There's satisfaction to be had in spades when you solve a tricky tech problem. You beat some warped programmer's labyrinthine mind, and how good is that?
In reality nothing trumps "it just works" because life's too short and you can almost feel the hourly earnings slide as you try one thing after the other, yet the computer continues to say no.
Sometimes you can't avoid wasting life though, like recently when I tried to join Microsoft Teams for a collaboration project.
I've used Teams before. While it wasn't as easy to get going as Zoom or Slack for example, the collaboration software mostly worked for video calls.
This time it was different though, as I was joining a more permanent online group and not just for a video call.
To join, I first had to click on and accept an emailed invitation which took me to a sign-up web page.
I used the email address in the invitation to create an account, naturally. Microsoft's systems then recognised that I had used Teams before and told me to use another address.
That didn't seem like a good idea and I used the email address in the invitation anyway to sign up, as Teams offered that option.
All right, I got an email asking me to click a link to verify that address, and was taken to a Teams page with CAPTCHA to complete the verification. That stands for Completely Automatic Turing test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart, and it's one of the most irritating things on the internet.
Predictably enough, the CAPTCHA system refused to accept my correctly entered characters.
Since CAPTCHA is very good at denying blind and partially sighted people access to web sites, Microsoft and others have added an "audio" button that reads out the distorted characters you're meant to enter.
Sometimes this works, but the Teams CAPTCHA system read out "Track. Happens. Mmm. So furry." in a female robotic voice.
That was totally different from the WWXDQKGG I could see on the screen, and didn't work either. I refreshed the CAPTCHA and this time the system accepted what I typed.
I'm in! Oh wait: don't use your browser; use the Teams app for macOS instead, Microsoft demanded.
Fine, the app it is then, except it wouldn't accept the email address I signed up with. Back to the browser and the Teams page which now had decided that it was the macOS app or nothing.
It's possible that a different browser, installing the full Microsoft software and services stack both ends might have made the above process less painful but it was time to fix another problem: being locked out of my Google account.
Thanks to never-ending phishing and automated hijacking attempts, I first enabled two-factor authentication for my account, and after that enrolled in Google's Advanced Protection Programme for better security. It's good to be as safe as you can be, and APP is free.
It means I use a little Yubico Yubikey cryptographic device, or an internal security key in smartphones, to convince Google that I really am who I say I am and should have access to my account.
Without those keys authenticating you locally on your device and not to a server via the internet, it's nigh impossible to get into your APP and 2FA protected Google account.
I know that for sure, as the Yubikey registered to my account didn't authenticate me on the review smartphone I was setting up. This even though the key was recognised by Android.
As an added nuisance the Yubikey had to be inserted after the password entry or the onscreen keyboard wouldn't pop up so you couldn't type anything.
Using the internal key in an existing Android phone used to work to authenticate on the iPhone but now it didn't. Error messages? None of those: Google's systems won't tell you why things went wrong.
This was bad. It takes somewhere between three to five working days to have Google's support staff help you get back into your account because this is hardcore security right?
The Yubikey worked on a laptop though, and I logged into Google and unenrolled from the APP and disabled 2FA and finished the phone setup with password-only authentication.
I didn't want to be vulnerable and re-enrolled in APP, enabled 2FA and added two Yubikeys to my account. You should always have at least two in case you lose one key.
And look! Now the Yubikey worked on the Android phone I had set up. No idea why it worked now, but I added the Android phone's internal registration key to the Google 2FA.
I was still locked out of Google on my iPhone, as it requires a Lightning port Yubikey which I don't have.
Furthermore, Google's Smart Lock app on the iPhone insisted that the internal key on the Android phone wasn't registered when it was.
Instead I was asked to generate an access code with Smart Lock. Tried it, and was asked to sign in to Google with Smart Lock which ... required a sign-in code for Smart Lock.
No, I didn't start throwing expensive handsets around, because I had the Android device that could authenticate logins and Smart Lock installed on an iPad Pro.
I used the Android phone to approve the Google sign-in via Smart Lock on the iPad Pro.
With Smart Lock on the iPad Pro I then generated an access code for the iPhone. To my surprise that worked.
To be honest, I'm not sure it's meant to let me into Google that way. I'm waiting for feedback on what happened and a perseverance award from Google, but doubt I'll get either.
As for Teams, fingers crossed everybody that I won't have to do battle with that for a while as I need to get some work done.
How do normal people without an excessive amount of devices manage?