Monday, January 06, 2014

Would You Buy A PACS From A Company That Can't Manage A Bulletin Board?

I'm feeling cranky, and I'm going to take it out on Agfa.

I've just received a barrage of emails from various PACS admins around the country stating that THEY have received a barrage of emails...from ME!

It seems that after about five (5) years of my not showing my face on the Agfa Healthcare Users Group, AHUG was kind enough to send "New Years Message" to everyone on their lists. Everyone. Including those of us who got tired of the rather cumbersome navigation and gave up on the site five years ago. Did I mention that I haven't been on the site for about five (5) years?

Now here's the problem. AHUG has my old Yahoo address. I stopped using it regularly because Yahoo has been a b*tch about passwords...every few days it was requesting a new password be created, probably due to a problem with iOS Mail (which I also stopped using). I keep the Yahoo address active because there are some places that still use it, rather than my newer Gmail address. So, I autoforward all the Yahoo mail to Gmail, and reply to the sender with a "vacation response" containing the new address.

When AHUG decided to raise my identity from the dead, its poorly designed listserver, or maybe just the poorly designed site itself, sent the entry to my Yahoo address. It never did make it to Gmail, probably diverted as SPAM, but the autoresponse DID get back to AHUG, AND TO EVERY SINGLE USER ON THE LIST!

Now many of the PACS admins who received this autoresponse, who should probably know better, responded to the autoresponse, which generated MORE autoresponses! And so the cascade propagated.

I finally found out about this when four of the victims emailed me at the Gmail address that was clearly outlined in...the autoresponse. I'm going to assume that these nice people entered the PACS realm via IT as they blamed ME for the problem!  "You need to turn off your forward to Gmail!!!" "You need to cut off the away message!!"  Yup. All my fault. Couldn't be faulty software from the vendor, could it?

I was able to reactivate the account, and guess what!?? There is no way to change one's email address OR to delete the account! How wonderful! It's up to Agfa to fix this little glitch and calm its angry users.

Oh, by the way, the same damn thing (or at least something similar) happened in 2007, although I wasn't the culprit then:

Dear APUG Members,

First and foremost, I want to personally apologize to you for inundation of emails you received yesterday morning and even more importantly any pain and disruption it may have caused you!

Second, the auto-notifications have been turned off for all the discussion threads except the Agfa Announcement Discussion Thread

The flurry of emails was spawned as a result of three auto email replies which our system was not able to trap.

Our system captures automatic email notifications based on the subject strings/headings and unfortunately we were not prepared to capture subject text which included the words “Maternity Leave”. In addition, we also appear to have a problem with an out of office subject text contained within parenthesis. And last but not least if the subject heading is blank the system would not trap this message either.

Now the system has been updated to capture at least the Maternity Leave message. In any event, to reiterate all auto email notifications have been turned off, except of course for the Agfa Announcements Disccussion Thread.

We are looking into ways of subscribing people to the appropriate discussion threads without the SPAM. In the meantime, if you are interested in receiving the threads please go into the relevant thread and subscribe yourself. This seems to be the bottleneck to getting the site to be more interactive.

If you have any personal comments, please do not reply to this email notification. Rather than posting your message to everyone using the Agfa Announcements discussion thread please just drop me an email or call me directly. I have provided my contact information below.

If you wish to be taken off from even this discussion thread, just simply click on the unsubscribe*** link found at the very bottom of this email message.

Global Marketing Manager – PACS
I'm a little worried about zillion dollar software investments when they're having trouble with a simple, though cumbersome, bulletin board...

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