Saturday, May 21, 2016

IOGear MediaShair (Updated)

    A few days ago I ordered the IOGear MediaShare from Aamazon. When it arrived, I did a quick setup and test to make sure everything was working. Work it did. 

    Setup was fast and simple. Although I had to download an app to my phone, which I read about in the reviews and was free, within just a few minutes everything was working. It had no issues reading any of my SD Cards, though some people seem to have an issue with this.

    Everything was going well, but it was late so I went to bed. A few days later, today actually, I finally set about actually setting it to do work. I even cleaned off desk (a rarity to be sure) to make sure everything was as it it should be. 

    After getting everything setup I found out a few things: 
  • It does work with a USB, though it will only access the first drive it finds. 
  • The transfer rate is very good between an SD Card and a USB Hard Drive.
  • The transfer rate is almost as good between my iPad Pro and and drive or card connected.
  • The wifi can act as a bridge, or even a range extender for your home wifi
  • The firmware update from the IOGear website will brick the device
    That's right. The firmware listed on the website bricked this little thing after less than a day of using it. Now the only lights that come on are the battery symbol and the Internet light. It does nothing else. It is a paper weight, or rather a brick. 

    I have contacted IOGear about the issue, but the customer service department isn't open on weekends, or holiday's. So when they do get around to getting into the office, and actually sit at their desk, and finish checking through their email, and finishing up that morning meeting with the over paid motivational speaker, they may or may not get around to reading my request for assistance. I will keep this blog updated on the progress, if any. 

    Until next time ...

[UPDATE]

    So, my time IOGear customer service has come to a close. Here is what I have learned.

    There is no firmware update for the version 2 of the hardware. The firmware update that is available is version 2, but for the version 1 hardware. Wacky I know, but there it is. So I worked with two people from their customer service department. The first was nice enough and we corrisponded via email. She then directed me to call a phone number, which I did, so they could set up an RMA. This was her idea, not mine. I was only looking to fix device, perhaps find a way to re-install the original firmware. As it turns out this wasn't an option.
    The phone rep called me a liar and claimed there was no way I could have done what I had done as no such update existed anymore on IOGear's website and that I must have gotten it some place else, and had accused me trying to rip off IOGear. After a heated discussion, I proved to him there was in fact such a firmware on the IOGear website. By this point however, he had heard enough and hung up on me.
    I reached out to the first rep vial email again and told her what had happened. I also stated that I was sorry there was nothing to be done. I asked her if there was a way to re-install the original firmware. She was very nice in telling me there wasn't.
    So here I am, with a bricked device that I apparently tried to install the wrong firmware on. With no way to fix it, what else was I going to do? Blaming IOGear for my mistake seemed like overkill, even if the file names are a bit confusing, it just didn't seem right. So I did what any responsible person would do. I recycled it.
    I don't mean that I re-purposed it. I mean I put it in a recycle bin. Not much else I could do at this point.
    Then this afternoon, a Tech-support manager emailed me and offered to RMA, again. All I needed to do was fill out some paper work. All well and good, except I had already recycled the unit. By this time it was on it's way to being repurposed as something else. Hipster party hats or something, I don't know.
    I explained this to the manager, about recycling the unit. It really doesn't do me any good to keep a device that 1) I cannot use, 2) is not returnable, and 3) is not repairable. That was after all the last information that I had received.
    This manager suggested that I should have asked to speak with a manager sooner. Why? Isn't that the job of customer support? Isn't that why they are paid? Escalating to a manager seemed ... I don't know ... Unnecessary? That is a good word. I will go with that. After all, the only real issue I had was with the phone rep accusing me of being a liar. I suppose I could have then, but I was already working with a customer support agent via email.
    It should be noted, at no time did I ever ask for an RMA or to return the device in anyway. On both occasions this was the suggested course of action by IOGear support staff. Mostly I just wanted it fixed. If I could do that without returning the item, I would have preferred that route.
    So, as it sits now, the device is gone. It just is. Disappointing? Yes, but not unexpected. It will however, be a very long time before I consider purchasing IOGear devices, for two reasons:

  • The phone rep. That was just unessisaary. 
  • If customer service and support personnel are not allowed to do their jobs, then why have them? If it takes escalating to a manager in order to solve, or even attempt to solve an issue, why have them? 
    Unfortunately, I have worked customer service before. There is only one rationale that has ever been used, to make complaints go away while spending as little time and money as possible. I just cannot do business with such a business. I just can't.  

    Until Next Time ...