The Hate List – Volume 15

(Originally published on 3rd October, 2010)


Co-authored by Tom Bell and Wam Silliams

  1. People who don’t know the difference between Google and the internet, so that if you ask them to go to, they will go to Google and type in “”.
  2. People who don’t know that you can press Return to submit a form, and are hopeless on the mouse, so that after typing in “”, they will slowly remove their hand from the keyboard, timidly grip the mouse, and slowly move it over to the “Search” button. Hit Return, you mouthbreathing simpletons!
  3. People who don’t realise that there is such a thing as non-web-based email, or that email is not synonymous with Hotmail, or ask idiotic questions like “what is the difference between email and Gmail?”
  4. People who don’t understand what jobs different computer programs do, eg., thinking that Internet Explorer is somehow responsible for your internet connection. This one is partly Microsoft’s fault, because on some systems, when IE is loaded it brings up the dial-up/broadband login window. The confusion this causes is so severe, I’ve heard some people describe the “the internet” as somehow a “logon” to IE.
  5. The person who, when I used HTML to arrange a large number of graphics in a comparative table, told me I “should have used PowerPoint”.
  6. PowerPoint presentations which consist of large blocks of text which the presenter then reads out word-for-word, adding nothing that is not on the slide.
  7. Any PowerPoint presentation which contains at least one video which the presenter can’t get to work. This covers about 90% of the presentations I’ve seen.
  8. A presentation hand-out which consists of PowerPoint’s default print-out: six slides per page in little boxes. So now I’ve read the text on the screen, had it read to me, and read it in size 0.5 text on a crappy hand-out because you couldn’t be bothered to produce a decent accompanying document.
  9. People who use Word simply to save some text which doesn’t require any formatting. Especially if they later complain that the Auto Formatting functions in Word have somehow caused them problems with the document. A friend once described this as like “using an aeroplane to drive down the street, then complaining that the wings keep hitting the buildings.”
  10. People who’ve never even SEEN a plain text file, and complain when they see me typing something up into one… “I’ve got Word, can’t you send me a Word document?” Unless you’re using Babbage’s Difference Engine, I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to open it.
  11. People who think the best way to send a picture is to drag it into Word, save it as a Word document and send that. You may be thinking I’m insane, and surely no-one actually does that. Believe me, some people seem to think Word documents are an all-purpose file container format. It’s so common, I’ve seen an editorial in a magazine which states: “We cannot accept photographs in Word documents, so please send original jpegs.” The fact that this is necessary causes me overwhelming despair.
  12. Reading View in Word. I’ve never known anyone use Reading View, and since Word is essentially a document-formatting program, I just can’t understand a view which deliberately screws up the formatting. If it does indeed have a use for someone, and is worth including, put it in as an option… but not as the default setting. It’s amazing how many people you see with it still on as the default, having to close it as their first action on opening any document. The relief, joy and gratitude you can get just by going around an office, showing people how to turn it off permanently, is astonishing.
  13. People who don’t understand that the basic purpose of computers is to automate simple, repeated tasks. A line manager once gave me a spreadsheet containing the details of several hundred people who had car passes, and asked me to re-order it by department (which was already included as a column). She suggested that I print it out, highlight each line a different colour by department, and re-type the whole thing back in the new order. She gave me a week to complete the task. It took me 4 seconds.
  14. On the other hand, when you end up having to do a repeated simple task on a computer manually anyway, because the program you’re using is so restrictive or shortsighted that there’s no way to automate it.
  15. People who use Word to create large tables of figures which they total up with calculators.
  16. People who create their own “special” versions of data tables in Excel and then quietly make all sorts of changes to the data, without telling anyone, and then show you “their version” once it’s diverged so much that the two can no longer be merged, and have created something which now has to be updated manually every time the source data changes. Why didn’t you say something before, dickhead? I could have just set up a query to produce that for you from the live data! Jesus.
  17. People who insist on colouring in ENTIRE SPREADSHEETS, often with one colour per column. The contextual information which distinguishes columns is their horizontal position. You’ve just added a worthless and often hideous distraction, and have also prevented users from highlighting individual cells, which is actually useful. Thanks. Thanks a lot.
  18. The type of people nicely satirised in Little Britain by the “Computer says no” woman. “You can’t do that.” But there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do that – only that your particular level of access to your database doesn’t allow you to make that change. Often there aren’t even computers involved. “I can’t put [some key piece of information] on the form, there’s no box for it.” It’s going to be read by another human, just write it anywhere on the paper!
  19. Having to use a shared computer which is riddled with spyware and viruses.
  20. Having to search for a program through several columns’ worth of someone else’s Start Menu, because they never reorganise it or override any program’s default Start Menu installation.
  21. Owners of shared / public access PCs who negligently allow them to become squalid. They should be made to clean and then use a different machine each morning and then eat lunch without washing their hands.
  22. Owners of any shared / public service who don’t regularly use it to test it out. This applies especially to IT services and equipment. Get some empathy, you dicks!
  23. People who fuck up a printer and just move on to the next one without doing anything about it. Paper jams, empty paper trays, empty toners. Sort it out, you twats!
  24. People who leave their computers and / or desks in a foetid and / or cluttered state so that no-one else can use them. It’s not your personal territory – it is a piece of the organisation’s property which has been allocated to you temporarily to support some or all of your daily work. When you’re not at it, it should be ready for someone else to use. Or do you leave a special cone with your name on it in your favourite parking space every night? Perhaps you keep a padlock on your preferred toilet cubicle as well?
  25. Corporate email accounts with draconian capacity limits. If Google can give me, a total stranger, 7500 MB *per account* with no apparent limit on the number of accounts, then why can’t my employer, which benefits directly from me not dicking around every couple of days clearing out my email, give me more than 100 MB? Pathetic. I just store the email on Google’s servers anyway.
  26. People who still insist on emailing around massive documents instead of uploading them to a shared server of some kind – especially when the organisation has provided one for just that purpose. Coupled with the previous point, this wastes a couple of hours a week, per person, in my organisation on additional filing time, “which is the latest version?” queries and general monging.
  27. People who create byzantine folder structures, many of the folders within which are empty, “just in case” they need to file something in one of them later. Would you do that with lever arch files? No, of course not, you dickh- ah. Ah. Actually it appears you *have* done that with lever arch files, and that’s why we need a bigger office. Thanks for that.
  28. People who STILL ask, “Did you get my email?” – especially people who ask on the same day they sent it. Of course I got it – we’re on the same Exchange server, so as soon as you sent it it was automatically copied to my inbox and your sent items folder. The question is whether I read it.
  29. Serial overusers of email who on the ONE occasion they use another method of communication make a huge deal about how they “thought it would be much better to do this off email”. Yes – yes it is – now why don’t you sort yourself out and do it more often?
  30. Bureaufascists who still insist on sending out huge (>200 page) wads of paper for routine meetings, immediately after sending out all of the same documents electronically. For God’s sake – just throw them onto the projector if it’s critical everyone look at them simultaneously. Otherwise let people bring their own on paper or electronically, or not at all, according to their own preferences.
  31. The sheer volume and drudgery of corporate email. I got 83 emails today at work. Just imagine if you got 83 pieces of paper correspondence a day, in a job where you were expected primarily to do things other than dealing with correspondence. You’d know it was a completely ridiculous situation.
  32. Automated signature blocks which get appended to work emails, and with legal disclaimers, virus scanner tags, Companies House information, corporate mission statements, embedded images of handwritten signatures and corporate logos, and whatever other fluff gets included, are over 1000 times bigger than the two- or three-line messages they accompany.
  33. Graphical email “stationery”. This is a business communication, not a forest, a florist’s, nor a children’s birthday party invitation.
  34. People who, in the era of 24-bit displays and excellent online photo resources such as iStockPhoto, Google Images and Flickr, as well as a corporate image bank of high-quality, relevant photos, STILL use 256-colour clipart from the built-in libraries in Office – especially “funny” clipart.
  35. Emails without subject lines. I can understand why people do this with personal emails, when it’s just a general “how are you”/chitchat message (although personally, I force myself to put something even if just “Hi”). But when a work email, which is clearly about a particular topic, is left without a subject, it’s just indefensible.
  36. People who still refer to upper and lower case characters when dictating their email address over the phone. It’s 2010, you moron.
  37. People who still use textspeak even though they own a smartphone with an excellent QWERTY keyboard. Also people who use textspeak in email written on a *full size* QWERTY keyboard. There is no excuse – you are shit.
  38. The byzantine system of menus, buttons, tool bars and panels in the Windows Vista version of Microsoft Office, which seems to follow similar principles of organisational logic to the William Farr School website. Retracted: I’ve got used to the post-2007 MS Office layout now.
  39. When software developers (probably under the orders of idiotic executives and marketers) forget that the purpose of Program X was originally to do function X, and do it well, and nothing more; forget also that there are other perfectly good programs already which do functions Y, Z, etc; and turn Program X into a vast, clunking, bloated monster of a program which tries to do X, Y, Z, and a dozen other things, and does them all very slowly and very badly. I’M TALKING TO YOU, ADOBE.
  40. People who use Facebook messages in preference to email. For a while this baffled me, and I couldn’t work out why this would even happen – Facebook is so slow and inefficient compared to POP3 email. Then I realised – most people don’t use POP3 email. They probably have it with their ISP bundle, but they ignore it in favour of a free webmail account, usually Hotmail. And that’s the most damning indictment of Hotmail there is: that people find Facebook – as bloated, cluttered and slow-loading as it is – to be a quicker and more user-friendly messaging system. I say again, Microsoft, at this point you should just empty your desk into a cardboard box and walk home in shame.
  41. Films made in Windows Movie Maker, which consist of a sequence of still photographs, each being slightly zoomed in on, with a soft rock soundtrack and blue title screens with default-font white titles.
  42. Any website which automatically starts playing music when you open it. A lot of bands’ official sites do this. If you’re interested enough in music to be visiting bands’ sites, isn’t it fairly likely that you’ll already be playing some music of your own choice in the background?
  43. Web forums which list ten threads per page, and order them by the thread which has most recently had a post, and which have so much traffic there are hundreds of threads and it’s impossible to find or track any discussion.
  44. Abuse of the word “virtual”. For example, I once overheard two colleagues discussing a ‘virtual map’. They did’t seem to realise that it was an actual map – just on the computer. Perhaps they were asked about it in a virtual email.
  45. People who take the piss out of the iPhone or Mac’s expense, and then complain about how their much cheaper smartphone or computer doesn’t do what the iPhone or Mac does, or doesn’t do it as well. You don’t want to buy a Mercedes? You’d rather buy a Daewoo? Absolutely fine, but don’t beal when it’s not quite as good. Why should IT products be any different?
  46. People who are shit at IT and totally unwilling to help themselves by learning a little bit about it, and then say things like “Technology, eh?” Yes – yes – you have correctly identified that it is a piece of technology. Any more profound insights for us?

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