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WestLaw = WestFAIL - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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WestLaw = WestFAIL [Apr. 5th, 2010|09:47 am]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |infuriatedinfuriated]

For three years now I've used bankruptcy software from WestLaw called Chap 7...13. Until their most recent updates, I was quite happy with it.

But somehow, the upgrade in mid-March created a new problem: when I closed the software, any cases I'd been working on after March 15 would not reappear when I reopened the program. Oh, they were still there, in the backups. But the main program's default caselist simply didn't have them anymore.

I hate, loathe and despise calling customer service, particularly when it seems like their must be some way for me to dope out the cause of the problem. But today Ferrett convinced me that I was being ridiculous, so I called. A very nice woman answered the phone and I explained the problem. She asked if I was using Vista or Windows 7 and I verified that yes, I was using Win 7.

Her response: "Yeah, it'll do that."

What am I talking to, Homer Simpson???!

I'm really not kidding. She suggested that I open the caselist by always opening the last path I am shown - you know, the one that doesn't have my new cases in it? - and pointed out that they were recoverable (but not always the most recent version, as I discovered to my chagrin when I opened a case this morning). When I asked if they were working on a patch, she said that it was a Windows security problem and so really not their software.

Because, apparently, it's okay to simply stop building for the software that's being loaded on every damned Windows box (the only OS WestLaw supports). I asked if she was kidding. She said she would report my suggestion that they build for the software that's out there to customer feedback. Because "they do pay attention to what the customers want."

Well, gosh darn. Good to know. Better to know would be that they are doing something to make my $400+ software actually fucking work.

EDIT: Thanks to jojomojo I appear to have a workaround. But the cost in blood pressure has been a hoot, let me tell you.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: docstrange
2010-04-05 01:51 pm (UTC)
Her response: "Yeah, it'll do that."

Try talking to them about Mac support for their LegalEdCenter. Oh, it's listed in the minimum system requirements. But it doesn't work right.

Yeah, it'll do that.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-04-05 01:52 pm (UTC)
I did know better than to try and run anything of theirs on Mac.
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[User Picture]From: shandra
2010-04-05 02:01 pm (UTC)
"Can I have the email address for the product manager for this version?"

That's awful.
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From: simulated_knave
2010-04-05 02:14 pm (UTC)
My dad's god-knows-how-many-hundreds-or-thousands-of-dollars booking-and-billing software has features that customer service will tell you to, under no circumstances, even dream of using. Because they are that broken.

Why, you may ask, does it have these features?

Because people won't buy the software without them.

Yeah...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-04-05 02:42 pm (UTC)
Actually saving my cases where I can find them doesn't seem like a ridiculous request. At this point, some of them appear to be genuinely and permanently LOST.
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[User Picture]From: mamculuna
2010-04-05 02:14 pm (UTC)
I totally sympathize. I teach online courses and am required to use a platform called Desire to Learn, aka D2L. It took me all of last summer to convert my courses, and it's far from ideal in many ways, but last fall it worked fine. This spring, as soon as the course started all my students were having problems with essential links not working, so I was having to send out material via email (not the way online instruction should work!). Tech support's solution? Tell them not to use MS Internet Explorer--instead, download Firefox. I'm a big fan of Firefox, and don't love Microsoft, but a lot of these kids are having enough problems just working with what comes on their computers. They don't even know what I mean when I tell them it's a browser problem. How can you make a learning platform that doesn't work with the most common browser?!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-04-05 02:43 pm (UTC)
That sucks completely.
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[User Picture]From: shydescending
2010-04-05 03:01 pm (UTC)
Ok, I can't help myself. How can people take an online course without knowing what a browser is? Also, is IE still the most common browser? I don't know a single soul who still use it.
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[User Picture]From: mamculuna
2010-04-05 03:04 pm (UTC)
Well, students frequently sign up for these things when they get stuck with various problems in scheduling, etc, unfortunately, and not because they're comfortable with working online. And that kind of student usually has whatever came installed on the computer, (again unfortunately) often IE.
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[User Picture]From: shydescending
2010-04-05 03:16 pm (UTC)
fair enough.
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[User Picture]From: wdomburg
2010-04-05 04:00 pm (UTC)
Most the major counters and surveys still have at least the plurality, if not majority, of hits coming from Internet Explorer, and those that don't typically have some inherent selection bias.

(Pretty much any case I know of a person's browser preference they're running Firefox or Safari or Chrome, but I bet that in many or even most of the cases I don't know, they're running Internet Explorer.)
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[User Picture]From: wdomburg
2010-04-05 08:22 pm (UTC)
True, though you can breakdown FF users similarly - 4%/15%/5% for 3.0/3.5/3.6 versus 21%/12%/23% for IE 6/7/8 (according to the Net Applications data). That the most popular versions correspond to what shipped with the last two successful Windows releases reinforces the idea that many people just use what's there.

(I have to say, the number of people still using IE6 makes me sad. Probably not as sad as our developers, but still... :)
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[User Picture]From: jojomojo
2010-04-05 02:25 pm (UTC)
Try always running it as administrator, perhaps? That should bypass the 'Windows security problem' (probably their app is trying to save to a path it shouldn't or something)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-04-05 02:45 pm (UTC)
I will try it - thanks.
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[User Picture]From: jojomojo
2010-04-05 03:51 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, glad it helped :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-04-05 02:52 pm (UTC)
It appears to have worked - I was at least able to find all my cases. Now we'll see if they all get saved to the same place the next time around.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-04-05 07:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: autographedcat
2010-04-05 04:13 pm (UTC)
That was going to be my suggestion, as well. Win7 is apparently very particular about what it allows to write where, and if you run as an unprivileged user, apps which were written for pre-vista Windows don't take it into account.

This would be a feature, if it were less cumbersome to get legacy apps to do the write thing.
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[User Picture]From: mplsindygirl
2010-04-05 04:09 pm (UTC)
The school district here does a lot of online standardized testing. Last time I helped with this, it took most of the hour just to get kids logged on. Tomorrow, the teacher and I are administering the test on paper and then I'll take the kids to the lab one by one to input their answers on a computer that we know works.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-04-05 07:15 pm (UTC)
God, that sucks MASSIVELY.
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-04-05 04:26 pm (UTC)
Last time I got a new version of a program I use frequently, it broke to the extent of not even being able to find my data (which is stored on a network server). And it took upwards of an hour to get tech support on the phone because (you guessed it) so many people had the same problem.

Thanks for actually beta testing, guys. And you wonder why I haven't installed any of your updates since. (Well, that plus the fact that you're going to discontinue the program later this year, thanks so much.)

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-04-05 07:17 pm (UTC)
Programs that are being discontinued certainly can't motivate tech support....
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-04-05 10:27 pm (UTC)
The tech SNAFU I'm referring to came several years before they announced the discontinuation, IIRC.

But hey, what do we expect buying software from a legal services company?

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: elfwench
2010-04-05 04:33 pm (UTC)
FYI, if it helps, WestLaw is owned by Thompson Reuters Corporation. http://thomsonreuters.com/.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-04-05 07:17 pm (UTC)
Software is a specific division. But thanks!
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[User Picture]From: merle_
2010-04-05 05:58 pm (UTC)
*raises eyebrow* A "Windows security problem"? Even reading jojomojo's workaround I am appalled and disbelieving of their excuse. If you could create the files as non-administrator you should not need to be administrator to access them. And it damn well is their problem to fix, whether it was a side-effect of a Windows update or not.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-04-05 07:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's pretty much my attitude.
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-04-05 08:55 pm (UTC)

Why "it does that"

1. Windows Vista & later does not allow user-mode programs to write into the programs folder - e.g. when not running as administrator, you can't write into C:\program files\ (%PROGRAMFILES%) or any folder below that.

2. Except that your program can write there without any error being raised, and Windows will change the path and move the files somewhere else automatically.

3. Except that Windows doesn't let you READ the files automatically; no, the bugger will let you write files as if nothing is wrong but then the application can't read them because they are not where they were saved.

You might be able to recover your missing files under C:\Users\User_name\AppData\Local\VirtualStore folder:

Discussed further here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927387

So, yeah, if your software supports changing the default directory for the app data files you can get a permanent fix.

That doesn't stop it being one of the more ... Interesting Windows Vista decisions, and makes me glad that I'm still able to use XP.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-04-05 09:22 pm (UTC)

Re: Why "it does that"

I'm on Win 7, but it appears to be a similar situation. I managed to locate my missing files when I opened the program in Admin mode, but what a PITA.
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From: tempter
2010-04-06 02:10 am (UTC)
I am waiting for the day Google will blow them and Lexis out of the water. There's NO reason access to public documents should cost as much as it does.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-04-06 03:18 am (UTC)
There is a lot of additional labor that goes into indexing and other services. But yeah, they are feeling the heat on their pricing structure.
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