Northgate fucks up

Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 1996 13:13:07 -0400
From: Bob Forsman <>
Organization: Purple Frog Software
X-Mailer: Mozilla 2.0 (X11; I; Linux 1.2.13 i486)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Subject: blatant untruth in advertising
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

On your web page you say ``All Northgate customers have toll-free
access to Northgate's astute technical support team which has earned
numerous industry awards from PC Magazine, PC World, Computer Shopper
and many others.''

  After dealing with your tech support I would rewrite this phrase as
``All Northgate customers will soon get a boil on their butt the size of
Winston Churchill.  The dweebs at Ziff Davis can't tell Microsoft
Software from bat shit (but you have to give them a break.  It's a tough
call).''  Just what awards did you win?

  I tried to get through to your tech support on Monday evening.  I gave
up.  I tried to get through on Tuesday.  I set the phone down to get
some work done and was finally disconnected maybe half an hour later.  I
called back and the phone said "our hours are something to something
CST" and my calculations indicated that it was then 30 minutes before
the mentioned closing time.

  If you are going to terminate tech support and sales before your
offices close, then I don't give a flying buick what time your office
hours are.  I'm on the other end of a damn phone, so I want your phone
hours.  Maybe if I was in the neighborhood and wanted to throw my
severely confused keyboard through your window, I'd be interested in
your office hours, but I'm not in the area, and I don't really have
enough spare keyboards to be throwing them through windows.

  I called this morning from home at about 9 EDT.   Your phone said you
were open, but, again, didn't let me connect to any of your supposedly
on-duty staff.  I finally went to work at a site and used their
multi-line phone to set up two tech support calls.  I put them both on
hold, figuring that when I noticed one of the lights was out, I could
pick up the other line (the handset is rather heavy, and I do not have
the neck muscles of a 20-year veteran receptionist, so no friggin way am
I going to listen to your elevator music until I get a cramp)

  When I finally got a tech-support drone, I told him that I managed to
accidentally reprogram the keyboard, and over a couple of days of poking
at keys, I managed to get it to the point where absolutely nothing
generated enough of a keystroke to wake my computer out of screenblank.
It's a good thing this is a server and not a desktop machine.

  Anyway, your tech support guy asked me if I had the keyboard
programming disk.  Excuse me, i need a friggin disk to fix my keyboard?
This better be an auto-booting disk, because I can't type a damn thing.
Well, I think the reseller forgot to stick the disk and manual in the
box when he shipped it to us with our computer.  All we got was a
diskette with some bad sectors and some even WORSE documents giving the
environmental operating range of the equipment.

  Where can I get this keyboard programming disk?  the bbs.  EXCUSE ME?
LONG DISTANCE PHONE CALL?  Why don't you put it on the fuckin web.  I'm
going to have to disconnect my home machine from the internet (where,
with a local phone call, I can download software from JAPAN and INDIA,
but not from your fuckin BBS) and dial your long-distance phone number
to MAYBE download some software, assuming I even know how to operate
kermit or zmodem or whateverthefuck communications software (which
predates the wheel) is needed to download from a BBS.

  Anyway, you guys are really lucky because there are a few things
preventing me from reprogramming the next shuttle mission to involve
changing the course of an asteroid to smack your corporate headquarters
into a 1-mile glass crater.

  1) I don't really know how to hack NASA or any other computer system
  2) I think the astronauts would get suspicious about the orders
  3) I don't know where to find an asteroid with a suitable orbit
  4) I don't know where your corporate headquarters are
  5) I would probably get in trouble with the law
  6) the lame excuse for tech support was on YOUR dime.  You really need
to get another operator.  (I would find it hard to believe that you
already have more than one)

  Anyway, if some browbeaten tech support operator doesn't forward my
complaints to you, find him and fire him.

 As for these Ziff-Davis magazines that gave you an award, I recomend
they give you a different one:
	The Award for Extreme Mediocrity in Tech Support
	The Award for Resisting Technical Innovation Above and Beyond the Call
of Sanity
  (they earned this one by not putting their software on the internet.
Hell, it would cost them $150/year in server fees for the whole site,
why not take advantage of that to put software up?)

  As for the hardware, I love the keyboards.  These things weigh enough
to be a weapon.  I love the way they come with replacement keycaps to
put the Ctrl key where it belongs.  When I first accidentally
reprogrammed the keyboard my roommate accused me of sabotaging it to try
to get it away from him.

  Now, drag your tech support out of the 70s.




Robert Forsman <>
Last modified: Fri Apr 19 15:50:54 1996