I Can Kill Any Computer

I’ve been fighting the Pearson royalty payment system for about 4 months now. It seems every time I touch it I break something or other about it, and I’m sure it really only happens to me. This time I changed my address and that didn’t work. So then I tried to setup direct deposit of my checks and that didn’t work because they didn’t recognize my bank (which is a massive bank). A few weeks later they finally recognized my bank, so I setup direct deposit and then I have been in pending status for about 2 weeks. Checking in today I was told that, you’ll love this, they don’t know why they can’t see my new settings. I’m apparently in some kind of strange royalty payment purgatory and the only way out is to fax them paper versions of the same requests so they can use their other system to update my record.

Yes, to get paid by Pearson, I have to fax two pieces of paper to the royalty department so that they can look in the royalty department database and fix the record I can see on their website but that they can’t see.

This apparently only happens to me, and it’s fairly consistent. You want to find out if your software works well? Have me try to use it. I tried out Blogo for about two minutes and ran into errors all over the place. Images not being put in the right spot, bold text not working, just loads of little things that only I encountered doing crazy things like adding images and making stuff bold. They fixed them up and I’m still using it now. It’s actually really nice. I’m just cursed with a weird devil hand that drives software insane is all.

Google is another one that has been fighting me all week. I am apparently the only person who cannot use Kubernetes. Nearly everything I try ends in disaster. Not a single getting started guide has worked, not even on their GKE platform. Firewalls don’t work. Compute nodes don’t work. My account does weird things here and there. No idea what I could be doing wrong, and I follow along with 4 of their documents with the same results. Running Kubernetes myself is the same results. Doesn’t run here. Doesn’t run there. Needs this. Needs that. Needs docker to build dockers that have dockers that build Kubernetes that only runs in dockers on core OS from boot to docker that is a container in a container that has OS X running Kubernetes with….

Yep, I’m just cursed to trigger nearly every bug you have. You changed an option? That’s the one I’ll run. You got a race condition that only happens in one version of Vagrant and one version of Linux? That’s the one I’ll try first. And I’m not being weird when I make these choices since most of the time I’m trying to write a book so I stay fairly vanilla. I just seem to trigger bugs along the way is all.

Another time my bank couldn’t connect my business credit card to my business bank account. I’d asked them repeatedly for months to do this with no success. This was mostly over their dumb internal email thing, but finally calling them on the phone led to a 40 minute call center threesome with me and two other people who then had to bring in a fourth guy who worked in “databases”. For some reason, I just had one wrong bit set in one wrong place and there was no explanation. I just didn’t have it, and it was a major deal to fix my account. But why? “No idea sir, you just had the wrong setting.”

That devil hand at work again. Computers crash on me. Every Mac I’ve owned has tanked in the first week and needed repairs or replacing. Hard drives freeze up. It happens so often friends don’t believe me. There’s no way anyone has those problems. I do. All the time.

I’ve also found that if I tell people about these bugs they tend to lose it, even if I’m nice about it. I constantly have to double login at Paypal. I complained about it and holy fucking jeebus did those dudes lose their shit. Assholes from eBay emailed me like they were going to kick my ass because I pointed out the fucking obvious that making someone log in twice to a financial website means customers can be phished on the first login. After random eBay assholes harass me I just stopped being nice. I went from saying Paypal is broken to saying they’re fucking terrible programmers. I mean fuck, if I’ve been using Paypal for years and I’m still having to log in twice every time then it’s not me it’s you jackasses. Fix your shit. Nobody else with authentication has this problem but fucking Paypal.

Oh, and I don’t fucking work for you. I’m not going to waste 15-30 minutes navigating your bullshit bug tracker, filling out every random Jira/Bugzilla/Confluence/AgileXPHardon12000 tracking data point just so you can ignore me. You fill out the damn ticket and ask me if it’s right. That’s what I do. I don’t make other people fill out bug reports. That’s just rude.

I’m convinced that this is what made me good at writing software. I bring computational disaster upon myself so frequently that I just assume everything I touch is tainted and write software that protects against it as best I can. I’m like the coder from Salusa Secondus who had no idea things weren’t supposed to be this broken and ended up just making things solid to avoid it. It is fun at times, but after two decades of constantly have to anticipate I’m getting tired of it.

If you want to find out how good your software is get me to use it. I’ve brought systems to their knees just casually clicking around. When that doesn’t work I do “crazy” things like, change my photo, or update my DNS records. Things you totally didn’t anticipate someone doing? Yup, I’ll end up doing it and then you’ll sigh and tell me nobody does that and I’ll just shrug and move on to the next product until one stops crapping out on me.

P.S. Blogo still fucks up bold. Sigh.