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 Note: Reviews may not be published in order of submission.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!

Can Muslims use Emoticons?

Islam bans the pictorial representation of the human form, part of its fight against idolatry. So are Muslims allowed to use emoticons? The :-) smiley is a human face — and very pictorial.

Are Islamic nations doomed to second-rate communications because they can’t text as fast as Christians and Jews, for whom “:-)” instead of “I’m smiling” is as natural as “etc” instead of “and the rest”?