Saturday, July 31, 2010

DrS Gets a Smartphone: Droid Day Three

Janus Strikes Back

I can just hear Janus now, "Call me an obscure god, mortal?  Think you can keep me in my place?  We'll see about that!"

Alright, so I shouldn't have said that.  Day three and Janus took off the gloves.  Remember when I said the Google email accounts downloaded rather effortlessly?  Perhaps I misspoke.  There was a seemingly small problem. The gmail email addresses and my old phone contacts came down in two separate batches so that when I clicked on "contacts" I got both lists combined, with one card for an email address and another for phone numbers.  But when I clicked on "Favorites" I got everyone for whom I had a phone number.  All I wanted to do was blend both lists and remove most folks from the "Favorites" list - since you can't speed dial, the favorites list is your phone call shortcut.  The understanding of the problem is not terribly important - the lesson lies in the route to the solution.

The first level of Verizon tech support figured out how to "join" the cards for the duplicate contacts but couldn't figure out how to "de-Favorite" anyone.  So I was passed along to Verizon Tech support level 2. There I met Dr. Kevorkian.  "We can fix this," he said. "But we must erase all your settings."

"Are you sure?"

"I am sure."


"Then we are jumping in it."

And we jumped in it, losing all my apps, settings, gmail accounts, etc.  But soon we were back to the exact same situation as before vis-a-vis the contacts.  I just had no settings, apps, etc.

"Hmmmm." said Dr. Kevorkian, "Now we are going to Motorola Tech Support."

So we did that for an hour or so until we ended up with a specialist who sounded like she was about 13.

"Hello Robert, I'm Janey!  My screen says you are trying to remove contacts from your favorites list.  Is that correct?"

"Yes, it is."

"Okey dokey Robert.  Do you have your contacts on your screen?"

"Yes, I do."

"Okey dokey Robert.  Please touch a contact and hold your finger on the screen."

"All right."

"Okey dokey Robert.  In a second a menu should pop up.  Did it?"


"Okey dokey Robert.  Is one of the choices 'Remove from favorites"?

"Yes, it is."

"Okey dokey Robert, can you touch that selection for me?"

"Yes."  And I did so.  The favorites star disappeared.

"Okey dokey Robert.  Did that resolve your issue?"

"Yes, it did."

"Okey dokey Robert.  Can I help you with anything else?"

"No, Janey, that was all I needed."

"Okey dokey Robert.  Please call if there is ever anything else we can help you with."

"Okey dokey, Janey.  Thank you very much.  You've been most helpful.

"Okey dokey Robert."

And we hung up.  Elapsed time to solve problem: 2 hours and 35 minutes.

I concede this round to Janus.  But remain amazed by the incredible paradox in the situation.  All of the tech support people I talked with were determined to make sure my problem was solved.  But there was an obvious disconnect between that laudable intention and their ability to access the information - the very simple information - needed to solve my problem.

The first level tech support person actually solved 80% of the problem - describing the process to merge the two cards for each contact.  However, Dr. K. at level two, decided that we had to "rip the guts out of the system" to fix whatever was wrong.  He was wrong, and I eventually realized that he was simply using the old Windows strategy.  Turn it off, reboot, start all over.  Yet, Okey Dokey Janey was able to solve the primary issue in about 45 seconds.

I was struck again by the two faces of Janus.  It is a tool that is sweet, simple and wonderfully effectively when it works.  But when it does not work, it swiftly reveals layers of complexity and confusion that belie the seamless facade of its responsive screen.  It becomes a paperweight with integrated circuitry.

Janus may be an obscure god, but he is by no means simple.

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