The Joys of Software Support

This week’s Technobile column in the Guardian has Kieren McCarthy delivering a few well-aimed barbs at the so-called "support" offered by computer companies. He also takes some hefty swipes at the "support" forums inhabited by geeks who either dismiss queries with irrelevant opinion ("using Windows? What a loser, you should get a Mac") or who reply with technobabble that confuses the poor questioner even more.
I have to say that sometimes I have found a workable reply to one of my questions in these forums, but often searches are fruitless. Part of that is down to the fact that I’m often to be found trying out beta software. And despite what some commenters have said here recently, I do understand that beta usually means bug-ridden. But when the bugs are so obvious, one sometimes wonders why the software isn’t called an alpha release…
I’ll leave you with an example of a bug I came across yesterday when I decided to try out the RSS capabilities in the beta 2 release of Internet Explorer 7. I imported my list of RSS feeds from my trusty news aggregator (RSS Bandit) into IE7, and sure enough, all the feeds were present and correct. Well, my hierarchy of categories was lost and I just had an alphabetical list of 300 feeds – not very useful (hint to the IE7 developers). But when I tried to access any of the feeds, I got a file download security warning, so in effect, the RSS capability is useless. I see I’m not the only one who has this problem, but so far I haven’t found a solution to this. Oh well, time to delete the feeds (which I have to do one by one, on 300 feeds – another hint to the IE7 developers: batch is your friend). Back to RSS Bandit…

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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