annoyances (3)

Browse Tag: annoyances

The Apple Isn’t Green

Apple Headphones Yesterday I bought the shiny new iPhone for my girlfriend. Aside from that, I bought her an extra pair of headphones, as we figured a set lasts for about 4 months of heavy use. So instead of grabbing the ones from the original iPhone box, she went to unbox the extra set. I was surpised how thoroughly it was packed. Well, the “thoroughly” isn’t exactly the word.

First there’s a carton box. Pretty thick, but that’s understandable, since it’s the external cover. Then there’s a small paper envelope, that actually holds the head phones wrapped into some plastic tape. So you have two huge pieces of paper and some plastic – for small merchandise that could be wrapped in plastic only… something along the lines of “saving the trees” and so on, you know.

Does it look nice? No doubt. Does it make sense? Hardly.

Oh, and the whole thing costs $39.99, which is about 5 times overpriced. Guess half of the money goes to bribe those “ecology experts” to approve Apple’s packaging.

Job Offer Spam

Job Spam - iStudioWeb BlogWhile working on my new web site, RateMyRecruiter.net, I started paying more attention to job offers I keep getting in my jobs-related mailbox. Interesting enough, the level of sophistication that spam achieves there is a little higher then on the average among my other mailboxes.

For example, in my regular inbox’s Junk folder I see same stuff where the subject line is torn off some news site where the body contains some spam, phishing or plain old scam content; I get Viagra e-mails where letters replaced with symbols and more symbols interjected; I see debt consolidation offers, offers to make my private parts large enough to stop fitting my pants and so on.

But just take a look at my jobs inbox – and the picture changes drastically. Almost no Viagra spam (or any sex-related spam whatsoever), a lot less “Your bank has suspended your account, visit this page to revalidate your account” sent from russian domains, not even a famous Nigerian or Russian Scam letter. What I see, however, is carefully crafted job offers that either lead you to some web page that dutyfully collects all your information, including Social Security number, address (maybe even previous two or three) and so on or require you to reply with your resume, salary requirements and filled out questionaire (with your demographic data, including SSN). For job application purposes, of course.

Actually, it never ceased to amaze me how much data is collected through a job application process. And while medical processing companies require full-blown training for ANY employee on securing PHI (Personal Health Information, that includes demographic, geographic and health info as well as history), head hunters are going as they please. At least I haven’t seen any disclosure that says “we promise we won’t use your data for anything bad”.

Since the whole process almost always takes place over the e-mail, you may never be able to figure out where your data went. Is it sitting in some poor chap’s Excel spreadsheet? Is it sitting in some data warehouse? Is it being sold with information of thousands people like you to the highest bidder on the “gray market”? Can you find out?

It would be interesting to set up an experiment like that. Close to October, when (I hope) job market will freshen up a bit, I am thinking on setting up something. Will keep you posted.

Ranting At The Post Office

This morning I had to spend some time at the local post office – someone sent me a registered mail with return receipt that I have missed, so I just had to go. Every time I go to a post office – whether small and local or large and central – it always feels a bit like time travel. A travel to the past, of course.

First thing that came to my mind when I have entered the premises (I never visited this location even though I lived in that zip code for a year) why does the post office needs five windows, when only one clerk is on duty? There must be some serious flaw in design or management, since it takes about 20 minutes (or more) to get from the start of the line to that clerk’s window. Obviously, since the clerk has got almost 15 years before retirement, she’s not in the hurry. However, most of the people who (im)patiently wait in line – are, their time costs money – just like mine. With proliferation of electronic means of communications I can see more and more sense in avoiding post office like a plague. After all, my time is better spent elsewhere.

Second thing is that about 80% of people who wait patiently are older generation, well over 60 years old. The younger the person, the less patient he or she gets. I often found myself to be the youngest person for the whole time I was in the post office.

Next – even thought the cost of postal mailing is usually noticeably less then FedEx, UPS or DHL, people still prefer to use the latter. My guess is that it not only matters how much it costs to get a package from point A to point B, but also – how much effort does it takes. If sending a package costs me just two dollars more but doesn’t include humiliation of 20 minute line in front of 15 empty clerk’s windows – maybe I would agree to pay 2 dollars more.

Last, but not least is the track record. The moniker “United States Lost Office” didn’t come out of nowhere.