Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Episode 282: Encountering Bad Designs

Headed out to pick up an external hard drive for Eugene Chan, and I'm transferring shows to it right now. Also made a detour on the way home to the library to pick up some books, where I soon discovered that the layout of the new library at Northpoint is actually quite lousy. It's not possible to walk from the adult section to the borrowing stations without passing all the way through the kids section. Talk about a bad design. Then there's the escalators in the Northpoint extension. They've got shoeprints on them, presumably to remind people to stand fully on the steps. The problem I've got with that is that there are two pairs of shoeprints on each step, and they both point the same way. Now this clearly makes no sense because the direction in which escalators travel is periodically reversed, so half the time, you have shoeprints that are pointing the wrong way. Clearly, a more sensible option would have been to paint them facing in alternate directions, with the pair on the left pointing in the direction of travel. This way, at least one pair is always pointing in the 'right' direction, and having the left pair follow the motion of the escalator might remind people that in Singapore, it's polite to keep to the left if you're not walking on the escalator. You shouldn't be walking on the escalator anyway, but you never know when someone else might be in too much of a hurry.

Since I'm bitching about stuff in this entry, let me take the opportunity to rant about Fox for a while. I'm starting to realise that this television network keeps cancelling shows that I would actually want to watch, specifically, shows with a science fiction angle. Examples are numerous: Dark Angel, Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Tru Calling. To these, we can add Dollhouse, a show that should have done better, but which Fox has managed to screw up anyway, although thankfully, it's been renewed for another season. Fringe is perhaps the only series that Fox has managed not to ruin, although that might have more to do with its association with J. J. Abrams, whose Lost is still something of a ratings success for ABC. To Fox's long line of missteps, add Virtuality. What was meant to be the pilot episode for a series got turned into a movie with hardly any promotion, so is it surprising it was a ratings flop? It's a shame, as in reality, Virtuality had the potential for at least one season. There were enough unanswered questions set up, although killing off your main character and resurrecting him in a VR setting is not really a smart move. It could be, if this were the first episode of a 13-episode season. Here, it just feels ridiculous. I know television networks are all about demographics and ratings, but honestly, American television programming is starting to feel a bit stale and self-derivative. Anyone who actually wants to see another season of American Idol is clearly in need of a life.

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