There’s a reason I avoid news of all flavors. The WTF-per-minute count gets too high for the tattered remnants of my sanity. I deal with enough WTF from work: I don’t need more in my life (for those who are wondering – the true measure of software quality is the number of WTFs per minute, as shown here).
Part of what I’m doing at work involves testing a new user interface for a partner. Said interface was delivered with the claim that it was almost ready to be taken live and could we evaluate it to see if any of our customers would prefer it over the old interface. Let’s just say that the idea this thing was nearly ready was a major WTF in itself, and it took a remarkably short amount of testing on our part before the partner was suddenly claiming we were effectively beta testing. Honestly, the backpedaling was enough to raise its own dust cloud.
I am somewhat relieved that the software my employer produces is at least better thought through than that. We try to use icons that are more or less meaningful (and let’s face it, some concepts aren’t that easy to get across in an icon) and to have appropriate labels as well. We also don’t even pretend to be mobile-friendly because anyone who’s insane enough to enter payroll on a mobile deserves what they suffer.
Payroll is not simple. Especially not when the rules you’ve got to comply with to handle payroll are the kind of horrifying convoluted mess that gives anyone a headache (doubt me? If you’re in the US, take the time to actually read the instructions on your W-2 or 1099 when you get them. And remember that these are the simple forms).
And yes, governments of all stripes generate WTFs at a rate that could power a small city.
It irritates me, because who the hell would accept any of this in fiction? Hell, there are things I’ve seen in code that I could never include in fiction. Nobody would believe finding a custom function to calculate standard deviation that was actually a random number generator. (That was an interesting WTF… Especially since it was in software that was supposed to be used for standardized tests). And that’s before you consider the things that can be found in comments (I’ll admit to not having located the exact line of code that summons the Great Old Ones, but I know it’s there. I think it inserts itself once the code gets complicated enough. Possibly the compiler inserts it).
Hell, 2020 wouldn’t pass muster in fiction – at least if we hadn’t lived it. I’m quite certain that in a few hundred years time, most of this year is going to be dismissed as the work of conspiracy theorists or insanity or something because “millions of people couldn’t possibly be that stupid”.
Yeah, right. In my experience, there is no lower limit to stupidity. Every time I start to think that one might have been located, someone goes and blows right through it. Usually someone who is otherwise intelligent, too – because the stupidity an intelligent person can produce is far, far more… interesting than the stupidity that comes from a stupid person. Confirmation blindness and hubris thy downfall shall bring.
On that happy note, have a picture of Midnight and Westley. I’d offer a new photo, but both boys are too busy chasing empty loo rolls around the house. Cheapest cat toy ever.