As many Blind Confidential readers know, I’m a long-time user and big fan Of the Code Factory Mobile Speak line of products. I used the Symbian version on a Nokia 6600, numerous versions of MSP on various PDA devices and, most recently, I’ve started using Mobile Speak SmartPhone on a brand-new T-Mobile DASH.
The T-Mobile DASH arrived at my house 24 hours after I placed the order. After spending a very short amount of time familiarizing myself with the hardware, I hooked it up to my Toshiba laptop, went to the Code Factory website, downloaded MSS installed it using ActiveSync and started playing with the cutest talking device I’ve ever held. After checking out all of the MSS quick keystrokes I ventured into some more advanced parts of the Windows Mobile SmartPhone features. I decided to send an SMS to a friend. This is where some of my problems started to arise. It Seems That Mobile Speak SmartPhone had a nasty bug in its keyboard handling code that caused real problems on my new phone. Specifically, when I tried to use the portion of the QWERTY keyboard that, when one holds down the function key, doubles as the numeric keypad for the phone. When using these keys I would either get a numeral or, quite strangely, a Russian character. My wife, who knows the Russian alphabet, confirmed that the characters printing on my screen would correspond with the Roman equivalents that I typed on my keyboard. While this does have a certain level of entertainment value, trying to work with a 17 letter alphabet was severely suboptimal.
So, I wrote to Code Factory technical support explaining my problem. Roselle, perhaps the single most competent technical support person in the entire AT industry, responded almost immediately and said they would look into the matter right away. A few hours later, I received a follow-up communication that explained that the model of phone I had bought had not yet gone on sale in Europe but was expected to in a week or so. The Code Factory people explained that they would get one as soon as it became available and try to fix my problem then. As I could use most of the phone’s features without the QWERTY keyboard, I agreed and waited for the Code Factory people to get a unit on which they could reproduce the problem.
Yesterday, I received a Skype call and e-mail from Roselle as well as holding a Skype chat with Eduard Sanchez, Code Factory CEO, to help me work through my problem. Typically, when the CEO of an AT
company communicates with me, it’s usually a friendly phone call just to chat, a request that I run a puff piece about their latest and possibly greatest new release or to whine about something I wrote that they found on complementary.
My experience working on a bug fix directly with Code Factory CEO Edward Sanchez reminded me of the days that Ted still ran Henter-Joyce. Back then, when I had just joined the company, Ted would still take direct phone calls from end users and then come over to the software engineering department, stop us from doing whatever we were working on and insist we fix an individual user’s problem. Sometimes Ted’s requests would drive us engineering types crazy and I would try to make the argument that we had to focus on 25,000 users and not just one guy. Ted, however, would remind us that JAWS sales grew, “one guy at a time,” and then tell us the specifics of the users problem and remind us that this “one guy” might lose his job if we didn’t fix the bug.
My SmartPhone problem didn’t threaten my livelihood but I did feel annoyed that I bought a fancy Windows mobile five based device and was reduced to a 17 letter alphabet. The terrific response and quick bug fix by the Code Factory team made a tremendous impression on me. Granted, CF doesn’t have the estimated 200,000 users of a product like JAWS but, as far as I know, they probably don’t even have the 25,000 users that we supported back when Ted Henter was still in charge. They do, however, accept the responsibility of making their software work properly for as many users as possible. Nobody at Code Factory used the excuse, “We don’t have that unit on our list of supported devices…” or “with all of the non-standard stuff out there you can’t expect us to support everything…” but, rather, the CEO of the company himself contacted me and solved my problem in a timely fashion. Along with the terrific support Roselle always provides, I must say that this performance by Code Factory represents a great example of engineering level technical support and should serve as a model for the entire industry.
Speaking of Roselle, Code Factory’s popular Filipina princess, rumors abound that she will travel from her home island to attend the CSUN conference in LA this coming spring. Rumors also abound that she has already received numerous flirtatious invitations to engage in a romantic rendezvous over cocktails or a meal from employees and executives at competing companies. It looks like Roselle will not suffer from loneliness while in Los Angeles but she may be the object of other young women’s jealousy.