Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, March 10, 2021

I’ve often noted that, with the rise of mobile phones as many people’s primary/only phones, no one bothers to commit phone numbers to memory anymore.

I figured the main reason was just due to the number of phone numbers an average person has in an addressbook. It turns out there’s a more fundamental reason:

The human memory is best suited for recording information up to nine digits long, he said, but a phone number and its area code are 10 digits, which exceeds people’s levels of comfortable memorization. “And that has all kinds of consequences,” [technology historian Edward] Tenner said.

I guess that’s what leads to one of my pet peeves: Communicating one’s phone number minus the area code. It’s bad enough when someone tells me their number that way, but what really drives me crazy is when businesses do it on their signs and advertising. But if people really have trouble remembering that many numerals in a row, I suppose it makes sense to chance that they’ll guess on the right area code. (Still seems dumb, though; personally, I have no problem memorybanking the area code along with the number.)

Naturally, outsourcing your memory to your phone or computer means you risk losing those digits if when the device crashes, gets lost, etc. No one backs up anything, so it’s inevitable.

I’m thinking the wireless providers can make some nice extra scratch by offering addressbook-backup services for their customers. They could even get away with making it a monthly charge: The handsets would periodically get pinged, the data on it get synced back to a big central database, and whenever the customer needs to restore or transfer it, it can be done instantly. It’d be an easy sell, and reinforce the notion that you never need to memorize a phone number again.

- Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/10/2021 11:13:36 PM
Category: Tech, Society | Permalink | Feedback (3)

cash out
While waiting for a lunch companion last week at Hooters, I got bored and took a cameraphone picture of this little tabletop promo. (Why didn’t I take shots of the real-life waitresses instead? Frankly, the promo piece looked better than anything walking through the joint.)

My critique of this new-fangled Hooters Gift Card is two-fold:

- It’s 2005. Does anyone in America need to be informed that gift cards “work like cash”? Even if you consider the average Hooters patron to be less swift than the general population, there’s little chance that they’ve never encountered this form of retail voucher before. Christ, you can buy prepaid gift cards for a million retailers, from Home Depot to Victoria’s Secret, at your grocery store checkout. So making that the key message on this thing is really unnecessary.

- That said: If they really felt the need to declare the “works like cash” bit, they should have at least tailored it to the Hooters brand approach. Apply the sassy-sexy twist to the message: “Work It Like Cash”. At least then, it would show some signs of creativity.

- Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/10/2021 10:47:18 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business | Permalink | Feedback (1)

what a site
According to the Sitemeter stats at the time of this writing, this here blog is about 600 visitors away from the big 100 grand mark. Based on current traffic levels, that 100,000th tick should come today, most likely in the late afternoon/early evening.

It’s just a number, but a milestone nonetheless. It’s taken about two and a half years to do it (this site’s counter is a continuation of the former BlogSpot home, although whatever hits the old site got after PopStat went live weren’t counted). Certainly hasn’t broken any speed records, but it’s been steady progress. Regardless of how or why all those visitors loaded up this page, I appreciate it.

I wish I could set up something special for the moment when that odometer adds a digit. Maybe some loud, obnoxious music, or some Flash-powered animated eyecandy. Alas, I have neither the time nor the skill to pull it off.

Tell you what, though: If you happen to be the 100,000th visitor, take a screenshot of the moment (here’s how to do it, Windows or Mac) and send it to me. (No Photoshopping tricks, please.) I’ll post the pic here, and… I dunno, buy you a delicious 100 Grand candy bar? (I’d give you a hundred grand in American money, but I’m a little light in the wallet this week.)

- Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/10/2021 09:20:47 AM
Category: Bloggin' | Permalink | Feedback (4)