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Friday, January 5, 2007

City website (The Sequel)

Just when PT thought the city's website ( couldn't be more embarrassing as the world's window onto our community (see yesterday's post), the website itself proved him wrong.

No, I'm not talking about the Flash movie introduction which is about as fashionable Web-wise as bell-bottom jeans and polyester leisure suits. I'm talking about the Contact Us link at the top of the inside pages of the site.

Clicking on that link opens up a form to send a message to as in the illustration below.

You are not actually sending an email as you normally would. What you are doing is filling out a form which the website captures in a log and forwards as an email to whoever is tending to

Getting the screen below is an indication that the script which runs the input form is working.

You ought to be able to rest assured that the message -- faster than a speeding locomotive, leaping over tall buildings -- is on its way to the person who will read it and tend to it, either by answering the question directly or forwarding the email to someone who can.

All well and good, but within a couple of minutes, PT received the following bounceback indicating the message was undeliverable.

This indicates that the message is undeliverable because is 'over its quota' of messages. But wait! -- as they say in the commercials -- There's more! Along with this bounceback message is a second one, identifying the actual recipient of the intended email -- A. Jollah, the mysterious 'AJ' -- as you can see below.

Now, all this would be harmless enough if you didn't expect the outside world to want to try and communicate with you. (And remind yourself that the website was NOT broken when the current Administration took office. This is a makeover by the Administration of Mayor Robinson-Briggs, paid for with your tax dollars.)

But suppose an
ex-governor was looking to drop a million or so on new digs in Plainfield and had a question or two before putting pen to paper. Or maybe a supermarket like Pathmark or Stop & Shop was interested in the Marino's redevelopment area. What harm could possibly be done by not actually having the message delivered as intended?

Don't believe PT?

You can repeat this experiment in the privacy of your home and get the same results. Click
here to open a pre-addressed email. Put in a little message and send it. Check your mailbox in a few minutes and see what you find. Embarrassing, huh?

-- Dan Damon

P.S. John DiPane, who built and maintained the City's original website until he retired last year, has offered repeatedly to fix the broken 'makeover' website. His phone calls, as they say, are not returned. Does this mean ignorance is bliss?

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Anonymous said...

just let john fix it!!!!!!