Automatic (?) truncation ruins a sale

Filtering through some long-ago crap at work some years ago, I found VHSes of subjects that were long ago filed and forgotten. One of them was entituled “The Attitude Virus”, meant to warn office workers about how they could ruin their work environment by bad attitudes that affect others. Made by CRM Films, here is the title screen:

The Attitude Virus / Curing Negativity in the Workplace / Government Version

CRM films still exists as CRM Learning, now bought by “Media Partners”, and they still make these sorts of things, though their website doesn’t seem to like the currently current (84.0) version of Firefox.

Continue reading Automatic (?) truncation ruins a sale

New theme for accessibility / a11y

I have changed themes to one that is “accessibility ready” per WordPress, so persons with screen readers and others can hopefully have a better use of it.

Otherwise, I have been transcribing image content into captions for screen readers. This makes it easier to decide what to write there and excuses me from writing insolent captions about bad user interfaces.

Question to screen reader users: is it better that the descriptions of the images go in the “alt text” or caption? If they end up in alt text, sighted persons rarely see them, which is why I have been avoiding them for now.

Bad user interfaces in microeconomy (personal finance)

I’ve posted previously about unneededly bad credit card forms on websites before, so here is one from a site I left the information off of in the image, so do not remember its name:

Credit card information entry form on a website. Expiration date is a drop down field of month and year combined, values begin 02/2020, 03/2020, … ending 09/2021. The form also requires selecting the “Card Type” (Visa is displayed/selected).

This is an interesting way of allowing the user to enter the information. By typing it off the card surface, the browser will automatically zero in on the correct one except:

  1. Credit cards (that I have seen) do not write the full year out. A card expiring in August of this year would have 08/20 on the face of it, not “2020”.
  2. As a prevention of incorrect data entry, it’s not good either. If someone enters “01/22” they are not going to get 01/2022 but probably 01/2020. If this field was a text entry field with validation, it could automatically add the slash (alot of telephone number fields will generate add the punctuation this way) and, if really needed, the millenium-century digits automatically.

A firm I do business with recently updated their bills (good, the old ones were quite constrained in their content, the template could barely do histograms) and then their website. I get a paper bill and pay it on their website. Here is how an account standing of earlier this year was shown:

PAY BILLS / Amount Due / $ 98.1 / Late Charges Added after 03/04/2020 / Buttons: Pay by check / Pay by card

Their site coding cut off the one-cent digit because it was a zero (bill was 98.10 USD), thinking it was not a significant digit. If this was almost any other unit, this would have been fine: 98.10 gal = 98.1 gal; 98.10 kg = 98.1 kg; 98.10 kWh = 98.1 kWh. (I am not getting into the legal metrology here.) With money, or at least United States dollars, if it is a noninteger, single cents (hundredths of a dollar) are significant no matter what.

(In some contexts, like motor gasolene and taxation, mills [thousandths of a dollar] shown as are as well. Their symbol is ₥, U+20A5, not ℳ U+2133 sometimes used for the old German Mark. The old pharmacy unit minim uses the two Zodiacal M-like signs for its symbol.)

In the United States, there are 3 business entitys, called credit bureaus, that business firms send information to and purchase from, about what finantial obligations people have obtained and how well they have managed with them. In other words, what loans and credit cards they have and if they pay them as the contract says. A while ago now, a federal legislation requires that the 3 of them allow each person (= SSN holder) to get 1 free report from each of them each year. (There are other times when a person can get free reports, such as if they are refused a contract because of what is on one.)

The firms are approachable through a website so you can access them three-in-a-row style more easily. When trying to do this this past new year’s time, I got these strange appearances:

ExperianDisappeared.png showing Equifax listed twice, TransUnion once, and Experian missing. This was in Internet Explorer 11 because at once time Equifax (or Experian?) would throw an error in other browsers that wouldn’t tell you why it happened, you just had to know to use IE.

XunionDisappeared.png showing Experian listed twice, Equifax once, and TransUnion missing. I was using old Edge to see if it was browser or cache dependent and it wasn’t.

Interestingly, the website says that through February 2021, they will all offer free reports weekly. This is nice for Equifax, but the other two have consumer (= SSN holder) memberships where you can do that anyway.

Experian tries to upsell you more than TransUnion. They also let you only get a new one weekly, while TransUnion lets you refresh it daily! Experian’s has this method of trying to get your credit score (not report) to improve by looking at your utility payments. I did it with my phone bill, and my number got worse. They let me take it back out and gave me some normally paid stuff for free. (None of them, or anyone else, pay/paid me anything to post this and it’s unlikely they know who runs this blog.)

Finally, a company Chemwise from OhiO that wants to recycle nastys like elemental mercury and nail polish. Sadly, it really looks like their web developer is driveler in the business of design and construction, or worse. My account summary was this the first time I logged in (before placing any orders):

My account - Chemwise2.png
Chemwise’s My Account summary page (excerpt, edited): Member Since […] 2019 / Payment Dude Date: […]/2017 / Last Payment: Received […]/2017
Along with some subscription information that was incorrect, I supposedly had been billed and payed for services two years before I opened my account. This was such an obvious thing that I emailed them immediately and received on the next business day a reply to ignore this because it was a mistake. I eventually closed the account because their services wouldn’t’ve fit my need.


Nieuuu Dzherseyyy!

I’ve finally turned up enough matter from official New Jersey websites to warrant flooding my blog with them all at once. (There is an animated GIF at the end.)

Continue reading Nieuuu Dzherseyyy!

Back on the Chain-Gang; or, a Second Line-in-Waiting

It has been a while since I posted. I was on vacation. Now I have a bunch of stuff to scan and many screen shots from previous time to put up and comment on.

Continue reading Back on the Chain-Gang; or, a Second Line-in-Waiting

I have never seen this before in a blog

Visiting by accident, the human recommendations blog of the Marion (Indiana) Publique Library, I noticed something actually unique: A total lack of datestamps.

I cannot find anything on the index page or the individual posts to show when they were written or publisht. The URIs are … found it!!

If you clique on the individual images of books, then it says when they were “published”, which means uploaded to the server.

Sadly, the blog hasn’t been updated in almost 2 years. Their idea of not making it easy to see the date makes it hard for an immediate visitor to know if it is all out of date, hence less immediately rejection-worthy. As far as I know this is unique to them.

Well that only took forever

I don’t like to hate on government agencies, especially the underfed and underfunded. This, however, is annoying to me…

The United State Government Publishing1 Office lets you buy books and pamphlets the various parts of the United States (but not the States themselves) have reduced to written form. I have bought several copies of the official text of the Constitution from them for ready reference.

Some publications just go to show that there is a certain amount of stodge that always goes with government, such as the bizzare choice of smiley face on this document about bridge inspections. It make it look a little untrustworthy to me, like “It’s OK, really (wink)”.

Anyway, I wanted badly to read this entertainingly titled Ebook on investment frauds from a sometime Commissioner of the CFTC with a mullet that is supposedly available free. Well:

  1. There are two entries for this media on the GPO’s website, for some reason.
  2. The PDF link in the one is bad.
  3. I can’t find the “Add to Cart” link mentioned, even if logged in to my account.

Anyway, after fussing around (I didn’t call them up, because when I reported a spelling mistake in their ecommerce user management, it took over a month to get a reply. And it still isn’t fixed. As before, underfunded) I found a link to the PDF and EPUB files on their… FTP server.

Anyway, go here:

  1. Ex-Government Printing Office. I understand the name change, but the older one was headed by the supremely titled “Public Printer of the United States”. The new one is run by a “Director”. Boring!! 

More about the Weather Service

If you look online at the (United States) National Weather Service’s page you will see the New York City region’s webpage. Any one know why the abbreviation that would logically be NYC is OKX? I’ve checked and it is not ROT-13 or any similar transformation.

Credit card form annoyance

If you’ve ever used a credit card or debit card for an online purchase, you’ve probably had this happen.

Credit/debit cards (in the United States at least) have five fields associated with the account that have to be entered correctly for the payment to go through.

Continue reading Credit card form annoyance