Sunday, December 23, 2012

ServiceOntario Website -- Ugh!

The words "service" and "government" should probably not be used in the same sentence. There's always a noticeable drop in service level between a government agency and an entity that needs to care whether you like them or not, e.g., Amazon.

ServiceOntario is no different.

I just spent 20 minutes dutifully and obediently going through the screens to set up a ServiceOntario ID so I could have the privilege of having my info sent electronically rather than through the mail -- all this to circumvent yet another government agency -- Canada Post.

I go through at least half a dozen screens, get whacked at least two or three times on my password choice, then am required to submit at least four (4!) personal identifier questions -- more security questions than a bank -- get through all of this, agree to the final terms, hit enter and... nothing.

I hit Help and then and only then am informed that the website only supports two browsers, and, unlucky me, mine is not one of them.

I obediently and submissively switch over to Firefox -- Amazon never makes me do this -- and try again. I know, I know, I must be a masochist.

"Getting started with My Account is simple and free." No, it is not. How about, "This is going to be a needlessly complex, convoluted bother"?

I key in the requisite information and get this error message:

Mandatory Password Recovery Info
  • This ID Recovery Key is already used. Please enter another value.
* Required input completed

Huh? "enter another value" and "required input completed" -- which is it?

And how can the recovery key ID already have been used when I just entered it?!

I try, try, and try again, but nothing works.

If you cancel the registration process now, your ONe-key ID will not be created.
Until you complete the registration and sign the Terms and Conditions of Use, you will not be able to use the ONe-key ID to access the ONe-key enabled services.
To confirm that you want to cancel this process, select Yes. To resume the registration process, select No.


I will try ONE MORE TIME.


Bail again.

One more time.

I finally realize part of the problem -- the error message is nowhere near the field that actually needs to be corrected. I have been trying to correct the field immediately below the error message. Recovery key ID and personal ID questions all look, sound, and mean the same thing to me the novice user.

For the ID Recovery Key I enter something like "I really have no clue what this recovery key is", because, really I don't. I copy/paste to re-enter it.

The system likes it.

I'm in.

Now that I'm registered, I go to the screen where I enter my licence plate and driver's licence and get signed up for automatic mailing. Seems to me we could have just started there -- what's your name, licence plate, and driver's licence ID?

An hour of my life, irretrievably gone.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

UPDATE: I just signed up for online access to my Priority Pass, an airport lounge access card. They required me to enter my Priority Pass ID, the password they provided, a new password -- they accepted my "lame" alphanumeric one, and my mother's maiden name as an identity question. Then, as they say in bilingual government circles, voila.

Two minutes, max.
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"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"