Arnt Gulbrandsen
About meAbout this blog

My razor blades were confiscated today

A security guard at an airport confiscated my razor blades today. I've carried razor blades in my hand luggage since 2004 (inadvertently on the first few dozen flights, knowingly and together with my razor on a hundred or more since I found the blades). Usually the guards want to look at my razor and the corkscrew I also carry, but until today noone has asked whether I might perhaps have any blades for the razor.

He also found, and let me keep, my forbidden shampoo and aftershave. And he checked whether I had a blade in the razor. Such clue. Maybe there is hope for mankind.


Where have all the web duh-signers gone?

Best Viewed in 800X600 resolution, Internet Explorer, 5.0 and above. Best Viewed by Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5/+ in 1024 x 768 resolution. Those messages are gone from the web. So where did the web duh-signers go, now that new web sites don't want to be so duh?

I think they must have all found frustrating new jobs designing android apps.


Lessening the support burden

Earlier this week I spoke to someone who had problems with support requests. More specifically, they seemed to spend a lot of time answering questions from users who don't think reading the howto page is worth their time.

In my experience, there are two great techniques for avoiding that fate. One is to put some code in the users' way. For example, this code investigates a particular error instead of merely reporting it to the user, and was written to block support requests. The other is to put the documentation itself in the users' way, even when the users look for it the wrong place. That's not difficult, it just demands humility, writing skill and now and then a bit of duplication.

A few minutes later I backed up my laptop, and happened to notice how my (technically fabulous) backup provider expresses 27 gigabytes:

What fool expects humans to read eleven-digit numbers? Why doesn't this cause a flood of mail from people who miscount by a digit and wonder why their bill is ten times too big?

The answer must be that the sales process weeds out most people. And I can imagine it does just that: would-be customers have to build the product from source, and must estimate how much it will cost based on prices given in picodollars.

I suppose I'm saying that if you can limit yourself to customers who are comfortable counting in picodollars, you won't have work hard to support the product.