Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Incandescent Fury Edition

     I’ve been told – more than once – that a man of my years should not allow himself to become furiously angry. It’s bad for the cardiopulmonary system, they say. I am quite willing to believe it...but all the same, there are incidents that simply demand an angry response. And I’ve just had one.

     I’m a retired software engineer. I was a damned good one, at that. For many years I was considered a high authority in my field (real-time software). So I retain a powerful appreciation for that field, its disciplines, and the constraints under which software artisans must labor.

     Among the absolute, inviolable commandments of software engineering, there is one that every practitioner must absorb so deeply into his psyche that it can never be expelled:

Thou Shalt Not Lose The Customer’s Data.

     It’s the gravest sin in the field. The customer’s data is invaluable. It represents his time, judgment, labor, and much else. Sometimes it’s the bedrock of his business, without which he’d be on the bread lines. So a practitioner who loses the customer’s data is going to catch hell. He’s often unable to continue in the software trade.

     Well, this morning a program lost my data. And I’m ready to chew girders and spit rivets.

     The Brave browser, which I’ve used for a couple of years, first attracted me by promoting its integrated ad-blocking and some innovative security features. As ads are consuming an ever greater fraction of Internet bandwidth, and Web security is as great a concern as ever, I liked what I read about it. So while it was still in the beta-test stage I downloaded it and endeavored to transition to it.

     Beta-test software is still “under development.” The engineers are still laboring over it: adding features, fixing bugs – when they can distinguish them from features, at least – and refining aspects of the program such as ergonomics and esthetics. So I was rather cautious about my use of Brave for quite some time. Over time it advanced in reliability, and my level of caution diminished.

     This morning I was running Brave V1.1.22: an official, post-beta release and the most recent one. As many writers do, I keep a rather extensive set of bookmarks in my browser, divided into folders according to their application. That’s “customer data” as it pertains to a Web browser. If there’s anything a browser is absolutely forbidden to do, it’s to lose that data.

     But Brave did so – and for the third time in the past two months, at that. The details follow.

     I had a page open that I wanted to add to my “Future Columns” bookmark folder, where I keep links to pieces about which I intend to write later. That folder already contained five links. I sought to add a sixth. So I right-clicked on that folder, clicked on the pull-down menu choice that says “Add page”...and the whole folder was deleted.

     The first time that happened, I persuaded myself that it was my fault. Perhaps a visual aberration had caused me to click the wrong menu choice. I resolved to be more careful thereafter.

     The second time it happened I was incensed. I was certain I’d done what I intended, and that most certainly wasn’t to delete a folder full of valuable links. Fortunately I was able to recover most of those links from an export I’d performed a week earlier. However, I held back from dismissing Brave as my default browser. I should have known better.

     This third time I was unable to recover any of the data Brave had deleted.

     Not only have I been a Brave user these past couple of years; I’ve also promoted it to friends who’ve complained about the proliferation of ads that made Web browsing an annoying chore. This morning I regret having done so. I’ve already reported my experiences and my anger to Brave’s support community. However, I shan’t return to using Brave unless and until I receive absolute assurance that:

  • Brave alerts its user community to the existence of this elusive, randomly striking fault;
  • The problem has been investigated and reproduced;
  • The nature of the fault has been determined and the problem has been fixed;
  • Brave’s developers issue a mass mailing to their users about the repaired edition.

     To lose a customer’s data is the gravest of all software sins. I will not forgive it without a sincere admission of fault and a crash effort to find and fix the problem. Nor will I back up my bookmarks every few minutes just to be on the safe side. So for the time being, it’s back to Chrome.

     Beware, Gentle Reader.


HoundOfDoom said...

Just saw this today. Is brave built on chrome?

Linda Fox said...

I liked the IDEA of Brave. But it's never delivered on its promises to provide as full a list of extensions as Chrome does.

And, for - not bookmarks, but those pages you want to reference for a short time, then erase - try One Tab, which allows you to take a browser full of open tabs, and move them to a list. It does help computer performance, as the movement of the tabs stops them from loading, and only re-starts again when you click on the link.

REALLY helpful when writing a blog post that needs references.

Rick C said...

If you're concerned with privacy, may I suggest Firefox with a couple of add-ons, like uBlock origin, decentraleyes, noscript, and maybe smart referrer?