Cortana is really, really bad

I am surprising myself by saying this, but I am becoming a big fan of Microsoft’s new hardware. The Surface Pro is a great portable device, and the Surface Book 2 is shockingly fun to develop on. That’s a topic for another time, and I’ll probably never write it. People get worked up as hell and I frankly just want to have fun with my devices.

Anyway. Cortana is not that. Cortana is trash.

This unabated vitriol o’ mine started yesterday with a little alert from her saying she could track my packages for me. This was on my Surface Pro. “Oh, okay that sounds fine, let’s try it.”

Click on it and you get this screen:

There’s literally no instruction.

Okay fine not really helpful. So I alt+tab back to the browser and find the shipping email for something I bought (a WyzeCam) and then I go back… to what? The window is gone. There’s nothing to alt+tab back to. Shit. The alert offering help is also gone.

Okay, fine, I’ll just ask her to track a package:

No one at Microsoft thought anyone would ever think to try to track a package?

Oh, really? You have NO IDEA WHAT I MEAN? That’s great. You horrible piece of garbage.

Now I’m invested, though, so I want to get some value from all this arbitrary click-clacking-copy-pasting. So, after digging around in Cortana a minute, I find a secondary and then a third navigation item in her menu to manually add packages:

You still have to scroll down to the vaguely titled “Packages”

Jesus this is TERRIBLE so far. Okay fine whatever. I would NEVER do this manually to track a package, but still, I desperately (why?!?!) want to see what the hell it does anyway. So I paste in the tracking link. Big mistake:

Honestly I have no idea why I did this. Stupid.

As, it clearly doesn’t do anything. All the PhD’s at Microsoft cannot parse a querystring in a URL apparently. Great. Okay so I cut off the beginning of the URL and I get a screen that lets me “Add” the tracking number. Add to what? Who knows. I do it, though not before I arbitrarily give my tracked package a nickname. Despite the fact that Windows 10 has full access to my email and can see I am getting a package shipped from goddam WyzeCam in the very first place:

If I don’t add it, how will I know what the hell that huge number represents?!

Awesome! I click “Add” and I just know it’s going to give me some really cool map showing where my package is, where it’s coming from, and all that good stuff. It’s going to dazzle me:

Haha just kidding this feature isn’t a feature at all it provides no discernable value to the end user in any capacity.

Wow. I’m just …. I’m flummoxed. I just don’t understand the UX (or the UI, or anything at all). But, okay, let’s just get the status. To do that, you click on it, right? That will surely “track my package” as it implied in the very first notification card half an hour ago when I started this infernal process.

NOPE! That is a screen that for some reason let’s you edit the fucking tracking nickname, but not see any of the details.

This is by far and away the worst possible way to manage tracking a package. The Product Manager in charge of this feature should be immediately fired. This is horrid. Embarrassing. I want to throw my Surface Pro from a rocky cliff into a churning sea, cheering as it is unceremoniously swallowed into the depths in the lair of Poseidon.

I still have no idea what’s going on with my package — or, well, you know I could look at the USPS site directly in about 5 seconds.