Filed Under: Crazy Shit My Insurance Provider Does

My employer recently changed our insurance plans around because we’re big enough now to manage our own insurance rather than use a third party co-employer. We actually have nearly identical plans with the same provider, Blue Shield of California. A limitation with their website requires me to register a new account to use with the new insurance plan. The stabby part of that is usernames are based on e-mail addresses. I have to use a different e-mail address which is annoying but at least they support the Gmail plus sign trick.

I’ve been getting e-mails that claims are ready for me to view on the site. When I log in, there are no claims. I finally sent a quick support request to the BSCA website technical team mentioning the creation of a second account and that I haven’t seen any claims come through yet.

Several days pass.

I was about to call the customer service team and then I see this come into my e-mail box. At first glance it looks like a shitty spam.

2017-10-17_18-57-44.png

I decide to click on it.

2017-10-17_19-01-14.png

A fax over e-mail? I understand I can have a fax number tied to an e-mail account but in this case it looks like it was “faxed” directly to my e-mail address.

It gets better.

2017-10-17_19-02-07.png

Somehow my insurance company doesn’t even have my phone number. I get how that could happen – maybe the data export from my employer missed it. But then how about e-mailing me back?

Instead of e-mailing me someone took the time to print out a letter, scan it, and then send it to me via a fax system. Notice how the letter states “Please do not reply to this email” since the responses aren’t monitored. 🤔

Looking at the second page it gets even more hilarious.

2017-10-17_19-03-06.png

There’s my original request as an e-mail.

You really have to wonder what sort of screwed up business processes had to misfire in order for this to be the most efficient way to get in touch with me.

Professionalism & Kerning

kern | kərn
verb [with object]

  1. (usually as noun kerning) adjust the spacing between (letters or characters) in a piece of text to be printed.
    • make (letters) overlap.
  2. design (metal type) with a projecting part beyond the body or shank.

photo

When I saw this poorly kerned sign in a doctor’s office I suddenly became less trustworthy of their ability to perform as medical professionals.

Today I Climbed a Mountain

I did something amazing today. I climbed a freaking mountain.

I’m at the Automattic annual Grand Meetup in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. I went on a hike with several of my coworkers up Blackcomb Ascent Trail. This was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I made it.

Time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Distance: 8mi

Elevation Hiked: 3,900ft (1,200m)

What is Your Definition of Success in Life?

successful |səkˈsesfəl|
adjective
accomplishing an aim or purpose

How do you define success or if you’re successful in life? To some success is defined by their monetary reward or compensation. To others success is defined by the number of children they’ve raised. Success could also be defined simply as living a life you enjoy.

Most likely once you’ve defined what success is, you’re in a state of non-success. Success is something you still want to achieve. The problem with labeling yourself as not yet successful has the connotation though that you are the opposite of success – which is failure. This boolean expression is a logical falsehood. Humans are always striving to be successful at life or individual tasks. If you don’t reach your definition of success I’d rather re-evaluate the definition than give up and declare failure.

So if success is arbitrary or loosely defined, why bother defining it? Going through life without a goal or something to aim at can be hard to handle. I’m not suggesting we all develop a 20-year plan but at least consider what big things you want to accomplish in the next few months. When you’re sitting around the house bored or aimless your goals can provide some clarity.

Who cares about goals if you’re accountable only to yourself, right? Well, there’s the rub. Make yourself accountable. Tell someone your goals. Feel an obligation to follow through by getting someone else energized about these goals. While they’re not going to beat you over the head to reach the goals it’ll provide a sense of urgency or priority. This is one reason I used to love being in college – accountability.

Start off small if you haven’t ever considered what success means to you or if you’ve never set a goal before. Maybe that goal is to walk a mile over lunch or to volunteer for a social function. Whatever it is make the first goal something you know you can achieve with a reasonable amount of effort and time. Once you get in the groove of goal-setting, start setting longer-term goals and wider definitions of success.

Vicious Cycles – A Stop Animation Film

My brother recently sent me this video and reminded me how much we thought it was funny as kids. Turns out that film got me interested (for a while) in stop animation. I created a couple hours of stop animation shorts with my friends and brother. Too bad I don’t have that footage any more.

Vicious Cycles was created in 1967 by Chuck Menville. Its production value is simple by today’s standard but it still is hilarious.

 

Stop being a butthole about what tech you hate

I’m attending an awesome conference this week and I’ve been seeing a trend that I want to address.

 

On more than one occasion I’ve noticed people bad-mouthing a particular technology they’ve deemed as being inferior. Specifically I’m addressing the number of speakers and panelists bad-mouthing WordPress. On more than one occasion WordPress has been called (and I’m paraphrasing) crap and useless.

 

As a full-time mobile developer I do not develop on the PHP side of WordPress. I barely know how to create a plugin even after working four years at Automattic. I personally do not have a drive to learn WP dev beyond what I need to accomplish my job. Just because I don’t use WP directly and only the APIs doesn’t mean I don’t have respect for it and the entire community of developers and volunteers behind it.

 

Marginalizing an entire development community, especially at a polyglot tech conference, is a shitty move. Given that I work for Automattic and WordPress pays the bills it really hurts hearing someone call what you’re working on useless and irrelevant. I guess 28% of the web on WordPress isn’t really great (/sarcasm).

 

The reality is you’re not perfect. Your code is crap, just like mine, and everything we did in the past is never as good as what we’re working on now. We live in an ecosystem of technologies – learn to love everything that is tech. You wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the foundation of what’s considered legacy. Your perspective is ultimately skewed to what your personal experiences have been – understanding others have valid experiences as well makes our world more diverse and inclusive.