July 17, 2003

Damn You, User.

Okay, the blog has been dullsville for the past few days, and it hasn't been because I've suddenly discovered the joys of Paxil. No, it's because I've been Insanely Busy at Work. And while that in and of itself is not bad, the REASON for my insane busy-ness is annoying in the extreme. See, we're a forward-thinking, hepcat kinda techie university, and so we figure that we'll help our 'net savvy students out by emailing them all the info. they'll need to when they come to campus this fall. Sounds like a plan, no?

No. It was a bad plan. A heaping helping of Bad! Plan! with a nice little side of Dammit! for garnish. See, some of the information the students will need is private, so they need to log on with their SSN and birthdate to get it. There's a little web page with the little boxes and even little examples of how to enter the info into the little boxes, so that everything pops up and they can be happy or pissy or whatever. Well, on Monday the Wonders of Technology met their most dreaded foe: The User. The User who cannot read. The User who cannot follow directions. The User who, for whatever reason, is using a browser that doesn't like 1k gif files. The User who calls the front desk and freaks out the ancient ladies there who FEAR THE EVIL TECHNOLOGY and forward the User's call to me. The User who suddenly has a lightbulb go off when I inform them that a) using YOUR Social Security Number when you're the student's MOTHER won't get you the info. you seek, and that b) the four digits in the example mean that you ACTUALLY NEED TO USE FOUR DIGITS IN THE BOX. The User who, after sending me fourteen separate emails, each one detailing a different glitch in the process, calls me on top of it to make sure I got the emails. I hate the User. A Lot. And I'm not even a programmer, for crying out loud!

So I change the User Interface to FORCE them to enter the information in exactly the format I require. Does this stop them? Why no, no, it doesn't. And so I leave work yesterday and go to the Evil Zombie Pirate Movie With Johnny Depp in order to relax. This works until I realize I must stop at the craptastic Food Lion for a gallon of milk. One gallon of milk. One single, solitary, plastic encased gallon of cow juice for the boy's breakfast. It's 9:30 p.m. in the middle of the biggest, most violent thunderstorm I've seen all summer, and I need a gallon of milk. I dash from the truck to the store, grab the milk and head for the checkout, when I realize that I am trapped in Big Grocery Hell. Every toddler in the county is out--at 9:30 in a giant storm--with parents who are buying enough food to feed North Korea. I have One. Gallon. Of. Milk. So I head to the self-checkout, where a little boy is scanning a small amount of groceries while his dad bags. Should be quick, I think, but noooooo. I have encountered another User. The ice cream won't scan. The self-check mistress can't fix it. The dad is clueless. The toddlers are screaming. And the self-check machine keep saying, Please Remove This Item and Continue Scanning. My hand is cold from the milk. I am tired. I wonder what I did in a past life to deserve this. I affix the patented Big Arm Woman Death Glare to the machine, the father, and the assorted Food Lion occupants. Fortunately, this appears to work, and after a painful 5 minutes of the dad trying to figure out how to pay (hint: It might involve that GIANT RED RECTANGLE MARKED PAY NOW) I get home.

My sleep wasn't restful, because me, hublet, the Boy, the dog and the cat all shared the bed due to thunderstorm trauma. And now I am back for a third day of dealing with The User. I am not helped by being forced to repeatedly endure the high-pitched hyena laugh of the annoying curly haired intern from hell. Really, it's not that funny, curly haired intern. I promise. NOTHING is that funny. EVER. I am hungry, and if I have to deal with ONE MORE INEPT USER today, I may actually explode. Of course, I must now go to the bank. Listen hard at noon EST--if you hear a muffled pop, know that I have finally shuffled off this mortal coil, another hapless victim of technology.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at July 17, 2003 11:30 AM

Sending supportive thoughts your way.... I've spent the last 2 months rolling out a new project mgmt/time keeping system to the rest of our firm, the IT arm of a major company. The same managers who boast of how we are one of the "first names" in technology actually have called me up and asked me how to print the page they are viewing IN THEIR WEB BROWSER. Umm... how about that little printer icon on the top bar there, techno-stud? My sweet child asks me every day if I have slammed anyone's head in a door yet. Oy. Just keep mumbling, "this too shall pass", and, personal preference, keep a box of powdered milk in the house (ANYBODY can suffer thru powdered milk for one bowl of cereal, imho). Cheers!

Posted by: Sheryl at July 17, 2003 01:12 PM

Evil Users got you down? You need a Guardian! Go here for an introduction:


and then go to the source:
for desktops and other toys. And, I know from experience that even Toddlers (tm) can enjoy the shows. Animated, for their pleasure. Full of sly jokes, for yours. Get a Guardian today! And remember, don't get mad, get even.

Posted by: Jack at July 17, 2003 01:33 PM

Serenity now, SERENITY NOW!

Posted by: JS Allison at July 17, 2003 04:06 PM