Maybe someone at Microsoft or T-Mobile was pulling a “Mr. Scott.” This is a term that comes from the original Star Trek series, and later explained in detailed by the seemingly miracle working head of engineering character Montgomery Scott. Essentially, Mr. Scott, when asked how long it would take for something to be repaired would give an estimate far longer than he knew it would take, and instead of sitting around he’d actually accomplish the task far quicker than he said, thus establishing a precedent of being a miracle worker. Of course, including the lines, “I can’t work miracles” for good measure helped too.
So now I’m wondering if that’s what happened with Microsoft’s Danger cloud computing server. Last week it was reported that the T-Mobile Sidekick and Danger, the Microsoft owned services company that was charged with backing up the data on the servers, had a catastrophe when things went into the danger zone. Basically, it seems that Danger had only been backing up the customer data to a single server, it crashed and it looked like everything was lost. The companies had issued statements that there was little chance of getting the data back, but that teams would work around the clock to see what they could do.
And it was an October miracle or something, because yesterday, Roz Ho, Microsoft VP for Premium Mobile Experiences, announced via the T-Mobile forums that data was recovered.
“We are pleased to report that we have recovered most, if not all, customer data for those Sidekick customers whose data was affected by the recent outage. We plan to begin restoring users’ personal data as soon as possible, starting with personal contacts, after we have validated the data and our restoration plan. We will then continue to work around the clock to restore data to all affected users, including calendar, notes, tasks, photographs and high scores, as quickly as possible… We now believe that data loss affected a minority of Sidekick users.”
So the question is whether this data loss really did affect a minority of Sidekick users, or whether that is PR spin. And while this is good news in the end, it still makes me wonder whether the expectations were set so low that once any data was returned, it sounded better than nothing, which had been mentioned as the most likely outcome. We’ll likely never know whether this was good work from the engineers and IT staff, good luck or just good PR. Likely it was all three.
Affordable Plans From Walmart
There is a new low-cost mobile player in the game now, and it comes from discount retailer Walmart, which announced this week that it would introduce two new low-cost, no-contract mobile phone plans. The new Straight Talk nationwide plan was developed along with TracFone, and will feature handsets from Motorola, LG and Samsung.
For users looking for an alternative to Boost Mobile or Metro PCS this is good news, as the phones could eventually be rolled out to the stores nationwide, but are currently now offered at 234 stores on a trial basis. The plans cost $30 and $45 for each 30-days; while the lower cost one offers 1,000 minutes, 1,000 text or picture messages and 30MB of data, while the premium plan offers unlimited minutes, messages and data. The catch is that this pricing still doesn’t include phones, but as pricing plans go this could be a good alternative for those who just need to talk and don’t want to be tied down to a contract.