Showing posts from June, 2009

Squeeze Play

Now that the digital television age is underway, an interesting situation has come to my attention. Some people have widescreen (a.k.a. 16x9) TVs and some people, like us, have older TVs in the standard format (4x3). The problem is how do TV stations deliver their new widescreen pictures to people who have standard TVs. I understand that over the air converter boxes, the kind they were telling everyone to get with their government coupon, have a zoom feature which enables the user to either crop the picture to fit their TV, or display it in widescreen "letterbox" format with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. All well and good. But we have digital cable, without that feature. How the system is delivering the images is a mystery to me, but generally it works OK. Sometimes the picture is letterboxed. Other times it is evident that the image is cropped, because people's faces or some text is cut off at the edges. Whatever the technique, somebody needs to exp


Wednesday afternon UPS misdirected a package to our door. It was meant for somebody with a similar address. I called UPS to correct the problem and got stuck in a voice recognition phone maze that didn't give me any relevant options. So I used my usual method of pressing "0" to speak to a real human. Unfortunately, unlike most other systems, it just put me into another maze. I was not in a good mood to begin with, so in desperation I screamed "GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" into the phone. The system politely replied "One moment while we connect you to a live agent." I guess voice recognition software is more sophisticated than I thought. It can now recognize anger. The story has a happy ending. The agent took down the information and within 30 minutes I got a call from the local UPS office saying the driver would return within the hour. He actually arrived one minute later with an apology and took the box away.