They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

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Quality Control Issues

Easter Egg Hands

Yesterday I was working on some revisions to a manuscript and at one point looked at my right hand -- and it had several inky blobs on it. Now I've been using the same sort of pens for a lot of my markups for over five years and in general the Pilot Razor Point pens have been good performers. But they are filled with a liquid ink, which you can see in the clear part of the barrel flowing back and forth as you tilt the pens. They have a very tight cap and a pen end which seems to have about two dozen flat disk seals. But I've bought quite a number of the 8-color packs of these pens and use them a lot, so I suppose that one might experience some leakage.

The next pen also left inky marks on my hand. Huh. Now first of all I'm one of those people who hates to get ink on my skin. I can't imagine writing a note on myself and let's just forget the whole notion of tattoos completely at this point. So with green and light blue pens leaking, I got out the red pen and swabbed it with a kleenex -- and it was leaking, too. As was the dark blue pen. Of the five pens which were left in this particular package, only the brown pen seemed to be fully sealed.

Now the thing of it was that this pack of pens has been on my writing desk for months -- and I've been using them. This morning it occurred to me, though, that what's changed is that I had moved the pens the other day and they'd been sitting directly under the bright, warm light of a Tensor high intensity light. Perhaps the seals leaked ink because the ink had thinned and/or gotten under pressure from the heat. Well, it's a theory.

I have enough packs of these pens in various use that I haven't had to buy any probably in the past year. Maybe it's time for some new ones. (grin)

Am I The Only One To Notice This?

Cable TV is beginning to annoy me on two fronts. First, even if you don't have digital cable, they're using digital transmission of data from one place to another. Because of digital compression techniques, one doesn't have to send the entire image with every frame, but only the changes. So when a DVD disk has a glitch or there's a momentary interruption in the signal coming down from the satellite or along the cable and the error correction can't fix it, you start getting these squares of broken up images which slowly fill in as the partial images update.

When an analog system has a problem, the image and/or sounds degrades. When a digital system has a problem, that part of the image or the sound drops out. And as good as the signal can be when it's working, when you have a problem, the digital one is more annoying. And this problem is only going to get worse in February 2009 when the broadcast channels go digital and cable is routing all-digital signals to your new DTV or converter box.

No good solution for this one, other than do some better buffering and repetition so that the dropouts don't completely destroy the images. And wonder if the digital TV generation is going to suck.

But Then They Do It Deliberately

Cable has had the ability to interrupt the live feed from any channel and substitute local programming or ads. Maybe it's just us, but I've noticed lately that they are doing this a lot more with some really crappy results. First, they aren't synching very well with the existing commercials, so the overlaid ones abruptly start over something else already running. Second, they're cutting into the shows, too. I forget what we were watching last week but right when we got to the crucial moment and we found out Who Did It, these damned Comcast ad with the abrasive and annoying woman cut right in, smugly ran for 30 seconds and then we were back to the show.

Obviously there was a scheduling conflict. One wonders, if one had a cynical bone in their body, if the networks are deliberately changing the commercial break windows so as to defeat the reprogramming of commercials. No, can't be. No business would ever deliberately sabotage another business which was torpedoing the ad revenue of the first. Would they?

Dr. Phil
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