This video universally gets one of two reactions


When I show someone this web site and the videos they put together on how Microsoft main campus could be serviced by a system of self-driving overhead personal vehicles, I get one of two reactions.

  1. "That's so cool!"
  2. "That's so stupid!" (Or words to that effect. Use your imagination.)

Yet another of their web sites writes

The small PRT tracks are only three feet across, and compliment modern office architecture.

Psst, the word you want is "complement" with an "e". If you "compliment" (with an "i") something, you praise it. If you "complement" (with an "e") something, then you complete it. (In the realm of aesthetics, things that complement each other mutually enhance each other.) Mnemonic: "complement" = "complete".

The comma is incorrect as well. This is a conjunction of predicates, not of clauses, and therefore demands no comma.

[Raymond is currently away; this message was pre-recorded.]

Comments (27)
  1. The manager for the cafeteria in campus building 32 was forever putting up signs that incorrectly used "compliment". I corrected one once, and the next day it had been replaced with a new INcorrect sign.

    BTW why are all the side dishes in these cafeterias labelled "gourmet sides". I mean, they’re usually just boiled or steamed vegetables?

  2. Carlos says:

    After that Simpsons episode (http://www.tv.com/marge-vs.-the-monorail/episode/1356/summary.html), who can take a monorail salesmen seriously ever again?

  3. Ja ja ja says:

    That’s so stupid!

  4. Brian Duffy says:

    They need to find some 5th grader who could produce a better video! Why is the soundtrack for a transportation system the theme from Gone With the Wind?

    Private public transportation sounds like a great idea. The only problem is that passengers won’t always be nice, well dressed people enjoying the ride.

    Punks will trash the cars with graffiti, bums will piss and vomit all over the place and high school kids will smoke and mate in the cars.

    How many minutes would these things last in NYC?

  5. This looks like a Swiss project which is called the "Serpentine" http://www.serpentine.ch/ where autonomous vehicles will move on the street, getting their energy from inductive strips laid in the ground. Let’s see who can realise such a system for real first :-)

    Pierre

  6. pmuhC says:

    2mins 14secs into this

    http://www.cities21.org/MSdivx.avi

    I thought there was going to be a ‘comedy crash’.

    Take a look and tell me if you thought the same.

  7. pmuhC says:

    The cars parked in the car park scene at 2:49 to 2:56 are all floating a foot off the ground!!!!

    – Who needs PRT, when you could just park your car outside your 3rd floor office window?!

  8. Name: REQUIRED! says:

    Miss Hoover: I hear those things are awfully loud…

    Lyle Lanley: It glides as softly as a cloud.

    Apu: Is there a chance the track could bend?

    Lyle Lanley: Not on your life, my Hindu friend.

    Barney: What about us brain-dead slobs?

    Lyle Lanley: You’ll be given cushy jobs.

    Abe: Were you sent here by the devil?

    Lyle Lanley: No, good sir, I’m on the level.

    Wiggum: The ring came off my pudding can.

    Lyle Lanley: Take my pen knife, my good man.

  9. jfoscoding says:

    Mike, I looked "gourmet" up

    "of special food: relating to high-quality food that is sophisticated, expensive, rare, or meticulously prepared" [1]

    They do put pepper on the steamed carrots, so I guess that counts.

    [1]http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861614783/gourmet.html

  10. asdf says:

    Do you know what the story is behind that house that is on Microsoft’s main campus’ lawn?

  11. aj aj aj says:

    That’s so cool!

  12. Michael says:

    One of my pet peeves is people who’s pet peeve it is to correct spelling and grammar. So they made a mistake or two… so what? It’s a difficult language. If you seriously feel like you’re going to explode if you don’t vent it somehow, then notify them of their mistake. However, do so privately. What reason is there to publicly humiliate them? They’re simply spreading poor grammar. You’re spreading passive intolerance that only serves to fuel the already overwhelming number of sharp-tongued cynics out there.

    I read your blog because you’re intelligent and insightful, not because you feed my craving to deride others, however innocent it may appear.

  13. Brian Duffy says:

    Give me a break. If you’re pitching a multi-million dollar transport system — find someone who can spell to write your PR.

  14. sure says:

    "Give me a break. If you’re pitching a multi-million dollar transport system — find someone who can spell to write your PR."

    Give me a break; if you are purchasing a multi-million dollar transport system as if the deal-breaker is how they spell "complement".

    /waits for suggestion that this minor problem could lead to others.

    Anyway, Raymonds grammer is incorrect: "Demands no comma", that isn’t right. "Demands A comma" or "Doesn’t require a comma". Not "Demands no".

  15. It may not be a deal-breaker but it certainly puts the proposal at a disadvantage right off the start. Do you maintain that a spelling error in someone’s résumé does not affect your opinion of the applicant?

    (I maintain that "Demands no comma" is valid albeit archaic.)

  16. sure says:

    "It may not be a deal-breaker but it certainly puts the proposal at a disadvantage right off the start. "

    Agreed.

    "Do you maintain that a spelling error in someone’s résumé does not affect your opinion of the applicant?"

    Personally, I wouldn’t be too bothered by it; anybody can make a small mistake and they shouldn’t be punished severely for it.

  17. jkipk says:

    I watched Logan’s Run again recently and they had this same system, except it was in a tube, way cooler!

  18. Peter says:

    So it’s not like you are in charge of anything in Redmond — but a ferry going over Lake Sammamish to the plateau would be really useful. Right now a big part of the traffic problems in Redmond are all of the Microsoft (and others) heading over up and over the lake; it would be very nice if instead they parked at the top of the plateau, took a bus or trolley to the lake, and then a ferry across the lake to the main Microsoft bus system.

    For non-Redmond readers: Microsft is located east of Seattle; until recently is was about as close to rural Washington as you could get. As people moved closer to Microsoft, they started to fill up the land with new houses; one of the new towns is on the "Plateau". Between there and Microsoft is a big lake so that commuters have to either go south around the bottom of the lake or north around the top. Redmond is at the top and suffers from being a concentration point for all those people. The plateau also suffers from having altoghether too few roads going in, and the roads it does have are steep and narrow.

    Microsoft is located just about directly across the lake; it already has a very nice internal bus system to go between all of the building.

    (BTW: I’m not a Microsoft employee or temp worker; I’m just a programmer who happens to work and live in Redmond for someone else completely)

  19. Miral says:

    I agree with "sure". The comma is valid in that location as it indicates a natural pause in sentence flow (try speaking it — you’ll see what I mean). It is not required, however.

  20. The mere existence of a natural pause, does not mean that a comma is permitted.

    (Note: There’s a little joke in there for the grammarians.)

  21. Jase says:

    Re: Mike

    "One of my pet peeves is people who’s pet peeve it is…"

    It’s whose not who’s. <grin />

  22. Mike says:

    "Anyway, Raymonds grammer is incorrect:"

    Isn’t that "Raymond’s grammar"? Anyway, it needs pepper.

  23. Matt says:

    It looks like the website has been fixed. It now reads:

    The small PRT tracks are only three feet across and complement modern office architecture.

  24. MSDN Archive says:

    <i>The comma is incorrect as well. This is a conjunction of predicates, not of clauses, and therefore demands no comma.</i>

    Of course, bad grammar can become accepted if enough experts use it. As Scott Adams says, Endlish would be much less confusing if we had smarter experts.

  25. Jon Konrath says:

    I think a bigger pet peeve for me is a company that’s still named "Something 2000" in 2005.

    And although the web site talks about the advantage of a large number of small vehicles, it seems like it’s simple math that eventually you’ll reach saturation and there won’t be cars available. Try catching a cab in New York when it’s raining for a demonstration of this.

  26. Steve Raney says:

    A few of us ex-msft folks helped put together the "that’s so cool" animation. We’ve had about 8500 animation downloads. We figure that once we get to 100K, we’ll get to make a 15 minute pitch to Bill. And then? Goodbye traffic congestion.

    Compliments on catching our complements problem. We’ve vaporized the offending webmaster.

    Speaking of "that’s so stupid," did you catch our digital hitchhiking proposal for MS? http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002094189_hitchhike18m.html

    Per Jon Konrath, Taxi 2000 just announced a name change to Taxi XP Professional. Actually, their SkyWeb Express product name is a surprisingly good example of descriptive branding. The point about saturation is well taken. Simulated capacity is about 4,000 passenger trips per hour per loop, with one famous multi-loop Swedish simulation logging 64K trips in an hour. PRT algorithms are pretty interesting.

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