Feeling A Little Scorched

Living in obsolescence.

Earth Date 2012.02.27

Posted by Rich Wheadon | Permalink

In the past year I've had entirely too many companies forcing me into near shutdown. I totally get the need for businesses to be profitable and the fact that I am unable to move forward and slip into the theology of "bigger better newer" buying craziness probably makes me expendable to most businesses. No longer is it acceptable to keep things running until you experience full structural disintegration.

A few recent examples I have experienced:
Burn #1: Moneywell - This money management product from No Thirst Software was the perfect fit for my budgeting style. The client is intuitive and easy to use, mobile apps for the iPhone/iPad are convenient and support was initially tolerable. In the past year the people over at No Thirst have been playing Maverick and forcing users into features and updates that not only are unwanted. . . but increasingly volatile with many users losing data or encountering the need to spent many wasting hours migrating information between mobile and client installs to overcome overly zealous development tracks.

I have no problem with No Thirst desiring to advance their product and give users a really cool and robust experience, but the user needs to be prepared for and want those features. This is all about a migration path that makes the whole experience tolerable. If a software company rebuilds the entire synchronization engine between mobile and standard clients it is not a "bug fix" or "incremental" update! Somehow the folks at No Thirst caved in to some rather influential customer(s) and caused massive disarray for existing customers who were perfectly happy with the software they initially purchased.

Let me describe the 2 times I have now been burned by No Thirst.

Nervous about what was happening but optimistic No Thirst would have some sort of news to help me come to terms with this latest glitch I submitted a support ticket. They actually don't have support tickets, you post a discussion topic and the support team engages on your topic to help you sort out the problem. I entered the ticket and 5 days later (3 business days) I saw other tickets being addressed but no action on mine. At the point I am approaching 1 month since my wife's banking/charge transactions have synchronized with my Mac and therefore I am unable to know where our budget stands and will be unable to reconcile the bank/credit card statements that will be delivered in the next few days.

With the way other Moneywell customers are becoming explosive with defaming and angry posts I think No Thirst is on the edge of needing to just throw in the towel and shut down. You can't play with people's accounting software like it's a video game. We can't handle downtime or lost financial data and obviously the development team over there isn't learning anything about how cruelly they are treating the customer base. We don't care how much of a workload their poor decisions has placed internally. . . we just want our program to work and don't want to have to spend 20 hours fixing our data that No Thirst destroyed.

Software is a risky place to be. If you depend on software then you are at the mercy of vendors on many levels and be sure they have no interest in keeping you in your own comfort zone. If you can develop and support your own digital solution that is good. . . but I suspect the best long term and stable version of finance management is a 20 column paper ledger and full featured calculator.

Burn #2: Canon EOS utility - This program connects directly to a Canon digital camera and allows managed batch import of images to the user's computer. With the introduction of OSX Lion (10.7) Canon failed to do any upfront work in getting the utility ready for that OS release and therefore anyone who updated to Lion lost the ability to use Canon's utility. Even though there are many ways to skin a cat, losing the EOS utility caused me to lose many features I had relied heavily on like automatic image positioning (landscape/portrait) file name manipulation, duplicate file handling and target directory organization.

Canon responded that they were working on getting the EOS utility updated and that there was no ETA on it's release. Fast forward February 2012, 8 months later, Canon released an update to it's EOS utility for OSX 10.7. Yay!


With the new update Canon at the same time decided to stop supporting some camera models. After spending 300.00 to get my Canon EOS Digital Rebel and my Powershot A640 fixed up I find that Canon has decided to leave them (and many other cameras) off of the list of supported devices for the EOS Utility for OSX Lion. This is very bad for me.

I can't find my wife another point and shooter that works well for her. We have test driven Fuji, Nikon, Olympus, Canon and Panasonic trying to find a replacement for her Powershot A640 that suffered a cracked body and stopped working reliably. (would shutdown on it's own for no apparent reason) We purchased a Panasonic Lumix because it had a good feature set and the buttons were workable for my wife, but 8 months after buying it we came to realize it simply was not taking good pictures and we have abandoned the Lumix ZS10 as has Panasonic with a 250.00 retail price drop on it in less than a year. This is why we fixed the A640.

The EOS Digital Rebel has continually taken excellent images and when the shutter failed it was with no hesitation that I paid for the fix rather than purchasing the newer Rebel body styles that have become a smaller form factor and bloated with features I have no interest in. My older rebel is balanced very well between body weight/size and the upgrade EOS lenses I purchased for it, something I would lose with the newer bodies.

But for me, the "best" 2 cameras are now too much of a hardship for Canon to support with the Lion software.

Some of you are thinking "I just copy directly off of the memory card" and it looks like as much as I hate that idea that's where I will be going with my camera imports, I don't like it though.

Burn #3: Honda Motor Co. LTD deleted 1991 Acura Legend clutch flywheels - Without a good flywheel and clutch a manual transmission car is worthless. When my clutch needed replaced on the 1991 Legend I discovered that Acura had discontinued the flywheel. What made matters worse it had just been discontinued around 6 months earlier. Apparently they all sold out of every dealer in the country because we couldn't find one anywhere.

Although I don't like aftermarket parts much I looked for a flywheel and found none. . . none! Curious about this I called Napa and they looked into getting me one. A call back from the sales person yielded the worst possible news, that there are no aftermarket OEM clutch disks because Honda did not release them for aftermarket production!! I could purchase racing flywheels but they started at 550.00 in contrast to the 250.00 I was accustomed to paying for the part.

With the bad news I contacted Acura Customer Care via telephone and spoke with two very nice and genuinely interested in helping out with the dilemma but the end result was just as I had already learned. . . no flywheels. I took this opportunity to share with the person that they needed to make some sort of memo to the record that would get some notice from engineering because the decision to discontinue flywheel production without letting the aftermarket take over was basically totaling every legend that needed a clutch and flywheel.

I did get some feedback from the parts guys that was helpful but yet not at all possible on my budget. They said the newer design flywheel and clutches could be used on my older Legend. . . but at a total cost of 2200.00 as opposed to less than 800.00 which the original clutch set retailed for. No thanks.

Through some more searching I sourced a wholesale ebay vendor that had 3 OEM (Honda boxed) flywheels in stock for my car. I bought one and it arrived in good condition 3 days later. I ended up paying 360.00 shipped for the flywheel and was able to get my car on the road.

I don't think there's a good way of avoiding being burned. I foresee many more opportunities to complain about such things and I suspect you might have some better stories about getting burned.

Keep them rated G if you post them in here please.