Rant for October 22, 2009: the little things

Maybe it’s the typical Autumn flooding we got yesterday in our town, or the seasonal illness steadily creeping up on me, but I’m a little cranky today.  And crankiness leads to rantiness.

Today’s rant is themed around common sense.

One thing that’s always irritated me is the state of US regional calls.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s long distance or not.  Many times if I omit our country code (1) on a long-distance call, I get a message that “You must first dial a 1 or 0 before placing a call to this number” or somesuch.  On the other hand if I include the country code I’ll often get the pointless “You do not need to dial a 1 to reach this number”.

If the software is smart enough to figure that out, why can’t it simply say “You do not need to dial a 1 to reach this number; we will proceed to strip the 1 off and place the call anyway for you.  Have a nice day!”.

Of course this sort of inanity can get much worse.  There’s the recent case of the woman who let go of her baby carriage at an Australian train station.  Fortunate for her and the baby, divine intervention or pure luck amazingly kept the kid from serious harm when a train struck the stroller.  The woman was of course negligent in not hanging on to the cart– but government bureaucrats earn the prize for even greater stupidity.  Officials are well aware there’s a problem here and have had a campaign for some time to warn people to hang on to the carriages.  But if they know the things can easily roll off the platform and into megatons of fast-charging locomotive, why don’t they have the sense to install a bumper strip at the platform’s edge?  Not enough to prevent wheels from being forced over, but enough to stop a drifting stroller?

I’m sure I could spend the rest of this rainy afternoon coming up with more, but instead I’ll open it up to the peanut gallery.  Rant away!

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