Software Does Weird Things

Two odd things today that made me lulz to myself.

Twitter, allows you to send direct messages to yourself. I found this out accidentally in the Mac client and confirmed it via the web app. See for yourself.

Then later in the day, I got an automated report from our internal telecommunications management system that Rich (@rmanalan) had saved me $0.04 on conferencing in February. For background, these reports are sent to managers and employees each quarter, detailing how much was spent on mobile and conferencing.

Rich hasn’t worked for me since he left for Atlassian (@atlassian) last August, but being the rockstar that he is, apparently, he’s still a profit center.

Anyway, software is hard.

Find the comments and add your software oddities.




  1. “Rich hasn’t worked for me since he left for Atlassian (@atlassian) last August, but being the rockstar that he is, apparently, he’s still a profit center.”


  2. The first thing that came to mind was something that happened many years ago. One year I faced a large income tax bill and couldn’t pay it all at once. The IRS said that I could make payments on the amount until the tax bill was satisfied. Then the rep told me that I’d be getting a nasty letter from the IRS every month, which I should just ignore.

    I don’t know about Rich’s four cents, but the “DM yourself” issue and my IRS issue show that software truly IS hard. It’s hard to anticipate every possible scenario in software – the Twitter folks apparently never asked the question “what if someone DMs themselves?” and the IRS folks never thought to account for payment plans in their software.

    And even if you could account for every conceivable scenario, would you want to take the time (money) to test for all of them? It’s a balancing act.

  3. Definitely. Re. the IRS, I’m sure those two systems don’t (and never will) talk to one another and making them do so would be costly, to your point about money. 

    There are always corner cases, but in a system like Twitter, I’m sure they ignored that use case early and never revisited it. Not really a bug anyway and certainly not something that would cause panic.

    The telco report is slightly different. It shouldn’t be difficult to stop that email for people who don’t even work for the company anymore. I suspect there is an integration issue there.

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