Visor Edge: Enter Stage Right

Well, with the untimely demise of my PalmIIIe, I had to order another device to make up for all the brain cells that PalmOS has replaced. I definitely wanted a Handspring because of spring board modules. I bought the new Visor Edge. I had a real saga with my first edge. I had a tiff with Handspring over a faulty device and some rude support professionals. But a fine gentlemen named Paul at Handspring customer support had it cleared up and a new one shipped immediately. Regardless of all that crap, I love my new Visor Edge. If I could ever get doctools to work, I would get to hackin' some palm code for the howto I'm working on. You should read the eloquent drivel between Handspring and I. They really did turn out to be a great company. [Update Tue, 03 Apr 2001 08:33:47 GMT] My Second Visor Edge broke [Update Mon Apr 23 11:09:03 AKDT 2001] My Third Visor Edge [Update Tue Apr 24 16:00:04 AKDT 2001] I don't use Handsprings anymore.

My original Email From: Jim Weller Received: 03/22/2001 03:22am Eastern Standard Time To: technicalsupport Subject: Other Inquiry FROM: Jim Weller EMAIL: PHONE: (907) 786-4656 ZIP CODE: 99508 INQUIRY_TYPE: Other Inquiry CRADLE_TYPE: USB INSTALLED_OS: Win2000 PIM #: palm desktop INSTALLED_SOFTWARE: Yes Installed PRODUCT: Visor Edge COMMENTS: To Whom it may concern, I'm in a dismal position and I feel like I was just put aside by your organization. I hope that you review this as a professional memo from one Customer Support Representative (CSR) to another and not as a peevish consumer complaint. Here is my story. I read about the slick new Visor Edge on I was intrigued by the design so I went and watched the webcast video on your web site. I then ordered one directly from Elated at its arrival of my first Handspring device, I opened my new Edge and went through the sacred ritual of retiring my old PalmIIIe with one final hotsync. I was quite pleased with my new purchase. See, I use PalmOS all day. I'm a busy tech manager and student at the University of Alaska. I'm also a small business owner. I'm also an avid PalmOS hobbyist and linux hacker. I wrote the linux palm developer's howto located at I used my Edge all day tues and wed. I was so pleased to have this slick new device during our UAA technology forum ( 30+ new contacts and 52 new todo items). Then, about 7:30pm 2001.03.21 AKST my new Handspring Visor Edge stopped working. The taps on screen *always* brought up the command menus on the top of the screen! No matter where I tapped. Well needless to say I was concerned. I wanted to do a cold reset, but I hadn't hotsynced all this *IMPORTANT* data from the Technology Expo. I rushed to my office where my USB cradle lay and hotsynced using the cradle button. I had to use the hotsync button because I couldn't tap the hotsync icon to sync over IR like I normally do. Luckily, the hotsync worked and I have all my new contacts and todos 'safely' tucked away on my PC. After I backed up the data to the PC, like a good little PalmOS user, I did a cold reset on my palm. I'm of course prompted to tap anywhere to continue initialization. The first step of which is to run the digitizer. The intuitive reader, should have already figured out that the screen input was damaged. For the non-intuitive, the screen input was damaged. When I tapped the first target the second appeared as expected. But when I tapped the second target, rather than displaying a target in center-screen the first target reappeared. Meaning that the coordinates of my taps are not registering correctly. It's probably just a loose connection, but I don't want to open it and void my warranty. It goes without saying, that I'm in a bad situation and need a replacement device; exchanged or bought. I called 1 (888) 565-9393 because on the this website: I read the following (cut and pasted from that site). -------- If you purchased your product directly from Handspring you may return it for full credit within 30 days from shipment as long as it is in good condition. To arrange for a return, please call Handspring's CustomerCare Center at 1 (888) 565-9393 seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Please be sure to have your credit card available when you call. Custom cases may not be returned except in the case of manufacturer's defect or order fulfillment error. ------------ The part I really like is "to arrange for a return." Because when I called this number I was to told to call technical support at (716)-871-6448. I don't really need technical support as I'm confident of the problem. But I didn't want to make trouble. So, I called for the benefit of your order tracking system. They were, of course, closed as I'm on Alaska time. Do you really want to setup your customers for that fall? Do your CSR's not know your tech support hours? Why couldn't they just transfer me to tech support directly? After lolligagging around your support lines, I finally reached a charming women at the first phone number (2nd call). I asked if she could simply start the appropriate procedure for me to return a defective Visor Edge ( I'll get to that ). She said "No" as trained. I then asked if there was someone who could. She said "No" as trained. At this point, I'm irate. I *rely* on this tool all day, every day. It is a staple of my career, education, and business. She said, in a most offensive and condescending tone, something to the effect of (paraphrased) "I should already know about the tech support procedures." I got mad and expressed my distaste at the situation. Then, without explanation or salutation, your representative hung up the phone on me. You'll probably have it recorded, I implore you to go visit that recording ( 9:00pm 2001.03.21 AKST ). You have got to be kidding me right? I spent $412 on my *FIRST* Handspring device. It's faulty. And customer support hangs up on me? Are you comprehending the impression that I've been left with? Maybe I misunderstood your interpretation of "arrange for a return." So there is my story. You have my credit card reciept, my registration, and hopefully a recorded phone call to your customer support. You've read my troubleshooting procedures and I should hope that they meet or exceed those of your tech support hotline. As a tech professional and computer science student, I should think that this information is sufficient to generate an RMA number. I'm in the technical support business. I work as the lead on a callcenter team for the University of Alaska, Anchorage and have been for 5+ years. I handle anywhere from 40 to 100+ support calls a day. I understand your rep's sentiments about her lack of capacity to help me. I can even empathize with her frustration at my insistence. I even understand having to dismiss a support call because of a rude, beligerent, or intolerable customer. But I'm still incredulous at her unprofessional manner during and ending that support call. It's not the money I can afford another dozen PalmOS devices. It's no longer about your product. My 2.5 day stint with my Edge proved that I do like Visors. Now, it is about your company. Now it's about voting with my money. I'm making this a very clear ultimatum. ******************************************************************************************* If I do not get a *PHONE CALL* tommorow at my work number (907)-786- 4656 with a valid solution to my problem, I will NEVER BUY NOR RECOMMEND HANDSPRING, ITS SERVICES, OR ITS PRODUCTS. ******************************************************************************************* I don't mean to sound threatening. I actually want to help. I don't enjoy harassing corporation's tech support staff. As a matter of fact, this is an utter waste of my time. I'm losing money and I'm short a PalmOS device! Besides, I'm just one customer among hundreds of thousands (millions?). I don't have anything to threaten your with. But know that I am going to be rolling out armies of PalmOS handhelds. Either indirectly through my linux palmos developer's howto or directly through the mobile sales system I'm implementing for a local Wine Distributor. Never mind my future PalmOS plans for my company. Note, that I don't mention these things for clout. Like I said I'm a drop in the bucket compared to all your collective customers. I mention them so you see I have a vested interest in PalmOS devices. I mention them, because I want your people to think about and discuss what I have said here. Ultimately, I have to go get a PalmOS device at the store tommorow. I'll go the day without one to give you a chance to discuss and respond. Even if our relationship as vendor and customer comes to an end, as one customer support professional to others, I truly hope that this story will end in a lively and active discussion about support; what it means and how to organize it. It is also my ardent hope you will consider modifying your support infrastructure to include a customer friendly single point of contact. Even if it isn't realistic to merge your tech and customer support personnel, you could at bare minimum put them all in a voice menu behind ONE PHONE NUMBER. Is it really a customer's responsibility to track phone numbers within your organization? Do you want to make your customers extra work to get to you? You might think of your personnel units as filling distinct roles in the organization, but to us customers you're all Handspring :) Thank you for your time and consideration. A potentially loyal and lucrative customer, Jim Weller E: W: (907) 786-4656 H: (907) 562-1965 ------ Please do not remove your unique tracking number! ------ <<#156058-264271#>>

Handspring Support's Automated Response From: To: Subject: RE: Other Inquiry Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2001 08:21:30 GMT Thank you for contacting Handspring! We received your email and will do our very best to respond within 24 hours. Handspring Technical Support
Handspring's First Human Response From: PuneeSet To: Subject: Re: Other Inquiry <<#156058-264271#>> Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2001 17:55:29 GMT Dear Jim Weller, Thank you for your Email. We are sorry for all the inconvenience. At this point, you can call our Customer Service Toll free number at 1-888-565-9393 or call the Technical Support line at 1-716-871-6448 for a replacement. We are open from 8am to 10pm EST, Monday to Friday and 10am to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday. Please provide the unique tracking number to the Customer Service. We hope that you will be a happy customer again once you get your replacement for the Visor Edge. If you still have any questions please Email us back or call the Technical Support line at 1-716-871-6448. We are open from 8am to 10pm EST, Monday to Friday and 10am to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday. Thank you, Handspring Technical Support
Handspring's Second Human Response To: From: LakshRam Subject: Re: Urgent Exchange, Questions and Suggestions <<#156058-264308#>> Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2001 19:23:32 GMT Dear Jim Weller, Thank you for contacting Handspring. We apologize for the inconvenience caused to you in this regard. One of our product specialists will be contacting you at the number provided by you. If you need any further assistance, please contact our Technical support line at 716 871 6448 or email us back at We are open from 8am to 10pm EST, Monday to Friday and 10am to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday. Thank you, Handspring Technical Support
After, all that and a phone conversation with the afore mentioned Paul, my new Handspring arrived on the March 23, 2001. I was so pleased with Handspring's performance I even recommended them to one of my clients. Here's the exchange with the client's privacy protected.
Client's Initial Query From: [...] To: "'Jim Weller'" Subject: RE: InfoTech Goals Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001 12:30:20 -0800 Hello Jim, I am considering the purchase of either a Palm Pilot or a Handspring Visor. Which do you recommend? The Visor uses AA batteries. Is that a significant limitation? Is 8mb enough to download excel files? I like the expandability of the Visor but I wonder how necessary that really is for me. The Visor appears to be more expensive. Regards, [...]
My recommendation for Handspring From: "Jim Weller" To: [...] Subject: Re: InfoTech Goals Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001 14:11:14 -0800 [...], It's interesting that you should mention this, b/c I was talking with Rob, Miah, and Mike and thinking about a mobile sales force type application for SI's long term to help reduce human error in processing inventory changes/requests. There are some nice spreadsheet apps (tinysheet) out there, but the real question is the size of the data that you intend to store. 8 megs is usually totally sufficient. I even keep two 50+ page PDFs on mine for reference. Assuming you don't just cram the thing with data, you'll definitely be able to convert spreadsheets to tinysheet and be able to have quite a few of them in your Palm device. I do recommend the Visors. They are more expensive, but the spring board modules are nice if you do outgrow your 8megs. I went for visor's spring board for less 'formal' reasons. I wanted to attach an mp3 player. Plus, I've had exceptional service and support from the Handspring company when I needed it badly. I don't really like the direction 3com/Palm is heading with there add on modules. One set of AAA batteries lasted more than a month with my PalmIIIe. My new Visor Edge is rechargeable and I've yet to reach it's power threshold. Color devices will obviously use more power. All the PalmOS devices do have secondary internal batteries. So, when you run out of main juice, you can't turn the device on, but the secondary battery keeps your data intact. Even through a battery switch. Never mind the fact that this is all synchronized and archived on your PC or Mac :) It has been one of my more useful geek toy investments. Be warned: You'll love it. It will allow you to automate and amass a huge amount of details that were cluttering your brain and stressing your human animal. At first it feels like pavlovian conditioning, but you'll be able to shape it to the way you live very quickly. It really sets your focus to goals instead of myriads of details. The pay off of a shallow learning curve is worth the benefit of reminders, scheduling, and fast access to information. Murphy's Rule for Conservation of Free Time: Work will fill all time space that time saving devices free up :) When/If you get one, let me know I have all kinds of helpful tips and programs. Jim
My client's reply From: [...] To: "'Jim Weller'" Subject: RE: InfoTech Goals Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001 14:21:18 -0800 Jim, Thanks for the advice. It looks like Visor is the direction I am headed. [...]
Now this is where it get's really lame. My second visor had the exact same defect. Is it bad luck or bad manufacturing? Only the third will tell. Most people probably wouldn't even try that many times. Below is my exchange with Handspring. I talked with Omesh on the phone. If he is the example, then Handspring support is all right in my book.
My second feedback to handspring. From: "Jim Weller" To: Subject: Case#1284175: Losing My Faith. Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001 18:48:40 -0800 Dear Paul and Handspring, (archived @ I hope my case is not the norm, as it is causing me some distress. I'm on my second defective visor edge, and am quite leary of my third. I'm writing this email in hopes that it provides a reasonable history of my experience with handspring. I hope that Paul can give my case the same rush treatment that he did last time as my described circumstances still rely on my Handspring device by the minute. I've gone *way* out of my way to help you. I hope you're doing the same for me. Below is my story. You can read it in chronological order on my website. I had some initial trouble with support, but thanks to the efforts of some great support professionals (Paul and Omesh) I've quite gotten over my initial concerns about the company. Now, I'm reversing my tact. I'm concerned about the Visor Edge product specifically. I have friends, clients, and colleagues with 3com Palms and other models of Visors. I'm the only one with a Visor Edge :) I've been a handheld user for years now and am quite familiar with their care and feeding ( impact, moisture, temperature etc.). I pamper mine. It has it's own little padded case where it is warm, dry, and safe from harm. My peers with other handspring and palm products have not had the bout of bad luck that I'm currently having with my Edge(s). Despite the fact that they are quite a bit more abusive to their devices. I can't think that I've done anything to damage either of the Edges I've had since none of my described symtoms are corellary in time to a drop or impact or ugly incident with water or heat. But after a *very* short use (about a week), I've had, not one, but two Visor Edge's succumb to the same defect with the screen input that is mentioned in my trouble description below. When you consider that I've only been a Handspring customer since March 16, 20001 ( 2 weeks) and I've already been through two identically defective products, even for such a small sampling of data, that is a horrible track record for the product itself. Has anybody taken the time to see if there are similar problems with other Edge customers? I'd be quite interested to know! If a supervisor of either Paul or Omesh reads this email, pat those two on the back and give them a raise to keep them on board. They have what it takes to be support pros in the fast paced tech world. If Paul or Omesh reads this email, have your Supervisor call me. I'd like to talk to one about your outstanding performance. I had my faith restored for about 6 days. I even recommended the Visor Edge to a customer of mine (see attached email). I have to say though, that if this third Edge doesn't work out, I'll be sorely disappointed. I'm not sure what I'll do then. I'll definetely want my money back, but I'm not sure what my next PalmOS product will be. Verbosely Yours, Jim Weller E: W: (907) 786-4656 H: (907) 562-1965
[Update Tue, 03 Apr 2001 08:33:47 GMT] From: MatthLal To: Subject: Re: Case#1284175: Losing My Faith. <<#156058-264271#>> Date: Tue, 03 Apr 2001 08:33:47 GMT Dear Jim Weller, Thank you for your email I have re-escalated your case to Paul I am sure he will get in touch with you as soon as possible. If you have troubleshooting issues or general questions related to Handspring products, contact Handspring Technical Support at (716) 871-6448 from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM Monday to Friday and 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM Weekends Eastern Standard Time. Thank you, Handspring Technical Support
Working with my 3rd Edge [Update Sat Apr 7 02:21:15 AKDT 2001] I have my new Edge and am happily chugging away. There still just the sharpest little PDAs. I hope this one works out for me. Thanks to handspring. Note to Hanspring: One of the problems with the stylus on the side is that it makes it hard to keep a good grip on the device as you remove the stylus. To remove the stylus while holding the device in the PalmTop style, you have to either: 1. Remove your fingers from the stylus area. This makes it such that you no longer have a firm grasp on the device as you apply force to remove the stylus. This means you have one solid hold point (your thumb). Bad. 2. Relax your fingers on the stylus to reduce the friction. This way the stylus can slide past your fingers. But now you are only loosely holding the palm device. Basically, you have to sacrifice a firm grip on the Visor Edge in order to remove the stylus. I think this was a space saving, but risky design decision.
[Update Mon Apr 23 11:09:03 AKDT 2001] IT BROKE AGAIN! This is absolutely unbelievable. I'm incredulous and outraged. Same frickin' problem. I have another dead hanspring. I haven't had it even two weeks and the third one is kaput with the exact same error. No matter where I touch on screen it always brings up the menu bar. This time I had the added benefit of a 'Fatal Exception' after about 3 screen clicks. Now, beauty, the power switch won't even turn the damn thing on. Needless to say I'm hot. This is my 3rd junker Edge in a month. This is just to much of an inconvenience. I didn't pay $412 to do QA for Handspring! And they have batted 0 for 3 at this point. I think that the edge is either a bunk design or something went way below specs in the fabrication.
Me talking to Hanspring (again) about this faulty edge From: "Jim Weller" To: Subject: 3rd Dead Visor Edge in one Month Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 11:40 AM To Whom it may concern, You should read the history located at: You should read and understand it before talking to me. I'm not going through anymore technical support or customer service hoops. I wouldn't mind talking to Paul as we at least seem to have a rapport. I'm really upset and, statistically speaking, cannot trust another Visor Edge. I just expect someone to call me soon and have a really good offer for me. Customer by the thread at the end of the rope, Jim Weller E: W: (907) 786-4656 H: (907) 562-1965
Everybody is having problems [Update Tue Apr 24 13:21:12 AKDT 2001] I started looking on the internet and in forums for other users having problems. Boy are they! The visor edge has only been out for about 2 months and already the reports are pouring in about digitizer problems and battery woes. Other folks are having my problem. Check this out at Visor central This off of Google Groups
An optimistic Dave calls from Handspring A nice CSR named Dave called me about 1:30PM AKST. I told him that I was leary of another edge and would like to upgrade to a prism. My colleagues have had success with this and sibling form factor models. I've wasted hours of my expensive time with them, and I'm giving them another shot. It seemed the least they could do to keep me as a customer. Dave was optimistic about the proposition and hung up to discuss it with a supervisor.
Handspring disses me, and offers to give me my money back. First off they didn't even call me. But I guess I'd be ashamed to break the bad news to. Imagine how pissed that person you were calling to give the below bad news to would be. Especially, when you consider that the difference between the Edge and the Prism is $37! From: To: Subject: Handspring case #2013260 Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001 15:30:01 -0700 Mr. Weller, I have checked with our Customer Service department concerning a replacement/upgrade of your Edge for a Prism, and unfortunately this is something we would not be able to do. I can however authorize a complete refund on the Edge you purchased from Handspring. To be able to issue a RMA for the return of the Edge and it's refund, I need the following information: The serial number of the Edge. Additionally, can you please verify the following information is correct?: James Weller XXXXXXXXXX xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx UAA ITS 3211 Providence Dr XXX Bldg Room# XXX Anchorage, AK 99508 I would like to apologize for the experience you have had with Handspring. Dave Cagle Technical Support - Level 3 Handspring
Jim Weller officially swears off Handspring This is my last correspondence with Handspring. From: "Jim Weller" To: Subject: Re: Handspring case #2013260 Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001 16:01:11 -0800 Mr. Cagle, I'm well tempted to flame you in a discourse on Handspring, but I feel I've given HS plenty of free hours of un-noticed feedback and I don't think it would help you help me. I'm bereaved that Handspring has terminated our relationship as vendor and customer. I had high hopes. This has ultimately left me with a sour disappointment at how I chose to spend my $412 dollars as well as a regret for the recommendations I made to my employees and clients for your products. I wasted much of my time and their money. I hope that someone pensively reviews these email and phone conversations. I'll continue to archive them at The contact information that you list below has changed since I have been relocated for renovation. The new information is listed below. James Weller XXXXXXXXX UAA ITS 3211 Providence Dr XXX Bldg Room# XXX Anchorage, AK 99508 The Serial Number of the defective Visor Edge is #BGFED112300B4 Thank you for your apology. Thank Paul and Omesh for their outstanding service. A disappointed non-Handspring customer, Jim Weller
Final Gory Details From: To: Subject: RE: Handspring case #2013260 Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001 17:09:17 -0700 Thank you for the praise for Paul and Omesh. It will be forwarded to them. Your RMA number is HS-E0-00446-010424-01 It should be arriving within 3 business days. Please package up the Edge with all the materials that came with it and return it to Handspring using the materials provided. Once received, a full refund will be issued to you. Again, I do apologize for the experience you have had with Handspring and hope that you will reconsider being a Handspring user in the future. Dave Cagle Tech Support - level 3 Handspring
Well 15 days (10 business days) later. I haven't gotten my RMA package. Here's the gripe email.
From: "Jim Weller" To: Subject: RE: Handspring case #2013260 Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 11:57:15 -0800 Mr. Cagle, Regarding RMA#HS-E0-00446-010424-01, I haven't recieve the shipment you mentioned in your email. It has been 10 business days. --- Jim
Jerked around and misinformed. Where do they get off? It'll be interesting to see how long it takes to get a refund. I
From: To: Subject: RE: Handspring case #2013260 Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 14:20:30 -0700 Mr. Weller, Sorry for the delay and the confusion on my part. I believed that out shipping department would be sending you a box in which to return the Edge, but that only happens if we are replacing the Edge, not refunding on it. Please ship the Edge and all the items that came with it to the following address: 11201 Electron Dr. Louisville, KY 40299 Attn: Jessica Schlicher Please include the RMA number in the box. When shipping it back, please use our Fed-X account number. It is 2563-0317-5. When asked for a phone number of the person Fed-X should contact should they have any questions, please give them my number (650-230-5000 x5285) I am sorry for the mix up. Dave Cagle Technical Support Specialist Handspring
Harumph. Here's where I tell them that they accidentally shipped me an extra device. I'm certain it would fail to (look at the failure rate so far). So, I want nothing to do with it.
From: "Jim Weller" To: Subject: Re: Handspring case #2013260 Date: Fri, 11 May 2001 10:57:58 -0800 Mr. Cagle, I should also note that an extra replacement Visor Edge was sent to me. I'm not sure how that mixup occured. I've had a total of 4 devices. I'm returning it as well. Jim Weller