As foretold by E. M. Forster in 1909, we have two exhibits of the machine grinding to a halt.
Amazon sent one of their prescription savings cards, followed a few days later by a note:
We recently mailed you a physical copy of your Amazon Prime Rx savings card, and are writing to inform you that the BIN listed on your Prime Rx card printed incorrectly. The correct BIN is 019363.
So I wrote the corrected number on my card, not that I will ever use it:
Although the BIN (whatever that stands for) is a numeric value, it’s not treated as a number by whoever reads it. I’d lay money down that the source code’s formatting string changed from
%06d or the equivalent in whatever fancy language they use nowadays.
The Social Security Administration sent me an email telling me to check a corrected version of a statement they sent a few months ago. Unfortunately, attempting to do so while writing this post produces a heads-up notice:
We apologize for any inconvenience accessing my Social Security. We are aware of some technical difficulties and are working on them at this time. We appreciate your patience as we work to solve the problems as quickly as possible.
Attempting to sign on seems to proceed normally, until this technical difficulty popped up:
There has been an unexpected system error.
Your login session has been terminated. For security reasons, please close all of your internet browser windows.
The first statement put my nearest Social Security office 130 miles away in Wilkes Barre, PA. The corrected statement put it back where it belongs, in the hot urban core of Poughkeepsie.
Perhaps an off-by one error in the database lookup?
As far as I can tell, the world now depends on software nobody can understand or control.