Fail Headlines

Wait, what?

I saw this headline this morning. I didn’t realise necrophilia had become accepted by the mainstream.

Fail Food

Honest promotion

Whilst shopping in Tesco today, I saw some chocolate that was, for once, honestly titled.



The world's best lens cap

Browsing Amazon today, looking at some camera gear, I came across what was being described as an open-box discount on a Sony lens cap.

Now, I’m a Canon guy, and always have been, so I don’t know all that much about Sony’s cameras, how good they are, whether they’re good value for money et cetera.

However, as far as I can tell this is just a lens cap, a relatively simple piece of plastic with a release mechanism to keep it attached to the lens.

So, to me it seems a little expensive. But hey, like it said, I don’t know about Sony cameras.


Apple Fail Technology

Facial Recognition

The software I use for dealing with my photography over at Creative Splurges is a nifty piece of software called Aperture. I chose it over Photoshop because it has an iPhoto-like library element to it meaning I can easily keep my photos in one place where I can find them easily, whilst still offering fantastic RAW processing and image adjustments (and I chose it over Lightroom because 1. Aperture came first, and 2. Aperture integrates with my old iPhoto library). But this isn’t really of interest here, this is talk for ‘Splurges.

One of the amazing features of the latest version of Aperture is facial recognition technology. It will scan your photo library and pick out all of the faces, and tell them apart. All you have to do is put a name to the faces, and then you can easily see every photo with that person in it. It does have a learning curve, so it will ask you “is this Steve?” or “is this Susan?” as it learns to differentiate between people.

Sometimes, however, the technology does get a bit confused. When I first tried it out in iPhoto, it presented us with an image that contained a screwdriver and said, “Who’s this?”. It also does tend to pick out faces such as ones in painting and on statues.

It also, from time to time, can pick out faces in other places:

Of course, that one is almost to be expected.

When you are viewing images which contain a particular person, Aperture will also present you with faces that it thinks are that person. Sometimes it’s flattering, sometimes it compares girls to old men, and sometimes it’s downright confusing – take, for instance, this selection of faces that it thinks are me:

The- er, wait, what?


In related news…

It has just been reported that Amy Winehouse has been found dead in her home in London. I apologise if that’s news to you because that’s not the point of this post.

I learnt of the story via the BBC News website. Unfortunately the automated system that the Beeb must use to serve up related stories hasn’t made the best choice in this instance.

I would have thought that was a given?

(Yes, I know that was an old story it has served up – but even so).



I’m quite partial to shopping on Amazon. Not only because they have pretty good prices and really quick delivery, but because of the nifty corrections they’ve built up between products by monitoring people purchasing habits for more than a decade. It’s quite common to see a ‘people also often buy this’ or ‘people sometimes buy this instead’ link on a product page which can sometimes bag you a bargain or find a better product than what you were previously going to buy.

Where I find them hit-and-miss, however, is their product emails they sometimes send out. Not the standard advertising ones, but the ones that claim “as someone who has recently browsed our selection of [one type of product], we thought you’d like to know about our deals in this area, or some related items.”

My problem with those emails is twofold. Firstly, they’ll often do something like send an email headed  “as someone who recently browsed our selection of external hard drives, here’s our best deals in hard drives”, despite the fact that you actually bought a hard drive whilst browsing their store and as such no longer actually need a hard drive. Those emails also sometimes highlight a bargain you missed the first time round but it’s too late now because you’ve already bought something else.

They also sometimes have confusion when suggesting related products. For instance, the email I got this morning, headed “bestselling filters”. As you have recently browsed our selection of filters, it said, you might be interested in these bestsellers. It then went on to display an array of various filters of various prices. Fortunately, they were all compatible – these sort of emails also have the habit of saying ‘you’ve browsed some Canon lenses, have you considered these Nikon alternatives?’ as if my decision on lens manufacturer was decreed by features and price, instead of whether the thing will actually attach to my camera.

Well, I say all of the filters were compatible. There was one that didn’t quite sit amongst all of the others. I have no idea how I’m going to attach this to my camera:

Fail Technology

The problem with Microsoft

I realised today what Microsoft’s main problem is. Simply enough, they don’t think things through properly. If it seems like a good idea at first they’ll run with it, and no-one will to have the courage to pipe up and say ‘hang on lads, is this really such a good plan?’ until after it’s too late.  Take their purchase of Skype, for instance. Is there anyone besides Steve Ballmer who thinks that Skype is worth $8.7b? Or the Kin phones, cancelled only six weeks after they were launched.

The Kinect too. It may be doing rather well, but as a gaming tool it is cripplingly ineffective compared to a good old-fashioned controller and the sort of games that are coming out are awkwardly twisted around this control interface. Impressive it may be, practical it isn’t. Or, for instance, the Windows 7 FAQ. I took a look today trying to find out the system requirements for Windows 7 for work. One of the questions caught my eye.

Wow. So in order to find out what version of Windows you are running on your PC, you have to already know what version of Windows you are running. Fantastic logic, and a worrying sign of what to expect from Microsoft’s tech support. You’ll be on the phone for ages with the same cyclic argument. A little further down, the section about drivers seems to be getting increasingly panicked:

It’s almost as if this is a transcript of an actual support call, where it is becoming increasingly apparent to the caller that they don’t know as much about computers as they thought they could get away with. Knowing this planet however, that caller is probably an IT manager somewhere.



[cross-posted from Outdated by Lunchtime]


Fail Life

Today's poorly worded headline

I’m sure that BBC News assign the headlines for their RSS feed to a junior writer or work experience kid. The RSS headlines are often far more informal or ambivalently worded than the headline on the actual article.

Today, I couldn’t help but notice this one:

All I thought was ‘wow, that crash must have really upset him’.


Related: Today’s poorly chosen headline

Fail Life

Worst Commute Ever

Today contained what must be the most annoying piece of not-irony-but-what-most-peole-call-irony ever.

Long story short, someone who was giving a presentation had decided to bring his own equipment instead of paying to hire ours, and failed to bring a long enough extension cable. He came down to our office and announced that he was from Network Rail and he needed our help. After a bit of pleading, I told him we’d help him out this time, but if my train was late today I’d charge him double.

I think he now owes me quite a bit of money.

I got to Waterloo on my way home to fond only a handful of trains were on the departure boards, and all of them were already late. Figuring the earlier train might be the first to depart, I jumped on the 16:05 train, which at that point was already 45 minutes late in leaving.

Almost 30 minutes later, the guard finally turned up, had a quick look, and then let us know that there the driver hadn’t turned up yet so we weren’t going anywhere.

I got off the train to find the departure board had changed the train from being the 16:05 to being the 16:50 – and interesting choice, as that meant the train was still half an hour late. Why not change the time to make it a train that wasn’t supposed to have left yet?

At that point I gave up, met up with my wife (who leaves work after me) and headed for the Tube, and a journey that ended up taking over an hour to get as far as Richmond, where our final leg – a bus journey – was hampered by such bad traffic we decided it would be better to eat out that evening.

Even after we’d finished, the traffic was bad enough that we decided it would be better to walk to Twickenham Station to pick up our bikes and cycle home.

So, what caused this massive, widespread disruption?

As it turned out, it was caused by a single fatality, at Surbiton, at 10am that morning. Somehow, a single fatality at that spot, on a completely different line to the one I was using, caused total and complete havoc on the entirety of the South West Trains network, by causing both staff and trains to be stuck out of position.

Makes you wonder if they somehow knew that was a weak spot in the system.

Oh yes, and if you’re wondering, we did make it home – a total of over three hours after I left work, if you include stopping for dinner.


Dear Mr Postman

Dear Mr Postman:

Whilst I admire your careful and cunning attempt at hiding my parcel, I fear it has not been, on the whole, all that successful:


Although, I am happy you tried this rather than putting a stupid red postcard through the door telling me you’ll be keeping my parcel until the day before the time I’m able to actually get to your depot to pick it up.