2001-05-15

Brain-Dead Cruise Control

My parents owned a 1984 Oldsmobile station wagon which shared with other cars of the same era a flaw in the design of the cruise control mechanism. If you were driving along using cruise control and dropped the car into neutral, the car would start to slow, and the cruise control would open the throttle a bit, but the car would still go slower, so the cruise control would open the throttle more... It is of course irrational to attempt to make a car go faster by opening the throttle when the car is in neutral.

Confused Window Lock

The 2001 Dodge Durango has a window lock feature so the driver can prevent the rear passengers from opening their windows. While this button is engaged, the driver can still operate the rear windows with his own controls. However, once the window is open, the rear passenger can prevent the driver closing it by holding his button down. Clearly the window lock feature is not causing the rear control to be ignored totally.

Cool CD Protectors

A few months back, I received a CD from someone in a unique protector. It is a clear plastic "clamshell" case, and it is very nice. I wanted to have some more for some of the other CDs I have laying around, but I had never seen them at the store.

Fortunately, it has a patent number on it (two numbers, actually: US PAT#5,713,463 and US PAT# DES 387,217). I did some investigation at IBM's Intellectual Property Network (now known as Delphion), where I found the patent!

After some searching around, I found other references on the web to one of the inventors, Daniel Tagtow (Senior Product Designer at DesignEdge). I sat on this information for a little while, but finally gave him a call in early 2000-02. He was very helpful, and pointed me to The Dering Corporation's web site, http://www.buycshell.com/ (thanks, Daniel).

To get your own C-Shell (love that name) CD cases, follow the link above or click on the image below).

Buy C-Shells

2001-05-12

tautological

HINT: It is not "instructed in rational thought". Nor is it "relating to the study of tension" (with a tip of the hat to Joe Culhane).

2001-05-11

tact

"Tact" is the art of insulting people without them knowing it.

NOTE: I think I got this from someone else, but I can't find it in my quotations book, nor have I found it on the web via Google. If anyone knows of a citation for this, I'd like to have it.