We, the computer scientists and engineers of this nation, are pleased to announce that we have invented actual, real-life portals. However, we are saddened to announce that they are fucking horrible.

We’ve built hundreds of variations of these things, and we promise none are cool. Rent-payment portals, student portals, health insurance portals—just name the portal, and it will suck.

In sci-fi, you might go into a portal and pop out millions of light-years away. We swear we tried to replicate that. But as of now, if you enter one of our portals from the comfort of your own home, at best, you might come out thousands of miles away from your closest accepted primary care physician.

We’ve completely reimagined what a portal can be. Unfortunately, our collective imagination was limited to picturing what dozens of pages of tedious dental information might look like rendered on Microsoft Excel in 1988.

We’re not sure what we’re doing wrong. Our portals successfully transport you to another time, but only to a year sometime between when computers were made of tubes and the last time somebody typed out “www.”

And we haven’t ironed out those kinks where our portals make you provably worse in some well-documented way every time you use it. There are still glitches where you come out with half your GPA or double the prescription drug payments. Sometimes, simply looking into the portal brings your credit score down by a hundred points.

At least we kind of got the aesthetics right. We made sure to use that lime-green color that you see in your classic sci-fi portals. And we set them up to show glimpses of things you’d never thought possible: infinite dimensions of gray rectangles, student debt that pops into and out of existence at will, and search features that are somehow both over-engineered and entirely useless.

We guess the technology just isn’t there yet. Portals are supposed to reveal the secrets hidden behind the curtain of reality. Ours seem to hide eviction notices behind a paywall. Instead of tearing at the fabric of space-time, they bend the laws of basic tenant protection.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re excited about the potential of this invention. We just think it might have been a little hasty to implement into every hospital database, legal system, academic network, and bank server in the world. Now, you have no choice but to enter into our awful fucking portals. Our bad.