If Microsoft made iPods

Microsoft iPod parody videoCan you imagine Microsoft making something as sexy as Apple’s iPod?

I didn’t think so.

And neither does the creator of this parody video showing what Apple’s sleek, minimalist iPod packaging might look like if it were redesigned by Microsoft. And the version I’ve shown in the thumbnail image (right) is just the start — watch the video and you’ll see what I mean.

Humour aside, this is a beautiful illustration of how two very different companies approach the task of packaging — one with class, the other with all the grace and style of a drunken hippopotamus.

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Australia Post’s lousy website

I’ve never been a fan of the Australia Post website, and not just because it’s pig ugly. In any website design, attention to detail is important — and every time I’ve used this site I’ve run into attention-to-detail problems.

click to view website My first annoyance with this site was just before Christmas. I needed to know when post offices would be closed over the holidays, and when the deadlines were for posting Christmas mail. I couldn’t find either piece of information.

Yesterday I was annoyed again.

I wanted to call my local post office to book a time for a passport interview. Yes, I’m finally getting a passport, and the quaint thing is you apply at a post office. So, rather than use the messy, advertising-filled White Pages I thought I’d get the number straight from the source.

Screenshot of Australia Post website fragment

And this is what you get (right): all the details for your local post office — but the general phone number for Australia Post.

That’s right, you can’t actually call your local post office to ask. You have to phone a call centre, navigate a silly IVR system and then wait in a queue.

Why on earth don’t they just give you the phone number?

Slack Sushi at Bondi

A sushi bar on Bondi Beach will pull punters without effort — and Sushi Train on Campbell Parade is the proof. The standard is way below its stablemate at Chatswood, the fast and convenient Sushi Train Express outlets in the Sydney CBD, and the superb Sushi Train Newtown.

On the evening of 21 February 2006 the sushi rolls lacked symmetry, as if the maker simply didn’t care. The wasabe bowls were stained with a pale brown scum. The lemon slice accompanying the deep-fried squid was dry, flaccid and unappealing, and the lettuce was so tired it was actually black at the edges.

And yet the punters rolled in. Obviously they always roll in. But this was not the tightly-run ship we expect from Sushi Train.

We ate only because we were hungry and short of time. While we weren’t poisoned, we won’t return.

Addendum: I also published this review at Eatability, only to be told:

Thank you for your review, Stilgherrian. Please allow 2-3 weeks for your comments to appear on the site. Note: Reviews may not be published in order of submission.

Two to three weeks? How slack is that!