I’m not talking about that Internet where people sell credit card numbers, engage in hacking schemes and pass out counterfeit library cards!
I’m talking about the Dark Side of web and computer applications that suddenly ‘don’t work‘ and don’t tell you why they ain’t working!
The Error Massage
One thing that hasn’t really changed about working with applications, both on your laptop and the internet, is the Error Message.
Error messages are just as cryptic and useless to real people as they were back in the 1990’s.
A computer still can’t tell you in plain talk what exactly is wrong and how to fix it.
And then, why doesn’t the computer just go ahead and fix it for you!
This situation hasn’t improved since the 90’s.
I believe this created a market for the smartphone.
Just like the difficulty of handling and playing vinyl record albums created the market for compact cassette tapes in the 70’s.
A trend developed of people embracing something less good, as long as less angst was involved in using it.
The Buy Button Rules
A smartphone is a phone in a limited computer.
A smartphone is basically a purchasing device, not a tool for creating.
If you stick to using your phone to make calls, messaging, buy things, generally waste time, and buy things you cannot go wrong!
This article is for the poor slobs who are using a computer to do work.
Alarming text and bleeps
When I do tech support calls for my wonderful clients, whether it’s for apps or website woes, I know the person I’m talking to has just taken a trip through the Loop.
The Loop consists of retracing your steps and going through the same routine over again, clicking the same buttons over and over again, wishing for a different result.
And that different result is “Why doesn’t this gosh darn thing work like it did yesterday!?”
Which is really not such a ‘different’ result!
Is Anybody There?
Then, there is the dread of calling tech support, assuming that there even is a phone number for tech support.
Facebook has a bazillion business pages on their platform and no phone contact.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. The purpose of online tech support is to get you off the line or Chat as soon as possible.
Otherwise, why would the person on the other end of the Chat be called a Happiness Engineer?
After waiting in a Chat queue for a “Wait times are longer than usual due to the _______” amount of time, it’s suddenly your turn!
You need to tell the Customer Satisfaction Agent what the problem is.
But, you don’t know what is wrong with your app because your computer refuses to tell you what’s wrong!
So, you revert to the old standby. “The gosh darn thing doesn’t work.”
You have already exceeded your Customer Satisfaction Agent’s satisfaction with you.
Oops, An Error Occurred
When something doesn’t work like it did yesterday, many folks are totally at a loss.
And apparently, so was the fellow who coded this message for Instagram.
On top of that, the fear factor makes continuing to try to fix the issue on your own problematic for fear of making the problem worse.
What To Do
OK, so you are happily being productive writing your blog Post and there’s a message saying “Connection lost. Saving has been disabled until you’re reconnected. We’re backing up this post in your browser, just in case..”
First thing to do is to select all your writing and copy and paste it into your favorite Text Editor on your computer. That app always works!
Then you can take a break, go outside. Breathe.
If you are curious about what the error message means, do a Google search on that exact text “Connection lost. Saving has been disabled until you’re reconnected. We’re backing up this post in your browser, just in case..”
You may find some interesting results by people in the same quandary.
This applies to any error message you receive. Copy the message exactly.
Do a Google search on the exact error phrase. At the very least, you may find that you are not alone in your misery!
And when you do get to the front of the queue on the Chat, you’ll have the exact phrase to paste into the text box there.
Tell me about your tech support stories, and Happy Computing!