Ordering Pizza In 2021 – Google Style

(sharing humor and a warning about ordering Google Pizza – from Joke Of the Day)

CALLER: Is this Gordon’s Pizza?

GOOGLE:   No sir, it’s Google Pizza.

CALLER: I must have dialed a wrong number.  Sorry.

GOOGLE:  No sir, Google bought Gordon’s Pizza last month.

CALLER: OK.  I would like to order a pizza.

GOOGLE:    Do you want your usual, sir?

CALLER: My usual? You know me?

GOOGLE:  According to our caller ID data sheet, the last 12 times you called you ordered an extra-large pizza with three cheeses, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms and meatballs on a thick crust.

CALLER: OK! That’s what I want …

GOOGLE:   May I suggest that this time you order a pizza with ricotta, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives on a whole wheat gluten-free thin crust?

CALLER: What? I detest vegetables!

GOOGLE:   Your cholesterol is not good, sir.

CALLER: How the hell do you know!

GOOGLE:   Well, we cross-referenced your home phone number with your medical records.  We have the result of your blood tests for the last 7 years.

CALLER: Okay, but I do not want your rotten vegetable pizza!  I already take medication for my cholesterol.

GOOGLE:  Excuse me sir, but you have not taken your medication regularly.  According to our database, you only purchased a box of   30 cholesterol tablets once, at Drug RX Network, 4 months ago.

CALLER: I bought more from another drugstore.

GOOGLE:   That doesn’t show on your credit card statement.  

CALLER:     I paid in cash…. I have other sources of cash.

GOOGLE: That doesn’t show on your last tax return unless you bought them using an undeclared income source, which is against the law. But you did not withdraw enough cash according to your bank statement.

CALLER: WHAT THE HELL!

GOOGLE:  I’m sorry, sir, we use such information only with the sole intention of helping you.

CALLER: Enough already!  I’m sick to death of Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and all the others.  I’m going to an island without internet, cable TV, where there is no cell phone service and no one to watch me or spy on me.

GOOGLE:      I understand sir, but you need to renew your passport first.  It expired 6   weeks ago.     

The Wall Street Journal Should Stay Out of The Kitchen

We have subscribed to and read The Wall Street Journal for several decades and depend on the quality and timeliness of its coverage. But there are some exceptions. On December 15 I received an “Introducing WSJ Recipes” email from The Wall Street Journal. It showed recipes for Chicken and Dill Stew with Eggplant and Squash, Fudge Cookies, and Tomato Rice with Favas Chickpeas, and Fried Onions. Each of these had a button. Additionally, there was a “Discover” button. None of these buttons were live. We tried to alert The Wall Street Journal, saying “Your email is useless because I can’t click on anything. I love the WSJ but this was clueless, and the folks at Survey Monkey should know better. “ For our efforts, we were rewarded by an automatic reply “Thank you for contacting Dow Jones. Unfortunately, this email is an automated notification, which is unable to receive replies. We are happy to help you with any questions or concerns you may have.”

Amazon’s Kindle Is Too Complicated and Greedy

Kindle instructs customers: “From the left panel on the Home screen, tap Books, Newsstand, or Audiobooks, or tap the icon from the app grid or carousel to view specific content in your Kindle Library. Tap a title to download it to your phone. Note: Content already downloaded to your phone will have a checkmark on it.”  This is TOTALLY USELESS!!!  Per my wife: Instead, tap on the upper left-hand corner, then tap on the three lines there.

Then, if you want to buy the book, Amazon’s software gets in the way again. HOW STUPID!!!  My wife is a very capable iPad user but even she can’t outwit Amazon’s dopey setup.

Launch the Kindle app on your iPhone or iPad. Tap Library to see all of the e-books in your Amazon library. Tap the book you wish to download onto your device. When it’s finished downloading (it will have a checkmark next to it), tap the book to open it.

We wanted to purchase the Kindle book “None of My Business” by P.J. O’Rourke, but instead, Amazon sold us a vocal version. Huh??!! And we wanted to purchase the Kindle book “Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy Book 1)” but instead Amazon sent us (Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy Book 2)”.

It took us considerable time on the phone with Amazon’s Customer Service to straighten out these messes and get refunds. Shame on Amazon!

Chinese Have Different Notions About Truth and Ethics: Part 3 – Government

Thus far, the current economic cold war between the United States and China is like a children’s’ snowball fight. If it were adults fighting, one would think they would have learned from the previous cold war. At least the U.S., with a relatively recent history of gunfighting, should know how to avoid shooting itself in the foot, as it seems to be doing these days with President Trump’s threat of banning the WeChat app, which is likely to hurt sales in China by companies such as Apple, Ford, and Walt Disney. And Trump’s forcing Chinese companies listed on American stock exchanges to comply with American accounting rules could trigger hacking of the November 3 presidential election. And last, but not least, is the continuing hijinks of Huawei and corralling of it by the USA.

Password Security IS a Laughing Matter

Anyone who has opened an account has run the gantlet of questions that are used in the event of entering its password incorrectly. (We deplore the use of passwords so when we are forced to create them we use some variation of “dumb idea” or “dongle” (a dongle is a small device able to be connected to and used with a computer, especially to allow access to wireless broadband or use of protected software).) In our case, we have had to provide the answers to such questions as “Who was your favorite elementary school teacher?”, “What was the model of your first car?”, or “What was your mother’s maiden name?” Most recently we had to provide several answers to such arcane questions that we laughed. Fortunately, this is such a widespread nuisance that it has resulted in some humorous suggestions.

Have You Ever Been Attacked by a Product’s Packaging?

It happens so often that it even has a name: “Wrap Rage”. But it isn’t funny. And the main culprit is plastic, which is frequently so strong that it requires a sharp knife and a lot of muscle. Sometimes the packaging is even stronger than the product inside. This situation is perfect for a visit to an emergency room, which these days likely is full of victims of the coronavirus. Frequently the culprit is clamshell packaging, which may be fine for protecting the product inside, but equally fine for injuring the purchaser.

Can Facebook or Other Social Media Reduce Your Productivity?

We have never had a Facebook account, because we perceived it as a time-waster, fun for people who didn’t have day jobs and accepted the occasional scandals and the fact that their memberships had made Mark Zuckerberg outrageously wealthy. But more recently people have realized not only how much time they had wasted but also how depressed they were and how many impulse purchases it had caused. Although some people want to make sure they don’t miss out of what’s happening, and others actually use Facebook as part of their job, on balance people agree that Facebook does reduce their productivity. And a 2015 survey of people who have to make decisions found that 86% of them believe that social media are not useful. Social media companies like Facebook are a poor substitute for personal meetings.  Zoom and similar alternatives are better for taking care of people that are not present.

Secure vs. Unsecure Websites

Most people likely ignore the “Http” or “Https” prefix to a website’s name. But if the information they are entering or working with is confidential, they want to avoid websites with the “Http” prefix. In 2017 Google started pressuring website owners to encrypt communication between the user and the website. The Chrome browser is making it increasingly obvious whether or not a site is secure.

Microsoft Goof of the Month: NSA Discovers Major Security Flaw in Windows 10

In our earlier days we wrote the software. We, or one or more colleagues, tested it in a variety of ways to make sure that it did what we thought it should do. As time passed the software became more complicated, and the penalties of mistakes increased, so the testing had to become more complicated. In addition, an increasing number of malevolent hackers emerged, necessitating increasingly draconian measures to key them at bay. Even then, the size and complexity of code these days make it very difficult to cover all the possibilities. Fortunately there is a government body, the US National Security Agency, that was doing its mission appropriately.

We’ve Done Our Passwords All Wrong

Passwords are one of our favorite villains. We have long advocated the use of hardware dongles. And Apple, among others, have created various technologies that scan fingers or faces. Most recently, shipments of their iPhone X are being delayed because of problems with critical components (cutely named Romeo and Juliet). There is even a novel by Scott Allan Morrison, “Terms of Use”, in which the hero invents a way to scan an eyeball.

But the conventional wisdom, originally spelled out by NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) to make them complicated (and thus virtually impossible to remember) has been replaced by NIST itself. Now, long but simple phrases that are meaningful to the user are advised, because they are easy to remember but hard for hackers to break.