Development Humour

Buying Nothing

A while ago I had a complaint with an SMS service offered by IDWS… I sent myself a sample sms, and for some reason, som proxy server between me and them kept hitting the “form submission page” with my cookies, but with no querystring, or form data.

The net effect of this was that their system charged me for 83 odd blank sms’s were sent to nobody (it stopped “sending” them when my account ran out of money).  When I say “nobody”, I don’t mean “some random person”.  I mean, literallly they were sent to nobody… The same as if I had just not typed anything into the “To” field.

Anyway, they charged me for them (because aparently they get charged for it), and claimed that it was my fault for not enabling javascript on my browser – their only means of validation before sending any message is a Javascript function, which naturally the Proxy server was not really bothered with executing.  This is just really bad coding.

What made it worse was that they didn’t seem to care too much about fixing this “bug”, and they insisted on charging me for all 83 sms’s… And they had the gall to think that I’d keep using their service.  After a good number of e-mails explaining to them the stupidity of their coding practices, and why I would not be using their service again unless they fixed it (because who knows when next this will happen, and what if I had 2000 sms’s available in my account that time?) they gave me back 1/2 my sms’s and promised to see if they could fix it in the next realease of their software, and that they would e-mail me when it was released.  (That was 2 months ago and I’ve still had no e-mail)

Anyway… on the thought of “buying nothing”, I saw a blog entitled “Apple selling DRM’ed silence at $0.99 a pop”, on BoingBoing.  Its a bit different and far more excusable… but basically the gist of it is that when an artist happens to have a silent track on their album, you still pay $0.99 for it… and they still ensure that you can only listen to your silence subject to the DRM requirements.  So not only are you paying for silence, but you can’t even share it with anyone else… 🙂 

Its a small side effect of artists doing odd things on their albums, an unfortunate one, but fairly un-avoidable, and quite understandable.  I’d love to see what their response to it is…


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