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Thursday, August 25, 2016


Steve Cole notes things that came to his mind.
1. I have tried the computerized ordering system at McDonald's and found it awkwardly designed and hard to use. Going screen by screen, page by page, is just not needed. Why did they not just have everything (with smaller pictures) on one screen (sized so the whole thing shows, no scrolling) and you just move your hand past row upon row of ingredients, tapping the ones you wanted? Some items of the current system are only found by scrolling down the page to off-screen items, and nothing tells you there IS an off-screen portion of the page. Trying to replace $15 per hour minimum wage kids is one thing, but making it harder for the customers is not a good plan.
2. I read a lot of books. I have, for many years, always had a book in the bathroom that I was reading a few pages at a time. Any convenient scrap of paper, or a formal bookmark, or one of those advertising cards torn from a magazine would serve as a bookmark. It was, however, always difficult to remember just exactly where on the two facing pages I had stopped. The idea of always stopping at the bottom of the left page had an appeal, but often there were people waiting for me, or that wasn't a good place to stop. Recently, I hit upon a solution. I drew a small mark on the backside of my current bookmark, and as I put the book away at the end of each visit, I turned the bookmark so that the mark was facing the page I had stopped on and was lined up with the actual place I stopped. This had made it very easy to pick up where I left off rather than re-reading or missing part of the book.
3. I love the show Ice Road Truckers, but I wonder about something. They send trucks with various loads up these ice roads to remote communities. Each community gets various loads over the three months that the roads are open. The drama on the show happens when the trucks break down in the middle of nowhere, too far north for satellite phones to work. It seems to me that a more efficient way would be to plan ahead and get a bunch of loads going to one community and send them all in a convoy. I'd send every truck in my company to the same place, maybe 20 minutes apart. The last truck might be a wrecker truck carrying a mechanic and a medic. If anybody has a problem the next truck is right behind him. If a truck totally breaks down, we can swap loads out. The company's senior driver would be in the mix and able to make command decisions. I'm not sure I wouldn't send a pickup truck 24 hours ahead just to make sure the road is open. (The drivers seem to rely on rumors and gossip to find out if a road is actually available for use.) Under their current system every community gets a load or two each week; under my system they'd get all their loads at once and some community would be last on the list (and probably getting cranky about waiting that long) but I might pick the communities for convoy service that are the most profitable and efficient for me and let the other companies take the harder to reach places.