Some of you know that I founded a business called Prophet way back in 1992 and, among dozens of other products, we created ProphetCharts. I use this product to this day (constantly, in fact), and even though Prophet was sold nearly nine years ago, and its products were frozen in time, ProphetCharts is still superb and, for me, irreplaceable.
The main reason ProphetCharts has stood the test of time is because I was so relentless about polishing the product. Any time there was the smallest irksome problem, or something that could be just a little bit better, I would gripe about it until it was perfect. If I only had the last nine years to continue griping, God knows how cool ProphetCharts would be by now.
Sadly, government-created software products utterly lack this kind of level of care. Hired guns receive staggering fortunes to write fourth-rate code, and it shows. The federal ObamaCare web site exceeded the billion dollar mark a while ago, and dozens of states have had to create their own web sites. The state of my residence, California, is one of these, and their site is Covered California (which is littered, as you might guess, with images of all kinds of “diverse” families – – I’m just waiting to hit the page where the family represented is a white man, a black guy, and they’re both in wheelchairs).
I used the site, and although it didn’t bomb the way I’ve heard the federal site does, it’s far from perfect; here’s just one little tidbit from a help page:
Ummm. So let’s see here. This “help” page tells us:
- The Browse button removes a document;
- The Upload button lets you see at a document;
- The Back button (oh, sorry, “buten”) lets you look at a document (which, I suppose, is different than seeing);
- The Remove link uploads a document
- The View link (errr, “butten”) takes you to the prior page.
Jesus Lord, my God in heaven, did anyone even look at this even once? Every single line is wrong. EVERY ONE. In fact, some links have are wrong in more than one way – – somewhat of a triumph, I think. Who knew there were so many ways to spell “button”?
Governments suck. The contractors that are hired by them suck even worse. Or, at a minimum, they are inept opportunists. I can’t blame them, though. If someone handed me a zillion dollar check that I could just outsource to overseas programmers, I’d embrace the opportunity as well. Congratulations, taxpayers! The joke’s on you. But don’t worry. If you need help, just click the buten.