Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Computer Engineers Need to Fix their Own System

The Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers Computer Society (IEEE CS) sent me a reminder that my membership was due. Unfortunately their online membership system does not appear to be working properly.

I don't recall seeing a previous message, but this may be because they were trapped by my Spam filter. The IEEE was offering a prize for renewal of membership. Unfortunately this and the verbose way the message was written made the Spam filter think this was junk mail.

Having finally received the reminder, my problems were not over. In accordance with good practice I ignored the long URL in the message, in case this really was not a genuine message from IEEE and instead manually entered the IEEE address. I then had to navigate my way through several levels and enter my user id and password twice. Along the way I had to wait watching a blank screen as large amounts of multimedia a web 2.0ish code downloaded. All I wanted to do was pay my membership, not be entertained.

Having finally arrived at the membership renewal form, I decided to check the options for electronic delivery of newsletters. I tried to decline a subscription to "Build Your Career eNewsletter (weekly) ", which I had not subscribed for and never heard of. This resulted in:
Status Conflict
There is a conflict with your last request. Please click the Undo button to undo your last request.
For a detailed explanation of this conflict, please click the Explanation button.(SBL-CFG-00164)
The explanation was not very helpful, but seemed to be saying in technical language that I had tried to un-subscribe from something I was not subscribed to.

Then I got:
"Error Message

Applet: Cfg Cx Runtime Instance Frame does not have the Edit template file specified.

We are unable to complete this transaction. Resolve any error listed above and try again. If the problem persists, please call ..."
I went back to the start of the renewal and started again, but got as far as the checkout, but could not complete the transaction

I have sent IEEE a message detailing the problems and suggesting they might like to add an accessible,e low bandwidth, mobile compatible, non web 2.0 option to their web site. .

I might renew my IEEE membership, if I can get their system to respond.

No comments: