Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Off Topic - Unhelpful Help and the Cheeky Devil

Tonight I was working on a PC with only 2 GB of RAM and I started getting warning messages about having too little memory. I saved the file naturally but purposely pushed my luck. I made Revit keep working with less and less RAM until it finally choked, sputtered and gasped..."seeya!". I got the nice message from Autodesk asking me to submit a problem report, like this one.

I knew exactly what was wrong but I was feeling cheeky. I wrote the following (not exactly, I don't remember exactly what I wrote earlier):

Dear Autodesk,

My computer crashed tonight because it was running out of memory. Why don't you provide enough memory for your software. When I bought it I assumed that it had enough memory. You guys make the software after all, can't you put enough memory in when you make it? Please make sure the next time you send me the software that it has enough memory, I'm trying to get my work done and have enough trouble with my own memory.


I'm imagining the poor technical support person that reads the report when it comes in. It probably will be something like this, "Hey Harlan!! Check out this trouble report! This guy thinks that the software comes with its own memory and is complaining that we don't ship enough with Revit, haha!! What a knucklehead! Oh, wait...the email address says it's from Steve Stafford. Definitely a knucklehead! Guess we can toss this one eh?"

I'm sure I'll get a polite formal response letting me know that they appreciate my concerns and will keep it under advisement and thanks for filing my report. "They help us make the product better." What will be unsaid is, "Until guys like you submit cheeky crank support cases." you were!


Erik said...

Hmmmmm, I never considered all of those reports as a potential outlet for my sarcasm.....

Thanks Steve!!!


Unknown said...

I can verify the comments are read. Some are eloquent and generate great empathy. Some are very funny. A fair amount of F bombs (in every language). If they could be published in a book without breaking privacy it would make a great read.

Harlan Brumm said...

Hi Steve,

Nobody came to me your report yet. ;) I do want to say thanks for submitting the report.:) You may not be suprised, but the details section of a CER often does help us to clarify what was happening at the time of the crash. It's also important to know that we may not respond to your specific crash report. We get a lot of crash reports for all the products and they are handled by a system that classifies the problems so that they can be worked on. We do read through the details to find trends, steps to reproduce the problem, anything that will help. Submitting crash reports is a good way to communicate that you have crashed to Autodesk and including your email adress in the report is the only way we can find out if a report is for you. If you do have a crash you need looked at, don't hesitate to contact Product Support or your reseller, we are here to help! Include the email address you submitted the reports with so that we can lookup your reports and work to track down the problem.

Take Care,

Matt Stachoni said...

Hah! I don't send in CERs too often, but I always try to make the person's day who has to read it:

And there I was... alone in the office, working late into the night to finish up my set of permitting documents for tomorrow's fateful meeting.

You see, there's a coquettish young assistant to the permit official who recently caught my eye.

Upon meeting Maggie, I was drawn to both her professional demeanor and sultry ways. We discussed my latest proposals for the new children's playground, dancing around the mundane code issues - the 18" clearances around the swing sets, the macadam under the jungle gym, the underground sprinkler system in the lawn darts field.

One thing led to another, and we soon drifted into coy chit-chat about our daily lives. Me, an architect in training, and her, the daughter of a local baker.

I knew I needed to impress her with my latest creative genius plans if there was to be a future for us. That is where you, dear Autodesk, and I now come to blows.

You see, my creation was a 230MB Revit model par excellence. All geometry met cleanly in a holistic union of design idealism. Schedules were painstakingly manicured, filtered, sorted, and tallied. Constraints were elegantly resolved. Zero warnings. Absolutely no AutoCAD files to sully my reputation as a BIM master bar none.

Then... Tonight, as I was wrapping up the latest revisions, I could sense something was about to go wrong. Fate was in the air. The computer's hard drive started thrashing about. Video performance was beginning to wane, as model rotations became erratic. Finally, in return for all of my efforts, Revit had plainly given up the ghost. I was unceremoniously presented with my desktop.

My choice of equipment is state of the art: a Pentium 4 2.4Ghz graphics workstation, with 2 (YES! TWO!) whole Gigabytes of stupidly expensive RDRAM to handle the most complex models, furnished with the finest Intel graphics solution available, and equipped with the latest and best CD-ROM technology money can buy - by which I can actually PLAY MUSIC ON MY COMPUTER. While DOING OTHER THINGS!

With all of this raw horsepower, Revit still failed to perform to my satisfaction. It was clear that my plans would not be ready in time, and my chances of kindling the desires of Maggie were to be dashed against the rocks of forbidden love.

And for that, I curse you, Autodesk.

Steve said...

That's way better than mine!! Can I interest you in writing something for AUGI | AEC EDGE?

Matt Stachoni said...

Sure! Just send any details and/or large cash advances to

Architect said...

Now I know why my Revit 2010 install failed. I only have 1 gb of ram.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the stories on the last page of Fine Homebuilding. I think AEC Edge could happily take a shot of that.

Steve, any chance you are also the guy who mythically contacted Dell tech support because his drink holder was broken? ;)