A somewhat inspiring story from the Internets

Earlier this year, after researching available devices and software, I made the switch from paper planning to electronic. I am currently using an iPod touch with WebIS’s “Pocket Informant” app. It duplicates what I was doing with the paper planner perfectly, backs up to online programs, and I am now a total convert to the electronic Way.

Well, there was a little snag this weekend.


It seems that – and I hope I’m explaining this correctly – an expiration date of Jan. 15 was written into the beta release code and not removed, causing the app to open up a Safari page on the iPod instead of opening itself. Not a crash per se; you just couldn’t get to it. Nothing was lost. (I should explain that this would be a 45-minute problem with any other smartphone, but Apple insists on approving all new releases, including bug fixes, so we can’t get his fix until it winds its way through the Apple system.) By the time I found out what was happening, the guy who runs the company, Alex Kac, had set up a page that opened in the Safari browser explaining what was going on and taking “ownership” of the error in the most direct language possible – something like, “This is a royal screwup and Electronic Cigarette I accept full responsibility.”  The page then directed you to their Forums page, so you could discuss the royal screwup with other PI users.

Well, since then, 22 pages of discussion have accumulated. Users have sent Alex translations of his explanation/apology in French, German, and Spanish, so that he can provide the information to international users. Two or three different workarounds were suggested, the latest so simple and brilliant that even I can put it to use.  And with only a few exceptions, everybody has offered sympathy to Alex, stoic acceptance of the problem (“Hey, shit happens”) and sincere congratulations on his honorable handling of the situation.

Honestly, it brings a tear to the eye. One user compared it, accurately, to the plotline of It’s a Wonderful Life. The takehome lesson is of course Alex’s courageous refusal to obfuscate or pass the buck about the mistake. But I am also inspired by the little IS “community” coming together to help and encourage each other and him. And I think it’s totally cool that some guy in France posted a solution that will enable me to once more reach into my pocket and check off “Give Daisy her pill,” “Recycling out,” and “Auditions 7:30″ with a 21st-century poke of my fingertip on the scratchproof screen.

2 Responses to “A somewhat inspiring story from the Internets”

  1. Sansou says:

    Good read! Thanks for sharing.

    My experience with the web recently wasn’t so good, but I thought I should share it so that others don’t fall prey to the bogus “Microsoft Security Center.” Or the label might have been “Windows Security Center.”

    Whatever it’s called, DON’T accept its assertion that your system has malware and spyware and whatever else it claims. Having had two computers hosed by MS Service Pack 3 last year, I don’t trust even the real deal much less anything that looks like MS but probably isn’t. This thing is NOT Microsoft and its claims of viruses on your computer are some sicko’s attempt to get you to give up your credit card #. It “steals” your files and in some instances even your desktop icons and then informs you that your “subscription” has expired and you must pay $xxx.xx to have your system restored.

    What I saw was the first box with the big alerts and “notice” that I should immediately click ___ to fix the problem. Well, Microsoft has never alerted me before of viruses, so I tried to close the box. That just opened another one, which “strongly recommended” that I click to fix the problem. I immediately phoned a neighbor who’s a programmer. While on the phone with him, I was finally able to escape the loop of opening boxes and shut down my computer. Another neighbor wasn’t so lucky. He took the bait, and it cost him several hours of tech support and $150 to get his system restored.

    Oh, and my Trend Micro didn’t catch this thing, and neither did my neighbor’s Norton Anti-virus program.

    To my knowledge, there’s still no name for this virus/worm/scheme. And I haven’t read anything about it in the news. But FYI, do not believe anything that appears on your screen calling itself either Microsoft Security Center or Windows Security Center.

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