Overkill

Today, I drove to the ferry terminal instead of taking the shuttle. Parking is two dollars, and since this is the 21st century, instead of giving a human being (or even a machine) actual money (or even a plastic card), I pay for it using an app. My Paypal information is stored in my phone, so the app sends it to the parking service, which contacts Paypal, extracts two bucks from my account, and sends a success message to the app. The app then notifies me that all is well, and we’re done for the day.

Well, not really. First, Paypal e-mails me that a payment has been made. It could wait for me to check my statement at the end of the month, or even apply the simple algorithm that it’s a payment I make once a week or so and doesn’t need a special notification, but none of the above. Then, the parking service sends me two e-mails: one to say that my payment was processed and another to say that I’m OK to park. I understand that these are discrete events, probably handled by different server processes, but I still think those two could be combined. If you’re keeping score, that’s three.

Now, at 2:45, it sends another e-mail to say that my parking session is about to expire. This is very important, because at 3:00 parking becomes free, and the difference between paid parking and free parking is, well, I’m sure I don’t need to explain it. Then, a bit after 3:00, it sends another e-mail to confirm that my paid parking really has expired. (I now have a mere 14 hours to pick up my car, though the e-mail leaves that implicit.) If you’re keeping score (or even if you’re not), that’s five messages, of which at most two contain any useful information.

E-mail is basically free, and my account includes so much storage that text-only messages couldn’t fill it even if they were sending copies of A Dance With Dragons instead of short notes, but it still irritates me.

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14 thoughts on “Overkill

    • You have a point, but I use a fraction of the 4 GB/month [1] my plan covers, and these few KB are down in the noise.

      1. That’s the smallest plan that includes tethering, which I need in case I’m not at home when there’s a problem at work.

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  1. I have all of such emails piped to my Outlook address. Which is good, because one order from eBay will almost always generate at least three emails (order/Paypal/shipped, then often later “Please give us a positive review”). The Outlook doesn’t alert my phone through any sort of notification. I basically see I have a new email account because the icon on the phone will pop up with the number of unread emails.

    This sort of planning is part of why I have three active email apps on my smartphone*, much to CK’s dismay.

    * – Stock, Aquamail, and K9, if anyone’s curious. Though Aquamail is replaced by Typemail on some devices, and K9 is replaced by Keiten or K@ on other devices.

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    • Will Truman: This sort of planning is part of why I have three active email apps on my smartphone*, much to CK’s dismay.

      Twas your polybrowserism that got to me… maybe in combination with your email polyappery…

      I guess I think there should be a single email app that allowed for quasi-integrated but easily interdistinguishable multi-simultaneous instances (actually for all I know one of your emailers already would let you…).

      But maybe all apps are just different instances of the one great app…

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      • You’re much more open to polyappery than I am, CK, and I admire you for that. But me? I’ve always been a one app guy. I’ve never even felt lust in my heart for another app. One man, one app, I say.

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      • The browsers mostly come down to (1) page view limits (I know, I know, morally wrong) and (2) keeping separate sets of surfing separate. Sorta like the advantage of having an app dedicated to Wikipedia, instead of just viewing Wikipedia on a browser.

        I’ve pondered consolidating the email apps, but it’s so far just too handy to have three separate apps for easy access to three (well, four) email addresses.

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        • (When I want to commit the sin of evading page view limits, I delete the cookie. Since the Daily Dish no longer is dishing daily, I’ll also confess that I used to take screen captures of a full post of interest before hitting the “curtain” trigger.)

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  2. I can’t get to sleep
    I think about the implications
    Of diving in too deep
    And possibly the complications
    Especially at night
    I worry over situations
    I know will be all right
    Perhaps it’s just imagination

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