Things That Suck: ADP

If you’ve ever spent any time in corporate America, you’re familiar with ADP. Your paycheck comes out of their system, your time off is managed by them… they’re ubiquitous, the McDonald’s of corporate HR.

Unlike McDonald’s, which, however you feel about their food, are goddamned Olympian when it comes to efficiency throughout their entire operation, ADP is terrible, hateful garbage. Outside of open-source garage projects, I’m hard-pressed to think of software that’s less interested in helping you accomplish anything with it than ADP.

Let’s take just one example here, focusing on one of the most common things a manager will do in ADP: review time-off requests. When one of my guys requests time off, they do it via ADP’s website. I get an email from ADP alerting me to this fact. This is the entirety of the email I receive:

adp-01

Notice what’s missing? Say, ANY way to act on this request whatsoever? Every other goddamned service out there would typically include:

  • To Approve this request: CLICK HERE
  • To Deny this request: CLICK HERE
  • To Review/Edit this request: CLICK HERE

ADP gives you NONE of this. Not even a goddamned link to the website so you can dig through it yourself to find the request.

Now, I can hear you thinking to yourself “uh, this is pretty small beer, Ritchie. First World Problem much?” and you’re absolutely right, but one of my personal pet peeves is very expensive software that actively hates the user.

Like; how difficult would it be to just include a link at least to the fucking site here? It’s not like the URL is even custom for each company; every one of the millions of people who have ADP accounts logs in through the exact same goddamned URL as everyone else. There’s zero reason, save active hatred of their users, that ADP could not at least include that link in these fucking emails.

I’m not sure why this bothers me so much beyond the simple waste and disdain for their fellow man that has to be involved with the thousands of ADP employees over the years collectively either never thinking about this issue or having thought of it and just not bothered to address it. It’s an infuriating mindset to deal with, and there are many more examples of this combination of incompetence and outright loathing of their paying customers that permeate the entire goddamned platform.

So, yeah, I’m super-glad I get to be in this system dozens of times a week. I’m even managing to feel a twinge of sympathy for our HR people (not a group I normally view with anything other than suspicion if not actual anger) given that they LIVE in this thing.

 

iTunes: FUCK Your Albums, Son

Lord have mercy, am I ever tired of this malevolent piece of shit software… (and spare me any thoughts about replacing it with a hand-crafted lossless FLAC archive or fucking Spotify or whatever floats YOUR particular boat; I’ve been ripping my own music into and buying music through iTunes since it came out 16 fucking years ago, I’m not spending the time and money that would be necessary to recreate my library anywhere else right now. iTunes is my goddamned wife, and we’re married in a country that doesn’t recognize divorce. So be it).

I was checking the iTunes Store this week for a rare track by Clutch (pronounced: FUCKING. CLUTCH.) that I saw on YouTube and that I wished, if it were available, to purchase for my own library. It wasn’t, but I saw that there was a Deluxe Edition of their last studio album, which I already own, that features three bonus tracks, which I do not.

So I bought just those three tracks, to complete the whole album.

iTunes, in its infinite retardation, loaded them up into the library as so:

iTunes_Album_Splitting_01
Yes, iTunes. These are DEFINITELY two unrelated albums. For certain.

Okay, fine. One set of tracks is called THING and the other is THING (Deluxe). And maybe there’s some colossal sperglord out there who would want these two things kept separate. I, however, being a normal goddamned human being, do not.

I mean, fuck’s sake, it even knows that the track #s on the latter three tracks proceed directly from the first twelve. THIS IS ALL ONE GODDAMNED ALBUM, ITUNES.

So, in any other music managing app in the world, to correct this one would simply:

  • select all tracks
  • edit their info
  • force one album title onto all fifteen tracks, which:
  • will make any non-mongoloid music app understand that “oh hey, duder wants these to all be considered one album. Done”

iTunes, being a special snowflake, considered my request to lump these into one album and gave me this:

iTunes_Album_Splitting
wut

How in the actual fuck it decided that tracks 9-15 are an album by a band called Clutch named Psychic Warfare that is completely different and separate from the album by a band called Clutch named Psychic Warfare that contains tracks 1-8 is a mystery that I will never solved short of kidnapping the entire iTunes development team from the last 20 years and locking them into a torture-filled Skinner Box of my own devising until they spit out the truth.

Now, I’ve been wrestling in the mud with iTunes for a looooong fucking time at this point. Even after the Great Purge of 2006 (am I mildly ashamed at the number of live U2 bootlegs and Cleopatra Records “re-recordings” of 80’s cock rock greats by the middle-aged current versions of same that I had? Yes), or the Lesser Purge of 2012 (when I, and millions of other people, quietly deleted that Gotye album that, aside from that one tune, really, really sucked), I’m still sitting at about 17,000 songs and 140GB of music. So, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way to make it behave. Sometimes.

One thing you can do is right-click and GET INFO and change not just the album name, but go into the SORTING OPTIONS and try applying the album name to the SORT AS field, which is usually blank. I did that here and…

iTunes_Album_Splitting_04
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKKKK

This has NEVER been reproducible or reliable, so sometimes you just have to do it a few times and see if it ever gets it right. Which is fucking infuriating, but what are you gonna do?

iTunes_Album_Splitting_02

There. Was that so fucking hard? Yes. Yes it was.

As an aside, I do use Google Music just as a last-ditch backup dump for all of my music. I use their Music Manager to automatically upload anything new that shows up in my iTunes to Google Music. On a whim, I decided to see how it treated this same scenario:

gmusic_01
Oh, bother.

So, Google Music, too, thinks these are two separate albums. Great. Let’s try fixing that. Click the little … icon and change the album name from “Psychic Warfare (Deluxe)” to just “Psychic Warfare” and click enter…

gmusic_02
et voila.

Well. THAT WAS FUCKING EASY. SURE WISH APPLE COULD FIGURE OUT WHAT THEIR PRIMARY COMPETITOR HAS.

Not that Google Music doesn’t have a ton of other problems (playlists capped at 1000 songs is the biggie for me), but this kind of simple shit should automatically work in any app that purports to be a music library manager or player.

Maybe just switching to the new-ish Apple Music would be easiHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAican’tevenfinishthatsentenceAppleMusicisadumpsterfire.

Steve Would’ve Never Let This Happen

I don’t understand the iPad Pro line from Apple. A few months ago they release the biggest, fastest iPad ever, with the most RAM and new accessories that only it can use, the regular iPads need not apply. Then, more recently, they release what everybody would consider the mainstream version, which has a lot of the bad-assed stuff of its older brother, but not all of it, and it’s a bit smaller.

So far, so good.

Until one realizes that this smaller, supposedly NOT the top of the iPad line has a better, if smaller, screen than its big brother. And some fancy light detection technology that will change the color warmth of the screen automatically to match its surroundings. AND it has a way better camera.

So, like.. what the fuck?

Yeah, first world problems and all that, but if you want the absolute best iPad today to future proof yourself, there isn’t a clear answer. Best iPhone? 6S or 6S+, the only difference is the size, pick accordingly. Best Mac laptop? Macbook Pro Retina 15, loaded. Best iMac? The big one, loaded. Best iPad? Uhhhh… depends.

I like Apple’s willingness to have top-tier internals across a wide variety of sizes; the iPhone SE is a great example of this, providing first-rate hardware in a form factor the market has otherwise abandoned or consigned to shitty performance due to gimped parts from the bin bucket. But I cannot understand why they did this weird separation of high-end features across their top two iPads.

So, I’ll just stick with my iPad Air 2 for now. Fuckin’ thing works fine, anyways.

One Messaging App To Rule Them All

Facebook Messenger. Google Hangouts. iMessages. Pushbullet. What’sApp. Snapchat. Slack. SMS. AIM (lol).

I am fucking sick and tired of Messaging apps. Not because I hate messaging folks; NAY! I much prefer it to having to actually (ick) talk to people like, in person or, worse, over the phone.

No, I’m sick of how fucking MANY of the goddamned things I have to keep installed to stay in touch with everyone, everywhere. And I’m further sick of the ones I use most not existing on all platforms I need to use them on.

At the most, I would think two of these fucking things would suffice; the one you use to talk to family and friends, and whatever work inflicts on you. But no; some co-workers fear change so they’re using AOL still because that’s what IT approved in 1997 and that’s that. Other co-workers will use Slack with you but IT doesn’t trust it so you can’t do a general roll-out because some guys don’t have admin rights to install anything on their machines because why would you trust the guys who build the stuff that makes all of the company’s money with any level of control over their personal work machines?

Over on the personal side of things, iMessages is great and you can use it on your iPhone, your iPad and your Mac but WHOOOPS! Apple likes to pretend PC’s somehow still don’t exist so you get nothing on Windows (well, iTunes exists there because they can directly make money from it but let’s not pretend iTunes is anything but a brutally painful experience on any platform and that’s a post for another day…) so have fun typing on your phone while you’re at work and your wife needs to know how to get Netflix to work on your mother-in-law’s TV. Meanwhile, Pushbullet is every bit as good if not better than iMessages if you’re rocking the Android lifestyle ‘cuz it’s got great apps for phones, PC’s and a fine browser plugin for Safari on the Mac but BZZZZT what if you’re in that common boat of having an Android phone but an iPad tablet? Go fuck yourself, that’s what, because Apple will dig up the corpse of Steve Jobs and let Bill Gates have sex with it live during their next keynote before they’ll allow a non-Apple app touch the messaging stack on their iOS devices.

Facebook Messenger could allllllmost fill this niche as it exists for every possible platform up to and including your toaster, but then you have the problem of, if you’re a middle-aged white guy like me, of having a lot of folks you actually want to talk to who don’t have Facebook accounts because they think Mark Zuckerberg is an Illuminati or Freemason or they somehow think that not using FB prevents a single goddamned thing when it comes to corporations and/or the government building up a profile on them (SPOILER ALERT: it doesn’t; you’re fucked, coming and going, always, without exception) and so nope, that can’t do.

Google Hangouts is such a shitty app that even Google doesn’t use it anymore.

I don’t even understand what the fuck Snapchat is but the only way I can get my dealer to respond to me is to send him a picture of my dick with my order written on it in glitter via that app so I have to keep it around and come to think of it that’s kinda fuckin’ weird of the guy, no?

I just want one messaging app that does all of the following:

  • Works on EVERYTHING. Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, WinPhone… I guess Blackberry can fuck off at this point, but that’s about all I’m willing to forsake. And I prefer dedicated apps on the desktop, but would settle for a robust webapp that properly integrates with Chrome or Safari’s desktop push notifications.
  • Can talk to all of these other stupid formats. Remember Adium? Pidgin? You had ONE app and could Instant Message people on MSN, AOL, Yahoo, IRC, one app that spoke to all the other popular platforms… I realize this is probably a dead letter at this point, because Adium and those others cared primarily about helping people communicate, whereas today every commo platform cares most about being able to harvest as much of your information as possible, locking you into their platform, and selling your profile to advertisers. So, I’d settle for just “if I have a valid phone # or email, this app should be able to communicate with you from me over text messaging”.
  • Syncs properly. If I read a text from my wife on my phone, I don’t want the desktop app to still think that message is unread. This should be simple. For some reason, it is not. IMessages does decent with this, but sometimes it gets confused about what device I’m actually on and never shows me a new text when I’m actively using, say, my iPad, but the app on my phone, which is on a desk somewhere far away from me, is showing the red notification pip just fine. Dumb. And infuriating.
  • I’d prefer if these apps never showed me emoji. Like, EVER.
  • But they should easily show me attachments or pop out links to the browser on whatever device I’m looking at.

It feels like this will be possible one day soon; Pushbullet is basically there, but only for folks who are all-in on Android for their phone and tablets. I am not, and switch around, so it’s just close enough to be infuriating when I bump up against the edge cases where it’s not.

Then again, maybe not. I have adult friends these days who literally don’t bother with any sort of actual computer in their life. They have a smartphone and that’s it, so native SMS covers them entirely. So maybe this will never happen and I should just go fuck myself.

TODAY’S EPISODE OF REAL SPECIFIC NERD BEEFS: Auto-Capitalization After Erroneous Auto-Correct in iOS

So, iOS will often autocorrect a mis-typing of “in a” to “Ina”, because OF COURSE many more people have a friend with Scandinavian ancestry that they’re referring to to a third party via text than would EVER need to type “in a”. So, fine, fucking thing overwrites my error with its own, now it says “Ina” in the middle of a sentence.

delete-delete-delete-delete and type “in a” where it should have been to begin with.

iOS writes “In a”, capitalizing the “in” even though that’s absolutely senseless in this context.

So you have to delete everything AGAIN, UNCHECK the shift key that will otherwise needlessly capitalize your “in”, and then type “in a” for what is now the sixteenth time.

What the fuck, iOS? Wouldn’t a better assumption be that, since the capitalization only originated with your erroneous autocorrection to begin with, and given that the writer is now deleting your autocorrection, indicating that it was WRONG, that your capitalization was ALSO incorrect and therefore you should leave the goddamned keyboard in its default state instead of invoking a special mode that, in every other instance, has to be specifically invoked by the user?

God DAMN it. This happens to me a million times a day. I know it’s because Apple (and Android does this too) expects you to choose from their row above the keyboard of possible corrections rather than just do the work yourself, but I can retype this shit faster than I can move my thumbs up to that row and choose as the cognitive workload is higher (and therefore slower) to do that than to rely on the built-in muscle memory for a retype. I have where each normal keyboard key is memorized; one can NOT, by definition, memorize where keys that pop up only due to specific context will be, so fuck that row of choices.

I further know that most people give two shits about capitalization or grammar or spelling at all these days, and most texts are written in a combination of emoji and whatever letters pop up when some Vine-addled fuckboi just drags his dick across the Apple keyboard, but I’m going to be back over here raging against the dying of the light on this one, however much Apple insists on fighting me about it.