Annoying things

Content is copyright © 2002,4 Matthew Astley

$Id: annoying.html,v 1.11 2004/01/15 13:25:53 mca1001 Exp $
I can't think why you would want to find out how intolerant I am, but sometimes I have to rant. Sorry. 8-)
Peanut butter jars
Cube-shaped jars
Sure they look pretty, but how are you supposed to get the last bit out? Still, the reason for making a pretty jar is fairly innocent. You could get the last bit out with some hot water or a specially shaped spoon, if you were so inclined.
Liquid soap dispenser which refuse to give you anything less than a handful of soap
These are found most often in pubs, as far as I can make out. You know the sort? You push gently on the button, and nothing happens. You push a bit harder, and still nothing happens. Then all of a sudden, fwoosh! it caves to your demand and you get enough soap to shower with. For a week. Then you have to spend the next five minutes washing it off your hands.
(OK, I'm sorry I've broken out the hyperbole rations.)

There are still some older dispenser with a lever on the bottom, or whatever, which will give you the required couple of drops of soap if you're careful.

The thing that really annoys me about these is that it's almost certainly deliberate. It must be a great way for the soap companies to sell more soap to the landlord - never mind the fact that most of it is washed down the sink unused.

The TV licensing people
They're telling me, again, that I'll be fined £1000. I could go to court. Imagine how embarrassing that would be! So, I'd better pay up now or else their detector van will be visiting.

Oh, and if I don't have a telly then I can just ignore this really scary letter.

It makes me want to stand this old 21" monitor in the corner, where it can just be seen from the door, in case they pop 'round for a chat.

The pointless and stupid disclaimers companies put at the bottom of outgoing emails
I think I've said enough. There is a page about them which might be more informative.

Likewise, the lucky anti-virus charms that virus scammers append,

> _____________________________________________________________________
> This message has been checked for all viruses by MessageLabs Virus
> Control Centre.

This email has been scanned for all viruses by the MessageLabs SkyScan  
service. For more information on a proactive anti-virus service working
around the clock, around the globe, visit
So, if you see this after something has attached a virus to it, who are you going to call first?
JavaScript abuse by web "masters"

This is a long-standing pet hate of mine. I'll write a proper rant later, I just can't summon the enthusiasm at the moment. (I bet you can't wait!)

In the meantime, here's a sample I pushed into the feedback form, over at

Had problems checking the "linux" box when trying to get a quote. Suspect it's because you have assumed I have Javascript enabled. I don't.

Your quoter appears to be simple enough that plain HTML would be perfectly adequate for the job. I don't understand why you feel the need to use Javascript.

No problem though, I'll go somewhere else. The hosting market is big enough that I can just go somewhere else. I just thought you should know that your site will drive some people away, though ignorance (the button doesn't work and doesn't say why), apathy (can I really be bothered to turn JS on, then remember to turn it off again after?) or principles (I'm an awkward sod, and make no apology for this).

But still, have a happy New Year! -- mca

Let's see whether they bother to reply... most web site owners don't. Those that do generally offer platitudes.
HTML or text+html multipart/alternative emails
(This is another rant-in-progress, I should rewrite it to be more detailed and coherent.)

These used to drive me mad, but now I just block them. They're mostly spam, and the rest are from people who aren't in full control of their email software.

Marketing departments love HTML emails, because they offer the potential consumer a compelling end-user experience.

I dislike them because I don't want a flashing jumping gaudy web page rammed down my throat. I don't want my mail client to go off to some external web server as soon as I display the mail (delivery status and message display notification, anyone?). I certainly don't want it advertising to the spammers the fact that the address they grabbed from somewhere is a "live one". I don't want 200k of image attachments when half a page of text will do just fine.

The solution is simple though. I now use mutt to read my mail, and it doesn't display the HTML part, it prefers the text part. On some of the systems I use, I've gone the extra mile: I filter such messages to the junk folder and send a bounce message explaining that HTML mail is not acceptable.

I have yet to see a valid and useful application for HTML mail, so I'm not worried about preventing use of functionality - maybe this will change when the "pedantic web" takes off?

Some people get upset or confused because I've rejected their email, but I think if they can't be bothered to click the "format as text" button before sending it, it probably isn't worth bothering to read anyway.

"Clever" people making a bit of money from littering
This is an ongoing theme, a part of (in)humanity I suppose, whether environmental issues or just information pollution.
If there's something that annoys you, and isn't on this list, please feel free to not tell me about it. Chances are I hadn't noticed yet, and would prefer not to.