Yes, it’s been awhile. I’m not radio silent, though. I’m just articulating myself in 140 characters or less.
I will start posting more regularly.
Yes, it’s been awhile. I’m not radio silent, though. I’m just articulating myself in 140 characters or less.
I will start posting more regularly.
In case any one is curious, here’s the reply I got from Dan Leibu, CTO of Kobo. They’re definitely owning up to the problems which is nice.
Dear Ms. Schachter:
First and foremost, please let me apologize for the poor experiences you have had in upgrading your Kobo Reader. I’m deeply sorry for them and want to assure that this falls well short of my expectation for the quality of Kobo’s products.
The issues you encountered highlight gaps in both our customer communication and QA processes. Thanks to your feedback we have taken immediate action to close these gaps.
§ The initial upgrade included a major upgrade to the Adobe Reader Mobile SDK. This is the library that we use to support reading of Adobe DRM’d content. As part of this upgrade we were forced by Adobe to change the device fingerprint, which in turn required that our users re-authenticate their content. While we knew about this issue, we did not have any means to effectively communicate it to our customers before they upgraded. We are going to ensure that all future upgrades include appropriate messaging.
§ The second upgrade had a software defect that would cause the same issue to some customers including yourself. This defect should have been caught during our QA but it was not due to a gap in our test plans. We have since extended our testing to ensure smooth future upgrades.
In addition to these changes we have also implemented an extensive Beta testing program. As part of the roll out of new versions of the Kobo Reader software, we engage Beta testers to get early customer feedback and to ensure that the software is solid.
We definitely have not forgotten our Original Kobo Reader users – these are the people who made our business. Before the Original Kobo Reader’s success, we were a much smaller player in the ebooks space, and we have our early adopters to thank for propelling us to where we are today. I hope the release of the new features in 1.8, such as Newspapers, rich content, and access to a full dictionary, help to prove that.
We are committed to rolling out new features on our older devices, and if you are interested would love to count you among the ranks of our beta testers for future firmware updates.
If there is anything else that I can do to make up for these failures please let me know.
We are learning as we grow, and we promise to get better as we learn.
I also got a reply from the director of Social Media who I had emailed at their request. Her email signature expressly forbade me from sharing her words in any public way, which is why you don’t see it here. That said, her reply was quite frustrating so it’s probably better I didn’t spread that around
If you follow me on Twitter or know me in real life you’ve likely heard that I upgraded to the new version of the Kobo Desktop and eReader software. It was an awful experience that resulted in me resetting my unit to the factory defaults. This was particularly aggravating because the same thing happened the last time I upgraded the unit just a few short weeks ago – I had to call tech support then too and they also made me reset the unit.
It’s unacceptable that Kobo would ship two releases with the same bug – I mean, aren’t these sorts of problem reports what help add test cases to our test suites?
In any case, I wanted to share the letter I sent to Dan Leibu, Kobo’s CTO, and CCed to Mike Serbins, the CEO. I did get a DM back from the Kobo twitter account asking me to email my problem to a certain address. I did that yesterday morning, forwarding the letter below and a short email, and have yet to hear back. I put hard copies of the following note in snail mail yesterday afternoon. I wonder what/if I’ll hear back.
December 16, 2010
Mr. Dan Leibu
364 Richmond St West
Toronto, ON M5V 1X6
Dear Mr. Leibu:
I have been a proud Kobo owner since May 31 when I purchased my first eReader from Chapters. Despite numerous Kindle loving friends, including folks that work for the Kindle team, to me the advantage of the open format and the superior Canadian content made the decision to buy a Kobo an easy one. I received many questions from friends about my Kobo, and blogged a review that has been retweeted by several people, including Michael Tamblyn.
I am compelled to write you this letter because of my recent frustrations with your product. They are causing me to regret my decision and seriously contemplate switching readers to a Kindle. You are losing a big fan and vocal advocate.
Twice in the past 4 weeks I’ve been prompted to upgrade my desktop, and shortly thereafter, the eReader software. The first time I embarked on this without hesitation; the upgrade process in June was straightforward and trouble free, I had no reason to believe this would be any different. During the November upgrade, I followed the directions and after the upgrade completed, ejected the reader and turned it on – none of the books would open including the Kobo purchases and ePubs (both with and without DRM). I was quite upset. After a quick search that determined other folks had the same issue, I phoned customer support. A woman took me through several steps which did not correct the problem, and then had me reset my unit to the factory defaults. I was sorely disappointed to have to reset my entire library, but she told me this was the only way to have my device work.
This week I was excited to hear that the new software was out for the first generation Kobo users. I embarked on the upgrade process with some hesitation given my experience in November, but assumed that this upgrade path would have been tested. After all, this upgrade was targeted for first generation Kobo users, and since numerous people had the same issue as me with the upgrade in November I felt confident that the Kobo team would have ensured that this time around this upgrade path was tested – and worked.
Again, I installed the Desktop software and followed the directions to upgrade the eReader. This time, when I unplugged the Kobo I was able to open my books from the Kobo store, but none of the ePub books would open. I called technical support, and spent an hour on the phone with Borden. He was very patient, and took me through the same steps I had gone through in November – trying things like de-authorizing and reauthorizing the computer and reader in Adobe Digital Editions. None of them worked. He told me the way to fix it was, again, resetting the unit to factory settings. This is an unacceptable resolution to the problem.
I work in software, and understand that bugs happen; however, that the same issue should reoccur in back to back releases is unacceptable. Furthermore, one of the biggest selling points for the Kobo is the ability to read ePubs on the device; this upgrade path is one that is clearly supported and should have been tested. If there was knowledge that it would not work, then that should have been documented and users like myself could choose not to upgrade if the cost of the upgrade outweighed the perceived benefits. This also causes me to question whether the first generation Kobo users are being forgotten as your technical team focuses on the newer devices. That would be a serious mistake: it is us first generation users that are the early adopters and your first advocates.
I trust you will consider this feedback when delivering your next piece of software for the first generation units.
cc: Mike Serbins
Moral of the story: I’d strongly caution folks who use Adobe Digital Editions against upgrading their units unless you are prepared to reset to factory settings. I even saw someone on the facebook support page suggest that the factory reset be part of the upgrade install instructions. That’s so not cool.
And I still look forward to traveling with my Kobo and will use it happily (except during takeoff and landing of course). I get to carry 10+ unread books with me! And don’t have to worry about packing space or weight! Wahoo! I just hope I can make up my mind which one to read first so that I actually spend time reading and not just choosing!
Here’s a post about a few iPhone things I would have liked help with upfront.
After I’ve had a few days to play and get apps, I’ll definitely make another post with recommendations. Yes, I know I’m late to the party and lots of folks won’t care. But I know I’m googling for these things, and would like some more current posts on getting started with an iPhone 4 now that the community and apps around the iPhone 4 have had a chance to mature!
For you “experienced” folks, I’m looking for suggestions for a good simple To Do List app, and also an alarm clock (since I need a shorter snooze). Any other suggestions welcome!
When I launched the app and logged into my account I expected for my books to magically appear on the iPhone – or at least be given the option to synchronize my books with my account. No dice.
Time to put on my geek detective hat and explore. I tried browsing in the library to the book I had already purchased. While it appeared Kobo was prepared to let my buy the book once more, I didn’t see any option for downloading the book.
Being a bit of a nerd (and figuring I could cancel before the transaction went through – or call the customer support line and get them to fix things if anything went wrong) I clicked on the Purchase link to an ebook I already owned.
Well, don’t you know it takes me to Safari, thanks me for purchasing (no opportunity to enter a promo code, confirm the total amount of the purchase after tax or anything!) and then starts downloading the book to my iPhone.
But here’s the thing – ALL of my books started to download to the iPhone. And I still haven’t received a receipt from the Kobo store thanking me for my purchase. So maybe that’s the way to get things going after all!
After the books downloaded I opened one and tried to flip through it. I went to the last chapter (the scrolling bar was pretty neat) but when I got to the last page nothing happened. I couldn’t flip to the next one and the the app is now hanging on that page. I can’t figure out how to even pull up the menus to bring me back to my book list.
I also managed to make the app crash six times. I feel like I’m using beta software
Oh well, at least I can still read on the actual reader. But I’m definitely disappointed Kobo doesn’t seem to live up to their promise of giving me a seamless reading experience on any device.
Update: I’ve managed to get back to the book list. The book I was trying out is still in “Open” state at 100% read. I can’t for the life of me figure out how to get it to “done”.
I have friends doing interesting things. I thought I’d share a few of them.
First there’s Nat who is working on a TOEFL iBT site. If I needed to learn English, I’m sure this would be super useful.
Then there’s Lisa who has her startup Coupled Together with her husband Marc. They started their relationship as a long distance couple and want to make things easier for others like them (and me!)!
And finally, there’s Jill who has been working on her web-series, Ruby Skye P.I., for a long time now. The second teaser has been released. And the count down to episode 1 is on – October 25 is a short 11 days away! I can’t wait.
Last month I visited Chicago with N. We had a great visit, tourist-ing it up. We took the requisite Boat Tour (confession: i napped), a Food tour (underwhelming) and even took in a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.
A true highlight for me was my City Running Tour. Last year I was lucky enough to win a free tour from a contest on Racevine. I figured I would use it during one of my NY trips, but when we booked the trip to Chicago I realized this would be a perfect opportunity to take advantage of it. And N was super excited about having a sleep-in.
Marlin picked me up at my hotel at 7AM my first morning in Chicago (8AM Toronto time – so later than I normally sleep!). It was hot, so the rainy weather was pretty soothing. We ran along the river, the lake and then back through Grant Park, Millenium Park and finally to the hotel. A solid 10km.
The first half of the tour was story time – Marlin told me all about Chicago and the grossness that was the river and the world fair and all sorts of other interesting things (N claims we learned some of this on the Boat tour while I slept). Then when we came back through the parks it was photo time! I saw Grant Park, Millenium Park and a number of other landmarks which Marlin documented with photos of me running through them all. It was a fantastic way to see a new city. And [if I had a sense of direction] it [would have] given me a good sense of the layout of the city and where things were
Marlin was a great guide. He knows a ton about Chicago and is a very interesting person as well. His tour was a highlight of my trip!
The one problem – I was back and hyper at 8:15 and that’s when N’s sleep in ended. Too bad for him!
I imagine most folks that read this blog already have heard the news via twitter or facebook or my loud mouth, but I feel like it’s worth a post anyway.
Last week as the festivities for the Jewish New Year came to an end, and Mom was celebrating pulling off yet another delish lunch for 40 family and friends, Zane Caplansky was looking for competitors for a Matzoh Ball Smackdown. He had posted about the contest on his blog (which I do follow) even clarifying you didn’t need to be a bubbie to enter.
Sure, I think my mom’s matzoh balls are the greatest. But I know better than suggest she spend more time in the kitchen after all the work she put in for our Rosh Hashana lunch!
My sister, on the other hand, saw a tweet from now toronto about the contest and decided to start talking/tweeting smack about how good mom’s balls are. Zane asked her to enter and the two of us ganged up on our mom. Game on.
Erin recruited a cheering squad made up of family and her friends – most of whom had never tasted a Matzoh ball. I made a t-shirt that said “My Mommy is Yummy and Her Balls Are Too”.
Lucky for me, there was a reporter there covering the action and her article from the toronto star does a great job capturing the fun and intensity! Here’s my favourite part:
In the fluffy category, Schachter triumphed over the scandals her husband had earlier pointed out.
“Justice won out,” Joel Schachter said over the cheers of his family. “It was the correct decision.”
My mom is the Fluffy Ball Queen of Toronto 2010. Which makes me the Princess. At least until next year.
Here are my pictures from the event: