I have had technical difficulties here at the Gripe Line that kept me from posting. Apologies! I'm back now. If you sent an e-mail recently, though, please resend it.
Technical difficulties are frustrating, but my own tribulations pale next to the problems Danger/Microsoft has been experiencing lately. That company, which provides the data service for the T-Mobile Sidekick, has been having a very bad week. And since I own a Sidekick, Danger/Microsoft and T-Mobile's bad week made my bad week even worse. I was right in the heart of this disaster, but couldn't gripe about it! Do you mind if I make up for that now?
[ Also on InfoWorld: Find out HP and JetBlue are using Twitter to respond to customers in "Tied to the Twitter listening post" | Frustrated by tech support? Get answers in InfoWorld's Gripe Line newsletter. ]
It all started last weekend. I was traveling and unable to use the data portion of my phone. No e-mail while on the road? Very frustrating! I assumed the problem was with my handset, so I did what any respectable geek would do: I popped the battery out and did a hard reset. Still nothing. I repeated that move several times while I was traveling. It did not restore my e-mail. Then I noticed I had no Web access, nor access to Twitter or Facebook through the social apps that this phone is famous for.
When I got back to my office, I hit Twitter to catch up with my peeps and there was the answer: T-Mobile was a trending topic. Clicking on that brought me a steady stream of complaints from what looked like every one of the million or so Sidekick owners who were having the same problem. Some of those tweets were from tech support at T-Mobile. The message from them? "Whatever you do, don't pop the battery out of your phone and do a hard reset!"
My first question was, "That's an important message. Why did I have to learn this three days into the outage from Twitter?" I traveled overseas recently. As soon as I turned my phone on in Europe, I got several handy text-messages warning me that my plan didn't include overseas roaming and I should turn that off if I didn't want to incur data charges. Why no text message about this (much bigger) problem?
My second question was, "Does T-Mobile plan to charge me for this data plan I can't use?"
The answer to both came 24 hours later via text message. First came an announcement of the data outage and a warning about not powering down the phone. Then I got a text message announcing that I would be credited for a month of data.