Friday, 8 July 2011

Professional web sites done wrong.

We've all seen them.  Professional web sites that are just messed up in some way.  Broken links are a common one but what gets me more annoyed is sites telling you to do something on their site that does not work.

For example I recently did a "buy now" on an item on eBay and immediately paid for it via paypal.  The next day eBay email me saying they've had to remove the item and said I should go to their resolution centre to get my money back.  Going to the resolution centre I find that I can not put in a call because it requires you to pick a transaction...which they removed with the auction.  How the hell am I supposed to put in a complaint for an item they've wiped from ever exsisting. Thankfully I can resolve the issue with Paypal but still it is crap to get an email from ebay saying "do x,y & z" to find you can't get past x because there is no option for "y".

Now how long will Paypal take to get my money back.  Let us see how good their $20,000 buyer protection really is.

In a small retailer, that is just starting their online presence, this might be understandable but eBay probably takes down hundreds if not thousands of auctions a day.  You'd think they would have their "Resolve a problem" walk through right by now.

Visual Migraines

Yesterday I had a bad head ache and visual migraine and thought I'd post on it today.

About 10 years ago I got my first visual migraine and I was completely stumped on what it was.  At first I just thought that what I was seeing was from looking directly at a down light in the stair well of the office building I worked in.  Soon after I got back to my desk I noticed that not only did I have the spot where it looked like I was looking through a kaleidoscope but I also could not seem to read words on my computer.

After talking to an optometrist about it I was informed that it wasn't anything to do with the eyes but just an "ophthalmic migraine" or "ocular migraine" other terms "visual migraine".  These can be brought on by a number of things including food allergies.  I've discounted the food allergy as a source for me by noting what I've eaten and when before I had an onset.  So I'm still not sure what triggers them off though.  They can happen any time of day for me too.

For those that don't know anything about them here is a you video that is similar to what happens to me with a few differences.

For me there is no real distinct blurring.  The rainbow kaleidoscope effect is much more pronounced.  They always start on my left side of my field of view and as they grow larger they actually engulf a larger portion of my view in the centre while spreading out.

The last thing took me about 7-8 years to figure out.  I get a blind spot in the centre of my view.  Now this isn't like a black spot but much more like the actual blind spot everyone has due to the optic nerve.  We don't see this blind spot because the brain is so good at filling it in, Google "blind spot" or go here to show you what the blind spot is and how the brain fills in the info.  Anyway it seems my brain is doing this same thing for my centre of vision, disregarding any into actually sent to it by the receptors that are actually located there. This has a very interesting and definable effect.  It means it is almost impossible for me to read while still appearing to be able to see letters.  The letter(s) at the centre of my view disappear in a way that isn't very obvious.  I still see letters to each side but as my focus goes to them they to disappear or get altered.  The result is much like trying to read a random set of letters for me.

Needless to say my visual migraines are a pain, literally as they most often progress to a normal migraine soon after they start, but they are interesting from the point of view of what is happening to the brain and what the brain is capable of doing.  I can now remotely relate to some people with visual synesthesia but I don't get it from the cool things that other people get their visions.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Bad Drivers

Have you ever heard someone say that when they walk down the street at night lights always seem to flicker? Or someone saying that they can predict what the sex of an unborn baby will be and they are almost always right?

I know there is well understood psychology going on here.  People tend to see and, even more importantly, remember things that support their beliefs.  The person that thinks that unusually high numbers of street lights flicker when they pass by forget the hundreds of other lights that don't flicker and don't often think that the street light may have been flickering for days before they even came close to the light.

I'm different though and I plan to prove it.  Actually I know it doesn't happen to me more often I just notice it more but still it will be amusing to see what I see.  After having 2 cars pull out in front of me today I've decided its time to start recording, and commenting on, the bad drivers I encounter.  Be aware that when I start posting videos the language will not be suitable for small children.  Drivers that cut me off in round abouts, disobey simple road rules like, but not limited to, changing lanes without indicating, turning before, or without, indicating, stopping at green lights and more will be focused in this ongoing series.   

Hopefully you won't watch any of them and say "Hey that is me he's bitching about!"

Grey Weather

I know it is winter and all but the rain can still bring me down.  Living in Adelaide SA it is, for the most part, hot and sunny but even we have an off season in Adelaide.  Though I would not go as far as saying that it is anything like winter.  Being originally from just south of Boston it is hard to describe anything over 0°C as winter let alone 14°C.

I constantly remind myself that the rain is good for us which brings me to my point.  Things around you might naturally get you down but it is in our power to look for the silver lining in as much as we can.  So take this time to look outside or even better yet go outside.  If it is raining look up and let the rain drops fall on your face and think that the rain is a wonderful thing.  Hopefully some hoon doesn't take you out because they are driving to fast for the wet roads.