Did you ever play that game “Bureaucracy?”

Did you ever play that game “Bureaucracy?”

It was a text adventure game created by Douglas Adams that my brother and I spent many, many months playing in our youth. My brother was the expert, and I would just sort of sit there and watch. Little did I know just how useful that game would come to be.

I’m working on a project right now that’s just about to launch. Names of the innocent and guilty have been changed. This is what happened when we went to launch the site last night…

  • Website ready to launch. Need to change DNS servers to make this happen. Changing DNS servers requires logging in with domain registrar.
  • Tech Guy doesn’t know username or passwords at the domain registrar. Filled out one of those little “forgot your username or password?” forms, assumes Client received information and passed it to me. Tech Guy assumed wrong.
  • Client emails me this morning from an unusual email address, saying he can’t log into his regular email, the password is broken. Don’t know why. This means that any new requests for that domain info are probably sitting in the email box that can’t be accessed.
  • Try to figure out who is the email host for the inaccessible email address. Client does some deduction, finds it. Figures out that this host has wrong credit card on file and has disabled the email. Tries to contact billing dept. at email host, but they are only open Monday through Friday. (It’s Saturday.) Tells me this.
  • We poke around the control panel for the site but don’t know Client’s logins for the control panel. Click link that says “forgot your password?” which sends and email with the login info. EXCEPT WE CAN’T ACCESS THE EMAIL.
  • I’ve had dealings with this email host before and know that there’s a secret tech support number that can be called. Start digging around for it. Can’t find it.
  • Remember that an ex-client from years ago used same email host and had the secret tech support number. Wonder if ex-client still has same account passwords? They do! Dig around their support and find the super secret number. Call.
  • Explain to Tech Support Guy the situation. He cheerily tells me I can update the credit card information via the control panel. I take a very deep breath and explain that we can’t get into the control panel.
  • We determine that the email host has an old, bad email address on file. I want to change this. He wants to verify the identity of Client before proceeding.
  • Conference in Client. Tech Support Guy asks for the old, bad credit card info. After jumping through a bunch of hoops, we cajole Tech Support Guy into changing the email address and sending the login information.
  • Client is able to restore email access within the hour, but back to the domain problem: there are no emails with login information waiting for him.
  • Domain people have an old bad email address on file. Via magic, Client finds old, bad login information. Sends it to me.
  • I login. Change domain. Site begins to launch.

My deep-breathing has been perfected.