unixronin: Galen the technomage, from Babylon 5: Crusade (Default)

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June 1st, 2011

unixronin: Lion facepalm (Facepalm)
Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 08:58 am

I am now officially amused at our trash collection service (Waste Management Inc).

You see... our weekly trash pickup is on Tuesdays.  Many holidays do not affect this, but very occasionally, some do.  So, whenever there is a holiday that might affect the schedule of our trash pickup, but isn't actually going to, Waste Management calls us to let us know that our trash pickup will not be delayed.

However, if our trash pickup IS going to be delayed ... they don't call us.  (Yes, you can see this coming, can't you?)  They also don't call us in the event of a holiday that does not have the potential to affect our trash pickup.  And, of course, they don't call us when there's no holiday to affect the schedule.

So, basically, if we get a call from Waste Management, we know that our trash pickup is going to be on the normal schedule and they didn't need to call us.  On the other hand, if they DON'T call us, they we know that either our trash delivery is going to be on normal schedule, or it isn't.  In other words, not getting the call conveys no reliable new information, while getting the call provides no useful new information.

Somebody really didn't think this through....

unixronin: Lion facepalm (Facepalm)
Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 09:51 am

Yeah, it's just a fail-y day today.

If you go to sign up for GTE Federal Credit Union online, you will find that the first thing it does is have you create a site login.  Then it goes on to the actual application form.  Currently, you can't get past the first page, because (here comes fail #1) the "Job Title" field is a text field, but the page verification logic thinks it's a drop-down list, and will reject the page forever because you haven't selected a job title from the drop-down list.  Which you can't, because it doesn't exist.

So, suppose you think they'll surely notice an error like that and fix it soon, and you decide to come back in a couple of days and try it again.  Well, the next thing you discover is that when you come back, you now need to create a new login identity.  Because, even though the site failed and wouldn't let you complete the application, it saved your login data.  So the login identity you created has been consumed (fail #2).¹

"Well," you figure, "maybe I can log in with that ID and resume or retry my application."  Nope. That produces a site error.  In fact, customer service confirms that there is no way to log in with that identity and resume or restart your application.  (Fail #3.)  But the identity will expire after ... some time.  They don't know how long.

I really wonder sometimes at the stupidities committed by supposedly professional web application designers.  If online shopping worked this badly, online vendors would charge your credit card before determining whether the item you wanted was actually in stock or even available.

[1]  A malicious individual could probably figure out a way to use this as a denial of service, by robotically completing just that first page with throwaway data and consuming all available user identities, since nothing on the first page except for the username is verified to be valid or unique.  Fail #4.