Friday, November 17, 2006

Best Ramen...

Americans are idiots. There are so many good things around the world but we choose to import stuff that simply doesn't taste good and then American companies make cheap imitations of the real thing.

Take ramen, for instance. You walk into your local grocery store and almost anymore there is 1/4 of an aisle dedicated to pre-packaged ramen. People, particularly students, buy the stuff because it is a cheap, quick, and easy meal. What those same people don't realize is that a Malaysian company named "Mamee-Double Decker" makes, IMO, the best pre-packaged ramen on the planet. Well, it is "Mi Goreng" (fried noodle product), but the first time you have it, you realize that the American idea of ramen is the worst stuff ever (i.e. tastes like cardboard).

http://www.mamee.com/

(I'm sure real ramen tastes way better than the pre-packaged stuff, but this stuff is pretty awesome.)

I think this sort of food product isn't imported because the foreign stuff includes 2-3 packets of spices and sauces instead of one packet. Americans who first encounter 3-packet pre-packaged ramen are dumbfounded as to what to do. American companies realize Americans are idiots and only include 1 packet of dry spice mix so that you can't possibly mess up.

Oh, BTW, I'm looking for someone who is willing to ship me Mamee Mi Goreng on an irregular per-request basis (obviously, I'll pay for product + shipping costs). At the moment, I want the "Duck Flavor". I can't obtain this product here in the U.S. because, well, American importers are retarded.

The one thing that amazes me is that companies don't bother selling their food items directly to consumers who take the time to hunt them down. I'll buy cases of hard-to-find food items if that is the only way to obtain them. Mamee is hurting their own business by denying desperate individuals such as myself from purchasing online. A lot of products in my area that I rely on seem to be disappearing from shelves but manufacturer websites and personnel say that the items are still in production...just not in my area (and I live just a few minutes outside Lansing - the capital of the state of Michigan - one of the 50 United States - for crying out loud).

To put a programming spin on this: Web developers should try to target the food industry to encourage e-commerce expansions to their websites. Don't just tell people about the product...let them buy it online at an understandably slightly higher cost and then tack on shipping and handling onto that. Or perhaps some sort of agreement with Amazon.com to streamline the process. The first site I ran into that did anything like I expected of a food manufacturer with a website was Bigelow Teas. You have to buy a minimum of several packages (bulk - roughly 100+ teabags) and pay S&H, but all of their product is on the site for purchase...including some incredibly hard-to-find teas. Bigelow has the right idea executed almost flawlessly. All food manufacturers should follow Bigelow's example. (And, BTW, kudos to whoever the web designer was that authored the Bigelow site).

Saturday, November 04, 2006

GYEEEEEEEAAAAA!

That is the word of the day that means "I want to strangle the nearest idiot."

Spam seems to abound. There's e-mail spam. Snail mail spam. Fax spam. Television spam. And now the most annoying type of spam of all: Phone spam.

And this isn't ordinary phone spam involving your average telemarketer. These are political ads. On automation. Basically someone feeds in a list of phone numbers to a computer program and the computer then goes out and dials every number on that list and plays the same message over and over again. If you don't hear the message in its entirety one time it will keep calling you until you do. And with the so-called national "do not call list" granting immunity to politicians, they can phone spam you a half-dozen times per day with the same (or different) message without any legal repercussions.

It takes 20 minutes of silence and focus for a programmer to get back into "the zone" after an interruption such as a phone ringing. Even if they aren't the one answering but are in earshot of the call, they are interrupted. If the phone rings once an hour every hour during business hours, that is a grand total of 2.7 hours of work time lost to the employer.

Know this: Some programmer had to write the code that is now performing these mass phone calls for politicians. I'd love to have the name and number of the person so we can have a little one-on-one chat about morals and how they don't have any to inflict this new trend onto us (and they are probably experiencing it as well). I'm trying to think of any useful purpose for this sort of technology and can't think of anything at all so I'm left with someone being contracted to develop it and nobody bothered to question what it would be used for.

I shall now return to my zone.