Mo Bitar

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Notes to self. Working on Standard Notes, a simple and private notes app.

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I'll give today 2 stars

I read something at about 11pm last night that dramatically altered my mood. I went to sleep like that, and now my waking is the manifestation of that seed. It’s the type of thing you can’t shake, because it hits you right where it hurts. And my overall consciousness is diminished by it.

I’m writing about it to evict it from my mind. It’s gotten me in the worst mood, and the sooner I let it out of me, the quicker I can move from it.

There were two small incidents, one which happened last night, and then another small grievance that occurred today that definitely did not help. Last night, I got an email from Google Play informing me that someone had left a new review on Standard Notes. Usually I expect the worst, because internet, but so far, it’s been congenial, and in my cases, glowing, which makes me really happy. This user leaves a review saying that for some reason, the app is refusing my fingerprint. The technical part is bewildering, since the app uses the system scanner directly without any intervention from us, and is an issue I've never heard before. It’s hard to offer support via review replies, so I pray most people will be mindful enough to send an email if there’s a particular issue they’re experiencing. Nonetheless, with vague clues and no chance for discussion, this review was 1 star. That's fine. This wasn’t what got me. I scrolled down a little further and noticed that another user had changed their originally glowing review, from five stars, to one.

This again is fine on its own, if the reasons are justified. I get a lot of positive email and support, which is always so tremendously heart warming and a lubricant to my days. And other times, emails will feel distant and cold. This is usually by no fault of that person. The human element of software can sometimes be distant, so that you feel in the same way you command software to your will, you can also command the people part of it too, like customer support. And this again seems reasonable, given that most software we use is developed by huge corporations to whom we are a statistic bearing no chance of being individually heard. So they expect the same here, expecting their message to never be read by an actual human being somewhere. Almost 100% of people who email coldly and blithely in the beginning immediately change to being genuine and kind when they realize there’s a human on the other end, replying individually to every single message. This pattern has sincerely reaffirmed my belief in the fundamental kindness of humanity, and has taught me to never take a digital message at face value: the person on the other end is almost always capable of profound kindness. This happens when two humans connect, but not when a human feels like they’re connecting to a machine: being kind to machines makes no sense. So we batter on our keyboard and command! our email client to deliver this message at once!

.............pzzziwiwizzzzhshshshhsshhh...............

Oh hello, I’m another person at this end. Ping….

…pzzziwiwizshhh.…Hello....there!……

….Pong…. Message delivered.

In the case of reviews, the incidence that is most frustrating is when a user has decided, firmly and non-negotiably, that this app is not what was needed, and drops the mic with a few unkind words. Frustrating, but not neccessarily imperiling, as has happened today. This user in question decided to go beyond the technical aspect, reach through the screen, and grab directly at the jugular. He said, the app is buggy. And that this is why you can’t do something like this as just one person. You need a group.

Aside from the pros and cons of developing as an individual versus developing as a team, it’s frustrating because, why not come talk to me dude? Like, we can probably make some great progress, if you just reached out to me. Said even Hi! But instead, the door is slammed behind them, leaving no room for discussion. This would be the first time I hear that the Android app is buggy. To the delight of my ears, hands, and heart, feedback about the Android app has been overwhelmingly positive. And now, the mystery of what this user was experiencing that caused him to feel this way will be forever unsolved. Users like these hardly follow up.

The you need a group comment—ahhhh. I don’t want it to, and I’m resisting it, but it's tearing at me. Like…why? I’m not bothered by the substance of the comment itself, just that someone would write it on a dagger and aim it directly at you. You could have lived without making that comment. Your life would be unaltered. Mine? Well, I’m here writing this...

It’s fine. I've just moved past it.

The other incident, which was very minor, but made me bite my teeth down just a tiny bit, was earlier today when I announced the release of the first beta for version 2.1. It feels soooo good to get a beta out. It’s a huge milestone, because shipping anything, even a beta, is hard. I’ve been really happy using it over the past few weeks, and beyond excited for this new navigation UI to replace the current visual look, which from this angle I can say, looks appalling. Beyond excited for it. Within the first two minutes, a user messages me, saying nothing else but: please revert back to old menus and style. Ahhhh. After months of hard work on something, imagine the first thing someone says about it is: please undo it all.

It’s almost hysterical. Now that I think about, it’s comedic. And I feel better now laughing about it.


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