Posted by Jane Copland
The Internet, as fragile, infuriating and enigmatic as its features can be, certainly does some things that I’d really like to see implemented, at least for beta testing, in real life. I am not a programmer, so this is piecemealed together from things I do know… but in my ideal world, I’d be able to solve most of my problems with a couple of simple instructions and a hard refresh.
1. Redirecting phone numbers. When I moved to Seattle (two years ago last Saturday), I acquired a local number. In the days before Facebook became microchipped into everyone’s forehead, I had little means of getting in touch with everyone I knew and letting them know that my number had changed.
I would like to take the hassle out of changing my phone number. I should be able to text my service provider with this:
Redirect 301 3456 1-206-555-2387
This would be far more convenient than trying to email everyone in my phone book.
Additionally, upon receiving a new number, it came to my attention that the number was only one digit different to that of a large parking garage in Seattle. No, I cannot help you get your car out of the Union Square garage at seven a.m. on Sunday morning.
2. To deal with the people who’d abandoned their cars in the garage whilst out drinking in Seattle, I’d like to text in:
if ($question=="parking garage")
echo "Your car has been impounded.";
3. Another thing I found infuriating upon moving to the U.S. was your addresses. In New Zealand, we have addresses like:
23 Smith Street
I shall not entertain the idea that New Zealand may have, in the time I have been away, instigated postal codes. Here, and in various other countries too cool for simple addresses, you’ve made things far too complicated. In the United States, they number street addresses like it’s a contest to count to one-million. I’ve not lived at a street address below 1000 since I came here. And Britain: what is with those postal codes? EC1M 5UJ? W2 1JU?
I would like to be able to rewrite a complicated address, sending this on a postcard to the post office:
RewriteRule ^30 Brown Street Seattle $ComplicatedAddressLongPostalCode
4. Real life should also be programmed such that I don’t waste my time trying to get into bars and clubs that I’m not going to be allowed into. It’s just a risk you take when you’re underage: you can guarantee that some bars in some towns either aren’t going to ask to see identification, or they’ll let you’re in because you’re a female and you’re wearing lots of make-up. But most won’t.
A simple system of cue cards would save us all a lot of time. A bar that will definitely ask you for ID posts a 401 on their doors. Those that will also not fall for fake IDs should make it clear with a 403. A simple 502 indicates that the bar is at capacity.
5. Unplugging and re-plugging-in anything that doesn’t work properly should immediately result in it working again.
6. I would like to be able to establish a secure connection to my pizza delivery place. Encrypting the information that I send to the person on the phone at Palermo’s would make me feel a bit better when they repeat both my name and my credit card number aloud in the store whilst taking my order. Fantastic work, telephone guy. Now everyone knows all my basic financial details, including my card’s expiration date and my middle initials and my address.
7. Given how many friends I have living in different time zones, it would be useful to employ IP delivery on my mobile phone. If someone calls my phone from Australia or New Zealand, they’re delivered the me who knows how to pronounce words like "g’day" and who says "eh" instead of "huh." When my grandmother calls, I can serve up the version that passes all the Safe Search requirements. Americans are served a Jane who says "soccer" instead of "football." Without such a feature, speaking the correct version of English at the correct time is far too difficult.
If someone would get onto that, I’d appreciate it. Especially the bit about cleaning up my language around my grandmother.