Jen’s been wading through the process of filing for an MBE over the last few weeks, and asked me to take a look at some of the paperwork to help her make sense of some of it. We sat down on Sunday to review the state’s directions, which are about as helpful as a wetsuit in the Sahara. Looking for further clarification, I did some google searching and found a page of directions that were supposedly for the same set of applications we were holding, but were just different enough to cause a splitting headache.
What really made me laugh, though, was the online MBE application. I thought it might offer some more clues as to how she should fill out the paperwork. Once I’d selected one of the six inscrutable options offered (guessing it might possibly be the right choice), I landed on an .ASP page loading a Java applet, and from there things got even worse. I was presented with screen after screen of forms that looked just like this:
Seriously, what is that shit? I’ve seen better forms written by first-week HTML students. Even if I knew what I was supposed to be filling out, I wouldn’t know where to put it because half of the field descriptions are behind the field boxes.
For the uninitiated, the whole point of Java is to be able architecture neutral: that is, to “write once, run anywhere.” Therefore, the fact that I’m looking at this on Safari on a Mac should have no bearing whatsoever. The fact that it’s absolutely unintelligible, and that my tax dollars paid some hack to “develop” this fucked-up system makes me especially angry, as both a citizen of this state and as a web developer. This is the kind of crap work that gives my profession a bad reputation, and it’s also the reason small businesses like my wife’s get a shit deal instead of the tax breaks and coddling large corporations enjoy.
That’s just fucking embarassing.