things that differ are the names of the models and brands.

Oh, and there are nine Google ads on each page.

I wish there were a blacklist for crap sites like this.