Thursday, November 18, 2010

Underthinking it phone repair

Recently my cellphone stopped working correctly. I mean I could still browse the web, or send texts, take pictures, play sudoku, make memo's etc.
At this point you are asking yourself well what is wrong with you phone, it seems to do everything a phone should do. Well not quite everything....

"That's right I want 5000 loaves and fishes delivered to Bethsaida.."

That's right I couldn't do what Jesus is doing there, I couldn't have a conversation on my phone. Which when you break it down is probably the primary reason to have a cellular phone. Now what I say is not entirely true, the reason I couldn't talk was because the speaker wasn't working on my phone so I couldn't hear the person on the other end. I could get around this by putting the phone on loudspeaker, it's speaker seemed intact, however its not always ideal to be talking on speaker phone.

"Mr Johnson the test results are back you have Crabs...."

So I decided since my phone was less than a year old to take it down to the store I brought it from to see if they could fix it. To start with I don't think the guy believed me, since he decided he would test it by ringing himself. Now maybe he is knows what I am doing, but if it was me, I wouldn't know if the voice I was hearing was my actually voice, or one coming through the phone.

"I think it is working I can hear my voice..."
But after some juggling of the two phones he deduced I was actually telling the truth about my phone being broken, and not just spending my Saturday afternoon wasting his time with phony complaints.

"Ha ha I was just kidding there is nothing wrong with my phone, I just wanted some one to talk to..."
So now I am informed it will take 10-15 working days to repair, and would I like a replacement? Um no thank you I will just be uncontactable for 3 weeks. Of course I wanted a replacement, so out the back he went and returned with the loaner.

Artist's Rendition of the Phone I was given
Now seriously I am no phone salesmen, but to me the loaner phone situation is the perfect opportunity to sell someone a a quality phone, if you loan them a decent phone that works really well, and they use it for 3 weeks they may think you know what I really like this phone, I think I will upgrade.
But instead they give you probably one of the first phones ever invented.

"No this is 002, you want 001.."
Firstly this phone has no USB connection so you cannot easily transfer your contacts across, I know some people can fit all their contacts on a SIM but not I. I have an old SIM and I have more than 100 numbers stored in my phone. I have 4 people whose names start with Z in my phone, I actually have a person with every letter in the alphabet except X. I have 10 Matthews.

But none of them are this Matthew

But since my loan phone doesn't let me transfer numbers across, I currently have 25 numbers on this phone, and they are the people who have texted me in the last 3 weeks. And even some of those people I have forgotten to save their numbers.
 So that's Strike one on the loan phone.

Secondly I had to pay an $80 bond on this loan phone in case I stole it, or lost it. Well firstly the replacement cost of this phone would be about $3 I think on current market values. And anyone that wants to steal it, is the dumbest criminal in the world, what are they going to do with it? Use it to smash a store window to steal something of value?

I am glad I stole that phone, so I could steal this ipod
Lose it? How the hell am I going to lose this phone, it is huge, and a brick. Its not going to fall out of my pocket, well it might but through the bottom of my pocket in which case I would feel it, probably leave a scar on the top of my foot. Even if it did fall out I am sure I would notice I am no longer walking with a limp, from the weight of it, in my pocket.

"Yeah my phone fell out my pocket again.."

Strike 2 Loan Phone.

Thirdly I put my phone in to repair on the 30th of October! That is 19 days ago, I know they said 10-15 working days, but define working. Surely somewhere someone is working on any day of the week you name. Yes for the average Joe, Monday-Friday is probably the working week, but then they should have said up to 3 business weeks. Besides when I went in to inquire where my phone was, last week, I went in on a Sunday.
And guess what the sales lady was doing. Working!, so if she is working on the Sunday why shouldn't other members of the company also be working?
I guess working is a stretch when I walked in she was on a personal call, and when I asked about my phone, she just said we will call you when it gets here.
If she was actually working she might have pretended to check a computer or make a phone call, and tell me they are still working on it, and her humblest apologies....

Strike 3 loan phone

So if you are wondering where you regular text from me is, then you should text me so I can have your number, because at the time of writing I still don't have my phone, I miss it so much....

Come Back Phone...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Underthinking pub quiz team

We have all been to the pub quiz it is an enjoyable experience, the annoyance of being close, the thrill of getting an obscure answer correct.

Name the C used to describe whales, dolphins, and porpoises?
There are people that do it part-time, there are people that do it full-time invariable a bunch of academics or teachers, having to use the extra knowledge they have amassed whilst studying that they can't pass onto their charges.

"Man, I could tell people who won Best Actor in 1952 academy awards?"

The interesting thing with pub quizzes in Dunedin at least is the paltry prizes on offer. I acknowledge that the entry is free, but if you have 20 teams of about 5 each by the time they have eaten and drank for 3 hours, you will have taken in at least $2000. But the prizes on offer at some establishments are as low as $50 for first $30 for second and $20 for 3rd. That is a total prize pool of $100, around 5% of my conservative estimate. Thats a bigger profit margin than airport food. The other thing is quiz nights are frequently on early in the week, on nights you wouldn't expect a big bar take normally, so the quiz money is really a bonus anywho.

"As you can see here by reducing the prizes our profits (green) increase.."

 The real kicker is if you have a team of 5 unless you win first place, you can't even get a drink each.

"The Pretty Young" things got 3rd place, so could only afford 2 cocktails for the 5 of them, (note the disappointment in their faces)
There is an optimum quantity of members in a quiz team. Too few and you don't have broad enough knowledge, too many and then you increase odds of disagreements on 50/50 questions.
 Personally I think 5 is around the perfect number, means you can have a Sports guy, a Geography/History guy, a Arts/Media guy, a odds and ends guy, and a guy to act as a tie breaker.

Sheryl (in green) sometimes felt she wasn't treated as an equal

The problem is once you have achieved this optimum mix, everyone enjoys it so much that they all invite a friend, who in turn invite friends, so you end up with an out of control team of 15 participants. The smart thing to do would be to split into 3 new teams, but how to split without offending anyone, there is no way so you are stuck with team that is too big.

The original "Awesome foursome" team is the 4 in the middle front
The thing is the perfect makeup of a team never really happens, people aren't divided by knowledge rather by personality.In fact most of the time if you form a quiz team with friends your knowledge is pretty similar, i.e you all know sports, or you all know movies.

Luckily for the "Huzzahs" all the questions at the quiz championships were about beards, and matching polos and shorts

So here is a list of underthinking quiz personalities I have encountered. They could compete at the pub quiz. under the name "The Underthinkers"

The one answer wonder
This guy sits in the corner, not saying anything all night. If he does say something its something like I can't believe how stupid I feel, or how did you guys know that.
Then in one of the later rounds, when things are looking grim you have come across an obscure question about the ruling monarchy of a little known Asian country, the person will pipe up.

Name the king of Bhutan
 The thing is though he won't pipe up as soon as the question comes up, he will let you debate it for a bit, and let the frustration grow in your faces. And then when you are faced with just putting an answer down, he then quietly almost meekly proffers a solution usually accompanied with a story on exactly how and why he knows for sure that is the answer even though in his mind it is still dubious.

"Its not King Jigme Khesar Namgyel is it? He held me as a politcal prisoner for the last 3 years, I am not sure though"
At least he can go home safe in the knowledge he earnt the team at least 1 point because he eventually spoke up, unlike the next guy on the team.

The guy that "knows" the answer but doesn't share it with anyone

Possibly the most annoying person on the face of the planet. They sit there saying nothing offering nothing, they look at the question but don't join the debate on the answer.

Name the painter of this 17 th century artwork?
The rest of the team is logically stepping through 17th century artists, debating which one is most likely to have painted this particualar piece unsure, they guess perhaps Raphael (unaware he is far too early), since it is obviously a religious motif and he is famous for them.Besides he was a Ninja turtle.

Not only a great painter also a hero in a half shell

When the answers are read out, and the team has gotten it wrong, this person pipes up and says I knew that of course it is Rembrandt, thats the "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee", its a lesser known but still good painting of his. Really? That's fantastic, perhaps it would have been more pertinent to share that information with us during the question time?
The really annoying thing about this person is not only did they know the answer, the knew it beyond doubt. i.e they had read/heard/seen it that day.

The Second-guesser guy

Name this waterfall which is home to the Devils Pool?
This guy answers questions almost immediately as soon as he hears it, 110% confident he has the correct answer.

"Easy Victoria Falls, BOOM!"
 This confidence lasts about 2-3 questions later when he starts to have doubts about his knowledge, now there is another answer in his mind that seems equally as plausible.

"Wait, Devils pool? Its not the Angel falls is it?"
The worst but most common strategy used when this is encountered, is to allow this guy to change the answer. Invariably if he had just stuck to his guns he would have got the answer right. But alas those self-doubts have doomed him to get it wrong.

"Oh gawd, why didn't i stick with Victoria Falls"

The guy 4 questions behind

This delightful young fellow is at one of his first quiz nights, he knows stuff, but hasn't quite got the hang of how the format of a quiz works. You are a collective if one person gets the answer and the majority agree you move on.
 This young chap gets the first question and spends the rest of the time working on that, despite the fact the rest of the team has moved on.

"Okay, guys what is the Capital of Kazakhstan?"
 I don't know if he hasn't quite got that there is a time limit, or he just isn't used to the pace of the game, or is brain can't handle more than 2 things at once. But he severly lags behind. Like downloading things on a 28 kpb modem.

I have got it, it is Cetaceans

Well yes that is the answer to the first question in this post, however I and the rest of the readers got that several minutes ago. The answer to the last question is of course Astana, I am sure all the underthinkers reading this got that.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Underthinking Robertos Carlos

Recently at a pub quiz we were asked to name the Top 20 artists of all time by sales during the list section. The way the list works is your name 10, and as soon as you name one that isn't on the list you stop scoring. We failed due to the fact we named U2 in spot 4, when in fact they are more like 30th.

Although Bono is the number one shopper at Sales.

We missed quite a few people namely Celine Dion, who in my mind has only ever sung that song from Titanic, so I assume everyone who brought a ticket to see the movie got a discount CD, which counts towards sales.

People could get enough of "My heart will go on"

and Nana Mouskouri,the great Greek Pop/folk artist....

..also specsavers number 1 model
Given that a great soccer player by the name Roberto Carlos also came out of Brazil I had to check if they were the same person.
Not the same, but he looks like he could pound out a power ballad
 So I did a search and found something that would change my life forever, quite possibly the greatest photo ever taken.
Roberto Carlos

I don't even know where to begin in describing this photo, it is just beyond awesome, I literally laughed out loud for a solid 10 minutes.

I mean on first appearance this is the typical pose of a Latin American pop star. Note his classic mop-style hairstyle, his nonchalent arm going around the woman in front of him, he is obviously making a move, he has his other hand on his jutted out hip, to display a carefree attitude.
His clothes also are typical a shirt open down to his belt buckle, almost to say I have a great torso, but I really need to work on my arm muscles before I can go completely shirtless.
His necklaces look like he has just spent the last couple of years in a hippie commune enjoying the swinging 60's and the free love associated with it.

 So far so good, however there are two things that remove the allure of mystery from this photo.

1./ The Location.

Note before I said it looks like he is coming onto the woman in front of him, looking closer I know see two men behind him. He is obviously in a queue for the unisex toilets. The arm against the wall, that I initially thought was trying to entrance the woman is in fact holding him up after he has spent 20 minutes waiting. The hand on the jutted out hip, are not signs of him wanting to mate, he is trying to hold on, which brings me to the next point

This man is waiting for the toilet note the exact same body position

2./ The Facial expression

Despite the sexual bravado the body language appears to be displaying the face is selling him short. I have two theories

a. combined with the location he actually just really needs to go, and is grimacing

b. He is a confused man.

Some one said hey Roberto put on a sexy pose, and he was uncertain what to do. They said put one hand on the wall and the other on your hip. He did the moves, but is conveying through his eyes that is uncertain of the sexiness of this pose. As if to say "Really? you think this will turn the ladies on, I don't know man?"

"You really think this is sexy?"
I ask you the underthinking community, what do you think young Roberto Carlos is thinking in the above photo, please post suggestions in the comments.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Underthinking Sport: Field Hockey

I was watching the field hockey last night, and I couldn't really get into it. There are a lot of issues in this sport that I think detract from it as a spectacle.
I am going to highlight the main ones that concern me.

1/. Stick too short

The main problem with the sport of field hockey is that they have these stupidly short sticks. I mean if you ever watch a game of field hockey you see all these guys running around all hunched over, who invented these ridiculously short sticks?

Fredrick Ramos - Chief Designer of Field Hockey Sticks
Why don't they just get longer sticks? It looks like a bunch of hunchbacks running around the field...

Quasimodo was actually the Fullback of the Notre Dame team.

 I don't know if you have ever run around all hunched over but its not exactly comfortable, in saying that old people seem to walk like that all the time and they like to be comfortable, that's why they always have a rug and a Thermos

After knocking back the contents of her Thermos Gladys gets comfy with her rug

2/. Playing the ball restrictions

So not only are you lumped with a stick that is too short for you, you can only use one side of it. Now this one I don't have to much of a problem with because adds a bit of skill element to it, you know reversing the stick and all that.
But they only make right-handed sticks! that's right if you are left handed and want to play field hockey you are screwed.

"Dear Mum, today teacher told me I couldn't play field hockey, I don't know why...."

Okay so no left-handers big deal you say I am one of the majority of the world that uses my right hand, but then you can't use your feet. Now again I guess I don't mind the no intentional playing with your feet, but you can't even accidentally let the ball touch your feet otherwise its a penalty. Why is this if the idiot hitting the ball can't miss your feet when he is shooting then he doesn't deserve a goal, the net he is shooting at is 7ft by 12ft. If he can't get the ball in that without hitting your size 10's he is not very good at this sport. Although could lead to some tactical selections if this rule was relaxed.

Fred never did know why he kept getting picked first....

3/. Scoring restrictions.

Okay so they restrict how you play the ball that's not so bad, stopping you score is what really get up my goat.

My goat Artemis
Firstly you they have this little circle that you have to be inside to score, this circle isn't a third of the field or anything crazy like that. No this circle is 14.63 meter radius from the centre of the goal. Just a bit of simple maths here, the field is 91.4 * 55m so 5027 sq metres of real estate you can run around on. But you can only score if some in the scoring circle touches the ball, this scoring circle area is only 336 sq metres. This represents a mere 6.6% of the the total playing surface.

Why make scoring only possible from this small of the area? Are all field hockey goalies short sighted? Do they require the player to be that close before they can see where the ball is coming from?

Gregor Smit - Worlds Number 1 field hockey goalie.

4/. Too heavy a waiting on penalty corners

 By combining this small scoring area with the fact you have have 10 players on the field, you see many teams just fill this zone up with defensive players, making it difficult to score.

That's right Punk, try and score now.
 But remembering the no foot contact, smart players don't even aim at the net they just aim at somebody's foot so that they get a penalty corner.
I maybe wrong, maybe I have watched peculiar games, but it seems to me pretty much 70-80% of the goals get scored from the penalty corners at the top level, and there are very few open play goals.

Penalty corners are fine I guess, and I know they have little variations but if you hit the ball, surprise surprise there are more restrictions on your scoring, the first shot has to be below 460 mm. This is because field hockey players wear no protection except for some little shin guards

"Mom, these don't seem to offer much facial or groinal protection"

However if you use a drag flick, there are no height restrictions, so essentially most of the goals you see in field hockey are of this variety, which makes most field hockey seem similar and repetitive to me.

And you know what I don't think I am the only one, the way to truly measure the popularity of a sport in terms of spectators are the existence of a professional league. This means that people are willing to part money to watch the sport.
Below is a link to a list of worldwide professional sports leagues see leagues for obvious Football, Basketball, Auto racing etc, and the obscure Paintball.

But I am not going to argue with this guy that it's not a sport

If you check the list you go hang on, there is field hockey on that list, yes there is but only one league the Premier Hockey League of India (PHL), but that is a defunct league at that. This means that they couldn't find enough people to watch the sport.

The crowd at the PHL were made up of people who thought they had tickets to the IPL

Now having complained about this sport this entire post, there is one thing that field hockey is not underthinking and that is the reason the womens game at the very least, won't disappear...

"Oh hi there..."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Freelance Friday - The Masked Avenger

Welcome to the first in the series of Freelance Fridays. Freelance Fridays will hopefully be a regular feature to help me maintain the output that my fans demands
Oi Blog more often...

Today's column was written by a friend of mine, who unwilling to go by their real name would like to be known as the Masked Avenger. Some say he once ate an entire roll of toilet paper, some say he once had some dodgy ambitions while wearing a heart monitor. We just know him as the Masked Avenger. Recently he had a run in with google, so he agreed to discuss it for you my underthinking readers, mostly so he could procrastinate from exams I think. So lets join the story......

Everyone in the world (to a realistic extent) knows what Google is. It’s the world’s most popular search engine. But in the last few years it’s gone from something that teenagers use to look for porn to what middle-aged men use to try and impress their friends by showing them an aerial view of their holiday house.

They have certainly sped up the search process.

What did people do to find the answers to things before Google, before the internet? Maybe they sent off a form in the mail and men sitting in offices with little half-moon glasses rummaged through filing cabinets. Maybe that’s what still happens today, Google just upgraded the user interface a bit.

...Ahh here it is, take this down Edith. Dear Fred, in answer to your recent query to Google industries...

But fast-forward to today. Google now allows you to customize your search engine using ‘iGoogle’. It lets you choose a background and fills the page with widgets based on your selected interests. While this all seems well and good, for people like me on slow internet, all it does is take 3 times as long to load the page and in the meantime, I’ve forgotten what I was going to search for. It’s a gimmick that has no use. For example, my iGoogle page is displaying a link for me today, entitled: ‘The top 10 insane Jimmy Olsen moments’. I don’t even know who Jimmy Olsen is, so chances are I don’t want to know about his ‘insane moments’. 

Although in hindsight they were pretty awesome, you know me too well Google..

This also proves that their ‘widget-selection-based-on-which-boxes-I-clicked-as-my-interests criteria’ is wrong (admittedly that’s probably not what it’s called but you get the picture). In fairness though, for the benefit of my mother, it is probably good it isn't entirely accurate based on what I am normally searching. The only thing that iGoogle has benefited me with is allowing me to have two animated turtles on the page, which swim round in a little tank and follow your pointer. But even that was user-contributed add-on.
My Turtles Elliot and Ness

So, a few years ago, they brought in Google Maps. At first it seems like a great idea, and it is. But there are a few flaws. For example, when you pick a starting point and destination, you can select walking and driving directions. That’s awesome, so presumably it takes into account main roads that you should use for driving. And parks and things you can walk across to shorten the distance to walk. No.

Unpassable according to Google Maps.

The driving instructions always show you round a mini Tiki-tour of your neighbourhood before abandoning all common sense in its route picking. They need an ‘avoid the ghetto’ option which you can choose; 

Thanks Google Maps...

At least let you skip the first few steps of the directions, I know how to get out of my own neighbourhood. And the walking instructions, useless. I used them to get from my hall of residence to the railway station. It said the estimated time was 12 minutes. I left 15 minutes to be safe and it took me 20 minutes to get there. What are they basing their timing on? Olympic Speed-walkers? I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually take my lyrca body suit out with me. The directions didn’t even make sense, they took me down a street with no pavement. What am I supposed to do? Hitchhike this bit of the journey?

Just off down to the Shops

Streetview got brought in as the ‘Next Big Thing’. You can see a photo of any address on the planet from the street. This is cool, it lets you know what you’re going to be looking for when you get there. But it seems that people always know when Google are taking the pictures (which isn’t hard I guess, they have a pick 4x4 with Street View on the side and a camera on top). 

Obviously not everyone is that observant though

There’s now countless Facebook groups dedicated to funny things on Streetview, ‘Stormtrooper on Streetview’ ‘Couple having sex on Streetview’ ‘Girl gets shot on Streetview’ (probably not that funny if it’s real). In my opinion, it was developed for the communists. Google was paid to design a way that the Reds could use to keep an eye on us without drawing much attention. I mean who’s going to suspect Google? All a KBG agent has to do is go on Streetview and type in ‘Secret Nuclear Missile Facility’ and boom; believe me I’ve done it.
In conclusion, exams suck ass

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