At the End of the Day

Not Exclusive: Google employs a great many very odd people
Today I tried (several times) to create and use a new gmail circle. All I wanted to do was communicate a change of telephone number to close personal friends.
Sadly, I’ve just had the hip-hop-happening Google Contacts preview thrust upon me. I am here to tell you that it makes Windows8 seem like Dick & Jane Learn to Breathe by comparison.

What Google mail’s new Contacts App will do:

Nope. Sorry. Nothing to report on that – beyond raise your bp to 197/123, and waste hours of what restricted lifetime is left to you.
But wait a minute, I tell a lie….and it is important in my line of work to be fair both sides, even if one of them believes in blazing chariots full of heavenly virgins, and the other clings to the bonkers idea of trickle-down wealth.
There is something rather novel Google’s Contacts App will do: that is, it will say ‘get help to find friends for your new circle’….then take you to a page showing you people who are already in the new circle. When you drag a person into the circle anyway, it will say, ‘This person is already in your circle’. Do that twice and it will say ‘All the people on this page are already in your circles!’
That screamer, doncha love it? ‘Haha – we gotcha again – Yo!’

What Google mail’s new Contacts App will not do under any circumstances unless you make explicit bomb threats using known CIA warning codes:

1. Work, do something useful, or cure your conviction that tecchies are recruited from the Emotionally Disturbed Space
2. Enable one to simply write the Circle title in the ‘bcc’ box
3. Save the ticked contacts to your circle by simply going through ‘all contacts’
4. Allow you to bcc the Circle rather than ‘to’ it (see earlier for further info on this one)
5. Let me put myself in the ‘From’ box
6. Avoid telling me in a superior fashion that I haven’t filled in the ‘From’ box
6. Represent a scintilla of improvement on the old system which worked well enough anyway.

Lest we forget, Gmail was the one that introduced invisible cc and bcc boxes seven years ago. I remember thinking I’d wandered into a Spot the Ball symposium by mistake. Where had they gone, I mused? Had they been hoovered up into some virtual, diabolic vacuum cleaner along with the reverse last action box? Only by idly hovering around with the mouse after a few hours spent in the Chateau D’If (aka, user forums) did I by pure accident find the Ball in a light-grey flysh*t typeface on the far right of the address box…which is of course where all we ageing emailers not yet into Mind Texting always go to write stuff, because this is a kibbutz OK, and we all write from left to right, oy veh.

Meanwhile, explorers from around the world continue to search for the Long Lost ‘reverse last function and thus evade loss of entire email’ facility of legend. My own view is that it’s on a par with the Loch Ness Monster in terms of credibility, but I’d love someone to prove me wrong. Even better, I’d be their friend for life if they would just tell me how to find it.
There is a serious point to this diatribe, and it does not involve Irritable Ancient Male Syndrome. The Oxbridge/BBC test tells me I have an IQ of 134, so if I struggle with this crap (having been a very early adopter of New Media) then the chances are it’s the software designers, not me. I’m very happy for Silicone Breasts Inc to keep on using the binary-damaged bananas among us to have ideas, but we need some new rules here:
1. The tecchies must stay in the attic at all times, and the lock combination be changed every six hours because people like these folks cracked the Enigma code machine and they are a danger to themselves and others
2. The idea when hatched must be sent to those who have real Marketing experience as opposed to a 1 year degree from Harvard.
3. The blokes in Marketing will use a simple piece of paper with these headings only:

* Does the current product need any ‘improvement’?
* How many complaints have we had about the product this decade?
* If and only if the answers above are Yes and Lots should you proceed to read the idea in front of you
* Having read it, please now translate the design into English, as most consumers have yet to master the numerical dialect of Alpha Centauri 5598/2M/ZV (recurring).

Shortly after I had in desperation sent the email out with people’s names in it for all to see, a message appeared on the panel above the inbox to say that my preferences had been saved. I have no idea what preferences Gmail was on about, but if they were sexual then all I can say is I owe whoever managed this feat a vote of thanks.

Yesterday at The Slog: The Paedofile gets fatter, but the Truth is wasting away

23 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. How many complaints have we had about the product this decade?
    I’m sure you must have tried to complain about things before? You are forbidden to complain.
    These folk don’t do complaints, they shield themselves from such unpleasantness so, the answer to this question will always be zero.


  2. Hallo mein kleine Honigbienchen.

    1) To relieve frustrations I suggest you try GOOGLESPEAK and when prompted to talk empty all the above verbal bile into your question at which point the answer ” Language!” or ” I ll pretend I didn t hear that !” will respond.

    2) I also write from left to right so can i join your kibbutz?


  3. Drop Google and Microsoft, both spy on you all of the time, along with wordpress!
    Use better email from European based companies who do not interact with American companies at all.
    There are lots of options and most are very good indeed.
    As you have a good smattering of German I suggest you consider GMX. (Also available in English) There are many other more secure email companies, but the more secure the more restrictive they get.
    And finally as stated before, dual boot your system with Windows and Linux, keep Windows as you may require to run some software that just will not run on Linux, but otherwise use Linux, it is far far far superior.
    Finally for online forums use a crap email address that you never use………job done.



    half way down the page:

    3. Engineer knows best — The engineering culture at Google puts the customer in the hands of the engineer, who may not understand the customer one whit. It is expected that engineers know best and should be telling the market what it wants rather than responding to the market. Product Managers are bullied by this engineering dominance and have to go along or move along. I had a VP of Engineering tell me exactly this: “Don’t listen to what the customers want. Figure out what they should want and tell them.” This VP rejected any idea if he suspected you arrived at it by talking with customers. Telling the customer what they want may work if you are a visionary like Steve Jobs, but there are no Jobsian visionaries in engineering at Google.


  5. RAW
    ‘who do not interact with American companies at all.’ Sorry mate, but that’s the problem….I have a Terra (German) pad that simply isn’t recognised by the gangsters. It’s useless.


  6. Jeremy
    We’ve had this discussion about a million times. I don’t do ‘I’m alright Jack’. Macs are very expensive, and pcs outsell them 20 to 1. If Microsoft is a virus, then let’s get Microsoft, not leave ordinary people doomed to put up with it.
    I don’ to ‘stubborn’ either: I do ‘this is ridiculous, let’s change it’.


  7. John H
    Thank you for some sanity. This is the one point I’m making, and twas ever this – shoot the tecchies, and all will be well.
    The first 20 years of hifi were like this…then the Japanese learned marketing and thrashed everyone else. Until that happens to Microsoft, they will always be there. We have to put Big M out of business…not slink off to some obscure outfit in bloody Dusseldorf.
    I sometimes really do feel that writing this blog is a complete waste of a life.


  8. Jeremy Stocks,
    Thanks for the link to Tutanota, very interesting and very easy to use, a bit clunky at present but is very promising.
    Looks like they are German not Swiss.

    The Linux installation is basically, when your Windows system is taken down, you have a way of recovering your situation rapidly. You can use a live version if you wish, which you do not install (just keep on a usb key) and means you can still use your pc/laptop without being off line for days. I also recommend you consider creating an image of your hard disk on a regular basis, very easy to do and to then recover your system without having to pay oddjob to do it for you. Lots of companies offer free software for this, see
    I now promise not to mention this subject again!


  9. I’ve said it before. There is a dearth of capable programmers. The grey-haired brigade is approaching retirement and management are happy when young contractors, who sit around for eight hours a day playing on their iThings for half of that, produce software after six months which half way works. You’re right. The quality (functionality, user-friendliness) of modern software is in free fall.


  10. If one uses a service for which one does not pay, one shall always be a victim of that service’s supplier. ‘t was ever thus.


  11. john bud – you misunderstood me completely – where did I say buy a Mac?

    As RAW says above, you download Ubuntu onto a CD/DVD and boot it up into your PC. It boots itself up on its own and you can try it out for a while as what is known as a bootdisk. If you like it you can divide off a section of your hard disk to Ubuntu whilst STILL KEEPING Microsoft on the other partition. You get to keep Microsoft also – no deleting your original stuff.

    In my case, for example, I downloaded a huge load of free Adobe Creative Suite 2 software Photoshop/Illustrator/Indesign which I want to learn using Futurelearn free courses (I think they are Open university I may be wrong). So still keep my original MS partition no problem.

    I stay 100% Ubuntu for everything – my email is Mozilla Thunderbird and browser Google Chrome – both do very well. all entirely free. I also teach myself Java programming using free Eclipse but that’s another thing. Office software? OpenOffice free of course. i don’t pay a bean and never get any hacking problems.

    for those tired of NSA snooping check out this link:

    Good luck John!


  12. I’ve got a few grey hairs appearing in awkward places also. I learned FORTRAN using Jackson Structured Programming. along swept “Object Oriented maaaaaan” software in the 90s and after, promising you didn’t need to worry about what was going on under the hood. What they never told us was that not only was the software replaceable, but also the PROGRAMMER!


  13. Sorry John, I was just having a chuckle.
    It’s Debian based command line for installing/managing applications.
    No offence meant, I just couldn’t resist it ;-)

    As you were ;-)


  14. It should seem so obvious to everyone by now: the software did exactly what it was designed to do. It caused confusion, raised ire and brought about exasperation. This was no flaw. The programmers designed what they were told to design and they did it very well. Surely, this is understood by most of you. Google is evil. Look no further than “The Google Book” by Vickers for clarification; the true origin of the “Google” name.


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