Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday Morning Issues and the Google Black Hole


Google and I have a love-hate relationship and by that I don't mean I love to hate it (them?). The truth is, I'm very fond of it (them). For one thing, they provide the software and storage space for my blog (thanks ya'll, in case I haven't said it before). They do a great job with email and the technical goodies they come up with for blogging are really useful for a techno-non-geek like me. But, here's the thing, have you ever tried to contact them? You know, drop a note, make a call, fire off a Fed-ex full of cookies (not the computer variety), or send flowers?

Now, there is Google help or as I like to call it, the Google Black Hole. You can post a question or you can scroll into the maze of previous questions looking for one exactly like yours. At first glance, posting your own would appear obvious. The answer you get, however, may be somewhat less so: "check the response to question 999." Now, I understand how time-consuming it can be, dealing directly with user problems, I really, really, really do. I'm sympathetic, I really, really, really am. But still in all, if I wanted to go dumpster diving into a black hole never to be seen or heard from again, I can think of easier ways to do it. How, you may ask? Well, have you ever dealt with the VA (Veteran's Administration)? 'Nuff said.

Anyway, I am an appreciative user of Google. Don't worry, that's not a code word for the excessive use of Google -- I don't let web searching interfere with my work or home life, so I'm only a social Googler and not a Googleholic. Nor do I attend the Church of Google where members have been known, in moments of ecstasy, to burst forth with spontaneous Googalalia. I couldn't be a fan because that would entail seeking autographs and somehow an email signature (if I could find an email address, that is, hint, hint) doesn't seem quite the same as a good old illegible scrawl on a napkin. I'm just an ordinary guy who'd like, once in a while, to interact with another ordinary gal or guy somewhere out there in Googleland.

Do you suppose it's a matter of incompatibility? Not software, hardware, silverware, or any other kind of ware, but r-e-l-a-t-i-o-n-a-l? Like maybe I've got an obscure interpersonal chemical imbalance-type disease I picked up while browsing online images of the Amazon Rain Forest? Could it be Transformers are real after all, and instead of a virus I've got a Decepticon hiding in my current version of Firefox? Where's Bumblebee when I need him?! Well, it beats me. Anything's possible and in the realm of computers, if you can't get "possible" now, wait a bit and your next Microsoft update will include it as a zip file.

So, it's Monday morning and this is my first serious issue of the week. Oh, I knew a vacuum repair person once and she explained my Hoover's failure to hoov as proof that it had "issues." She didn't describe the process of fixing it as talk-therapy, though I half expected her to. This was Boulder, Colorado, by the way, where everyone's either had issues, has them currently, or wants them so they have something to talk about at parties. Hey, I used to live there, what does that say about me?


(Creative Commons image of a Supermassive black hole by thebadastronomer via Flickr -- and a word of thanks to the folks at Google for being good sports!)


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