To the Unknown Technical Writer at Mr. Coffee

Dear Unknown Technical Writer at Mr. Coffee,

Let me begin by saying how pleased we are with your company’s product, the Mr. Coffee Coffeemaker, VB Series (color: black). As a replacement for a previous Mr. Coffee 4-cup coffeemaker, our new VB Series coffeemaker is truly an improvement in our coffee-making life.

Thank you, Unknown Technical Writer at Mr. Coffee–I feel so odd not being able to address you as Sir or Madame, as I don’t even know how you prefer to be addressed–for providing clear and concise instructions for how to clean our new coffeemaker; following your pointer to “refer to the parts diagram” while washing the various parts was a stroke of brilliance. I also enjoyed your enticement to “Enjoy it!” once I knew my coffeemaker was ready to use. As a former technical writer myself, I can only imagine how hard you had to fight to keep that exclamation point in the copy after many rounds of edits.

I would also, Unknown Technical Writer at Mr. Coffee, like to extend my sympathies for the heavy hand–and I can only assume this hand had a lawyer attached at the other end–insisting on inserting troubleshooting steps that can, if we can be honest one writer to another, only be described as stupid. If someone needed to look in your tightly crafted manual to search for the solution to a problem described as “THE COFFEEMAKER ONLY BREWS WATER”, that person really shouldn’t own a coffeemaker at all, much less one of such quality as a Mr. Coffee Coffeemaker, VB Series (color: black).

As so, Unknown Technical Writer at Mr. Coffee, I sympathize at your plight when, after reading this theoretically impossible problem (really? a machine that magically creates water) you were forced to insert into your Framemaker file the “Possible Cause” of “There are no coffee grounds in the filter basket”. I would love to buy you a beverage of your choice, as well, for the capstone “Solution” (“ADD DESIRED AMOUNT OF COFFEE”), but I fear you may now be lost to us in a cultist compound of some kind or, worse, management.

But, should this message reach you, Unknown Technical Writer at Mr. Coffee, kudos to you and your work. In your honor, I will complete the steps in the “Adding Water and Coffee” section, and then proceed directly to “BREWING COFFEE NOW” so I may enjoy a delicious cup of coffee. Salut!

The 2008 Golden Clog Awards…

…or why I think Anthony Bourdain is the coolest chef/host/dude on TV.

For the best example of twisted, repressed, or compromised “I’d rather be making lemon bundt cake with My Cat, Mr. Mufflesworth” journalist who actually HATES food and hates the people who make food even more

Nominees: Alan Richman for taking a big Dump on New Orleans at the worst possible time. And for his totally disingenuous piece on celebrity chefs not being behind the stove when Alan chooses to dine;

(Reference material: The hit job in question, Time-Picayune article on same)

Check out the other nominees. I think The Doucebag (the Doucey?) is all wrapped up already, so tune or surf  in Friday for the other winners.

The 2008 Golden Clog Nominees Announced!

Countdown to gadget bliss

Tax season is upon us and with it, for me at least, a refund; an especially good one this year, as it turns out. So, after paying off a couple nagging bills, there will be enough left over to fund my gadget lust. After talking myself (and J–) into a MacBook, a visit to the Apple store actually backed me off that decision.

So I will instead be getting an iPod Touch. We have Verizon so jailbreaking an iPhone won’t work and I swore off AT&T years ago. Hence, the wifi-enabled, widget-sporting iPod Touch is exactly what fits the bill: connectivity with ultra-portability.

Anyone got experience with these? I plan on doing minor surfing with Safari, setting up Gmail for the mail client, and, yah know, using it as an iPod. Reasonable expectations for a souped-up PDA?

Senate Votes to Give Retroactive Immunity for Telecoms – Stabenow Votes in Favor

Congress never seems to run out of ways to fail the people that elected them. Yesterday, they voted heavily in favor of granting telephone companies immunity from prosecution over the illegal wiretapping program that the Bush administration used to spy on Americans.

Lesson here? Break the law for the right people and they’ll change the law for you. I suspect we won’t have to wait long to see the impact of this. Oh, wait, we already had precedent when the Army Corps got out from their liability for their failure to adequately safeguard one of the most important shipping routes for the country.

Back to the issue at hand, the vote is something you would have expected to be along party lines. Your expectation would be wrong. 18 Democrats crossed lines to vote for immunity. Debbie Stabenow was one of them.  Stabenow is racking up quite a record on major issues; she previously voted against retaining the rights of Habeus Corpus by voting for H.R. 6166, the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Beyond that, McCain voted for immunity, Obama against it. Hillary Clinton, inexplicably, abstained.  Classy. All that’s left is for the House to stand by their bill, which doesn’t let the telcoms out with immunity. Maybe John Conyers, the Judiciary Committee Chair in the House, will have more backbone that Sen. Stabenow and fight the White House.

Didn’t the Democrats sweep into power by promising not to do this kind of crap?

Senate Votes to Give Retroactive Immunity for Telecoms

Leopold's is Leaving Ann Arbor

Damn it, is there anything Ann Arbor can do right? Cool business? Check. Favorite place at which townies and student alike hang out? Check. Greedy-assed landlords pricing out successful 10-year-old business? Double-check.

Straight from Todd, Leopold’s is gone by this summer. Thanks a lot as-yet-unnamed landlord; you’ve made Ann Arbor a little more soulless than before, which isn’t saying much, really.

As the first commenter in the thread linked below says, there will be a huge backlash against the NIMBY’s; it’s already happening.

ann arbor is overrated. » Blog Archive » Mistakeholders

Wanna Read Something Funny? Google VP Comments on Microsoft's attempted takeover of Yahoo!

It’s short, so go read the whole thing. Marvel at the whining of one of the largest Internet companies to ever grace this planet. Bask in the innuendo. This is fear, folks, plain and simple. It’s also hilarious in it’s childishness. Way to go Google; you look stupid for this. Remember, Google is concerned for consumers, not their bottom line. Please, remember that.

Official Google Blog: Yahoo and the future of the Internet