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ARCHIVE: Irony at Enterprisingly Mobile speeds!

Fri. May 5th 2006, 01:35pm:

It is hard to believe that in this era of instant-everything, there exists a modern technology company ushering the next generation of security and identification tools that is for some reason putting me through an archaic process just so I can get a minor upgrade.

I wanted to reprogram the awesome barcode scanner that I've deployed at my work: Symbol PPT8846 Wireless (8800 = batch, 8846 = wireless) and instead of regularly deploying minor updates to the scanning software, I now want to create a web application that runs on an Intranet server and can be accessed wirelessly by the barcode scanner. That way when business needs change, I simply change the code on the web server and instantly all the barcode scanners adapt to the new system. Having already programmed the barcode application in .Net CF using Symbol's SDK, I figured this would be as easy as adding a WebBrowser control to the .Net application and using Navigate("http://myserver/"). Except after much time-wasting I find that I need to upgrade the OS on the device from Windows CE .Net 4.1 to 4.2.

Symbol offers the upgrade for a $25 fee. Sure sounds fair. It'll make my life easier and pay for itself immediately by saving hours I spend updating and deploying software. Except I can't buy the upgrade on - they stopped processing credit cards! I had to go through a reseller (highly-recommended, got my hardware from there). This software isn't sold online so I ended up calling. The order took just minutes to place and I clicked 'Send and Receive' on my email client so I can get the URL to download the software. After five minutes and no URL, I called up the reseller to ask why I never got the email with the URL. That's when I found out the most hypocritical order-processing system an "Enterprise Mobility" company can implement: "Yeah. We've sent your order to Symbol. And THEY will send you an email within 3-5 business days with the URL to download the upgrade. It is completely out of our hands as a reseller and trust me, we hate this slow system too. Thanks, can I help you with anything else?"

So let me get this straight., a technology leader in barcode scanners, RFID readers, and hand-held devices, takes THREE to FIVE DAYS to send me an email with a URL to download a single FILE????? I am not an impatient person. I can wait three weeks for Dell to assemble my new NAS device. I can wait a week for a vendor to mail me a DVD. However, I CANNOT wait FIVE DAYS to download a file that I have already paid for and should be able to download instantly. I'm sorry but this is absolutely pathetic and completely backwards for a company that has executive-level speakers going around the world giving seminars on expediting order-processing.

If you asked me what's the definition of irony, this is it, at it's finest. Last month I attended a very informative seminar hosted by a Symbol speaker. He was indeed very experienced and clearly explained what RFID can or canot do. The #1 thing he mentioned though is that by using Symbol's RFID tools, one can ensure immediate order-processing because out-of-stock inventory can be a thing of the past. Order-processing! Order-processing! That's what Symbol wants me to improve. And they take just "3-5 business days to send me an email..."

*sigh* I still love the Symbol products. The technology really is good and very developer-friendly. Highly-recommend the PPT8846. Works great without any problems. Symbol support even replaced an internal battery for free when it was failing.

Update - May 8th 2006, 3pm: I received the download file from Symbol and am in the process of upgraging the OS. Even though I got the file much earlier than I was told to expect it, the fact of the matter still remains - no automated way to download online purchases.