Simplicity.

Image found on Flickr.

Earl and I recently went to a “fast casual” restaurant. You know the type: you order and pay at the counter, they give you a little number to put in a stand on a table you find the dining room, and someone cheerfully brings you out your meal. It works simply.

I’ve mentioned before that I find today’s Point of Sale software to be quite boring. Software developers are embracing the touchpad/tablet interface for anything to do with retail and many of these fast casual (and their fast food counterpart) establishments have glorified iPads attached to a cash drawer and printer on the counter. Even those that go with traditionally branded equipment by the likes of NCR or Toshiba are using personal computers with touch interfaces.

Our orders were simple: a sandwich, a side salad, and a drink. Including our choice of dressing, one would think there were be maybe five “touches” on the touchscreen involved: the sandwich type, the salad, the dressing, and maybe two for the drink, “Large” and “fountain drink”. The counter person should then hit total, the payment type, and call it a day.

The cashier spent minutes poking, prodding, and stabbing at the touch screen. From the light being cast back on her face I could tell she was flipping through menus, searching for various combinations of items, and typing words like RANCH. Let’s not get into the drama of figuring out how to swipe a credit card that doesn’t have numbers imprinted on the face of it.

Simple is better. I’ve been saying this for years. Back when electronic technology was coming to the forefront of retail, electronic cash registers in restaurants were designed one of two ways: 1. write the order down on a pad and add it up on the cash register or 2. there was a button per item type and the cashier simply had to hit the appropriate buttons. OK, admittedly I was in several Burger King restaurants where the cashiers filled in spots on a plastic card with a grease pencil and fed the card into the cash register like our Iowa Test Forms back in elementary school, but that trend didn’t last for very long.

The simplicity of these ordering systems kept the lines moving quickly. Cashiers didn’t look perplexed. They took your order and went about the other business involved with filling the request. There was no flipping through menus, crazy amounts of touches required on a screen, or typing of the word RANCH.

Today I moved from an elaborate Task Management system to something I wrote myself that runs on a “green screen”, or a terminal emulator from a command prompt on any computer of my choice. My iOS devices sync with it just fine and I am already feeling more productive and less bogged down because there’s no pushing and prodding and flipping through menus.

$ todo add “This is my example task due:2019-11-06”

Done. I couldn’t be happier about this approach.

iPads and their related tablet interfaces are way too small for counter service at a restaurant. If you can’t fit the majority of your menu on the first screen you’re doing it wrong. One of the things I love about Disney (and I love all things Disney) is ordering food at their quick service restaurants, lines move quickly because the software written in the mid 2000s works fine and is not convoluted. They’re also using actual cash registers.

I’m hoping for a day when software developers remember that simplicity is the key. It’s not about pretty interfaces and pictures and colorful buttons. It’s about getting the job done.

Keep it simple.

For All Mankind.

We signed up for Apple TV+ this past weekend. We actually upgraded the Apple TV to get a year’s worth of Apple TV+ as part of the purchase and get more punch from our Apple TV service. The upgrade was worth it.

I’ve been interested in the Apple Original Series “For All Mankind” since it was announced earlier this year. We are into the first two of three episodes and I’m really enjoyed the series. I know some of the reviews have been a solid “meh” for the series, but I consider those reviews to be similar to the reviews of Epcot from people who were expecting more rides.

It’s not about the thrill, it’s about the thought.

“For All Mankind” is gorgeous and feels very accurate to the late 1960s, at least what I remember of the era. The production team is paying attention to even the small details and the only thing that feels slightly out of place is Joel Kinnaman’s haircut.

I’m enjoying the series more than my husband. I’d give it an A-, he’d give it a B.

I’m looking forward to the next episode.

Chicken.

So Earl and I stood in line for around 15 minutes at the Popeye’s down the street for their returning Chicken Sandwich. Anticipation for this day has apparently been big, and the Lakeview Popeye’s in Chicago was well staffed and well stocked for The Big Day.

My husband and I were the last ones to fit in the door; folks behind us had to wait in line outside for a few moments. Luckily, the weather was sort of warm this evening.

The sandwich was very good and probably better than the equivalent from Chick-Fil-A. I enjoyed the “classic” version; Earl had the spicy version, which he enjoyed very much.

The crowd was very interesting. It was a smattering of apparent socio-economic standings as well as several different gender representations. People were cordial and everyone was talking to everyone else about wanting the chicken sandwich. There were mentions of the other chicken place and the absence of hate here at Popeye’s.

All in all it was a good experience and an enjoyable meal.

Fasten Your Seat Belts.

So this is what a 50+ year old man looks like in the shower.

Actually, I asked my husband to take this photo because I wanted to write this blog entry about something, and THAT’S THE BEAUTY OF OUR NEW SHOWER HEAD!

We replaced our shower head when we moved into our home in 2017 because we wanted something that would rain down nicely and have some spray options. It was alright and it worked well for what it was but I was never completely happy with it. I’m one for getting into a shower that’s going to steam up and require seat belts to remain in an upright position. I don’t need the “pins and needles” approach but I like a shower that’s going to shove me around a bit.

Last week I mentioned to my husband that I spent time researching the best shower head for what I was envisioning for the master bathroom and it was on sale at Amazon. Once the purchasing department approved my suggestion I clicked “Buy Now” and two days later, voila, we have a shower head that is awesome and shoves me around a bit in the morning.

Our shower could do with a seatbelt.

We have a Speakmen S-2252 high pressure shower head with a multitude of settings from a gentle rain shower to a full blast torrent and it is a delight. It probably uses more water than it should but as I said to Earl, we have a whole Great Lake down the street. I wouldn’t use this in the desert but I’ll love it here in the Midwest.

Coupling this new shower experience with the end of Daylight Saving Time today will result in a very productive work week starting tomorrow.

Insanity Ends. 2019.

And we come to the end of Daylight Saving Time in 2019. The next time 1:59 AM rolls around, the clocks will then advance to 1:00 AM. Tomorrow, “noon” will be that much closer to when the sun is at its highest point in the sky for this part of the country at this time of the year.

We will no longer be faking extra daylight by moving the clocks artificially ahead.

I find it much easier to adapt to Standard Time. My body will be in sync by the end of the day tomorrow and the feeling of jet lag I’ve had since DST began last spring will quickly subside. While others complain about the “early” darkness, I will feel energetic and centered.

There are some studies that find our bodies are looking for a 25-hour day on a planet with 24-hour long days. Moving the clocks around to fake us into thinking are days are longer is not the answer. The cows don’t like it, the farmers don’t like it, and it doesn’t save us any energy.

I pray that I’ll see the day when Daylight Saving Time is a thing of the past within my lifetime. Judging by the idiocy that’s accepted as normalcy these days, my hopes for such sanity are quickly fading.

At least I can sleep in tomorrow morning without losing an hour.

Snow.

We had an inch or two of snow fall on Halloween. Today the majority of it melted, though there’s still some snow covered accoutrements here and there. As the snow melted, the leaves fell. It added to the spooky ambience of the season.

I’m waiting to see what neighbor fires up the Christmas lights first.