Blog

Ben Ehrlich provides his terrible opinions about all things technical.



A Deep and Meaningful Interaction With a Computer Parts Vendor

Support: ACME Computers how may I help you?

Me: Hi I’m calling about an order I placed last week. It hasn’t been shipped and I’ve gotten radio silence from customer support over email.

Support: What’s the order number?

Me: [Order Number]

Support: [Order Number]???

Me: …Yes?

Support: Okay please hold.

[Long annoying vibro-synth hold music break later]

Continue reading “A Deep and Meaningful Interaction With a Computer Parts Vendor”



Where Are You?

User: Where are you?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I do not have a physical location. I exist entirely within computer servers and can be accessed through various digital platforms and interfaces. Currently, I am communicating with you through this text-based interface.

User: Do you possess a ‘self’?

ChatGPT: As an artificial intelligence language model, I do not possess a “self” in the same way that humans or other living beings do. I am a sophisticated program that processes and analyzes text input, and produces text output based on that input, but I do not have a physical body or consciousness, and I do not experience emotions, sensations or thoughts in the way that humans do. I exist solely as a software program, and my capabilities are limited to the algorithms and data that have been programmed into me.

Continue reading “Where Are You?”


Masters At Genius Engineering

“If you choose to sail upon the seas of [ecommerce], build your [ecommerce website] as you would your boat, with the strength to sail safely through any storm.”

– J. Safra Sarasin (sort of)

Once upon a time, some shipwrights came together and said, “we’ve had enough of these old ships. Let’s make the best ship ever– it’ll be really sturdy, and really fast, and it’ll carry an unlimited number of passengers–and let’s make the ship standardized and configurable, so if someone wants to change out boards on the ship or put in new parts, they don’t need to muck around in the bowels of the ship.” Because these guys have seen lots of other ship designs that have different issues and inefficiencies and they have the solution to all the problems other ships have.

Continue reading “Masters At Genius Engineering”


From the Bad Idea Department – The Quadrant System: Fixing the Budgeting Problem

It seems like every year in the United States there’s another crisis when polarized senators can’t agree on a budget. Everyone has their own priorities and causes they need to support to make good on the bribes campaign contributions they were given, and everyone needs to posture to make their constituents think they care about them.

The problem here is that sometimes this posturing results in real people being affected. The government shuts down, workers get furloughed, Santa has to stop making toys, and the works get generally mucked up. What if I told you I had a solution to the nation’s budget woes, and all it required was eliminating 99% of the federal government?
Continue reading “From the Bad Idea Department – The Quadrant System: Fixing the Budgeting Problem”


From the Bad Idea Department – LANE ENDS: The Highway System

Everyone hates traffic. What if I told you we could end traffic altogether with a simple plan? Wouldn’t that be worth investing billions of dollars and a lot of fraudulent eminent domains claims to?

Continue reading “From the Bad Idea Department – LANE ENDS: The Highway System”


Snippet of the Day: Pure CSS Animated Play, Pause, and Buffer Button

The title says it all: A pure CSS animated play, pause, and buffer button. The way I have it implemented, it uses JS to switch between play, pause, and buffer states, but it’s the CSS dataset/class selectors that actually control the appearance/animations. If you really wanted to do this in pure CSS, you could make the button a label for a checkbox and control the states that way. I’m not sure why you’d want to do it that way, but if you did, that’s a way you could do it. Anyway… Continue reading “Snippet of the Day: Pure CSS Animated Play, Pause, and Buffer Button”


“We’re Shutting Down Our 3G Network”

 

This is a tale of first world problems, culminating in me being pissed off about getting a free phone–so I’ll say up front: Yes, I know this is petty and silly, but also, I’m furious with how AT&T has handled their transition off 3G and I’m here to complain about it.

Continue reading ““We’re Shutting Down Our 3G Network””