blogger calculus

solving the (outer) limit

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

I am not a mathematician, nor do I particularly enjoy solving engineering problems routinely. I do rigorously analyze problems and find my life experience helps me determine what needs to be fixed if not able to do the work myself. Yesterday, after exchanging email with a support technician (a “happiness engineer” in WP-speak), the issue I blogged about yesterday, The Outer Limits, was corrected with my clarification of the issues and him performing the work.

While I am not certain why the software that informs WordPress users a subscription renewal is a needed did not update once payment was made, I am certain that human error (mine) played a role. It may also have been a Microsoft issue in software security protocols (blocked cookies). Or perhaps it is more fundamental than these. Perhaps the software design document (SDD), which describes the software functionality and coding, did not consider, nor implement, a user scenario of paying twice and then requesting a refund for one of the two payments.

Via Wikipedia, a mathematical limit is” the value that a function (or sequence) “approaches” as the input (or index) “approaches” some value”. In my introductory Calculus class in university, I had issues with calculating a limit -the theoretical volume under a curve between two points as the distance between them approaches zero. Asking myself “why” this would be necessary was at the heart of my slow-wittedness. “Why” is not part of the equation mathematics employs though it does solve the “why” something physically occurs. Mathematics may solve the friction properties of a material, or the velocity an object approaches at some point, but not the “why” some idiot would pay twice for an annual subscription unless that is exactly what he wanted. As I got older, and then spent a career in a very technical field, the engineering mindset overlaid the “philosopher” core of my being. To relate it to my issues this past week, that case was not part of the algorithm of the WordPress payment software creators. If you requested a refund, then the payment value approaches zero, and the blogger’s functionality was “limited” by design. Now it seems the philosopher is hamstringing the engineer once again.

While computers are infallible, humans are way more unpredictable.

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