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Melanie spends her days in Red Gate's Publishing department. As an editor, marketer, administrator, and writer, she gets a huge amount of variety each day which she cherishes dearly. She also has a rather distressing love of puns.

But…I’m between the chair and the keyboard

Published 23 April 2013 4:04 pm

In my more paranoid moments, I think Outlook is waging a sophisticated and subtle campaign to convince me I’m going insane. In my calmer moods, I’m disgusted with my apparently innate assumption that the application must be working, the error is with me.

Here’s what’s happening. I cover more than one inbox, but less than 5, and overall I get maybe 100 emails a day, of which maybe 30 actually require a response; this varies quite widely from day-to-day. Over the past month, my Outlook has been, let’s say, forgetful. It may or may not mark emails I’ve replied to with a little purple arrow, causing me to doubt the memory I had of replying to that message. I have to then go into my sent mail to convince myself that yes, I did in fact reply, my memory is not seeping away into (very) early senility.

In an equally maddening turn of events, Outlook decides sometimes that I’ve received new emails, when NOTHING has arrived in ANY of my inboxes. I’m one of those people, I compulsively check my inbox whenever a new email arrives, I may not instantly reply but I have a strong need to know what has been written. When my desktop icon indicates that I have a new message, and it makes the sound of a message arriving, all of which is lies since there is no new message…it gets on my nerves, and I spend quite a long time making sure there is no new email until around 30 minutes later when the icon goes away.

Why does this bother me? Because I believe that the mistake lies with me! I’m fooled every time! I don’t want to delve into what kind of social construct has made me this way, it is what it is. I am a product of my conditioning, and it’s time to fight back! At this point I’m baby steps away from being one of those people who drives into a lake because the Garmin/TomTom/etc told them so! (I won’t confirm or deny having this already happened to me with a very suspicious dirt road.)

We’re told things “just work”, but then they don’t. All this new technology “eliminates human error” has hammered home the idea that the error is, as the joke goes, somewhere between the chair and the keyboard. Well, sometimes it isn’t, and the moral of this story is you shouldn’t always assume that you’re the problem.

Plenty of things are my fault, I’ve accidentally merged mailing lists (fixable), taken out the entire Simple-Talk site (fixable), and accidentally clicked “don’t save” on countless documents (often fixable). These things are on me, but they do not mean that everything else is. I feel like I’m slowly being robbed of my common sense, maybe realizing this will help me get some of it back.

4 Responses to “But…I’m between the chair and the keyboard”

  1. Bart Read says:

    Ha! With Outlook I don’t *ever* assume I’m the problem.

  2. Melanie Townsend says:

    The imaginary new email has happened twice more today… it’s not *completely* out of the realm of possibility that Microsoft has partnered with DARPA

  3. syd_oracle says:

    Do you have any rules that automatically mark items as read and files them away ? They might ‘flick’ into existence briefly before being processed.

    • Melanie Townsend says:

      It’s possible, and I have a couple of rules in place that could do that so it could be a long delay. Doesn’t explain the lack of iconage when replying though…

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