Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Workaround

I work for state government.  This means that when you have a problem, no one will actually let you take the steps necessary to solve the problem.  They will only tell you how to work around the problem.  I encountered this recently when I called attention to a photography issue with one of the people involved in directing our policies.  I raised a philosophical question and got a workaround in response.  (However, since I am not generally satisfied with glib answers, I responded and got a half-hearted assurance that the issue is something we really should discuss in more detail.  If nothing else, I am excellent at starting arguments!)

I thought that out in the real world, people actually attempted to solve problems instead of just working around them.  But I was amused to find not one,but two, examples of the workaround in my inbox this morning.

Google's new tab-based system for their email is...mildly annoying.  Some people find it helpful, but I don't have hundreds of emails to sort through on a daily basis.  Therefore, it's more trouble than it's worth for me to have to sort through the tabs to see what's new in my inbox.  I would probably appreciate it more if I could make the tabs, rename them, and sort accordingly, but it's not a very customizable system.  Basically, Google does an auto-sort of things it thinks are personal, things it thinks are related to social media (G+, Facebook, YouTube, Blogger, etc) and things it thinks are non-spam promotional emails.  This would probably be more useful for me if I didn't take the coupons/discounts/deals bloggers advice and create a separate email account for all that crap.

This morning, however, the two emails were sent to ask me to put their emails into the primary (personal) tab in gmail.  Both are companies who were auto-sorted into the Promotions tab.  Well, that was fun, Google, but they've found the workaround to being shuffled off to the Ignore Me folder!

I wonder what the thinking behind the promotions tab was, anyway.  Companies want to show up on the front page, no matter what the circumstances are.  I also wonder if companies are pulling advertising in protest of being sidelined in their email marketing.  I look forward to Google next pulling the plug on Blogger, because it seems that they're trying to rid themselves of people who aren't paying them for something or another.  Irritating customers seems to be their current business model.

I'm also about halfway through Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, in which Google has a strong background role.  This may be affecting my attitude, because the book, at least thus far, is about a conflict between books and the digital age.  I'm a fan of books. 

Meanwhile, over at Yahoo, if they switch their logo one more time, I'm going to lose my mind!  I've seen about 3 different ones in the last couple days.  I liked the old one.  Maybe they'll hit on a new one that works, but the ones I've seen have been less than spectacular.  I'm not sure what the workaround to a new logo is, though.  Cached pages or something?   

Well, there you have it.  My internet complaints for the day...


  1. (Grr. Blogspot gobbled my words of wisdom. Please don't show both comments now, Blogspot, or Twangy will be annoyed.)

    So. Where was I? Ah yes. Isn't modern life so maddening? I mean, see above. THE MINUTIAE. Urg.

    (I have a feeling I might have already complained thusly on your blog before. What can I say, it's still true!)

  2. I used to like google. Now I find it rather annoying and for the life of me I cannot understand their policies and strategies. Reader and igoogle, for one - why kill them? WHY? If it ain't broke, don't fix it, if it works and is popular, kill it?!? Anyway. I might be one of the few who thinks that.

    I hate the tablet wordpress, it tells me to follow blogs I already follow, even my own blog. Which is stupid and redundant.

  3. Ha -- I have been using the promotions tab to not create a filter for every new PR person. And then I just go in, select all, and delete the promotions folder at the end of the day. A little faster. But overall, email wasn't a system that needed "fixing" in my opinion.

  4. Well, I am fairly okay with their new tabs system, though I have had to shuffle mails between tabs manually.

    And overall, I think that the companies will reinvent and reinvent, because Madonna has made it fashionable to do so.