THE FUNNIEST COMPUTER GLITCH – EVER

This hasn’t been a funny year, so I probably needed a good laugh. I didn’t expect the laugh to come from a wild and crazy computer glitch.

Generally, computer glitches are not funny. They make me crazy and I wind up screaming first at the computer and later, at some poor helpless tech adviser who doesn’t know anything and can’t help me because well, she doesn’t know what to do.

Usually, Audible.com has excellent customer service. They were excellent before Amazon bought them and they have continued to have great service. But the thing is, I never actually needed technical support from them. At most, I wanted to return a really boring or badly narrated book and needed to get back my credit or refund.

Yesterday morning, after my son called at 8 in the morning — with good news — I figured I’d go back to sleep for a couple of hours. Except the phone started ringing with people who wanted to know if we owned a property in Boston.

“No,” I said, “We do not own any such property.” We used to live nearby, but that was 21 years ago, before we moved here. The phone kept ringing. I’m assuming whoever does own the property is trying to sell it and I’m taking a wild bet that it’s the other guy with the same name as my husband. There is one. He has not only the same name, but the same spelling and he has popped up before. He was a nuisance to Garry in the past and apparently still is, albeit indirectly.

Now that I was wide awake, I figured I’d listen to a new book. Except I couldn’t get any of them to download to my Kindle. I absolutely hate the new format they’ve forced on my Kindle. No one asked me, but it’s a pathetic interface which manages to be too simple for the functionality of the device and very limiting to a user — at the same time. Initially, I figured it must be the fault of the format and they had “fixed” it again. But that wasn’t it. Something else was wrong.

I gave up and decided to chat. The chat turned into a phone call. I explained the problem to the first person and she transferred me to another woman. She listened and transferred me to a third woman who managed to help me upload the books, but there was still something wrong. It’s like when your computer is acting weird, you just know something’s wrong. You don’t know what’s wrong, but something is going on. You haven’t found it — yet — but you know it’s there.

Later in the day, I went into Amazon’s “Contents and Devices” to see if something weird was going on in my audiobook library.

There sure was! It was stuffed with copies of the New York Times. Their daily Audio Digest. I don’t mean a few copies. It was thousands of them and my library had leapt — overnight — from 2,050 books to more than 4,000 books. Even considering I’ve been a member of Audible.com since 2002, that’s a pretty big leap in size. So what happened?

A bit of investigating and I realized I had every single copy of the New York Times Audio Digest which was an audio summary of the every newspaper from 2021 through 2006. I called Amazon.

She couldn’t see the New York Times digests but she could see the shadows of something filling my library. There were too many books, even considering I’ve been a member for 20 years. She had me switch browsers and computers, but the problem remained. I had, by then, tried deleting as many as I could. I had deleted all of 2021, 2020, and 2019. There seemed to be an infinite number of the audio digest. I had a deranged image of me sitting in front of my computer, deleting those digests until death finally took me away.

As soon as she was able to see the digests, she realized it was an Audible issue and not a Kindle malfunction. She transferred me to someone at Audible who really knew her stuff. A few minutes later, she had deleted all the digests. There were, in fact, 2,000 of them. She explained that it was a new feature but maybe they’d gotten a little carried away.

A new feature.

I said: “Who could possibly think uploading 2,000 audiobooks into my library was a good idea?”

She said she’d suggest that it was an idea whose time had not yet come. I pointed out that at 74, I wasn’t going to live long enough to read 2,000 digests of the New York Times. Not that I don’t like the Times. I do and I subscribe to it, but I can’t imagine wanting to listen to all the news since 2006.

That was when I started to laugh. She retracted that it was intentional and said it was a glitch. I don’t know if it was someone’s great idea gone wildly awry or a genuine glitch. I think it was a great idea gone awry and I hope that, if nothing else, I may have discouraged them from doing this again.

I said: “OMG, couldn’t they at least give it a separate department? Like, say, ‘audio news digest’ rather then stuffing 2,000 books into my library — and making it impossible to find anything because I’ve got 2,000 audio digests filling up every bit of space in my library.” I started to laugh and I couldn’t stop.

I told her that this was by far the funniest thing that had happened to me since the beginning of the pandemic and it was going to make a great post.

“I’m sure it will,” she said. Dryly. I notice they did NOT send me a copy of the chat which they normally would do. I think they were afraid I’d write about it. But I’m writing about it anyway because it was hilarious. Whether it was a glitch (a 2,000 book glitch?) or an idea that didn’t work out as planned, it was the funniest moment since the pandemic started nearly a year ago.

In the end, I didn’t have to spend the rest of my natural life deleting copies of the New York Time Audio Digest. Maybe this will discourage them from making grand gestures without at least asking the user if it’s okay.



Categories: Anecdote

33 replies

  1. Next time tell them to download some money into your bank account.

    Like

  2. Fifteen years worth of old news would be about as useful as a clockwork orange.

    Like

  3. The Kindle on my Asus tablet would not take 20 books, much less 2000. I think the thing would have exploded when I turned it on.
    Since I work at home, I feel free to yell at my computer whenever there is any sort of glitch. I have had plenty of problems with my work Outlook since mid-December and have kept several IBM tech guys busy on and off since then. It’s not my internet. One IBM guy said mine was faster than his. I guess that is sort of amusing.

    Like

    • There are internet issues EVERYWHERE in the U.S. We don’t have enough servers and compared to Europe and Australia, we have very slow service, too. You’d think they be making some kind of plans to fix it, but nope. No one wants to go head-to-head for all the tech companies who want to offer what they offer at the highest possible prices.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This explains why, for previously no good reason I can no longer download books from my Audible Book library onto my faithful MP3 player.
    Audible has taken a ride to Glitchville and might not be coming back?

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    • Call them. They will fix it. That’s why I think it was someone’s “great idea” gone wildly awry. I’m sure they meant well, but what an awful idea!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes Audible often ‘mean well’ but somehow…
        They try to discourage us Brits from phoning, and ask us to send an e-mail.
        I did so.
        I had such a nice, swift, polite helpful reply.
        But didn’t have the heart to say ‘Tried that already. It don’t work’.
        Ah well, I will keep on tinkering

        Like

        • Check “contents and devices” in Amazon and see what’s there. If you see that your library is now stuffed with books you didn’t order, that’s how you’ll know what’s going on. Those 2000 copies of the New York Times Audio Digest didn’t show in my Audible Library OR on my Kindle, but they did show up in “contents and devices” both on my PC and my Mac and in any browser I used. The problem was, they were invisible to Audible — and the first three people I talked to didn’t know enough to sift through and find the real problem. The Kindle specialist at Amazon DID finally find them.

          It wasn’t easy. The digests were invisible to her until she ran a bunch of programs and THEN, finally, they appeared. After that, she knew it was actually an Audible issue and transferred me to someone who knew what she was doing. She fixed the problem in a couple of minutes, including my introduction/explanation followed by hysterical laughter.

          In the end, we didn’t do it by phone, though I had been on chat and then they called me on the phone. Three techies who seemed to know less about computers than me. I used to know more, but I’ve been retired for more than 10 years and a lot has changed. Still, I know how software is designed and I know you can’t stuff 2000 audiobooks into a file and expect everything to work like it should.

          I use chat mostly. This isn’t because it’s easier. I do it because otherwise I get apoplectic and start screaming. My husband said I was going to have a stroke, so this is how I keep my brain from exploding.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Your experience makes mine rather mundane and sort of ‘Oh dear…Tut-tut’.
            I can listen to my books via the Audible app on my phone, but I miss my 2008 Philips MP3 player doing the job (My wife bought it as a Christmas Present)

            Like

  5. I still don’t understand why you don’t want to read 15 years worth of the NY Times and relive all of those moments. lol, that was some glitch. Or some great idea gone horribly wrong. Surprise! Guess what we did, just since you are such a great customer?

    Like

    • I appreciate the enthusiasm, but that was a LOT of news. I started deleting, but there was an endless supply of them. Around the middle of 2018, I quit. It was very funny, but not funny enough to spend the rest of my life trying to delete them. I figured they had tools i didn’t have — and I was right. She made them all go away in under 30 seconds.

      I don’t think I’d live long enough to listen to that many copies of the New York Times, but I could try. Maybe I would become the official New York Times historian or get into the world records as having consumed more of their news than anyone who ever lived.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. so funny for so many reasons

    Like

  7. That’s the problem with all the tinkering these companies keep doing. They don’t seem to know what they’re doing, or how to fix their own errors… Never had one that made me laugh, though…

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    • What I found hilarious was that anyone would think that dumping that many audio books into my library might be a good idea. The Kindle used to be a useful device, but they have so constricted its value that except for reading or listening to books, it’s useless. Talk about developmental overkill!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It sounds such a crazy idea!

    Like

    • It was very funny. I can’t imagine having enough hours left in my life to read that much news, even when well written. And fifteen YEARS of it? That’s a LOT of news. That’s a lot of drive space, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know, it’s crazy. Sometimes something touches our funny nerve and we go into peals of laughter. While the other person may not even get the joke.

        Liked by 1 person

        • She got the joke. I think she was embarrassed that it had happened, but you just can’t stop a writer with a sense of humor. Besides, she fixed it.

          It just took me a while to figure out was going on. I just KNEW something was wrong, but they couldn’t find it, so I had to track it down. Good thing I know something about computers.

          Since Amazon bought Audible about 10 years ago, there’s Audible.com where you buy the books and you have a library there. You can listen to snippets and read reviews, browse new books.

          But you ALSO have an audiobook library on Amazon. Amazon has libraries for all your subscriptions — music, books, audiobooks, magazines — any subscriptions. You can buy books on Amazon and the automatically link them to Audible and anything you buy on Audible also appears on your library on Amazon. These newspapers didn’t SHOW in my Audible library or even on the library on my Kindle. Even had I wanted to read all the news for the past 15 years, I had no way to listen to them because they existed, but they didn’t “really” exist. They were shadows in a virtual world.

          Liked by 1 person

          • It was lucky indeed that you caught it. Otherwise you’d still be on call with audible!

            Like

            • I was getting desperate. Those 2050 audiobooks were collected over nearly 20 years and are my ‘real’ library. My close vision is pretty bad and I can’t read a lot of text. I can manage magazine articles and most blogs are short enough, but a whole book? It has been years since I could focus on a page for more than a chapter. Even then, the type needs to be pretty big, which is why I gave up paperbacks and bought only hardcovers, but even they stopped working for me. I’m not blind and with glasses, I have 20-20 distance vision and I have computer glasses so I can usually read the screen.

              But close vision? Technically, I can read without glasses but really, I can’t. So I listen and I love my audiobooks. If I was not able to use them, it would be a massive loss of money — I PAID for those books — and a terrible personal loss.

              Liked by 1 person

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