Monday, February 22, 2010

4 Things the Post Office Can't Do

The post office recently failed to deliver a package to me. In trying to understand why, I've discovered 4 things that the post office simply cannot do.

1. Deliver my package.

This is the online tracking page for the package in question. Notice how it made it all the way to Bothell, WA (where I live), but it was never actually delivered to me. Instead it was marked "Return to Sender" without my knowledge.

2. Explain why they can't deliver my package.

So I called my local post office looking for an explanation. After getting tossed around their phone tree a few times, the response I got was: generally, a package getting marked "return to sender" means there's something wrong with the address.

3. Help me figure out what went wrong.

That's alright I think, mistakes happen. However, when I then ask what the incorrect address was that caused the package to be marked "return to sender", nobody can answer me. I'm beginning to smell some BS. I also checked with the seller later, and they confirmed that they shipped it with the correct address.

4. Fix the mistake.

I don't really care whose fault it is, I just want my package delivered. So I ask them to correct the address and deliver it to me. The package is literally in the same town as me, so I figure this can't be that hard of a request. It turns out this is impossible. After getting escalated three times, the response I got was along the lines of: our system is not capable of doing such a thing.

Well, thanks post office, I hope you're happy. The sender is now sending me the package again, this time via Fedex.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Things That Don't Exist in Reality, Suck

I've been searching for a certain poster from the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs". It's the one with Nikola Tesla being a badass rockstar. The artist, Pete Oswald, has kindly provided a digital version on his blog.

But I really want to buy a real-life version to put on my wall. So far, the closest thing I could find is in the top-right corner on the back of the Cloudy Artbook.

Update: I'm not the only one that wants it apparently.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Droid Navigation

I sold my old iPhone and got a Droid with car dock from Motorola. Google Maps Navigation on the Droid is well designed. The car dock is not.

The dock holds your phone - and that's it. If you want power, you need your own usb car charger. If you want audio from the phone to the car stereo, you need another cable. One nice feature though, is that it allows for easy rotation of the phone between landscape (useful for navigation / watching YouTube videos) and portrait (useful for calling people / web browsing) orientations.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Google Social Circle

Normally when I do a vanity search, I use my full name. Today I did a search for just "Andy" for fun. I wasn't expecting this:

At first I though Google Search was broken. How could this story about me be on the first page of search results for "Andy"? Then I realized I was looking at a new feature, called Google Social Circle.

It's quite ingenious actually. While Facebook and Twitter are first building a social network and then building (or in some cases hacking) search on top of it, Google is approaching the problem of social search from the opposite direction. They've built a rock solid search engine, and now they're experimenting with the social side of search. I think it boils down to this: people are going to be more likely to visit a link that is recommended, written by, or is in some way associated with one of their friends.

Disclaimer: I work at Google (on unrelated projects).