Got my first San Francisco visitor last week when Wanita stopped by before we headed off to Kauai. (OK, technically Jason and Jeff were out here earlier, but Wanita was my first house guest.)
We managed to pack a lot into 3 days, including breakfast at the excellent Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, a fun tour of the Boudin bakery, finding great places for truffles, dim sum in Chinatown and a stroll through Golden Gate Park. And lots and lots of walking.
Pictures below and on flickr. A flickr map of the pictures is also available. Some of these pictures (the better ones) are Wanita’s.
(If you’re reading this in an RSS reader, click through to the blog.)
It’s been a long, fun ride. It’s hard to believe it’s been four years. I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of great people and make some friendships that will last a long time.
The last month has been hectic with moving and frequent coast-to-coast trips, but I’ve managed to squeeze in time for museums, hiking, football, Rock Band and just hanging out with friends.
(If you’re viewing this post in an RSS reader, click through to see the slideshow. Or see the set on flickr.)
I’ve written before about problems with the UI on ATMs, such as repeatedly asking what language you want and having you enter cents for withdrawals when no ATM I know of dispenses pennies.
I ran across another problem the other day: an ATM that doesn’t know when to count. I asked for $200. The machine connected to the network, subtracted $201.85 from my account and then started spitting out money. Whirr. Click. Uh oh.
Seeing as I wasn’t in Vegas and there is no such thing as a $200 bill, I began to worry. There was an ominous message that said simply “Cash dispensing error”. The machine only had $20 in it.
The machine should keep track of how much it has in it so that as soon as you enter $200, it checks and says, “Sorry, I’ve only got $20. Do you want that?” This should happen before taking the money out of your bank account.
Here’s a case where bad UI made the ATM company money: I ended up paying $1.85 to withdraw $20, a whopping 9.25%. If I’d known that there was only $20 in the thing, I would have used a different ATM. Now if only I’d reprogrammed that ATM to think I took out $5.
Yes, yes, I know. I’m behind. The new job, a coast-to-coast commute, moving and trying to maximize time with my DC friends have taken their toll on my reading and blog writing time.
- Photo Clues Lead to Camera’s Owner (AP) – A New York City woman finds a camera in a cab and returns it. Shocking, I know. She, her fiance and family did a bit of detective work, analyzing the pictures on the camera to find its rightful owner in Australia. I keep meaning to put a locked image on my cameras with my contact information, just in case it falls into the hands of someone like that New Yorker. I could stand losing a $300 camera, but the images from a trip are a much bigger loss.
Another use for digital cameras: using it to find people you’ve lost. I lost my friend Pam in an Italian museum. I didn’t know the language and the docent didn’t speak English. Flipped my camera to a picture of Pam, handed it to the docent and she pointed the way.
- Police: Woman Thinks She’s Being Fired, Sabotages Boss (News4Jax.com) – She gets the wrong idea after reading a classified ad that had her boss’ phone number in it and destroys seven years worth of architectural drawings. Wow. People still look at classifieds? Lesson for employers: back up data. Lesson for disgruntled employees: use multi-pass deletion. via Wanita Niehaus
- Dip Once or Dip Twice? (New York Times) – Just in time for the Super Bowl, a report concludes that double dipping is bad. I do have to question the methodology: “The team of nine students instructed volunteers to take a bite of a wheat cracker and dip the cracker for three seconds into about a tablespoon of a test dip.” Three seconds is an awfully loooooong time. But then this is the same group that debunked the five-second rule. (It depends on what you dropped and the surface it was dropped onto.) via Sree Sreenivasan
- Drunk driver dials 911 (CNN, video) – Drunk dialing and drunk texting are bad. Drunk dialing 911 while you’re driving is really bad. The cops don’t want to escort you home. Meanwhile, a Minnesota legislator is trying to ban ladies’ nights with free drinks for women.
- ExtraGeek Luis von Ahn: Human Computation (Wired Science) – This week, I’m introducing a new feature that will highlight stories that are extra geeky. Carnegie Mellon computer scientist von Ahn discusses CAPTCHAs — those annoying things you have to decipher and type to sign up for accounts, buy tickets at Ticketmaster and other assorted tasks. von Ahn is trying to harness distributed human intelligence to help computers learn. The reCAPTCHA project tries to use CAPTCHAs to digitize books. Google licensed von Ahn’s ideas for its Image Labeler.