Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Safeway’s AI soup nazis

August 31, 2023

🐅 🐅 🐅 tiger tiger tiger for ultimate August, anticipating the welcoming bunny trio of September

I get my groceries from a local Safeway, with shoppers and deliverers supplied by Instacart. Safeway has an excellent line of deli soups, which I described for you in my 7/21 posting “Real food”, focusing on Safeway’s Signature Cafe (their brand name) chicken tortilla soup (in a plastic container), which was a major step on my route back to real food after my gall bladder surgery; I noted at the time:

Safeway has a whole line of these soups, including a clear lobster bisque suitable for liquid diets and several very nice chunkier soups, including a minestrone, chicken noodle soup, jambalaya and broccoli cheddar soup.

Yesterday, continuing my incursions into red meat and animal fats — cheese was the first wedge into this territory, but I’ve since moved all the way to (pork) carnitas and carne asada — and needing to order in some milk from Safeway, I thought to reconsider the store’s other soups, so I searched on “deli soups” on the Safeway site.

And got a notice — new in my experience — that this search was powered by AI. Instead of the expected inventory of Safeway’s dozen or so or deli soups, I got only three such soups, and these three were scattered among a huge number of listings for canned soups (from various companies). Not deli soups at all, but just soups; in fact, towards the end of the list, it branched into canned meats. So a massive AI screw-up.


16 will get you 3

May 16, 2023

In my comics feed for today, May 16th, three excellent strips: a Zits on learning how to use a computer (and coping with explanations for how to use it from the deeply tech-embedded, like the 17-year-old Jeremy Duncan in this strip); a Rhymes With Orange with a truly bizarre way for spelling your name when ordering drinks at the neighborhood cafe; and a Bizarro with a high-groan pun.



December 29, 2022

A modest challenge to cartoon understanding in the 12/17 Rhymes With Orange, which depends on your knowing about a bit of antique technology and its metaphorical name in English. Price and Piccolo have strewn hints around in the cartoon, but still, if you’re not familiar with the crucial piece of technology, you won’t get the joke.

(#1) Two rabbits sit in odd positions on a couch (with their ears standing up), in front of a screen

Clues to understanding, beyond the peculiar postures: the references to reception (in the title of the strip), specifically to tv reception (via cable); the reference to Gramps, evoking the old days; Gramps’s claim that their postures are somehow conducive to the point of their activity.


Tailored advertising

December 5, 2022

This is very much a Mary, Queen of Scots Not Dead Yet posting — it’s been a truly terrible day, but I’m still kicking (though I have no speaking voice and have already slept 13 unhappy hours since going to bed last night).

Random discussion on FB about the odd ‘sponsored’ ads that appear there, one contributor baffled by a flood of products (things she had no interest in) with jokey names. Well, of course, everybody else got different sponsored ads, most of them relatable to items they’d been searching or had actually ordered, but some of them mysterious. The selection of ads is done by algorithm, in ways that simple mortals cannot divine.

And then, as if on cue, I got an ad for this pullover hoodie:

(#1) IT’S A N THING – YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND: available in various patterns, where N is a proper name: either a personal name or a family name, chosen from a large stock of available names — a stock that includes the personal name ARNOLD (see below), but apparently not the rare family name ZWICKY, so that in Google-search fashion, if it can’t find the POUTINE you asked for, it offers you instead something whose name is close in spelling to POUTINE: photographs of people POUTING, or, in this case, the family name WICK


Farewell to Twitter

October 28, 2022

As of this morning, I have deactivated my Twitter account (so eventually it will disappear completely). Today’s changes in the way the platform is run meant that I needed to get off it, not just to avoid trolling and flaming, but also (more important) to avoid being hacked.



August 10, 2022

(Warning: the posting quickly descends into various kinds of vulgar, unsavory slang.)

From Kyle Wohlmut (from Twitter) on Facebook this morning, with the comment “good morning fuckers’:

(#1) A set of three plastic kitchen scoops, in a package designed to hang on a supermarket display hook; note the notch at the top of the package, for slipping over the hook; the back of the package has the name of the item in four languages, from four countries, the countries identified by flags (in tiny, muddy, b&w images), and as you go down the list, the referents of the names — names evidently supplied by some translation software — drift rapidly away from a kitchen scoop and get raunchier and raunchier: ‘scraping, scratching’, figurative ‘son of a bitch’ (literally ‘son of a whore’), figurative ‘fucker’ (referring to a contemptible or stupid person; to any man, to a guy; or to some unspecified object)


Memic dummies at home

November 14, 2021

Today’s Bizarro shows a domestic scene with car crash dummies:

(#1) Yes! An instance of the Car Crash Dummy meme, one of many instances (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are, wow, 10 in this strip — see this Page.)

Yet another meme turning on a specific pop culture character: Potato Head, King Kong, Waldo, Godzilla, Batman (to mention some that have already appeared on this blog). Well, the crash test dummies are pop culture characters, but they’re also significant technological figures.


Bearing the face for our era

October 30, 2021

In every era, in every milieu, there arises one man with the Face of Humane Wisdom.


The whale and the smartphone

February 10, 2021

The Dale Coverly Speed Bump cartoon of 4/25/18, yet another instance of the cartoon meme of Ahab and the whale, this time showing only the whale —  but the whale in communication with  Ahab via their smartphones:


(See the Page on this blog on comic conventions, including the cartoon meme of Ahab and the whale.)


Out of the water and back again

September 19, 2020

In the 9/21 issue of the New Yorker, this Lila Ash cartoon “Evolution of Man”:

(#1) New Yorker description of the cartoon: The evolution of man from a fish to a human throwing their phone in the water, and swimming in to retrieve it.

Yet another variation on the Ascent of Man theme; there have been so many of these on this blog that there’s a Page cataloguing them, here.