Inside Doug's Head

I am not a number, I am… What's that stuff they make glue out of? I'm that. Forever swirling, forwards and upwards, but always sticky. Sometimes, a little sad.

Apps, those things that used to be called applications before the millennials stole our word for appetizer. Installable lumps of poorly written functionality for your smart device that let you do everything from getting lost in the woods to ordering food for delivery once you are there. There once was a time when only the mentally ill could indulge in the practice of yelling commandments into their hands while walking shiftlessly on a crowded sidewalk, but everyone is doing it, now, thanks to apps.

In keeping with the practice of being poorly written, they are mostly written poorly from a basis of unreliable information, woven together with incomplete error checking and weakly thought out implementations. They crash often, provide misdirection usually, and fail to live up to their expected functionality typically. Coincidentally, as do I, and some other people I know. Hey, what if apps were people? What sorts of interactions would we have with them, then?

“Hey, I’d like to watch a movie.”

“You mean, you would like to watch an advertisement. By the way, I just pooped myself a little. Yeah, I thought I could sneak out a quiet one, but I pushed too hard and I just sharted. Sorry, but I have to go home, now, and we can try this again tomorrow. If the problem persists, call someone and give them this 18 digit code. It means that I pooped myself, but don’t say that. It’s embarrassing… to you.”

“Can you tell me how to get to the event or appointment that I need to get to?”

“Head North. Head North on a street, and in 10,000 furlongs, turn left. List lazily to the South-West and you have arrived at your destination. Make a careless U-turn and abandon hope. Your life is going nowhere. Your parents are ashamed and disappointed in the person you turned out to be. If you really loved me, you would find me.”

“I need you to pick me up; I am outside of the bank on Main Street.”

“I will meet you at the corner of a street and an intersection in three minutes. Five minutes. Seventeen minutes. Two minutes. Eight minutes. I have arrived, but you are not where I am, so I am leaving this place, now.”

“Are there any Japanese restaurants near me?”

“There is one Japanese restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, 5480 miles from your current location. They are open late.”

“Why are you just sitting there, staring off into outer space? I am waiting to do some stuff, and other important things, and you seem to just be lost somewhere.”

“… I am doing that thing that you started me working on 20 minutes earlier, but I am almost ready to lose the information that you provided and ask you to start all over. No, not yet. I am updating my shoelaces, but I will be ready later. Anytime now. Won’t be long. Ok, I am going to… oh, wait, I pooped myself. Just a little bit. A lot. Really, a lot. There, now that’s better. What were we talking about?”

“How about this restaurant for dinner? What have you heard about it?”

“Two people with bad attitudes and bearing a litany of allergies and special demands once ordered a sandwich with no meat, bread, or condiments of any kind, and they were disappointed in the quality of the food. Also, the other customers were very loud and of ethnicities that were incompatible with the atmosphere of the restaurant. They said they would never come back, so I don’t think we should eat there, either.”

“Wait, where did the rating stars go?”

“Any rating system that is based on numbers is impossible for humans to understand and is intrinsically flawed. The stars have been replaced by thumbs, which you have one of, and it can be either up or down. So much simpler, no? Did you know that the ancient romans also had thumbs? You just watched a racist video; here are five more for you to enjoy.”

So, yeah. That was some stuff I was thinking about. Anthropomorphizing applications of technology. All I can say for myself is that I have made a series of poor life choices, but I can’t explain right now, the toaster needs my attention.


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