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Epic Fails

Zen and the Art of 719 Apple IDs Epic Fails

Zen and the Art of 719 Apple IDs
Stare too long and it starts spinning...

My CV was bare. Completely and utterly empty of experience, of any kind. I knew full well that I wanted to work in my first summer of undergrad, but the chances of that happening were probably somewhere in the negative hundreds of percent with the experience I had, even if I tried to cover it up with my "substantial extracurricular achievements". So, when a family friend offered me a week-long temporary position at his company, I naturally jumped at the chance. The first step is always the hardest, right? I reasoned that this first job would put me in an excellent position to seek more, regardless of what it actually entailed.


The job was data entry. Not the most exciting work in the world, sure, but I was hardly going to complain. Besides, I thought I'd be good at it - I type pretty quickly and I like to think of myself as having an eye for detail. I'm fairly certain that at some point I actually said "what could possibly go wrong?"

Oh, younger me, my sweet summer child. You didn't think this through, did you?

Hi! I'm in charge! Bye!

I rolled up bright and early on Monday morning after an absolutely hideous tube journey, a little sweaty and dishevelled from the predations of the Central Line but mostly feeling calm, fresh and ready to get started. I was introduced to my manager, and promptly told that I wouldn't be seeing much of him. He'd be spending most of the rest of the week dropping into the company's other offices around the UK, and so I'd be working autonomously, with just a quick progress report email at the end of each day to let him know how I was getting on.

This didn't seem too bad, to be honest! I don't usually mind being left to my own devices - it was just a matter of getting into the groove of what I was doing, which turned out to be creating a few Apple IDs for some new iPads the company had just acquired. 719 of them, to be exact. Well, to be honest, that did sound like a lot, but I was sure that once I was into the swing of things they'd fly past, no trouble! I was given the details I was to fill in for each account and left to get on with it.

Falling at the first hurdle...

Alright. Chair adjusted to the right height, fingers getting used to the new keyboard. Logged in, loaded up and ready to go. I opened the form, typed in the first email address on the list, filled in the other answers as I'd been instructed to, and...

"Please enter your payment information."

This wasn't part of the plan. These accounts weren't meant for buying things, you see, just for login purposes on the 719 brand spanking new iPads. I found my boss' number and rang him to explain my quandary, and hopefully get a solution, but the call went straight through to voicemail. Presumably he was underground. So I did some digging of my own, and found out how to work around this screen and register an account with no payment details: I had to log into iTunes without my own account, try to download a free app, and use the prompt from that to create the account.

Okay then. Clunky, but I could work with it.

... and the second

Six or seven IDs in, I got an error message informing me that I was a suspected spambot and had been barred from creating any more accounts for a while. I sighed, rolled my eyes, and tried ringing my boss again. He was above ground again now, but apparently he was busy, and suggested I speak to the IT team I was sharing the office with. I did so, and they suggested I Google it. Top stuff.

A bit more searching and I discovered that the only way to break the ban was to phone Apple and get the IP address manually whitelisted. It took a while, but between us we managed to do it, and I was able to get back into the swing. I was soon wishing I hadn't.

The procedure

The process of creating an Apple ID is surprisingly awkward, and comes across as even more so when you have to do it on repeat. Here's a brief summary of what I had to do for each one:

  • Try to download the free app that's required to create the account without paying
  • Wait through a ten-second screen advertising the thing you're currently doing
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the terms and conditions (they're long!) so that the "accept" button activates
  • Enter the email, and the password, twice
  • Choose three security questions from dropdowns that only work when they feel like it, and enter the requisite answers
  • Enter a date of birth, then click through to the next page (another irritating loading time)
  • Enter a fake address and phone number and get yelled at because you got the divide between "area code" and "contact number" wrong
  • About one in twelve times, get an "unknown error" that forces you to restart
  • Finally click "finish" and wait around a minute to get a validation email
  • Load up whichever one of the 719 throwaway inboxes you just used and find the email
  • Click the link, and refresh the page because it probably didn't load properly the first time
  • Enter the username and password again
  • Repeat.

Bruised but unbowed

Somehow, I got there. A combination of awesome audiobooks and my mediocre music taste (when I could hear it over the guy at the desk next to me blasting Radiohead - not even anything good like The Bends, it was Kid A) kept me moderately lucid as I slogged through ID after ID, and I actually finished slightly ahead of schedule, just before lunch on Friday. The company enlisted me to help out with moving some boxes in the afternoon, which was pure, unbridled euphoria compared to what I'd previously been doing with myself.

The following month, Apple updated iOS so that you didn't need an Apple ID to use a device.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Image courtesy of sunoray.com

Zen and the Art of 719 Apple IDs

Zen and the Art of 719 Apple IDs

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