Friday, February 2, 2007

Some days I think I'm smart.

And yesterday was one of those days. I came up with some great ideas that would make my life better. They might come to something; they might be utter crap. But as of right now, I feel like a genius. And I'm ok with that.
  1. When people call into a customer support help line, the call needs to accomplish 2 things:
    1. fix the problem they called about.
    2. vent all the angst this problem has caused them to a real live human
    I therefore propose that customer service agencies hire 2 types of people - counselors types that will listen to you bitch, allow you (I mean me) to work the frustration out of your (really, my) system, and then soothe you (me) enough to talk to the technical specialists without wanting to bite off their heads just to see if they taste like chicken. I think it would make everyone happier, except for those poor counselors manning the bitch line. I do think it would allow companies to retain technical staff longer because they wouldn't be dealing with people in need of a rant.
  2. A production machine software interface as ubiquitous as Microsoft Windows is for office applications - easy to use, runs on a standard PC or cheap workstation, but without all the bogus "value added" memory sucking applications or the tendency to crash. When manufacturing equipment software crashes, tools have to be requalified which is both annoying and expensive. This fantasy software interface would allow various types of users do these following things
    1. operate the tool without being able to screw around with system settings (basic)
    2. view the system functionality real time without altering it (basic)
    3. manage the process settings/recipes (basic) and manage the global process settings (advanced)
    4. perform routine maintenance and address alarms without having the ability to override major interlocks which are there for our safety (basic); perform manual operations and troubleshooting, change system settings and set interlocks (adv).
    5. system account management; backup functions (basic); superuser who can override anything (advanced)
    6. Database access (basic); database manipulations (advanced)
    7. Download database and run info to a network (basic); update the tool from the network (advanced)
    8. make sure the access page for running the tool doesn't allow the tool to be messed with by accident if a higher user level leaves themselves logged in by accident (or has some scheme for logging out higher level users)

    I'd be psyched if some Linux guru or the like could make the standard platform and GUI that could handle this so I don't have to learn something new for every tool, and tool vendors aren't forced to overlay their functionality on Windows, which isn't built for this kind of thing and crashes a lot.
  3. A passenger seat in a car/SUV which can be used forward or backward, like the seats of a European train. One way to effect this is to have a doublesided seatback which can flip from one side to the other. This way, new mothers can put rear facing car seats next to them so they're not freaking out about whether or not their newborn has stopped breathing in the back seat while tooling down the highway and can concentrate more on driving safely. The seatback being flipped forward would deactivate the front (but not side) airbag(s). It would also be possible for the younger kids to sit here as I also advocate for the backward facing seatbelt or harness (perhaps built for the youngins) to be built into the backside of said seatback. This has the added bonus of being able to kick ones siblings stuck in the forward facing back seats while lording over them the temporary possession of the coveted shotgun seat.

    A little problem with this would be making sure large adults don't sit backward in such a way that it obscures driver visibility, but that might be less of a problem for SUVs. (It turns out that people like to ride on trains with me because I prefer the backward facing seat for reasons that are unclear even to me.)

    I came up with it after watching a commercial about an SUV which said that it was designed by re-thinking everything, yet looked like just another mid-ought SUV. I realized that some van companies have done a good job with backseats that can fold up and away, cover hidden compartments, and other cool things, but that they hadn't messed with the passenger seat enough, and even with my native antipathy toward kids, I think it's barbaric to make moms abandon their infants in the backseat where they can't offer comfort if they start screaming. And I think it's unsafe for people to have to drive around being distracted by screaming infants. So yeah, this idea is all about me being safer on the highway, and my memories of the thrill of riding shotgun in the airbag years, but I still think it's a genius idea.
I think that should be it for tonight. The wine has worn off and I've got to go watch "Dirt". I have to say that C.ourtney C.ox chose her new vehicle well. I like it.

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