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It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion ...
So I don't use the Apple App store much, I have 2 iPads but rarely add apps. I've added a few, though, and recently liked one enough to write a review. My review never made it live, though, because Apple got me so pissed off that I'm writing a review about them instead.

Here's what happened. I went to the "settings" section of the app, and there was a "review" button. I clicked it, and it brought me to the App Store. I clicked on the "Review" tab, and it asked me to enter my iTunes password. I did, it accepted, and brought me to where I could give my review. I picked my stars, entered a title, and typed my detailed and thoughtful review. So far so good.

But here is where Apple started to suck. Send was greyed out. OK, nickname was blank, so that must be a required field. I personally think anonymous reviews are OK, but if they don't I'm OK with that. So I picked a nickname, and hit send.

Disaster.

I got a popup telling me the nickname was taken, with only an "OK" button. When I clicked it, my painstakingly crafted review was GONE. No chance to pick a different nickname, no telling me it was saved until I picked one, just GONE.

Are you people complete morons? Really, you're like like the richest company in the world, can't you hire a decent UI designer? Do some user testing?

It reminds me of the Dilbert where Dilbert asks his pointy haired boss if he should make a user interface that has a GUI with help and explanations or a command line interface where the user has to memorize complex commands to do anything. The boss thinks for a panel and Dilbert adds "Keep in mind, we'll never actually meet any of our customers" to which the boss replise "OK, go for the command line interface, and make them reboot every time they enter a bad command"

So here's how it should have gone. If you require a nickname (which you shouldn't, but that's more of a grey area, so we'll run with the assumption that you still do) you should at least make the user pick one before they get to the review panel, or better yet let them review first and tell them you are saving the review until they pick a nickname, which they can do later. Ideally you want to let them capture their thoughts right away and work on sorting them out later if they don't have time all at once, but if you're going to make them go through red tape, at least do it in a way that hasn't wasted their time and discarded their work.

Apple built a name on getting out of the way of their users so the task was first and foremost and the administrative crap didn't get in the way. The current design completely goes against that, showing a failure in that highly successful vision. Sure it's only a tiny little crack, but it's a crack in the foundation of an empire. Fix it, Apple, and more importantly, fix the slip in culture that let it happen to begin with.

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So yesterday on hold I wrote about how frustrating it was to have to clean up a mess caused by a bad web page. I ended with saying I was satisfied.

WRONG!!!

I am on hold again, fuming because these idots CANCELED THE DELIVERY instead of fixing the address!

And FedEX can't even hold the package and wait for me to straighten it out, they MUST ship it back right away because that's what LEGO told them to do.

So I'm hoping to get somebody at LEGO to contact FedEX soon enough to send it back to me before it's on the truck back to the factory.

GRRRRRR

OK, another half hour (total today) and hopefully it really is resolved, but wow, what a painful experience. The customer service rep talked to FedEX and they won't send it all the way back to Lego, they'll send it back out on the truck again tomorrow. We'll see.

EDIT: It did come the next day, the warehouse it returned to was the FedEx warehouse not the Lego warehouse, and that was so they could slap a new lable over the old one. One day later was fine, it still arrived in plenty of time for Christmas. Thanks Lego Customer Support and FedEx. It took more effort than it should have, but the results were worth it. I'm a happy customer! Still? Again?

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So I ordered a Christmas present from LEGO Education last week, and when the invoice came it showed the wrong shipping address. Just a little thing - they left off the street address!

Panic immediately ensued, but they were closed over the weekend, so today I'm trying to get it sorted out. Waiting on hold always seems to take forever, but objectively 14 minutes to reach my first human isn't bad, especially on a Monday a couple of weeks before Christmas.

I got a CS rep with excellent English, polite and helpful, and he's contacting FedEX and keeping me on hold so he can report the result.

...

Annnnnnd - we're good! Total wait a bit under 1/2 hour from dialing to resolved, and I have a confirmation number from FedEX. I talked to one person, who saw it through to the end instead of bouncing me from person to person. I keep my original delivery date.

One parting thought, in case reputation management brings this post to the attention of Lego Education: This whole thing could have been prevented if you had a better order input screen!

As it was, I had to enter my shipping address 3 times, with the interface presenting various mangled versions for me to reject each time. Suggesting corrections is great for adding zip+4, or for fixing a typo, but having the algorithm chop up and re-assemble the user entered address is just not cool. I know my address, and if you remove the street address you obviously don't. A plain multiline textbox is superior to a field based form that has the last word on changes. And having the address on the invoice not match the final address displayed really isn't forgivable in this day and age. We got address input problems solved in the 1990s, finding one today is scandalous.

And in case you don't think this is important, let me remind you that people remember bad experiences better than good ones, and they remember the bad experiences their friends talk about. If ordering your product produced worry or anxiety, or took even half an hour extra time during a busy season, it's less attractive in future years and to friends. It also cost you 1/2 hour of time on your 800 number, and 15 minutes of customer service rep salary.

Yeah, you had great customer service so the net message is that I'm a happy customer, but fixing your input form is still good for your business!

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Today I'd like to extend a very sarcastic thank you to the people who made President Trump possible. I don't mean Hillary herself, she's just a slippery career politician doing what we expected her to do. I even voted for her, in the end. I mean the people who committed wholesale assault on democracy - the DNC, the Super Delegates, and everyone else who shuffled Sanders out of the way because Clinton was "more electable". Including the low-life who passed her advanced warning on the primary debate questions.

That wasn't for you to decide. Democracy means letting the people decide.

OK, we don't have a pure democracy, and super delegates are still something of a democracy, but in this millennium, there is no reason we can't have one person one vote. Maybe we aren't going to get the electoral college changed, but we certainly can change the primary process. You want me to buy into your high ideals? Then stop the hypocrisy.

I just read an excellent article on CNN. Normally I don't bother with CNN's opinion pieces, I don’t have a high opinion of them, but I was bored at lunch and gave this one a shot. I'm glad I did. The guy is a bit whiny, but given how crappy this election was, I can't really blame him. Overall, I love what he has to say, I agree with most of it. Slog through it if you can, even if you aren’t a Sanders fan.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/09/opinions/democratic-party-burn-tasini/index.html

Take it to heart, DNC, because this is why you got no money from me this year, and won't get any until you demonstrate a fundamental change in your attitude. You are not better than the American People, you are not entitled to choose for them. Your job is to be an impartial adjudicator of the primary process. Yes, you get to call the final decision, but you must not favor one candidate over another no matter how much you like her.

I’m not happy Trump won, but the silver lining is maybe I’ll get my party back. And honestly, he’s off to a decent start. I hadn’t expected him to be courteous to Obama and Clinton, I’m pleased to be wrong about that. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, but he’s already exceeding my (admittedly very low) expectations.

Oh, and I suppose this should be a separate post, but I’d like to go off on a tangent. An article linked from the sidebar of the one I referenced above asked “What does Clinton’s loss say about women in politics”, and the answer is a resounding NOTHING. This wasn’t about her gender, as much as she (or perhaps more fairly her supporters) tried to make it so. I voted for her with about as much enthusiasm as I’d have had for unclogging a toilet with my bare hands, but I’d have gladly voted for Elizabeth Warren, or even Christine Todd Whitman if either of them had been in the race. I can’t think of a foreign world leader I admire more than Angela Merkel. I’m fine with a woman in the white house, just not this one.

EDIT: Changed "foreign leader" to "world leader". I'd rather have Obama than Trump (at least with what I know so far), but I'd rather have Merkel than Obama.

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A product I used to buy recently tried to justify why they use GMO ingredients, and the result was that I decided not to buy more. Maybe I will in the future, it's not "Oh, I can never eat this again" it's more "This is much less desirable than before".

It got me thinking about why I oppose GMO food, because I like to explore the logic behind my decisions.

I don't like GMO food because there is no consistent labeling requirement. I don't object to GMO on general principle, everything we grow for consumption has genes and they are constantly changing with evolution. The problem is GMO allows the introduction of chemicals we (the consumer) have no idea we are getting, and that violates my right to know and choose what I'm buying. It's saying companies selling a product have a "right" to trick consumers, and that's wrong.

We wouldn't let a company list only "contains some preservative" on a nutrition panel without saying exactly what preservative it is, or even worse, add it without putting it on the label. And yet that's what current GMO labeling requirements allow. GMO causes plants to produce chemicals (usually proteins) they normally wouldn't, so a GMO is adding chemicals to our food without adding them to the label, a deception and a violation of our trust. And politicians, by failing to require labeling, are complicit in this deception.

Every modification (not just every modified organism, but the modification itself, because a single organism can have one or more of a number of possible modifications) should be uniquely identified, tested for safety, and required on the label when presented to consumers. And restaurants should be required to make this available to patrons on request.

When we reach this point, I will gladly welcome (some) GMO foods into my diet, but until then I have a strong preference for foods explicitly labeled as GMO free.

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I just learned that Sanders endorsed Clinton, and I'm bitterly disappointed. The primary process screwed the voters because the Super Delegates tried to intimidate Sanders out of the primary early to help their favored candidate, so a lot of voters were deceived about his chances, and voted for (or gave money to) Clinton.

Why do we even have Super Delegates? It is a crime against democracy to give these political insiders more influence than everyday Americans. They have an unfair advantage and they used it to cheat The People.

But it's not too late to make good. Super Delegates, you can atone for your past mistakes by voting for Bernie now. Even now he can drub Trump, the same can't be said for Clinton.

And honestly, I'm so furious at you smug political insiders that I'm half tempted to vote for Trump just to spite you. I think he'd be a terrible president, but then, I think Clinton would be a terrible president too, and it would only be 4 years of suffering to teach you a valuable lesson. I know that for you career politicians 4 years is an eternity, but for citizens, it's not that long, I can wait.

Why can't she drub Trump? Because she's just another Washington insider, and we're sick of the spoiled, entitled politicians pillaging this country for their personal gain. She pulled strings to get away with a crime that would have ruined the lives of ordinary Americans, just ask the selfless hero Ed Snowden, a whistle blower who furthered the cause of democracy by alerting the American people to the illegal activities our government was engaging in. Your justification for driving him into exile in Russia was the sanctity of classified information, which must be protected in principle even if it allows crimes against the American People. So stop your hypocrisy, give her the same treatment you gave him. I don't even care about the server, I care that she squirmed out of accountability for it.

And in the mean time, give us Sanders.

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This is a rant, its purpose it to make me feel better, though I do try to be at least wryly amusing in an obnoxious snide way. If you don't feel like listening to a rant, I suggest you find another post. We also have "being hit over the head" lessons if that's more your style.


I am so frustrated with Lync 20913/ Skype for Business 2015 right now I could throw things. It started with a "simple" phone call. But I had to navigate an automated call center, so I needed a touchpad interface.

The crappy new UI blasts this huge not-resizeable window on my screen (huge is fine, but let me resize it) and wastes nearly the entire space with a picture of a phone with a touchpad that doesn't work.

Add to the confusion of the new UI is the arbitrary switch from buttons that looked like buttons to this flat style button that you can't really tell what is a button and what isn't. I guess it might make sense for mobile where screen rendering of a button costs too much, but I'm not on a mobile device, I'm on a desktop. I have plenty of power, and I'd like to productively use it to make my buttons look like buttons so I know where I can click without having to memorize it. Apple and Android are cleaning your clocks in the Mobile arena, why would you give up one of the core advantages desktop systems have? What genius came up with "Hey, let's take the UI from our least successful venture and splatter it over our most successful venture!"? And how did it get past internal review? Aren't enough people already abandoning Desktops, did you have to make them even less compelling to accelerate the consumer move away from market segments you dominate?

There are only a few things I want to do when I'm on a call with somebody - use the touchpad, change the audio devices, and bring up the contact card. Don't waste my visual space with a huge picture of a phone that doesn't work. It may be ironically apropriate for your ill designed product, but it's tremendously annoying. Give me big buttons (real buttons, not flat spaces that may or may not be buttons) that take me to those 3 functions.

So I thought this might be valuable feedback for Microsoft, since it had me, as a customer, annoyed enough to voice my displeasure with the product to the guy who makes our telecom decisions. So I clicked the little "Give Feedback" menu item (what a great idea, make it easy to get feedback from your customers!)

Ha! It doesn't work!

It gives me some message about not having my default browser set up. Huh, it was set as of a few days ago, what happened? I'd better go set it. So I open my "Set Default Programs" and sure enough, my browser is set, it's just a another bug in Lync, breaking their "give feedback", but of course they have no way to find this out because nobody can give them feedback.

But that's not the extent of my resources, I am Master of Google (well, Duck Duck Go, actually, but close enough) and I will find the feedback page online!

No, no I won't. The search turned up plenty of hits, but it's all people complaining that it's broken or for the lucky few who get it to work, asking why it just takes them to a forum without any clear place to actually give feedback.

Hey Microsoft, there's this new concept called a "sticky thread" where you can give people who have put in enough effort to find your forum instructions for how to give you their valuable feedback so you don't have to waste your moderators' minutes and hours writing snarky comments about how stuff is posted in the wrong place. It's all the rage these days, you should check out this new "social media" thing to see how much people like it and dislike forums without it. I know learning from others isn't really your style, but maybe you wouldn't be getting trounced by pretty much every other company you compete with if you gave it a try.

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Current Location: at work
Current Mood: annoyed, frustrated

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So I waited for 9.1 to give them a chance to work out the bugs, but apparently that wasn't enough.

The most in-my-face annoyance is auto-correct. I turned it off because it sucked, when I upgrade I don't want you to ignore my explicitly stated preference and start using it again.

And the "search settings" doesn't show it when I search on "auto", you broke Search too? Losers.

So I finally find the setting, because I remember etting it before, and sure enough I have it set to "off" but you're just ignoring it and autocorrecting anyway.

I wouldn't mind so much if it actually worked, but when I have to spend more time editing my typing to undo the craptastic guesses autocorect made than I spent typing in the first place, it really makes me wish my company went with Android.

If that's as good as tablets get, I can do without them, thanks anyway.

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Apistan out today, a day or so short of the 8 week max. Beautiful day, warm with a bit of sun. The bees were out looking for some last minute nectar and pollen, and they hardly noticed when I opened up the hive and withdrew the strips.

I'm going into the winter with just one hive this year, it has 3 deep supers with the top and bottom about 1/2 full each and the middle quite full and heavy. The mouse excluders seem to be working well, with no sign of chewing around the edges. I like the metal plate with 1/8" holes even if it doesn't insulate as well as the wooden strips. The mice don't seem to even try.

The individual bees look large and with well formed wings and legs, no sign of mites at all.

Recording this, however, was a pain, LiveJournal seems to have messed with secure login and I had a hard time finding the right URL. LJ, I will quit your service before I log in over an unencrypted connection, please don't make it hard to find the encrypted login. Oh, and my spell checker seems to be on the fritz too. Oh well.

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Wow, 2 disturbing calls in the span of an hour.

First some solar company wants to sell me solar panels, and when I tell him how my house is in the shade, he starts telling me how he's looking at an areal photo of my house and how I have enough sun for solar panels, and starts asking me about my finances. Hellooooo, if you want my business, coming across as a stalker isn't the best way. Please don't spy on me any more, creepy person.

I finally get that guy off the phone and somebody with a voice that doesn't sound quite human tells me her name is "Nancy" and wants to know if I want to save unborn babies. With this totally smooth voice, like she's handing out samples in a supermarket and is asking if I'd like an icecream. Save unborn babies? Like keep a barrel of them in my cellar? I'm going to have nightmares for months. Please don't call me, creepy person.

Bad luck comes in 3s, if that phone rings again I'm going to pull a pillow over my head and wait for it to stop.

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