Absolutely nothing happened yesterday at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, in response to an error report sent by Syracuse University anthropology professor Doyle Peters from his 2004 IBM ThinkPad second-generation laptop. It started like any other day for Peters; he was updating his gradebook to reflect the new test scores from his latest exam. Just as he was finishing the job, Peters was abruptly met with a fateful error message: “Microsoft Office Word has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.”
“I was furious, because I was literally one grade away from finishing the spreadsheet,” Peters explained. “Sure, I could’ve saved my progress along the way, but honestly, who thinks of that?” The error message concluded with an option for Peters to send an “error report” to Microsoft. As explained by the subtext of the message, submission of an error report would help Microsoft improve their software coding to ensure the problem would not be encountered again. Peters pondered for a full minute, alternately fixating his attention on each of the two buttons that glowed vibrantly before him on his six-year-old computer’s partially cracked LCD monitor: “Send Error Report” or “Don’t Send.”
“I wanted them to address the issue so I went ahead and sent the error report,” said Peters. “I even took a quick glance at it myself, but it appeared to be nothing but a jumbled mess of incomprehensible HTML coding. But I’m sure someone at Microsoft will understand it, and eventually get back to me with a solution or some kind of patch to fix the problem.” Peters was also consoled by the fact that error reports are treated as confidential and anonymous ““ “I don’t want those guys going through my gradebooks while they’re meticulously diagnosing whatever bug or glitch I ran into.”
Doyle Peters’ error report is currently lost somewhere in cyberspace and has yet to be opened or even acknowledged by anyone, anywhere in the entire universe. Peters was last seen refreshing his Hotmail inbox waiting for a response from a Microsoft employee.