TheKey Chronicle

$6 back issues!

Ballpoint Adventures mega-T

Sunday, November 28, 1999


MAN!!! I am going to think MORE than twice the next time I toy with the idea of signing up to beta test a company's software. You may remember a few Bitch Pages ago (HERE!) I went on about how Pitney Bowes, after promising me $25 in free postage, ended up stealing $100 from me via my check card. Well, to be fair, they finally did give me back my money AND let me keep the $100 of postage, their postage meter software erroneously added, which was just about worth the trouble all told. However, their software is so far from being ready for the public it makes Windows 98 look like a well thought out masterpiece.

First off, it demands a screen name and password EVERY time you open the app. It does have a "remember password" check box, but it doesn't work in the beta version. Then, once you type out your destination and return addresses on the virtual envelope, the app proceeds to simply not print the first five characters of the return address. To get around this problem, I inserted spaces in front of my return address. It printed properly then, although it had a problem with the destination address. After printing I get a warning message that reads something to the effect of: "Destination address invalid."

That's all it says.

Does that mean the zip code is wrong? Or does it mean that the software was somehow able to look up the address in some massive database Pitney Bowes has at their server only to not find it? Or, does it simply mean the application is screwed up in some way? I have no idea.

Now, don't you worry--I understand that as a beta tester I am supposed to report these little bugs and I intend to, but doesn't this seem a bit extreme? Shouldn't most of an application's major bugs be WORKED OUT BY THE TIME AVERAGE FOLKS ARE ASKED TO TRY THE DAMN THING OUT?!?!

To top that all off, Pitney Bowes marketing department keeps getting their phone lists late. When I first signed up for beta testing, I got a phone call a couple days later from them asking me to download their software and try it out. Now, why would I NOT do this right away? Why wait? I'm at their site, why should I come back later to DL the app? In fact, I DID ALREADY download it. So, I ignored the phone message. Then, I got another and then another! Finally, they stopped calling. Or so I thought.

About a month later, I got a call asking me to print out a test envelope and send it into Pitney Blows. This was ANOTHER useless call seeing as the APPLICATION MADE ME DO IT BEFORE I PRINTED OUT MY OWN FIRST ENVELOPE!!! So, once again, I ignored the phone message. Then I got ANOTHER call requesting the same damn thing!! I then called up Pitney Bowes and demanded they NEVER CALL ME AGAIN. Which they agreed to do. It seems they have a no-more-calls list. It's nice to know I'm not the only one putting up with their crap.

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