Just when I thought it wasn’t possible for my Autodesk discussion group experience to get any worse, it has. Much worse.
I stated before that in the 15 November update, some Einstein decided it would be fun to copy my private work email address over the top of my public user ID, automatically making it visible to all and sundry in many places. I should note at this point that publishing somebody’s email address without consent is illegal in some locations, including here in Australia. So to the best of my knowledge (not that I’m a lawyer), Autodesk is not only perpetrating a grossly irresponsible breach of privacy, it’s also breaking the law.
Attempting to fix this myself failed, because of some new introduced bug in the login system. When changing my user ID from my email address to “Steve Johnson”, the screen falsely claimed that the data entered was invalid. I have reported that here, on the newsgroups themselves, and as an official top-priority Subscription support call.
During one of my user ID fix-up attempts, a popup screen asked if I was changing the password (I wasn’t, I was trying to change the user ID) for user “Steve Johnson” or user “my email address”. I tried both in turn, but neither worked. That got me thinking that maybe the update may have created two versions of me; one with the correct name and one with my email address, with the latter being associated with my discussion group messages. So I tried changing the email address one to a name that wasn’t my email address and wasn’t Steve Johnson (SteveJohnson-blognauseam), in the hope that this would at least remove my email address from public view.
I was pleasantly surprised when this change was accepted, but my elation was short-lived. The change process logged me off automatically, and then refused to let me log back on. I can’t log on as SteveJohnson-blognauseam, I can’t log on as Steve Johnson, and I can’t log on as my email address. All attempts are refused as invalid. I can’t log on to chase up my Subscription support call. I can’t log on to erase my email address from the body of a discussion group message, which was automatically infected with my full-text email address when I edited it in an attempt to fix up some of the new formatting issues introduced to the awful editor by the recent changes. Not only that, but after all that, the change of my user ID didn’t “take” in the discussion groups themselves! It was all in vain! Strewth.
I’m stuck in the worst of all worlds. My Subscription access is broken. My email address is still visible. If anyone replies to any of my messages, that email address is likely to be reproduced in plain text in their message, and I’m not going to be able to edit it. I can’t even log on and complain about it on the discussion groups themselves. I don’t have access to my work email account for another 36 hours so I can’t chase up the Subscription people that way, and if they email me with instructions or a request for information I won’t see it. So the chances of this being fixed in a reasonable timeframe (i.e. before the spambots do their harvesting) are slim, to say the least.
Would the dolt or dolts responsible for this SNAFU care to come forward? No, I didn’t think so.
I am struggling to find words that adequately express my displeasure at Autodesk right now. It wouldn’t be quite so abysmal if it wasn’t a repeat of the exact same situation just a few weeks ago, for which I and many others roundly and justly slammed Autodesk at the time.
Autodesk is listening? Yeah, right. In this case, Autodesk is doing a great impersonation of a fence post.
Edit: overnight, my name change to SteveJohnson-blognauseam did actually “take”, so most of the email address instances are gone. Unfortunately, a spambot only needs one instance, and I’m still left with at least one message containing my email address in plain text. I still can’t log on using any of my 3 possible user IDs, so I can’t fix it up myself.
Edit 2: an Autodesk person kindly emailed me (which must have taken significant intestinal fortitude) to inform me they had reset my password, which allowed me to log on and remove what I hope is the only plain text instance of my email address. Other than a few marginal technicalities I described to the Autodesk person, that’s my email address hidden again. Now, what about everybody else in the same boat?
It is good that you bring these issues to the attention of others in your blog and thank you, however can I make the suggestion, if it has not already been done, that you write these posting addressing directly Carl Bass, he is the MAN at the helm…………. and I am sure he will get your problems fixed in the same manner he has mine 😉
As a point of interest; ‘somebody’ with access to Autodesk’s My Portal published comments about me in the login area and when I brought it to Autodesk attention their reaction was to remove my access completely (probably the same guy covering his tracks) and it has never been restored – the price of criticism.
More importantly, Ralph asked the question, “Would you trust your CAD data to such an environment”. The facts of the matter are that every Autodesk customer using software with CIP capability has allowed Autodesk to load Trojan software onto their systems – without permission – and if they have also allowed it to send data back they have entrusted their entire design system(s) and data to the same company you are having these issues with!
To answer Ralph questions the answer is a resounding, NO, never entrust your CADD data to this company!
Steve, FYI – I have seen at least one of your posts on the newsreader side that shows your full work email address instead of just your username.
R.K. – Thanks, was this in a message you downloaded in the last 12 hours or so?
The subject is [Re: —> “This question is not answered. Helpful answers available: 2. Correct answers available: 1”] – I’m not sure when I clicked on the message to download it, but it’s been in the list of messages like that since it was posted (11/18/2008 7:21 PM)
Steve: “an Autodesk person kindly emailed me (which must have taken significant intestinal fortitude)”
No ‘intestinal fortitude’ required to email; if they had any ‘guts’ a ‘person’ would have rung and spoken with you!
R.K. – Thanks, I think it’s now fixed.
Paul, given the difference in time zones I don’t expect Autodesk USA people to call me. Email is probably best for both parties. And yes, it did take some guts; I can understand it if some Autodesk people are nervous about approaching me. They shouldn’t be; no Adeskers have yet lost any limbs as a result of contacting me.
That said, I did receive a reasonably prompt phone call from India in response to my top-priority Subscription support call. It didn’t actually fix anything, but it was at least a phone call from Autodesk on this subject.
I’ve also received two very lengthy phone calls from an Autodesk person over the past couple of days, at a time that was convenient to me and at Autodesk’s expense. The content of the calls must remain private and the caller will remain nameless, but I’ll say this. Although this particular problem wasn’t the main reason for the calls, it was mentioned. There was a very frank and honest exchange of views; a clearing of the air. The calls resulted in enhanced mutual understanding. This is A Good Thing for all concerned.
So, I have to say I have no complaints at all about not receiving a phone call from Autodesk.
Thanks Steve, it good to see they did and that you are happy with the response and outcome.