October 12th, 2007


On electronic control of natural instinct

This morning, driving along Aotea Quay, I came to the set of traffic lights where the traffic normally backs up - the one where the trucks come on and off the wharf, and the freight trains cross from the station to the docks. Oddly, the traffic wasn't backed up at all. Weird, I thought. Then I realised the traffic lights weren't working.

And instead of the mad free-for-all that you'd expect, people in two lanes of rush-hour traffic were stopping, in unison, to let trucks through when they came to the intersection. The result? Traffic being stopped for the time it takes for one truck to cross, then getting going again. Instead of the usual red light that stops traffic for several trucks to cross, plus an extra 5-10 seconds for the light to change to green, causing a tailback of 20-30 cars.

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On a similar note - to all the people who hit the button repeatedly when coming up to a light-controlled pedestrian crossing..

You only need to hit the button once. That triggers the light system to 'know' there is someone waiting, and insert the 'pedestrian crossing' into the sequence of traffic lights. If you don't hit the button, the lights will rotate through their sequence without including the pedestrian crossing. Once the button is pushed, the green man will appear in due course. If you cross regularly at the same set of lights, you will learn the pattern and know when it will be your turn. Hitting the button repeatedly does not make the lights think there are 20 people waiting and therefore they should hurry up. It just makes you look like a dick.

Other things: It's national coming out day in the US. Apparently you're supposed to come out. OK. I am what you'd probably call heteroflexible. I'm into guys, but have had massive sexually based crushes on women occasionally through my life, on which I have never acted because these women have all been hetero. I have kissed a girl once, it was nice.

Sinfest has been getting funnier lately, you should go look.

*cough* Coffee tonight at Fidels. Not sure about fire dancing. Fire Rain dancing, anyone?

Hard sell

Three years ago, I bought a car. It's a good car. It starts, goes, is economical, and passes its warrant every time (give or take stuff like needing to tighten the tow bar - the point is, it's not a claptrap old rustbucket).

The people who sold me the car are helpful. Too helpful. They phone me when they think it's due for a service, when it's due for a warrant, when they think it might need a wheel alignment. Four months before I finished paying it off I got mail saying "Hey, it looks like you've had your car nearly three years, maybe it's time to start thinking about upgrading! Come talk to us!" They followed this up with a phone call to ask if I was interested in coming to view the latest model Lancers.

Yesterday, I got an invitation to a 'social' evening for customers of their company, ostensibly to "explain what all the gadgets on your car are, so you know what happens when we service it, and to show you how to change a tyre." To which I went O.o - is there anyone out there who doesn't know how to change a tyre? Or can't figure it out? And tacked on the bottom was a bit about how the new model Lancer was about to be launched, and we'd get a sneak preview.

Today there was a follow-up phone call to see if I'd be going, to which I politely declined.

I think these guys are taking customer service too far. It's becoming annoying. Should I tell them?