Over the weekend I helped a friend sort out some problems with Microsoft Outlook. She had a newly installed Office 2007 version and whenever she tried to send an attachment her computer immediately froze. You had to control-alt-delete twice and wait minutes for Outlook to shut down before trying again. So I did a little online research and disabled her all Microsoft add-ins, for things like exchange and SharePoint. And then she could send attachments without freezing. So Microsoft's own Outlook add-ins break Outlook. Nice work! But then we noticed that although it could send a word doc just fine, if you tried to send a PDF the recipient got a corrupted file. This happens because Microsoft adds some hidden code to each document you send through Outlook, including your name and email. (And people think Facebook violates privacy!) I guess in doing this hidden code thing they break the PDF. So I taught her how to send attachments through Gmail. Outlook is broken. Is Microsoft broken?
You know what would be SO cool? If you could complain in your public lifestream (twitter, facebook, google buzz, whatever) about a problem you were having with a company, and get an automatic reply telling you how to fix it. So there's a web crawler that looks for references and parses them, and companies subscribe to a feed of their mentions and provide responses for the FAQ, and an automated response gets sent to whoever complained. This would save people so much time. I'll give you a couple of examples: #helpmefixit! the rubber rotor melted on my kitchenaid blender, tell me where to buy a new one! or #helpmefixit! Where can I recycle old computers near 10026? I know this kind of help happens informally from people on Twitter all the time, but I want the companies to see the volume of complaints about certain things so they know which areas to focus on, so this needs to be automated. Anyone working on this?