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Introducing the RIAA iScream

July 6th, 2011

Due to recent misuse of frozen goods, the RIAA has joined industry leaders in creating a new initiative: iScream!

Enjoy iScream wherever you are; at home, in your yard, and one other location of your choice (subject to restrictions, location must be preregistered, and can only be changed once per year).

It’s the perfect treat for a warm summer’s day, or at any celebration around the year, provided that no more than three people are present. iScream is only licensed for consumer use as a refreshing, frozen novelty food, and must therefore be enjoyed at an ambient temperature of at least 80F (26C).

iScream comes in three delicious flavours: vanilla, strawberry and spinach (vanilla and strawberry may be restricted in some areas, notably the Americas, Europe and Asia). Flavours may not be combined, and must be consumed within 24 hours of purchase.

The RIAA respects your individuality, and lets you make your iScream your own with the choice of one of two toppings, peanuts or walnuts. One of these approved toppings are required for consuming iScream, so individuals with nut allergies are adviced to select the one to which they respond the least.

In the past, RIAA has been critizised for not listening to consumers, and failing to keep up with modern trends in frozen treats. Therefore, you may now create an iScream Float by combining your iScream with a licensed and compatible bottle of natural spring water.

The RIAA is confident that iScream covers all reasonable consumer scenarios in a simple and convenient way. There is now a legal and respectable alternative to unlicensed frozen treat consumption, and the RIAA is working with law enforcement to allow violators to be shot on sight. We look forward to your continued cooperation!

 

Frequently asked questions about iScream:

– Can I use iScream as a comfort food after a relationship breakup?
– The iScream is not licensed for use as a comfort food. You can instead celebrate your new-found independence by checking “Celebration” in part 7B of your application form.

– Can I use iScream in my car?
– You sure can! Simply set your custom enjoyment location to a parking space at a rest stop you frequent. Whenever you want to enjoy iScream in your car, simply park in this spot and enjoy. Note that your custom enjoyment location must be a stationary position, otherwise people could select the car itself, and simply drive into other people’s homes to enjoy iScream there, in violation of the agreement (section 14, page 73).

– In my area, summers often don’t reach over 80F (26C). Can I still enjoy iScream?
– Of course! Simply set your indoor thermostat to 80F, and enjoy all the iScream you want in the comfort of your own home!

Random ideas

Cutecodes

November 8th, 2008

There seems to be a number of cases where you want to check that two numbers are the same. This could be comparing a number on a printed record to a number on screen, comparing document IDs over the phone, seeing if two people share a phone number, or a bunch of other scenarios. This is highly error prone. Given that you can raed wrods wrhee the lertets are mxied up wouthit porbelms, it’s no wonder that 85142 and 85412 are easily confused.

Humans are a lot better at concepts, and therefore words. Given the lines “snowman, blue kiwi” and “snowman, red camel”, anyone will easily see that they’re not the same. Even though “snowman, red camel” has three times as many characters as “85412”, I think most people would find the former easier for both long term and short term memorization.

These happen to be actual examples from a simple number-to-string conversion scheme I devised. It’s based on a set of ten adjectives and a hundred mostly cute and happy nouns. I call the resulting strings “cutecodes”. You can test them below, by typing in some digits and hoping that my javascript skills haven’t rotted.


Cutecode test:
Javascript off?

The digits are grouped in threes, the first digit picks an adjective and the last two pick a noun. Here are some thoughts that went into the system:

  • There should be a sizable amount of words. Here, an adjective and a noun will uniquely identify three digits. With some more work, you might have a hundred adjectives and a thousand nouns, for five digits.
  • The words should be pleasant and inoffensive, no matter which order they’re put in. People might object to having “burning deamon” as their order number. “Cutecodes” came from the resulting high concentration of cute nouns. I tried not making it sappy though, since it should be usable in a serious corporate setting.
  • Words should not be excessively culture specific. It’s hard making it global, but I avoided words like “gopher” which are primarly American. People will have a harder time remembering words if the concept are difficult to relate to. Since this is a proof of concept there are still some, like “lemur”.
  • With four digits you get two nouns rather than two adjectives and a noun. This is because a “small, green pencil” and “green, small pencil” is the same concept but would map to different numbers (with this rule, you get “ginger, pencil” instead)

It could be convenient to be able to convert cutecodes to numbers by hand. One way would be to use “A” and “B” as “0”, “C” and “D” as 1, etc, and picking the words so that “BArn” is 00, “CAlf” is “10” and so forth. So far, the nouns are just listed in alphabetical order, so you know that “earthworm, red carrot” is a lot less than “wizard, small mushroom”.

Instead of even trying, I chose single syllable adjectives and double syllable nouns, all with mostly the same rythm: “black camel, green lemur, sweet raincoat, young almond, white puzzle, small lemming, dry bubble”. This sounds nice and takes the same number of syllables to say as the number.

Finally, the words should be chosen so that they can be translated unambiguously between a few major languages. I didn’t bother with this either.

I imagine that this could be shown wherever strings of more than 3-4 digits are displayed, to increase recognition by humans.

Random ideas