Woman on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown


It’s no secret that I have a 400 a day email habit and need a fix for my Blackberry Addiction approximately every six seconds. In fact it has gotten so bad that my friends and family have performed interventions and confiscated the device, but even without it on my hip, I can feel it vibrate in much the same way an amputee feels an itch in a missing limb.

Yesterday I encountered a problem with my device when the Blackberry Messenger icon wouldn’t respond. It hasn’t happened before, but I’ve learned that pulling the battery usually fixes problems of this nature so I did that, and paced the halls for two minutes while the device power cycled. When it came back on-line the Blackberry Messenger icon had disappeared altogether. I searched bytes high and low but didn’t find it. I started with Google and then turned to the Blackberry Forums for assistance. I tried pretty much every suggestion I could find and finally resorted to chatting on-line with a technician. The first suggestion I received was to wipe my device of all data; I couldn’t quite understood how that would solve the problem, nor could the technician, but we tried it anyway — to no avail. Next up was wiping the device of all software and reinstalling it from the operating system layer up, but this too failed to reinstate the messenger icon. The instructions got increasingly ridiculous and far fetched, but I persevered until support closed at 11pm. Yes, that’s right; a service provider on which many of us are dependent for a critical business function closes their support center at 11pm Eastern.

After a sleepless night I was back on-line at 6am to chat with support, but to my complete shock I learned that support doesn’t power on their PCs, or pick up their phones until 8am. At 8am in NY, the Europeans are half way through their business day, but my business service provider is just getting started. I was hopeful though, that after a good night’s sleep a new technician would crack the problem in minutes, but that wasn’t to be. In fact, when I mentioned that my colleague had exactly the same problem on a different model Blackberry but on their network, they told me that they’d exhausted their list of suggestions and asked that I have our IT hero, Luigi, try to crack it instead. I was transported to the early 90s when support was offered during business hours and the remedy to all problems was to reboot the PC.

I’ve blogged about the Actian Service Network (ISN) in the past, and I’ve spoken at events about the need to turn the customer support experience on its head. The only silver lining I can see in this is that I’ll have added a few more personal anecdotes to my repertoire, and that I’m more certain than ever that we’re doing the right thing in focusing on building a completely new customer support experience. But for now, I’m wearing a hat crafted from aluminum foil, standing on one leg, facing east, while chanting the Actian Source Code backward in an attempt to resurrect the Blackberry Messenger icon. Of course, if RIM were to open their source code, I could probably have fixed the problem myself overnight.

About Emma McGrattan

As SVP of Engineering at Actian, Emma leads development for the Actian Vector team, including the Ingres and X100 components, and the Actian Matrix Planner team. A leading authority in DBMS technologies, Emma is celebrating 20 years in Ingres and Actian Engineering.

View all posts by Emma McGrattan →

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