Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mid-week observation: A bizarre and disappointing redirect

As my spring break (post-Easter) continues, I would like to point out bad news for me on a personal level, and an unusual way I found out about it.

Those of you who have seen Jennifer's part of the biography pages know that I have been using this link to represent Brandy Barefoot, whose face I have used to represent her.  This is a real person who lives in south central Alabama, not the Brandy character I have, who is portrayed by Benson, NC resident and UNC Wilmington student Amanda Barefoot.  There will be a quiz on this.:)

The link is a heartwarming story about how "Alabama Brandy" received a kidney transplant from Aaron Strickland, a fellow member of her church, after no one in her own family was a match.  It was posted and published by WSFA, a television station in Montgomery, AL which is the NBC affiliate (although as I remember no video was posted).

I wanted to credit the web link for my upcoming picture book, but when I typed up that link in the address bar, it was redirected here.  What makes it bizarre was the contents - a bunch of upcoming events in and around Montgomery.  There is no mention of the file or the page not being found, except for the "404" code in part of the address.

I can only speculate that the unusual page is a result of the station and its web design partner, WorldNow, wanting to soften the blow of bad news.  If so, this would not be a first.  Two more examples:
  • Type up one of Belinda's doll's names (Boogerberger, MacSmelliefoote etc.) into Ancestry.com.  Notice how the result comes up that they could not find any "good matches."  Now, I've been to Ancestry.com for a long time, and even have a limited free membership, and I can recall when the same "search" landed on a page saying that there were no matches.
  • DirecTV offers a feature called GameSearch to be used if a national or regional telecast of a sporting event is blacked out.  Sometimes, this occurs because of local exclusivity; if so, it tunes to the appropriate channel.  But if it can't be seen locally at all, another message is generated that ends, "...but we'll keep searching."  This is absolutely dumb, as we all know the software can search forever and nothing will change.  (Aside: The message is a dumb as DirecTV's ad campaigns, which embarrasses me personally since I'm a subscriber.  Fire your ad agency and get a new one, guys!)

By the way, I entered their names and "kidney transplant" into the search engine in various combinations and found no results.  So sadly I assumed that at some point in the last few months, WorldNow simply purged the article.:(  Oh, well, I was able to save the accompanying picture to my hard drive, and you can see it on the right hand side of this page.

UPDATE: According to her Facebook page, "Alabama Brandy" had a follow-up treatment on March 13 - my 42nd birthday - at UAB Medical Center in Birmingham, AL.  Otherwise, she has lived a normal and healthy life for the last two years with her husband, Graham.

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