Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Gremlins And Goblins and Rats, Oh My!

How stupid can I be? How disoriented? Have I been lost in a fog for years? (Yes.) The other day I clicked on Yahoo Mail’s “Remember username” checkbox just to see what would happen. I’d tried checking it long ago, any number of times, but it never produced any effect. Whenever I came back to Yahoo in another session, I wasn’t signed in any more. But now I am! Finally, Yahoo Mail has chosen to follow directions, to do what it claimed it would do! How did this terrible thing happen?

Now I’m trying to remember when was the last time I tried this? Was it back just before I switched from Win95 to Win98 or was it further back? Maybe I haven’t tried it in years. Is it caused by new Yahoo programmers? Maybe they’re like the head engineers at the major automotive companies. I’ve always been convinced that every time new head engineers take over, they just change some things in car designs to “put their own stamp on it”, to show they’ve taken charge, not because the feature needed changing.

Take this example. On my old Sable, the windshield wiper is controlled by twisting the turn-signal bar forward for slow or fast continuous wipes and back toward me for the incremental “periodic” settings. This makes sense to me. But does it seem logical only because that’s what I’m used to? Some Ford/Mercury engineer apparently decided so. When I drive my sister’s Ford Explorer or my mother’s Mercury Grand Marquis, each is different, changed by some egotistical engineer who wanted to show how stupid the guy before him had been. It makes NO SENSE to this driver why in a sudden hard rain one would want to have to make the clicks through ALL the periodic settings to get to the required continuous settings of Slow or Fast, but that’s how one reigning Ford Engineer wanted things to be. I think he just wanted it his way, not the right way or the convenient way. I think he failed to consider driver convenience entirely and that scared underlings on his team and indifferent CEO’s above him let him get away with it. What do CEO’s know about windshield wipers, they’re chauffeured! Suddenly this lapse of judgment was embedded permanently in millions of cars and would remain for years to come.

But what about Yahoo? Which was it, I wonder? Did the gremlin that lives in my computer Get Me Confused or was it some mistake that Yahoo made? Maybe Yahoo made a mistake recently and hired somebody fresh out of college who wasn’t a team player and fixed my glitch before anybody could tell him not to mess up their messed-up System. There’s always somebody who resists useful changes at all costs while leaving the really useless changes in place. I really shouldn’t have talked about it out loud, I suppose. If word gets out, either my gremlin or the goblins who write the programming may be unhappy. Nobody likes a complainer. Or a rat. Don’t worry, I’m used to it.

Gremlins and goblins and rats, oh my!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "As a general rule, people, even the wicked, are much more naive and simple-hearted than we suppose. And we ourselves are, too." -- Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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