Doing the wrong thing, the hard way

An enterprise software vendor, who shall remain nameless, includes in their product an alerting system of such woeful design that it beggars belief.

Setting aside many other inadequacies, what really takes the cake is the method of defining email addresses to receive the alerts.

I’m a sysadmin by training. I expect to type my email address into a field and say please send me alerts.” Simple enough, right?

Apparently too simple. Instead, in order to receive alerts, a piece of client software1 must be registered with the server, and the email address associated with the user of that software will be used.

And the client software can only be registered with one server. Need to monitor two or more servers? Well, you have to fake it.

Need to define a group email address instead of your work email address? You get to fake that too.

Doing the stupid thing, the hard way

I was reminded of this by a tweet from Eric Redmond pointing out that the proposal submission page for OSCON 2013 includes a list of topic checkboxes.

And then uses JavaScript to ensure that only one topic is selected.

Y’know, the thing that HTML radio buttons do natively.

As with the nameless enterprise vendor, someone deliberately went out of their way to create a worse solution than the obvious, simple approach.

Naming the stupid hard thing action

I decided that a term was needed for this concept. And, having studied German, and adoring the word Schadenfreude, the term needed to be auf Deutsch.

It’s been too long for me to remember enough German, but we have this cool Interwebs thingamajigie, so I found a dictionary online.

I quickly discovered that leistungsfähig means efficient”, high-performance”. arbeitsam is closer to what I want, hard working”, but leistungsfähig makes it easier to add the other component I needed: dumm. Pretty sure everyone knows what that means.

So my contribution to the technical lexicon, which will probably make it no further than an occasional tweet (by me) and my website(s): leistungsdummfähig, for you did twice as much work as you needed to, in order to do something worse”.

And it has exactly zero Google hits, so it’ll be easy to track and see whether I actually make a ding in the universe. Too bad that the .com TLD doesn’t allow non-ASCII characters.

  1. Yes, I’m being deliberately vague.

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