Saturday, June 02, 2007

Use Algebra

The mother is 21 years older than the child. In 6 years from now the mother will be 5 times as old as the child. The question you need to answer is: "Where is the father?" Hint: You can solve the puzzle using ordinary algebra. Check the Comments of this post for the answer.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Brain Teaser

Find at least 18 creatures in the italicized sentence. The names appear in the words, they're not mixed up anagrams, jumbled or combined words. Check Comments for answers (not now, after you've had a try! Shheesh!)

Kneel in the kayak grasping the boat, but don't wrench the bullion or scowl at the chart. Behind the taped and sealed painter is a benevolent collier. The foxglove is in the bath.

No Yahoo's from Me

Last night I saw an advert on TV for a Pirates of the Caribbean competition which could be entered online at yahoo7, by following the links there. I went to Yahoo7 and couldn't find any mention of the movie or the competition, and their search box just did a Google search which brought up lots of references to the first 2 movies, but nothing recent. There were some competitions down the bottom of the page, and every one that I clicked on took me to pages which said "Thanks, but that competition has already closed". Almost every link on the page took me to some sort of ad-referral sponsored page, in fact.

On the face of it Yahoo7 seems to be a great place to make your home page - after all, there are TV Guides, Weather, Mail, Music and Messenger, all sorts of topics life Lifestyle, News, Photos, Travel and Real Estate. But overall, the site is just waaaay too commercial now. What happened to the "good old" Yahoo which was just as likely to be your home page as Google or the now defunct Excite? Unfortunately, like so many successful websites, it was bought out by business, who then set about changing it to what they, in their business frame of mind, thought it should be. Businesses should stick to what they do best, running a business. If the dotcom implosion and fallout of a few years ago teaches us anything, its that the web is a very fickle place, and normal rules of commerce don't apply there. The inevitable result of big business trying to run the web is that they ruin whatever they touch, just as King Midas did. The web isn't about business, no matter how many opportunities they think they see there, and never will be. Most of these sites get you to sign up so they can tell their shareholders they have x million members, but the fact is that most people who sign up never go back to the site again. may look great in PowerPoint presentations to the shareholders, but it's not worth the server space it takes up, and in a year or two it will join many, many other "Once Were Great" websites in the "Jumped the Shark When It Was Bought Out" trash pile.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Late Night TV Asks "How Dumb Are You?"

Let's face it, late night advertising isn't ever likely to be interesting or informative. Anyone who can only afford to pay the very low rates for advertising in the 1 am to 4 am timeslot probably hasn't got a product that's worth selling. But with so many recording and timeshift options these days, perhaps advertising in that timeslot is actually a smart thing to do, given that more people than ever before will see your advert, next day when they watch what they recorded last night. That being the case, advertisers in that time slot need to start treating their audience as normal human beings, and stop assuming that because their advert is on at 2 am, anyone watching has incredible bowel pain, is lonely for company, or is just completely stupid.

Mind you, you'd have to be incredibly stupid to fall for some of the sexy-sms style adverts. In the centre of our picture is the "Text your postcode and we'll set you up with a root in your area" scam. They assume you already have internet access, because the only way to read the full terms and conditions is on their website, and yet somehow you will never have heard of Messenger, MySpace, Meetro, FriendFinder and a thousand other online services which allow you to search by area, for free. Never mind the small print on the ad, which charges you $4 per message received by you from them - if you're stupid enough to send in your postcode and live in a big city, what is to stop them from sending you a thousand contacts at $4 each?

Then there's the "Guess my cup size and win $5,000" scam. Seems easy to me, she's obviously a C-cup, but again, the small print takes the cake. You've actually got to answer 2 rounds of 5 questions each, at $5 per message, to even go into the draw for the prize. That's a raffle that costs $50 per ticket, and you can bet that the last question would be something like "What was the population of Brazil in 1867, and name them all". How dumb are people? Well obviously dumb enough that the promoters figure they'll make a fortune off this moronic scam.

An Honourable Mention has to go to the Adult Literacy adverts. For years, the people who organise these campaigns haven't been able to figure out the fundamentals of their target market - that they can't actually read! I used to live with an illiterate guy, and I can tell you that having the phone number dancing around with little eyes and singing the number at you just doesn't work because (a) you've had to make the jingle so complicated to get all those numbers in that no illiterate can remember it, and (b) just because he's illiterate doesn't mean he's 5 years old. One of the biggest problems my friend had with the whole Adult Literacy sector is the tendency to treat every client like he was a naughty 3 year old, not an adult. Better results could be had by using a plain sans-serif font, large and totally immobile, on screen in the same place for the whole advert. Stupid jingles like "One-three-double-Ooooo-six-triple-five-oh-six" with overlapping digits that are comic-style, move, jiggle and blink are the last thing likely to get results. They may not be able to read, but they can probably copy numbers down - if only you'd give them something decent to copy from. And as for the genius who decided to put adverts on the back of taxis that say "Can't read? Phone…" - he or she should be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More things I've learned watching TV lately

1. Even in a murder where there is only one witness, the witness will be asked 1 or 2 questions by each attorney and then dismissed, spending less than 2 minutes on the stand.

2. No meeting is ever concluded when everyone says "That's it"... you always have to wait until the person leaving the office opens the door and is halfway through it, before making them pause so you can say your final piece.

3. Every class ends with the bell ringing 10 seconds after the teacher starts the lesson, and he always picks a person to wait a minute.

4. No-one can ever walk past a table in a prison without having their tray upset by the person at the table.

5. In any trial, as long as the opposing attorney keeps saying "Objection" the Judge will keep saying "Over-ruled" and allow the questioning to continue, no matter how irrelevant it appears.

6. Any time a witness breaks down on the stand and admits to fault, the accused is automatically innocent of whatever he was charged with.