[proteomics] Response from Waters/Micromass

  • From: Mavi Gozler <mavigozler@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: proteomics@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 20:04:56 -0800 (PST)


I just spent an hour on a transcontinental, Manchester-to-Ankara, telephone 
line with Waters/Micromass.

It seems that this post I made on Saturday the 16th in which I made blistering 
criticism of PLGS and the customer service of Waters/Micromass made its way 
around the Internet, or so I am told.  Somebody at Waters in the US got a hold 
of this post, and it apparently was passed around to several people.  I am told 
also that the vendor whom I deal with was somehow made aware of this post, and 
became apoplectic.  Deservedly so.

I did not really go into the details of my problems with PLGS or my perception 
that Waters/Micromass did not much care about the problems or my perception.  
It's a long story not worth going into, and every one has such long stories to 
tell about this or that product or its manufacturer.

Anyway, at this point in time, Waters/Micromass is giving my particular case 
special attention now, which is a reasonable response for any business to take 
that cares about its products and the customers who buy/use them.

Do I think that the problems of PLGS will be solved?  I appreciate the 
difficulty of writing bug-free code, especially for such a bioinformatics 
behemoth as PLGS,  since I used to do programming myself, and not just as a 
hobby.  But it seems a fundamental to ensure that your application does not 
cause a loss of data and user time, such as when one has just completed the 
processing and database searches of 96 MALDI wells, and then goes to save to 
data, and the save process never exits or finishes except when one is forced to 
crash PLGS or even the system...and yes, you guessed it, the processing and db 
search results are not saved.  

This is similar to the days when users had to deal with general protection 
faults (GPFs) when 16-bit Windows (Win 3.1) and early 32-bit Windows (Win95) 
would crash in the middle of a Word or Excel document, and even the recently 
saved file might have been corrupted.  It does not really do any good to add 
features to an application when the features already there are not thoroughly 


The big surprise of this post to the proteomics discussion list is that I 
thought was screaming at the wall.  That the post somehow made its way to the 
higher-ups at Waters/Micromass who then made some phone calls to find out what 
the problems of the complainer (me) were shows that at some level, someone is 
thinking that a customer should be left stranded to his own devices.  
Unfortunately that attitude does not exist at all levels of the hierarchy, but 
at least it exists at some levels (the ones that seem to count at least).

My primary motivation for starting this list was to set up a forum for people 
to report the problems they were having with equipment or consumables and 
whether they were getting support.  Of course, it should be a forum to ask 
questions about methods, approaches and techniques in proteomics too.


Anyway, Waters/Micromass wants me and the rest of the world to know that they 
are not ignoring this matter and are pledging to give it attention.

I meet a lot of people who believe that the squeaky wheel does not get the 
oil---or is the crying baby does not get the milk.  Well anyway, you be the 

I want to stress---especially for manufacturers that might get their hands on 
this post---that there is no overriding desire to run down people or 
corporations or their products.  If the user or consumer of products is having 
a problem due to his own misunderstanding or ignorance, certainly that failure 
to get information across needs to become a success in getting it across.  If I 
learn a workaround for use of a product, or even that I have not been using it 
properly, I will be sure to report all the details here, including admitting to 
my own stupidity, an experience not new to me.


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