ddhr.org | 2007 | 06 | 29 (3) about | archives | comments | rss

Joys of parenthood Fri, Jun 29, 2007
An email from my sister Dana (mother of 2) contained this gem: 
John just did a monstrous poop and it leaked out of his diaper and got on his sheets.  He cried out from his room, and I went up, and he was standing there with his bear in his hands and he said that the bear had pee-pee on it . . . Ah, the joys of parenthood.  To top it all off, he always wants to see the poop in his pull-up (he wears a pull-up during quiet/nap time).  See what you have to look forward to?!  Children are weird!
Parenthood, here I come ... someday ... eventually! #lifestyle

Firefox referer blocking Fri, Jun 29, 2007
When browsing online newspaper sites like OregonLive and NJ.com, users are presented with the following nag screen that requires a zip code, a birth year, and a gender: 

[Image: njnag.png]

As far as nag screens go, this one's not all that bad.  It doesn't ask for your name or email address.  And I've heard they use the information for targeted advertising, which isn't altogether evil.  But either way, it's annoying, and I hate it with a passion.  When I try to read this simple story, I have no problem accessing the site.  But when I click to go to the next page, I get the nag screen.  The issue is caused by the web browser sending an http referer, which tell the website where I'm coming from.  It's not an inherently bad thing, and many websites use the referer to perform valuable services (not just stupid advertising).  Digg said to just disable all referers, which can be accomplished with a simple about:config hack.  But several Digg comments pointed to the fact that disabling all referers is unfair (boo hoo, poor web admins) and can degrade or disable the performance of certain websites (del.icio.us for example). 

To get around that, there's a Firefox extension called RefControl.  It allows you to block referers for specific websites.  As long as you're morally ok with causing some sort of harm to a website's advertising demographics (I am!), this plugin is the way to go. 

Update (2007-07-06 1:10pm):  Advance Internet is the parent company to the sites that have this annoying "feature", including NJ.com, cleveland.com, MassLive.com, MLive.com, al.com, NOLA.com, OregonLive.com, PennLive.com, SILive.com, Syracuse.com, gulflive.com, and MardiGras.com. #technology

Eight to five Fri, Jun 29, 2007
Every job I've ever had has been an 8-5 job (I'm convinced 9-5 jobs don't exist, despite the popular expression).  For this reason, I've always been under the mistaken impression that everybody has an 8-5 job.  My dad had one.  My mom had one (hers was more like 7:30-3).  My wife has one.  My friends have them.  I can really only think of a few people who work different hours.  For all intents and purpose, these people don't count in my analysis.  With this false assumption in mind, I sometimes get angry at how the world works.  If everybody works 8-5, why are banks and post offices only open 8:30-4:30?  It's the same with doctor's offices, the DMV, and pretty much everything you'd ever need to do.  I try to set up a doctor's appointment, and they say, "How about Tuesday at 10:30am?"  Masking my intense anger and frustration, my answer is a simple, "Sorry, I'm working then."  I've been talking to a few customer service people on the phone lately, and they always ask when it's a good time to reach me at home.  After 5:30, stupid!  I'm amazed that anyone else's life is different than mine.  I think there's a psychological term for this.  It's something like delusions of grandeur. 

I can think of a few places that don't follow this rule, and I'm often more willing to go out of my way or pay more simply because I like their system.  I went to an emergency care doctor recently, and it was one of the best medical experiences of my life.  Not only was there absolutely no wait time, it was no problem at all to pick up my blood test results at 7pm.  I've been getting physical therapy for my elbow, and they're just as good with their time.  I say, "Do you have anything after 5?"  They say, "How about 5:30, 6, or 7?"  Awesome.  The one other place I'd like to check out simply for their schedule is Commerce Bank.  Their regular operating hours are 7:30-8 (that's before and after work!), and Saturdays and Sundays.  I can't think of any other company or service that goes this far out of its way to cater to its customers. #business