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My last "real-world assertions" blog post seems to have tickled a bunch of people with my story about the racy narration at the historic Red Fort in Delhi. I've heard from several folks who have also seen the show and had a similar reaction. Just out of curiosity, I did a Web search and found a half-dozen or so other blogs and travelogues with comments similar to mine. Concluding my series, and in the spirit of the holiday season, here are a few final amusing incidents related to shopping that would also have benefitted from assertions.
The first occurred as I was browsing the DVD shelves in Space Cat Comics, a San Jose institution that has a big selection of used music and movies in addition to comics and collectables of many kinds. This particular portion of their selection contained bargain releases, primarily movies and TV shows now in the public domain. My attention was drawn to a very inexpensive four-movie collection entitled Hollywood Classics: Alfred Hitchcock. I'm a big fan of Hitchcock's work so I pulled the DVD off the shelf to take a look.
I was amused to see that the four movies included were The 39 Steps, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Secret Agent, and Sabotage. These are all good titles; in fact The 39 Steps is widely regarded as the first truly great Hitchcock film. However, all four were made in the U.K. in the 1930s, well before producer Davis O. Selznick lured Hitchcock to Hollywood to make Rebecca and start the American phase of his career. These are not "Hollywood classics" at all, and the kicker is that this DVD is released by the "Genius Entertainment" brand.
My second example comes from an email message sent by BookBuyers in Mountain View, the largest used bookstore in Silicon Valley. They also have lots of used movies, music, video games, computer software, magazine, comics, and more. I can easily lose track of time and spend hours browsing there. The email message included a discount coupon with the following statement:
Thanks for making Small Business Saturday such a success last week. Many people asked for more time to use their coupons, so... buy one, get one half off again this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, December 3, 4 and 5.
Of course, the first weekend of December 2011 was actually the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. The bottom of the message said "Valid 12/2/2011 - 12/4/2011" so it wasn't even self-consistent. We all make typographical errors, and in past posts I have not elevated garden-variety typos to the status of missing assertions. So why tease a bookstore that I really like? This particular case made me chuckle because BookBuyers is especially well known for having a big selection of calendars at great prices. They seemed like the last folks I would expect to mix up dates.
My final example also involves a typo, but one of the more dramatic I've seen in a while. A recent EE Times article presented a top 10 list of innovative USB devices that might make nice holiday gifts. One of the more unusual entries was the "Infinite USB Memory (IUM)" stick from Infinitec. This USB stick has no actual memory inside; instead it sends the data to a laptop via a wireless link. I'll admit I had to scratch my head a bit over that concept. If you need to transfer more data than today's high-capacity USB drives hold, it would take a long time to do so wirelessly.
But what really caught my eye was what appears to be a screen shot in the article. At the top appear the words "Infinte Portal" rather than "Infinite Portal" as one would expect. I checked the company's site, and the same image appears there. Sure, I've had my share of embarrassing typos, including in this blog, but the "Infinte" type appears to have been coded into the Infinitec laptap GUI and propagated in many forms. Presumably it was missed by R&D, QA, Product Management, Marketing, Advertising, and more. Again, I just had to chuckle.
This concludes my "real-world assertion" series, and in fact my blogging with Cadence. I truly hope that you have enjoyed reading my posts as much as I've enjoyed writing them. I'll be moving on to new adventures in January. Thanks, and happy holidays everyone! Tom A. The truth is out there...sometimes it's in a blog.