Thursday, May 31, 2007

My Monroi is evil

In case you don't know, Monroi makes I-Pod shaped widgets that you can use to enter games in tournaments and to look at those moves later (no chess engine (what do you expect for their really cheap price of 359 dollars) though I am waiting for someone to win the World Open by hacking into the Monroi and installing one (or, someone could insert their own hardware into a Monroi shell and use it to cheat)).

Who wants to spend zero dollars over their tournament career to write down their moves when they can have another expensive electronic gadget that only does one thing? Its ample features more than make up for my bad experiences with my Monroi: at my last tournament it malfunctioned, incorrectly recording every game as a loss and trasmitting this to the TD, and then it shot my dog, started stalking me, and eventually enslaved my family in a Turkish prison. But like I said, at just under 400 dollars after taxes, it was such a bargain I shouldn't complain.

Seriously, find out why Monroi, the company, deserves derision here. They suceeded in bullying Mig over at Daily Chess Dirt to change his posts and delete comments about their company over at his blog. While I have never been a regular reader of Mig's blog (I have never been all that interested in chess news/gossip as opposed to chess), we need to get our fellow bloggers' backs.

Feel free to add your own "Monroi Disaster" story in the comments (parodic or true, it's all good).

Just to avoid legal action, I should clarify that my Monroi didn't really shoot my dog: it stabbed him.

Hat tip: BCC blog.


Blogger Pawn Shaman said...

I met a nice Monroi a couple weeks ago at a party. We went out a couple times to dinner, movies, dancing that kind of thing. I even got to second base on the first date. Needless to say I knew this was the Monroi for me. Smitten and in love I didnt even realize my Monroi had been cheating on me with a younger, wealthier dude. I caught them in the act at my Monroi's house out in the suburbs. Thats when I knew Monroi's make bad people.

5/31/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

this makes me want to go out and buy one just so i can return it....

5/31/2007 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger transformation said...

here, here. during the daily posts of results for the uscf us chess championship in oklahoma recently, i would go through the links directed from the, and always wound up at some silly electronic agreement. the 'i agree' button was not pronounced, in fact, being of similar type face, size, and color so not highlited. odd. with some searching, it is realized that you have to hit 'i agree', in the light grey matching half-tone type. then more cumbersome stuff... sad.

in 2002 and 2003 at the seattle foundation for chess us chess championship, latter named the american foundation for chess, they had a clean, crips, java aplet viewer, not unlike what FIDE was using at that time.

why there is constant need to reinvent chess viewers when stable, easy to use, well designed clean interfaces when nimble navigation tools already exist is beyond me.

i dont know Monroi but i am not impressed. somebody somewhere made some kind of decision, and they got their foot in the door.

as i wrote grandmaster seirawan two weeks ago on this same subject, "it is not like they are Cisco or Google or Microsoft, but this is just chess. some kind of major intelectual property to protect??":

5/31/2007 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Pearson said...

It happened one night in Montreal...

"Psst" the dark figure in the shadows of the alley hissed.

"Whaaaa" I grunted, my heart racing as I tried to make out his ferret-like features. I slid my beavertail sap from its holster, ready for a robbery attempt.

"Quiet!" he whispered. "I got some hot property here, at a big discount. One of those MonRoi chess widget thingies. Useful as hell--records, transmits and copyrights your moves--to someone else. Only $359 American dollars!"

"Three fifty-nine? That's the retail price, you little rat!"

"Yeah, but I'll rebate my share of the sales tax back."

That's Canada for you--even the street hustlers pay sales tax.

"Hmmm, let's see," I told him through clenched teeth. For $359 plus tax I could get a useless toy...or a bottle of whisky, a cheap hotel room and two hookers who speak bad French..."

I walloped him on the left temple with the sap, and he went down like a straw house in a might windstorm.

"Keep the change" I told the unmoving heap as I walked away. "And tell your masters back at the MonRoi sweatshop that any self-respecting chess player would rather have the whisky and the hookers."

5/31/2007 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger likesforests said...

I think Mig handled it very well. Monroi has a right to ask Mig to post a correction of key facts. They don't have a right to ask him to remove his opinion or those of his readers. There's this little thing called freedom of speech in most democratic nations.

6/01/2007 01:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a good story on the blog ethics. Mig Greengard recently made numerous false statements about the hotel in Stillwater, Canadians & MonRoi and posted them on his blog.

Mig posted false US Championship venue review, which would turn away any credible visitor-“This hotel is unkempt and dirty. The stairs are rotted out, none of the equipment in the exercise room worked. The sheets were dirty with crusty stains. The back stairs are rotted out and dangerous, the jacuzzi in our suite had mildew in all of the jets, no mattress pads on the beds..."

He falsely claims that Canadians dropped religion, that the Canadian dollar is worthless, that people from Canada are jerks (or viagras), and his “anonymous” blog users claim that Canadians have no right to speak, even when they are right.

MonRoi is a company based in Montreal, which sponsored the US Championship and publicized the chess players and organizers worldwide. MonRoi customer service received complains from clients related to Mig’s blog. When they informed Greengard that some of his blog posts are false and defamatory, he turned around and misled the readers that this was related to free speech on MonRoi products and that the company threatened him with a law suit. In fact, MonRoi just made him aware on the international laws - - free speech is protected and welcomed, but no law protects false speech or defamation.

6/01/2007 10:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha, ha

6/01/2007 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

Mon Diux!

Monroi? C'est la grande merde!

6/01/2007 11:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a time before history, in a place named Daily Dirty Blog Kingdom, a powerful and evil lord Miguron has brought together the forces of dirty blogging to recover his hurt ego. Miguron Chess Eye would destroy everyone with his piercing gaze in order to restore his power. He cried- I am the Lord, who dared to enter into MY chess kingdom, and who are those Elves from Montreal. And the story begins… What happened to Montreal Elves read in the next episode.

6/01/2007 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Mocca: It is hard to tell if you are a troll or just a Monroi shill.
Either way, I will waste my time with you once because I'm bored. After that, I'll ignore you or delete you depending on my mood.

First, the hotel situation is a red herring. Logic. Use it.

Second, making fun of Canadians is a national pasttime in the US, so you are obviously not from these parts and I forgive you for your ignorance.

Third, Monroi needs to learn how the blogosphere works outside of Stalingrad. They are killing their image. They should issue a public statement that includes their emails to Mig, an explanation, and likely an apology. For every blogger they try to manipulate, a group will stand up and say they rape babies just to piss them off.

Fourth, Mig never said they threatened a lawsuit; indeed he was clear to say this was not what they did. However, no company simply contacts someone to "make them aware of the law." This was an attempt at persuasion with clear legal implications to anyone with a social IQ above 10. They bullied him with a passive aggressive implicit threat of a lawsuit.

Fifth, I heard Monroi gives money to Al Quada. Indeed, my Monroi, every night at midnight, says 'All hail Osama. Kill America' subliminally. Luckily I found this Canadian message because I was doing some spectrograms of some data from work, and noticed some signal just below the conscious threshold in frequency space.

By the way, this is confidential. Please don't repeat its contents to anyone.

6/02/2007 01:56:00 AM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

OK, Here's my MonRoi Experience:

A while back I had a chance to see these in use at a tournament, actually used one etc ( I posted about that) I am concerned that these games become the IP of Monroi but I beleive that debate already happened.

What didn't impress me was that for 359 these things are just a stripped down PDA responisble for the USCF's new law on no longer wrting my move down on paper ( another debate for another time).

A couple of engineers at the tournment searched for the spec's on this. Now, I need to preface this with, what I do for a living these days is work for an engineering consulting firm that makes PDA-like devices for industrial and medical professions.
The Sharp processor, the amount of memory are standard off the shelf. The wireless is a little proprietary but a derivative of Zigbee from what I could gather.

Is it worth 359? NO.

I approached Monroi, with the opportunity to contract with our company to make a much cost reduced device that would be in the $100 range and more reachable to the common player. Same functionality minus the database capabilty.

No response. Not even an acknowledgement.

Then I realized that they tend to ONLY do business with companies in Canada. That's who did the proprietary wireless for them for instance.

If their business model is based on a monopolistic approach to the game recording industry AND to consider these games recorded as thier sole property, then it is a flawed model. They lobbied FIDE to be the approved new electronic game recorder for the events and have made thier way to other chess federations.

What they don't see is the alienation of the average player they make with such a high price tag on a cheap product. Add to that the IP conflict about the games that do get recorded. They don't want to listen to the revenue base that could make them more profits, instead they pander to the elite.

6/02/2007 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

BP: very interesting! It seems like a steep price for something that does so little. And why did they need proprietary data transmission? Is there a technical reason they couldn't use Blue Tooth?

6/02/2007 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Terminator said...

How much did Monroi Elves paid to evil and greedy Miguron for this free publicity? There are some top tournaments going on and nobody is talking about them.

6/02/2007 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...


I was told the need for a proprietary network was to prevent hackers from sending moves to the devices during matches. Also they didn't want the games "hijacked" to a different server.

They felt 802.11 was to ubiquitous and presented problems in terms of HAcking. So going with an industrial WLAN helped the security. However, IMHO, its only a matter of time. BAsically similar encryption schemes are used but the false sense of security being on a "different" and "proprietary" network ( Albeit all in the ISL band)

I have the HW design for an 802.11 based device that has a BOM cost under 100 running WinCE5.0 ( essentially an IPAQ clone stripped down). I'm sure an off the shelf Chess Program can be ported to it to record games and still have the same level of security.

6/02/2007 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

Oh.. and Blue tooth... is really too unsecure and doesn't have the range. Sorry didn't answer the question.

6/02/2007 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

If they want to fight against windmills I would say they have come to the right place.

6/02/2007 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks, BP for helping out with the techie stuff.

LMAO Tempo.

6/02/2007 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy Staab said...

Monroi is a sucking monopole - it sucks from all sides.

I bought one and the instant I opened the box and entered my Profile info, only to have made a typo - it told me I couldn't change it "for MY SECURITY".

I also wanted to return it right away when I read the user agreement that grants Monroi "Exclusive" rights to MY CHESS DATA in the device. What does that mean?

So I emailed monroi about it - jerks never replied.

So I looked up contact info and called them. The lady said its easy to change your profile - she would send me an email on how to do it. She also said the license agreement wasn't that big of a deal and so put me off for awhile.
I got her email and waited for a message from her.

Never came. I sent her an email directly.

No response.

I resent it and I am still waiting after WEEKS.

Monroi will not service you - they don't give a shit.
Monroi is STUPID - the design of this device is really whacked.
If has a nice display and inputing of moves is pretty cleanly - though on my first tournament using it on several pawn moved it by default moved the pawn SIDEWAYS!!! I was able to force it to move correctly with a drag move of my stylis.

This device has so much potential and it could all be fixed with a simple software upgrade.

I'd be happy to give them a detailed list of changes they could make to make this thing rock and take off like wildfile - but unfortunately I can't find any decent way to communicate with them.

6/07/2009 08:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just bought one and it is July 2011 and it is still a piece of shit. The touch screen is so bad compared to current technology available. I almost ready to throw it in the garbage can.

7/10/2011 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheap product with a high price tag. Don't recomend to anybody.

3/06/2013 03:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought a Monroi and it worked well and I really loved it, until I tried to charge the battery. The unit was defective and the battery would not charge.

I called them and left several voicemail messages, but none were returned. I emailed them and my emails were ignored also.

Finally I left a voicemail message that if I did not hear from themm in 24 hours I would retain an attorney in Canada to sue them.

I got a call back shortly after that. They walked me through some steps, but decided the device was defective. They said to ship it to them and they would ship me a new one.

I was a little hesitant, fearing I would never receive a replacement, but since my battery was dead and would not re-charge, I figured what did I have to lose?

I shipped it and then called them to see if they received it. For two weeks they told me it was never received. Then one day I got a call that the device was received and they would ship me a new one the following Monday. They also promised to email me the tracking number.

By the following Wednesday I had not received the tracking information, so I called them. They hung up on me twice. They answered the phone and then hung it up. I emailed them with no reply. I then called them from a different phone with a blocked number and they answered the phone. They said the deivce was shipped two days earlier and I should receive it any day now. They did email me the shipping information and the device arrived shortly.

Bottom line is their customer support is terrible. They do not answer their phones or return calls. They ignore emails.

I really liked the device, but if you have an issue with it, expect a tough time getting them to respond to your need for help.

5/17/2013 01:31:00 PM  

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