Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Electronic Oddities

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Sometimes, folks, I just need to vent.  And what better thing to vent at than our electronically driven lives?

I’ve had four things happen lately that are really vexing, but in a very slow-burning sort of way.  The first one was when I took an online exam for a place of employment — this is something many employers do these days — and was told after I took it that I “must be a computer” because I’d “gone too fast to be a human being,” and was immediately disqualified from that particular job!

I still don’t know what to think about that one, with one exception: I’m obviously not a computer.  No matter what that particular program thinks.

The second thing was back in August, when I played the contest “Beat the Streak in a Day” through MLB.com’s fantasy page.  In case you don’t know about the whole “Beat the Streak” contest, it’s named after Joe DiMaggio’s legendary 56-game hitting streak.  Fans pick 57 players (over time in the regular Beat the Streak contest, but in one day for BTS in a Day) who we hope will all get hits.  You can pick any position player (it won’t let you pick pitchers), providing they’re not on the disabled list, the suspended list, or are otherwise unavailable.

I saved all my picks, did everything the program said to do — and then seven of my picks somehow were not updated even though the site said they were.

When I compared notes to the picks I knew I had made, I had 43 out of 57 right.  This would not be enough for a prize.  It certainly does not beat Joe D’s streak, and many others came closer than I did to getting all of the players they’d picked to get hits right.  But I was annoyed with this program for saying I’d only gotten something like 35 out of 57 right rather than the 43 I know I had right.

When this happened again with the BTS in a Day contest this past Friday — where I couldn’t even check to see how my picks had done because the site glitched, though I checked twice before all the picks were locked and made sure of my actual picks (I wanted no repeat of the August issue, thanks) — I was extremely frustrated, and did write to the contest to ask for an explanation.

This time, the results page said I got 36 right.  I don’t have any idea if this is correct because I cannot check it; I can basically go over every player I know I picked, painstakingly (which is what I did last time), but my rough estimate had me getting around 44 or 45 right rather than 36.

I don’t know if I’ll get an answer.  I don’t know if they’ll actually get my real picks right — the “results page” I got was for the earliest BTS in a Day contest back in June, I think, because some of “my picks” were Ryan Braun (who I used to pick before his suspension), Yasmani Grandal (same) and a few others like Paul Konerko who I know I didn’t pick this last time.

So that’s two and three — which means you might be wondering what the fourth vexing issue is.  (Even if you aren’t, I’m going to tell you anyway.  Lucky you, huh?)

It’s simple.  An e-mail to me got trapped somehow in the ISP aether, and I didn’t get it until five full days after it was apparently mailed.  As it was a professional e-mail — meaning it has bearing on one of my joint careers (music and writing) — this was not good.

Obviously, I couldn’t answer the e-mail until I saw it.  But I didn’t see it in my inbox for five full days — and then, it showed up only as spam, which it wasn’t.  (I check my spam folder every day, and I know it was not there all that time before it finally did show up.)

Because of this electronic glitch, I wasn’t able to answer this professional e-mail.  And it was a time-sensitive e-mail, to boot, which makes me appear less than professional — all because of my ISP doing something really bizarre.

Mind you, this sort of thing happens far less than it used to.  But e-mail, reliable though it usually is, can still go astray . . . I just have to hope that my explanatory e-mail will make sense, and that they’ll believe me that this really did happen.

Anyway, that’s four solid things that have something to do with computers, computer programs, or otherwise electronically driven oddities.  And while I understand how programs can get messed up from time to time, I’m beyond tired of it.

Let me know if I’m the only one these weird things are happening to, OK?  Because I’m starting to wonder if Murphy has my number on speed dial.

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Written by Barb Caffrey

September 30, 2013 at 12:22 am

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