New Spire Update Doesn’t Live Up To Original Spire’s Malfunction
Editor’s Note: The next column is satirical. It is intended for humorous purposes. All interviews and individuals are fictitious.
The Spire of yesteryear is no more. Sadly, on October 23, 2022, the Spire we knew and loved was removed from its digital reel and replaced with an “updated interface” impostor.
Spire, the crown jewel of the Department of Information Technology and the object of my heart that I have always loved, was the online student portal hosting the University of Massachusetts digital bureaucracy.
Known for its crippling inability to deal with the back arrow and repeated error messages stating “you do not have permission to access this page”, when trying to view your own class schedule, you can always be reassured by Speyer’s consistency in letting us down every semester. .
Oh, Spire – extinct, short candle! Your sweet interface, which seemed to have been coded in HTML by a high school student in 2007, has continued to confuse and disarm me!
I confess that I am sobbing uncontrollably as I write these words. If only Shakespeare were alive today to see this tragedy, he would surely write another philosophical masterpiece in its honour: “Spire is but a walking shadow, a poor gambler, / Who struts and waves its hour on the stage, / And then nothing more is heard. It’s a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Meaning nothing.
I am literally inconsolable at this point.
But how did this tragic update come about?
The Spire saga began late last year when Chancellor Subbaswamy made his annual descent to visit the secret catacombs where UMass keeps its IT department. Upon arriving, he is reported to have pondered a dark floating orb for about thirty minutes, after which he threw off his cloak in a fervent reverie. He went on to prophesy that IT would forge “an arrow to rule them all and bind them in darkness”. With that, he vanished like the fine morning mist, giving no further instruction or explanation.
Assuming they were divinely ordained to develop an update to Spire, the IT department immediately got to work. With over $125 million recently donated to Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences, you can bet the IT department is making fantastic use of that money using about zero dollars.
Moreover, despite a population of young undergraduates coding algorithms that solve topological gradients in the tenth dimension before lunch, the IT department still decided to stick with its programming team – 54-year-old dads who actively use Yahoo! as the search engine of choice.
Like Michelangelo crafting his masterpiece, the IT department spent countless hours painstakingly writing an impressive eight lines of code for the homepage.
The interface prototypes include the best that graphic design releases have to offer. Light-colored text on a light background, Arial eight-point font, and uncentered widgets were all in the theme. Luckily these were just prototypes and never became the actual homepage design, right?
As the clock struck midnight on October 23, we all held our breath as the new update rolled out. With excruciating suspense, I typed in my login details. And then I had to retype all my login credentials and wait for a security code text so I could verify my identity.
Finally, after having to re-enter my login a third time because I accidentally missed the security code, I saw Spire 2.0.
I was outraged at how the new update failed to live up to the beloved incompetence of the original Spire. With working tabs and the ability to use backspace without being logged out, it was a simple parody of what Spire once was.
Campus students can still find comfort in the objectively poor and familiar graphic design of the new Spire. This is a great case study of how enabling transparency settings on an old chapel background image doesn’t make text easier to read.
Additionally, students who regret the feelings of hopelessness and boredom they felt after using the original Spire will find comfort in the fact that the new Spire intimidates them as much as the old one.
By displaying student debt (calculated to the nearest cent) in the center of the new homepage, students can fight their financial anxiety the way nature intended.
The new Spire, while full of feature fixes, still contains many silly little surprises that confuse and frustrate me, just like its beloved predecessor. For example, the drop-down menu that lists “Student Center” as the one and only option just makes sense.
The “Home” icon that when clicking to return to the home page says “you are not authorized for this page” almost makes me cry. I had to click through six different sub-tabs to bring up a calendar view of my class schedule.
Ah, like the good old days. Maybe this new Spire is terrible enough after all.
Kelly McMahan can be reached at [email protected].