Monday, 7 August 2017

Lifts and idiots

Holiday rant!

We all encounter lifts (elevators) from time to time. On a cruise ship they are a way of life - almost anywhere you go is on another deck and some are many decks away - so unless you fancy a lot of going up and down stairs you use lifts.

This ship has 8 in the forward section, 4 that go all the way to the top decks (16 and 17).

The lifts always seem slow, and the reason, I have concluded, is not the lifts but idiots.

I just had this, and made the mistake of arguing with the bunch of special people that got on the lift.

I was going up to 17, the top floor. The lift stopped at 16, and people got on. OK, one floor (I would have walked), but no, they were going down!!!

I commented, and they said... yeh, go up then down.

As I tried to explain, this means they pressed UP on the call buttons (presumably as well as DOWN), so stopped me on my journey. If they had not, it would have gone to 17 and I would get out, and it would have gone down to 16 and let them on. They had delayed their journey by the time to open doors, get on, close doors, all on deck 16 on the way up, for no reason. And, obviously, going back down the lift would again stop at deck 16 for, well, them to get on! They delayed their journey at least this much and delayed mine as well.

They were all "chill, you are on holiday", and even commented that the lifts were terrible and slow. I tried to explain that this was primarily because of idiots like them delaying everyone's journey. It fell on deaf ears.

Of course they may even have been quicker if another of the three lifts reached them before mine returned, but worst case they delayed mine, theirs, and every other person on that down going lift, by at least 30 seconds and for no good reason.

It is not the only case, and seems to happen a lot - Earlier I was going up in a lift, and twice, as the doors closed, people dived in to go down, before the lift could move off.

If I was making a lift controller I'd be tempted to simple not accept buttons below the floor on a up going lift, and the converse, so they have to press them again when the lift changes to down going, just to cause them as much hassle as they caused other people. Arrrrg. As a software engineer I'd love to find an "answer" to this, but cannot think of a proper one. (Some interesting ideas in the comments below).

I have seen many other examples even in only one day on this cruise. So often the lifts stop on floors for no reason, and it is almost certainly people doing exactly this sort of stupid thing.

There is however one special case I had never even considered! Sharon (in our party) used the logic that, even though we wanted to go up, as the lift was above us she would press DOWN to, err, make it come down... That is one I doubt anyone could program for, sorry.

P.S.

  1. I am not calling Sharon an idiot, I would not dare, and she would kick me in the shin.
  2. Someone (I think Sharon) suggested what I should have done when told to "chill, I am on holiday". I don't know why I did not think of it at the time. They had selected floor 9 (I think), so I should have backed down, apologised, and said yes, you are right - I'm on holiday so a little extra delay should not bother me, or you, and then pressed 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, and 10 before walking off. I suspect somehow a delay in the lift would no longer be something to "chill" about. It would be a tad childish, but hey - I am on holiday - I am meant to be having fun :-)
  3. We have now discovered that our cards do something in the lift. They are not needed to get to decks 16 & 17, but they do instantly cancel all floor selections and allow me to select a floor or floors which it then goes straight to. Obviously it is polite to include the other floor(s) that were already selected by others in the lift when doing this I guess. Sounds like a recipe for more fun :-)

28 comments:

  1. Fingerprint sensor on the lift buttons both inside and out. Buttons pressed inside are compared against what they pressed outside and pressing any other floor than those that comply with the initial request are ignored.

    Too expensive of course...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Many recent office buildings have you select the destination floor from a touchscreen before entering a lift. You are then directed to a given lift and cannot choose any different floor once inside the lift.
    Works well inside my experience, if any little confusing on first use. Gets over the idiot problem nicely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. floor selection before entry is the answer, but I would guess it's not done because of the cost of the panels on every floor instead of one panel in the list...

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  3. Paternoster lifts would solve the problem.

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    Replies
    1. Not if you are disabled, have a pushchair, have luggage, have a cart etc. etc. etc.

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  4. We had 'intelligent' lifts at our new building that would direct you to a lift according to your door entry card.

    The problem was, they would *keep* directing people to the lift that was going to your floor, even once the lift was full. The doors would almost close, and then burst open again as someone else scanned their badge.

    They must of upgraded the firmware or something as they got better with time, but they were still pretty crap.

    Thanks, Otis.

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  5. A rational (although perhaps selfish) reason for pressing both UP and DOWN when wanting to go DOWN is the risk that the lift may be full of people from upper floors once it comes back down again.

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    Replies
    1. Indeed, but seemingly not in this case, and not likely in this case. We did see this after the lifeboat drill on deck 7, but it probably still delays everyone by doing this.

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  6. Continuous moving up lifts and a different down left will resolve it no button people get on to go up and get down when they have to have a different lift for disable ?

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  7. At one of the buildings in our local hospital, before you enter a lift, you have to select the floor you want, and then it tells you which of the 6 lifts to enter. There is no panel inside the lift. You still get 'special' people who rush into any lift, only to find no panel in the lift to select the floor, even though it is clearly labelled outside.

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  8. Years ago, I was working at the PTT in Vienna and the building in which I was working (Funkturm Arsenal) had three lifts which worked pretty much independently.

    If the place was quiet, they all sat on the ground floor waiting for business and then when someone pressed a button on another floor, all three of them would rush to answer the call.

    One day one of them decided that opening its doors was too much like hard work, so it still rushed to answer all the calls, but then didn't take on any passengers. This meant it was then free to rush to the next caller, etc. Timing your button press to get one of the other two became an interesting game.

    Control systems do seem to have come on a bit at least.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The latest theory is at least one of your three lifts should stay on a middle floor waiting for business so it gets to a floor faster on average. Once it responds, one of the other two lifts if both are idle should move to the middle floor to take its place.

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    2. Heuristics in the control system could spot patterns of traffic and move the lifts to appropriate places to accommodate those patterns. i.e. at the moment a lot of people are leaving from floor 10, so keep the lifts returning to floor 10 when idle. Or the system can notice that a lot of people on floor 5 take their lunch break at 12:00 whereas most people on floor 12 take theirs at 13:00 and preemptively position the idle lifts appropriately

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  9. My mum presses the Down button to bring a lift down to the floor she is on (having seen it is above her) and likewise the Up button to make a lift come up to her. My dad and I have both tried multiple times to explain how lift buttons actually work, but she says our description of how they work is clearly stupid and anyway she always gets where she wants to go so she must be right. Sigh.

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    Replies
    1. Wow, have we discovered a new "thermostat" type issue here. I had never heard this before yesterday!

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    2. The irony is my mum understand thermostats perfectly well. One of her friends insists that the heating isn't working properly if the radiators aren't all hot. Even my mum takes the mickey out of her for that.

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  10. There used to be a trick security used to get to the floor they wanted quickly and that was to press the desired floor and door close buttons until the door closed. This stopped any other commands being accepted and took then directly to the chosen floor, bit selfish to use it as a shortcut though.....
    If you do reprogram a lift, can you kindly stop it tell me that it's going up when it's at the bottom and down when it's at the top, I can figure that out myself :-)

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    Replies
    1. This trick doesn't work. Might work when the elevator is on fire mode (in fact, I think it is a requirement to hold down the close doors button and a level to make the lift activate in fire mode) but does nothing on normal modern elevators in normal operation.

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  11. Deviant and the elevator guy do a great speech called from pit to penthouse (YouTube) and have delivered it at most hacker conferences. It's about an hour long but well worth a watch.
    It covers pretty much all the clever things you can do with lifts in terms or programming, independent modes, priority/VIP/executive modes etc.
    Can't say for cruise ships but in most large hotels with many floors they have an anti nuisance feature so if you push too many floor selections too quickly it clears them all.
    It sounds like your cards enable priority mode which is well worth using all the time. I have previously worked in a building where they had an executive switch outside the lifts, when activated it would reverse the nearest lift, kick everyone off at a nearby floor then come pick you up and take you directly to your floor before returning to the group 😎

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    Replies
    1. I want Executive Mode. That's worth couple of grand a year.

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    2. how does a lift "kick everyone off"? Does the floor tilt so they slide out?

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    3. No, obviously a hydraulic ram pushes the back wall forward :) :) :)

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  12. On a cruise I try to not use the lifts at all. You put on 1-2 pounds a day, using the stairs and hitting the gym every day helps big time!!!!

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  13. I've seen lifts stop on floors, even when going in a different direction to the call button. Maybe that's what's happening?

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  14. I refer the gentleman to ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAz_UvnUeuU

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  15. But every stop without me in the lift is an opportunity for someone else to take up lift space, and to further delay the lift reaching my source and/or destination floor.

    If my goal were to maximise availability of scarce resources for others, I'd take the stairs. Which I usually do anyway, not least because I don't like lifts. But if my goal is to get to my destination floor as quickly as possible and I've rejected the stairs, then in the single-lift case I cannot be worse off by getting the lift to stop for me ASAP, and I might be better off.

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  16. As a wheelchair user I use lifts a lot.
    Some are really frustrating. At the Bridgewater Hall the wheelchair spaces are in the circle. At the end of the concert, pressing Down on the lifts always results in the doors opening to show it's crammed full of people coming down from the Gods. People who look perfectly fit enough to walk down the stairs, though doubtless many have hidden impairments. Lift after lift does this.
    The secret is to go Up. Press Up, get in a nice empty elevator, it goes to the Gods and people cram in round you, then go back down to the exit, punctuated by the doors opening on floors in which people can't get in.
    If you're a lift officianado, being a wheelchair user on the Tube must be interesting. For me, it's just profoundly frustrating!

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  17. I wish I'd read this nearer the time it was posted... if there's one reason I'm glad my job finished, it's lift idiots.

    I worked for one of the smaller employers in a building - to the main one our floor was "ghost". After fire alarm activations, there would ALWAYS be people filling up whichever lift (rather than the one the HCD system directed them to, and blocking me from going to the floor I was on. I started telling people "allow at least half an hour to get back in after a fire alarm". The building had no stairs for general use, so even a single floor journey needed a lift.

    The "calling the lift in the wrong direction" thing is frustrating, but worse, at Brent Cross, there was a time when one of the lift call button panels was wired (or inserted) the wrong way round... you actually had to call it for the opposite direction for the desired result.

    As an amputee I find fixed stairs annoying, broken escalators doubly so, but prefer working escalators to lifts, simply because you never have to wait for an escalator, other than behind a moving queue of people if it's really busy. Unfortunately I will have to use lifts a lot more when my partner comes to live here.

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