Monday Jun 02, 2008

Bit Errors

I encountered trio of bit errors this weekend on a family trip to Cincinnati. Each had me thinking about scale and context in different ways, and I only noticed the similarity while cropping photos of those things I found anomalous to roughly equal degrees.

First up was this advertisement for Dunkin' Donuts souvenir Mets cups, commemorating the last season to be played at Shea Stadium. Aside from the fact that Mets fans have endured, rather than celebrated, Shea for nearly four decades, it's not as bad as the banner ad might lead you to believe. Here's where a catchy slogan for the campaign would be helpful, otherwise, anyone buying a special cup might think the Mets are departing for a new stadium in some other city. Given the way their relief pitching has performed up to this point, this statement is likely true for some values of "Met", but the whole team is only moving the distance of a GPS local motion game.

Lesson learned: Precision counts. Sometimes those less significant details dramatically change the context of the discussion.

Continuing the play-on-words theme, my second notice of omission was from the parking lot of a suburban Cincinnati Dunkin' Donuts. The left-hand sign makes you look across the parking lot as you step off the curb toward your car's driver's door. Early on a weekend morning, there wasn't much traffic to watch, but I scanned left quickly to look for oncoming cars in case my car was encroaching on what appeared to be a through lane in the parking lot. Imagine my surprise when I looked right and found myself in the exit lane of the drive-through. A misstep here gives an entirely different meaning to "exit wounds." A similarly terse but more helpful sign is "Cars on right" or even "Cars Exiting" with an indicator arrow.

Lesson learned: Accuracy counts. It's wonderful to be precise but if you're aiming in the wrong direction you end up with careful observation of less useful events.

Finally, I couldn't resist this picture of bad pixels in the Jumbotron at Cincinatti's Great American Ballpark. Our seats were about a dozen rows in front of the display, so we could clearly see bit errors in the screen. Had there been a tall format scoreboard on which to see line ups and player information, we would have neither continuously craned our necks around to look up at the big screen, nor have been so distracted by something that's clearly not there. Hundreds of feet away, you can't distinguish a bad pixel from a funky misplaced serif from a poor aliasing choice on a display font without binoculars.

Lesson learned: perspective really does make things aesthetically pleasing. Perspective in a social networking world isn't about how physically close you are to an event; it's about using Twitter, blogs and Facebook updates to fill in missing bits of context.

About

Hal Stern's thoughts on software, services, cloud computing, security, privacy, and data management

Search

Archives
« April 2014
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
   
       
Today