I was reviewing the page view statistics on the Cadence
Functional verification blog and noticed that my previous three posts about missing
real-world assertions are among the most read. So, in the spirit of milking the
cash cow, I've collected a few more incidents that amused me with their utter
illogic. My examples this time all have to do with some aspect of computer programs or
Web sites being out of sync with the times in which we live.
As a member of several airline frequent-flier programs, I
receive lots of email about travel-related sites and offers. I recently
received an invitation to something called the "SkyGuide Executive
Privilege Club" from American Express. It caught my attention because it
promised reimbursement for one-time stays in airline lounges. Most frequent travelers
are members of one airline club but there are times when its lounge is not
convenient. Non-member "day passes" tend to be quite expensive, so the prospect
of someone paying for those sounded good.
I went to their site and perused the details of the
offer. Most of the benefits were the usual sort of vague "services" and
discounts that are hard to value. But digging down a bit I found "SkyGuide
Executive Privilege Club members who purchase one-day guest passes at any
health club or airline-run airport lounge will receive a reimbursement for
their visit." That still sounded good, until I read "Mail us your receipt via
certified mail within 30 days of use." Certified mail? Seriously? What century
are we in?
My second example is one that I see frequently in the
Microsoft Outlook client I used to read my email at Cadence. When I sort an
email folder by message size, it groups them into the following rather amusing
- Size: Enormous (> 5 MB)
- Size: Huge (1 - 5 MB)
- Size: Very Large (500 KB -
- Size: Large (100 - 500 KB)
- Size: Medium (25 - 100 KB)
- Size: Small (10 - 25 KB)
- Size: Tiny (< 10 KB)
I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. When was the
last time you considered a 100 KB file "large?" I have lots of Microsoft
PowerPoint files with only three or four slides that consume more than 500 KB.
The average MP3 audio file is several megabytes, so by Outlook's definition most
of us have thousands or tens of thousands of "huge" files on our systems. I'm
using Office 2007, but these categories were just as outdated in 2007 as they
are now. I'm not sure I see any reason to include adjectives at all, but I chuckle
every time I sort mail by size.
This reminds me of the common observation that many of the
icons used in computer programs are anachronisms: desktop telephones,
old-fashioned broadcast microphones, 3.5" floppy discs for "save" and so on. It
is ironic that computer software-as modern an invention as any-so often hangs
on to outdated terminology and iconography. But this is not an original
observation so it doesn't count as one of my examples. Type "outdated icons
phone floppy" into your favorite search engine for lots of entertaining commentary
on this topic.
My final example is Web sites that don't date-stamp much of
their content. In the early days of the Web could look at the HTML properties
to see when a page was last modified, but these days just about all Web content
is dynamically built so that doesn't work. I ran into this just recently when I
was helping my Accellera colleagues collect links to refresh the UVM World site. I was searching the Web for
recent UVM articles, papers, presentations, etc. I was amazed at how many
publications and blogs didn't have a clear dateline.
is just one of numerous examples I found. If you happened upon this article via
a Web search as I did or if someone sent you the URL, you would have no idea
when this article was written. That's important to know since technology
changes very quickly and the date may help you decide whether to read or skip a
particular page. By looking around elsewhere on the sites I was eventually able
to find original publication dates for all of the links of interest but it took
significant extra effort. If this sort of thing bugs you, too, please comment!
The truth is out there...sometimes
it's in a blog.