Sunday, September 10, 2017

eternal downscroll and the downpage lacuna

I pull down the page, and pause. Pull down the page and pause.
While the content loads.
While the content loads,
while the page finds yet more page
below itself.

The tendons that link my finger to my wrist
slide through my carpal like elastic in a hood
puppet string my radius and ulna
to the very elbow

The muscles that balance my arm in quiet tension
Bunched over the bicep, taut across the tricep
Engaged, as my yoga teacher would say
to my ragged shoulder

All of these are begging me to stop,
and the neck too.

I pull down the page.
The scroll-bar catches, and lets go
There is more beyond the more
And more after.

My resource investigator brain
My hunter gatherer excitement

The blank page

Information transmits
spaced by whitepage lacunae

A tap, a click
a pause in the information flow
and then the delicious down-arrow saccade flutter
of information, arriving.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

the spam filter falls out of sync with online registration requirements

Today's message is brought to you by the colour grey and the letters f, m and s,

Dear [Redacted]

I'm assuming what I am responding to is an automated marketing email that gets sent when someone has started the process of looking at a report but not registered. So I'm not especially expecting a response. However, I do in this circumstance have a thing to say, so I'm going to say it, even though I might be howling into the empty void of a shared inbox in an abandoned marketing department (though the individual name was a nice touch, [Redacted]).

Straightforwardly, I AM interested in looking at your reports. I was slightly disappointed to discover that I have to register my details to do so, but understand that information is often transactional; and be reassured that, though my password lists now run to eight pages, like most adults working in the sector I've grown hardened to this. So here I am, trying to register on your website right now, but it's not going well. Not because I'm unwilling to register (although I am, a little - if's cheeky to call something free when the cost is actually registration and consent to be marketed to) but because though I've certainly started the registration process, I really can't complete it.

The problem occurring is that your verification code emails aren't getting through our spam filters. Yes, yes, yes. I know. Check my spam folder. But in common with many large organisations nowadays, we don't have "spam folders" as such to check (well, I do, but let's leave that aside for now, your verification email won't be in it). Instead, emails considered to be potentially spam are quarantined at server and sent on at midnight for me to review and release if non-suspicious the following morning. It stops about half my spam and quarantines about the same amount of legitimate mail, which is annoying enough that I've put in a service call about it, but tolerable enough that when I was told there was nothing that could be done I accepted it, shrugged and carried on.

But it's just starting to quarantine verification emails, sometimes, now. You're the second site it's done it for. I did a thing for the last site, but for you, I've just let it sit for now. I'll come back to the problem tomorrow. 

If your verification links don't expire, I can just click it tomorrow morning. That would be pretty poor security practice though, and I would expect better of you, [Redacted], even though this bit of your service is barely more than an email-harvest to allow access to faully anonymised content. There's no help available, either specific to registration and log-on, or generally on the site, so any solution would need to be mine, and mine alone. I did, as you always do, that quick time cost vs. information benefit calculation and decided to shelve fixing it until tomorrow and then decide if I wanted to activate a workaround.

Then your email plopped into my inbox, offering to help me realise how many reports you had and how valuable they were, and how I really should register. Trying to win my heart, this with superlatives and oily with salestalk. I only say this, [Redacted] because you are a Marketing Manager, and salestalk is what you do. I mean no criticim. But you see, the trouble is, this spam thing I'm using, it's not something odd or boutique. It's one of the major, major solutions in use in big organisations. What I'm saying, [Redacted], is that it won't just be me. It's going to be lots of people, and this mail is going to go to all those people.

So please, check your stats. Revisit your registration story. And for heaven's sake, rein in or differentiate the follow-up emails. The user isn't always saying f*** this. Sometimes they are saying this is f***ed.


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