More on the Franklin

Saturday, 6 September 2003 — 12:39pm | Scrabble

After six Orientation presentations, three days of classes, $700 of textbooks, an outdoor double feature of Desperado and The Matrix Reloaded and countless bowls of Kraft Dinner, it’s back to blogging.

Following up on this post, now the Franklin Electronics Scrabble Companion has seen release and wave after wave of criticism, the Scrabble community has pretty much spoken: it sucks. It’s full of misspellings, rife with omissions, questionable in its interface, and unsure whether it wants to be a product for competitive players or the living-room masses.

On the other hand, I saw and handled one of these myself a week or two ago, and I must admit that the exterior is very nice, even if the squarish form factor isn’t the most pocketable. It’s got the looks of a cool toy; pity the brains are a little addled.

However, in a laudable and impressive display of corporate responsibility – a most excellent deflection of the criticisms that Franklin is practicing consumerist extortion (and there were many) – it was announced Thursday that the product is going to be fixed and replacements will be issued free-of-charge. This was a particularly well-timed move since the device has yet to see the light of mass retail, and has insofar been available primarily to NSA players who sought it out online. (Contrast this with, say, the shameless public release of misframed Back to the Future DVDs last year, which was not fixed until much later, concerning which a good deal of the public remained uninformed.) It would have been a better strategy if they’d told the early adopters that they were effectively beta-testing the damn thing, but the fact that they are not knowingly unleashing a faulty product and letting it be.

In other news, my Palm V is once again functional, so it’s back to LAMPWords for me. Apparently there’s some joint development going on with Lexicus going on, so the main downside of the Palm software – no definitions – is well on the way to being rectified.


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