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Installments
Rant On...
This Week in 24
This Week in Entourage
Tremendous Upside w/ Dave & Niraj


This rant is the 13th installment of the Rant On... series, which will be featured regularly - by which I mean whenever I feel like ranting. Post any suggestions for future rants in the comments.
It's been ages since I've posted an update on this site, and honestly I've been holding off in the hopes of doing a massive redesign because the whole thing seems rather stale (and I know infintely more about web design and programming now). However I saw three instances of the same offending behavior in different circumstances this morning and couldn't resist posting a new rant.

So what do I mean by inconsiderate redundancy? Say a few people at work are waiting for an elevator on the ground floor. Obviously, someone has likely already hit the button to call the elevator. To make this apparent, there's a convenient little light behind the button that illuminates to let everyone know someone took care of business. Now, some guy wanders up...maybe he's distracted by his phone (this could be the subject of another rant, but is too obvious), distracted by a call he's on, or just daydreaming.

In any case, why would this person not think to glance at the call button before going out of their way to approach it with the intent of hitting it again? Moreover, why would they bump people who are standing near the button (but not obscuring the line of sight that would be necessary to see the button is illuminated) in order to perform an entirely useless action?

Then once on the elevator it's even worse. There's a good chance the elevator has several people on it, and trying to go out of the way to hit the button is going to disturb some people. Again, someone is hitting an already illuminated button. Or on an elevator with very few (like 3) people on it, there's no excuse not to see your floor is already hit.

You might interject, "Maybe they think the action will happen quicker if they hit it again," to which I retort: they why don't they just stand there jamming the button, if that actually worked?



So the elevator thing is pretty annoying, but it's even worse on the bus I take in the morning (thankfully it's a short ride), because it's not just a rare offender like with the elevator, and the bus is way more packed so people are definitely getting shoved around if someone is trying to pull the cord to request a stop.

When someone pulls the cord, there's a small delay and then there is a loud chime indicating a stop was requested. There's also a sign at the front of the bus that lights up (or scrolls on the LED displays) boldly indicating "STOP REQUESTED". Yet dozens of people will create a path of destruction and lunge for the cord again for the same stop. Even being blind would be no excuse...the chime is loud enough to be heard even over headphones (except for those who are playing music so loud, you're sure they're deaf because you can hear it at a comfortable volume and you're not the one wearing the headphones) and for the sighted, there's that visual indicator too.



Time for the never-done-before rant-within-a-rant...on the bus as it starts to fill up, people get told to move further back (in the morning all the seats are filled so there's people standing). However, this is the worst system ever, because what if you're only on for another 3 stops? Everyone else is in it for the long haul, but you get glared at if you decide not to move back. Of course, if you do acquiesce and move back, you're going to get glared at in 3 stops when you're trying to worm your way back to the door.



The moral is, buses and elevators suck, but mostly because people are stupid.
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I just heard a different radio ad for Dos Equis' Most Interesting Man campaign, and this one was even more hilarious than the first. Some of the lines from it:
When it is raining, it is because he is sad.
Even his parrot's advice is insightful.
If there were an interesting gland, his would be larger than most men's entire lower intestines.
His shirts never wrinkle.
He is left-handed. And right-handed.
Even if he forgets to put postage on his mail, it gets there.
He once knew a call was a wrong number, even though the person on the other end wouldn't admit it.
You can see his charisma from space.
If you're unfamiliar with the campaign, check out this ad:

And some of the lines from the original ad:
The police often question him, just because they find him interesting.
He once punched a magician. That's right. You heard me.
When he orders a salad, he gets the dressing right there on top of the salad, where it belongs...where there is no turning back.
If a monument was built in his honor, Mt. Rushmore would close, due to poor attendance.
He has never stepped in gum. (hat tip to richman)
People are still laughing at a joke he told in 1997. (hat tip to richman)
Posted Wed, Jul 18th, 2007

Update: (4/30/09) There's a new radio ad playing for Cinco de Mayo...here's all the lines I can remember from it (I may be paraphrasing some):
It is said the sun comes up later on the 6th of May, in case his Cinco parties run long.
The Mayans prophecized his birth.
Even lucha libres remove their masks in his presence.
He once taught a German Shepard to bark in Spanish.
He serves sizzling fajita platters barehanded.
Bulls flat-out refuse to fight him.
and one more ad that's been playing for a while but I had missed:
He once buried a time capsule full of things that haven't happened yet.
He has been pronounced dead 7 times...make that 8.
His bear hugs are actually hugs he gives to bears.
He can't be bought, but his beard clippings have been know to show up on auction.
He has never lost a sock.
If he disagrees with you, it is because you are wrong.
You can use the contact link at the top of the page to send me any additional lines and I will update this post accordingly.

Update 2: (6/22/2009) Heard another new one over the last few weeks:
Most songs about love are written for him, about him, or by him.
He'd never initiate a conversation about the weather, even in a typhoon.
He's against cruelty to animals, but isn't afraid to issue a stern warning.
Whatever side of the tracks he's currently on is the right side. If he crossed them, he would still be the right side.
He won the same lifetime achievement award twice.

Update 3: (3/23/2010) I just heard a new radio ad playing the last few weeks:
Signs that say "This is not an exit" do not apply to him.
If he rides with you in your car, its resale value will instantly increase.
If he passed you on the street you would still feel stopped and said hello and asked you about your day.
He likes the word "fog".
If you were trapped with him in an elevator, you wouldn't want to be saved.
His business card just says, "I'll call you."

Update 4: (4/29/2010) Here's another new radio ad:
The Aztec calendar has his birthday chiseled in.
The front of his house looks like it was built by the Mayans...because it was.
His tacos refuse to fall from the shell.
If you were to see him walking chihuahua, it would still look masculine.
Dicing onions doesn't make him cry...it only makes him stronger.
He has never filled up on chips.

Update 5: (6/16/2010) Here's another new radio ad:
He has served as best man for grooms he's never met.
He strongly abides by the motto: "Safety third."
His garden maze is responsible for more missing persons than the Bermuda Triangle.
Even watching him sleep has been described as breathtaking.
He's never needed lip balm.
He went to a psychic once...to warn her.

Update 6: (7/30/2010) This one's a bit older, but I had missed it:
His charm is so contagious, vaccines have been created For it.
Years ago, he built a city out of blocks. Today, over six hundred thousand people live and work there.
He is the only man to ever ace a Rorschach test.
Every time he goes for a swim, dolphins appear.
Alien abductors have asked him to probe them.
If he were to give you directions, you'd never get lost, and you'd arrive at least five minutes early.
His legend precedes him, the way lightning precedes thunder.

Update 7: (7/3/2011) This one's been on quite a bit recently:
When he holds a shell up to his ear, he hears adult contemporary hits from the '90s.
His monkey business is the official business he carries on with primates.
The dinner he made last night was delicious. Ask anyone.
He finds squirrels untrustworthy.
If he were to say, "it's not you, it's me" he would be lying.
He figure skates, and it is glorious.

Update 8: (5/2/2013) It's been a long time since I've added an update, but the new Cinco De Mayo ad was cracking me up, though I think I only caught part of it.
The line for his Cinco de Mayo parties starts on Ocho de Febrero.
He has 3 little black books for women named Juanita
His 10-gallon hat holds approximately 13 gallons.
Also these were likely from a different ad:
In a past life, he was himself.
If opportunity knocks and he's not home, opportunity waits.
He gave his father "the talk".

More viral ad campaigns can be found here.
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By now you've probably already seen lots of major sites (Google, Wikipedia, Wordpress, Reddit, etc.) make significant changes or shutdown altogether to protest SOPA and PIPA for a day.

Reddit has a great explanation of what all this web censorship really means for users, websites, and search engines both via a blog post from yesterday (this is a permanent link) and their homepage today (this is only temporary until the blackout ends).

And Wordpress.org makes it really easy to make your voice heard, letting you send letters to your representatives (if you're in the US) or to the State Department (if you're outside the US) in just a few clicks. This issue affects those outside the US as well, as described in the Reddit post.

I found Google's censored logo and Wordpress.com's homepage to be some of the most visually striking and effective messages:



The reason so many people are making a big deal about this is that it really is a big deal, and there's too many people that aren't aware of it. Hopefully this stops bills like these which try to regulate the internet without actually knowing the widespread implications of such actions. The mere fact that Reddit would be considered a foreign site and Pirate Bay would be considered a domestic site under the wording of the bills makes it clear that they were drafted without any real technical understanding.
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TV show schedules seem really weird now, with shows taking breaks mid-season or waiting to start new seasons after the holidays. I found a comprehensive list on Warming Glow of when shows are starting/resuming over the next several weeks since I watch too many TV shows. Here's the short version (with some additions by me):

ABC: Happy Endings/Modern Family/Suburgatory (Jan. 4)
NBC: SNL (Jan. 7), 30 Rock/Parks and Recreation/The Office/Up All Night (Jan. 12)
CBS: How I Met Your Mother (Jan. 2)
FOX: The Simpsons/Family Guy (Jan. 8), Fringe (Jan. 13), New Girl (Jan. 17), Bob's Burgers (Mar. 11)
FX: Justified (Jan. 17), Archer (Jan. 19)
AMC: The Walking Dead (Feb. 12), Mad Men (March)
HBO: Eastbound and Down (Feb. 19)
SHOWTIME: Californication/Shameless (Jan. 8)
IFC: Portlandia (Jan. 6)
Comedy Central: South Park (Mar. 14)

The complete, much longer list can be seen here.
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This video is pretty cool...



Here's the behind the scenes on how they made it (kind of long):

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Saw this on Reddit and figured it was well worth posting. It's footage of Tom Cruise running down the Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world located in Dubai, for the next Mission: Impossible movie.

As one of the Reddit comments appropriately stated, "Tom Cruise is kind of a douche, but Ethan Hunt is fucking awesome."



(Linked from YouTube since IMDb won't let you embed their video)
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I saw this post today on RealityPrime where it was titled "This Is Magic" and I have to agree. And the fact that this technology was created at U of I makes it even cooler. The short version is this video shows how objects (including ones in motion) can be added to a photograph and interact with the lighting and objects already present in the image. The long version can be seen in the abstract I've included after the video. But really you just have to see the video.



(Via RealityPrime)
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It's been a long time coming. And I suppose with Halloween around the corner it's appropriate to be bringing symbii back from the dead. Long story short, I got a bit bored with posting for a while, and then when there had been a hiatus of a few weeks (and then a couple of months), I started thinking that if I was going to start posting here again, why not do an overhaul of the design as well?

Several more months later, I realized that if I was going to hold off on posting until I did a total redesign that accomplished all that I wanted*, it'd be a long wait since I've had various things keeping me busy. So I had it in the back of my head that I should start posting again, but nothing seemed worthy of a first post after such a long hiatus. But today I saw something that I found really cool...one of the kind of things that inspired me to start posting on symbii in the first place.

So symbii is back and I hope you'll still find it contains Something You Might Be Interested In! :)

-Niraj

P.S. Seriously, it's been so long since I posted something that the tools I use for posting look unfamiliar.

(*) I have a lot I want to redo...it's been a long while since I've messed with the actual code that runs this site, and a lot has changed in the world of HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc...The PHP code needs some serious cleanup too since I just kept building on top of it over time as I added features.
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Season 2, Episode 3 is now available! This week Dave and I talk about capitals, sponsors, browsers, sandwiches, answer mailbag questions, and more!

Get it via any of these methods:

iTunes podcast page Zune podcast page Direct MP3 file

Play Podcast (using Flash):


Or you can still sign up for the feed if you're using some other software/reader.

The Tremendous Upside with Dave and Niraj podcast is recorded via Skype.
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Season 2, Episode 2 is now available! This week Dave and I talk with a special guest and discuss sandwiches, random wiki articles, sponsors, answer mailbag questions, and more!

Get it via any of these methods:

iTunes podcast page Zune podcast page Direct MP3 file

Play Podcast (using Flash):


Or you can still sign up for the feed if you're using some other software/reader.

The Tremendous Upside with Dave and Niraj podcast is recorded via Skype.
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