Daily Scrum (2014-04-04)

What I did last time…

I working in MLP3 a lot.  I fixed several small things: auto-opening portfolios, the default grace period, made a small tweak to the file system, designed a new icon for MLP3.  Additionally I did a lot of testing on the parts of the loan calculator that are written and fixed several bugs and added a couple things.

On a side note, someone bought two copies of MLP2, spent six hours entering their data into it, and when they returned the next day, there was no evidence of their data anywhere.  Obviously unhappy, they requested a refund (which I issued immediately).  Although there’s a good chance the loan data is still on their computer and recoverable, if I had that experience with a program, I would definitely not ever trust or use it again.

Moneylender works with hidden temporary files while a portfolio is open, then copies the temporary files onto the .mlp portfolio file when the program is closed.  This is usually fine.  If moneylender is left running on a computer that reboots for an automatic update in the middle of the night, it might not get to close the portfolio and when the user begins to use the program they’ll get a message asking to use a temporary file or ignore the temporary file.  Use the temporary file and everything is great.  The details of what happens if a user ignores the temporary file get a little tedious, but the results could range from losing the last day’s work to losing half or all of your data.

Now, for this very unfortunate person, this happened on their first use.  Moneylender had only been working with the temporary file and hadn’t written the .mlp file at all.  When they reopened Moneylender the next day, there was no portfolio to try to open.  Their data, in a hidden file, wasn’t visible anywhere and the very reasonable assumption is that it’s gone forever.  I’ve known about this vulnerability for some time, and it’s the main reason I’ve been building MLP3.  The new file system eliminates the temporary files completely.

Needless to say, I’m utterly embarrassed to have this happen to someone.  Although I could’ve recovered their data for them, if it was you, would you want to keep using the program?  I pride myself on providing a quality product that outshines the competition.  The feedback I get from people who email customer support with questions and problems with the software is overwhelmingly positive, but these rare instances where no amount of technical prowess can repair their shattered confidence stand as stark reminders that there is still much work to be done.

I truly appreciate all the customers who have had a problem and patiently allowed me to walk with them through the solution, and I respect the ones that have had to walk away.  Even amidst seven very satisfied customers praising the product and the support they received this week, the one colossal disappointment reminds me that there is yet much work to do.  I will continue to do my very best to provide the level of support and consideration I would hope to receive if the roles were switched.

What I hope to do today…

Pick up where I left off, rewriting the various forms to work with the new record formats and testing the loan calculator to make sure the settings are being correctly reflected in the loan balances.  Moneylender Professional 3 is still a far way off, but it is at least becoming a somewhat usable program.


None, it’s just software and design today.  Smooth sailing.

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