You will remember that a few weeks back I wrote about the fabulous Trinfinity8, a-software-and-gadget combination that promises to fix just about everything that can possibly go wrong in your life by beaming the mighty power of fractals straight into your ears. You will also recall that, in the name of investigative reporting, I acquired, at vast personal expense, the Trinfinity8 iPhone app in order that I might give it a whirl. And, of course, so that I could get some customer service.

Here’s what I wrote to the Trinfinity8 Help Desk:1

I purchased your app for my iPhone recently. I love the idea of math being at the heart of all nature and I am very interested in fractals also. I loaded it onto my phone, and listened to the music with earbuds as suggested. I think the fractals are nice, but none of the programs (Energy Balance/I Feel Good/Male Libido Boost) seem to have any effect on me. I tried them several times. Am I doing something wrong, or maybe I got a bad app?

Jake.

And this was the instant auto-reply:

Thank you for your interest, we will get back to you shortly. We wish you a wonderful day.

The Trinfinity8 Team

‘If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.’ — Nikola Tesla, Inventor2

Ah yes. If there’s one other thing (aside from the usual crystals, magnets and quantum blah) that you can be sure is at the bottom of these kinds of nutty ideas, it’s the ghost of Nikola Tesla. Poor old Tesla. A genius of enormous magnitude now relegated to the status of a woo magnet. I’m sure he must be turning in his grave (undoubtedly generating some current by doing so).3

Anyhoo, a week later I did get a reply from a Trinfinity8 representative.

Dear Jake,

Thank you for the inquiry.  Subtle energy is cumulative over time, our suggestion is to keep trying the programs.  Many people take some time to notice any effect.  Even when using the full Trinfinity8 system, not everyone notices effects right away.  Make sure to keep using it with the earbuds, and keep it running for at least 3 minutes for any program.   

There is no such thing as a bad app, if it doesn’t install properly, it won’t work at all.

Best Wishes,

Tracy Andersen
Office Manager
Trinfinity8

No such thing as a bad app? I think you’re in error there Tracy. This app is not merely bad, it’s a complete crock of shit. Now to see if they’ll give me my money back…

Hello Tracy,

I’ve been using my Trinfinity8 iPod app for several weeks since I last wrote. I have to say, I am very disappointed. I notice absolutely no results at all, no matter how much time I use it for. I think either the app is somehow faulty or its not working at all. People who write reviews on you’re site say this should work but Im not getting a result. my sister Veronica is using it also and says she doens’t think it does much. I would like to get my money back for this app, as I think it is not effective,

Yours sincerely
Jake

I made sure, of course, to adopt the appropriate language construction so as to pass among ‘them’ undetected. Here’s what Tracy had to say:

Dear Jake,

You are the only person we’ve heard from that says the app doesn’t work. It absolutely works for me. You will have to contact iTunes, where you purchased the app, if you want to return it.

Best Wishes,

Tracy Andersen
Office Manager
Trinfinity8

Wow, that’s an amazing track record. I’m the only person who’s ever complained about this product? It’s not hard to see why these people get into business – a billion suckers out there for the taking. Money for jam. But under the circumstances of their enormous success (and concomitant profit), you’d think that even basic customer relations would dictate that the better part of valor when encountering a sole displeased customer would be to simply pony up the $5 purchase price with an apology. Taking the high moral ground seems a little snarky to me.

OK Tracy, I will get in touch with iTunes. Let’s see… OK, User Account -> Recent Purchases -> Report a Problem -> Choose a Problem -> This Application Doesn’t Function as Expected (It really should say ‘This Application Does not Function as Claimed’, wouldn’t you say, Apple?)… Let me just type something in the useless scrolling-infinitely-off-the-screen text field…4

OK. So, while I’m at it, I notice something else unusual:

Hang on… what does it say on the Trinfinity8 site? Oh, that’s right!

Trinfinity8 users have many wonderful and amazing stories to share. In order to stay in compliance with U.S. FDA regulations, we have chosen not to publish them on this website. Trinfinity8 is best described as a “Crystal Meditation Machine”. It is not a medical device (my emphasis).

Oh dear! Someone’s accidentally put it in the wrong iTunes App category. Better let Apple know about that too… Hit return and..

Great. Right back to Tracy. Thanks Steve, I hope you’re enjoying your billions this morning.

Very well, let’s see what happens…

Hi again Tracy

I went to iTunes and wrote on the iTunes form that my Trinfinity8 iphone app does not work and asked for my money back but they just had this – “We have taken note of your problem for our records. however we are not able to provide support for the features and functionilty of applications. Please contact developer for resolution: Trinfinity8: Energy on the go support” That just takes me back to your help form.

I am dissappointed that you or Apple iTunes does not care if or not your program works. You sell something, it should work!! I am into math and fractals + nature and I thought this would be great but I am begginning to think this is a ripoff program. I will ask one more time that you refund me my money.

Yours sincerly
Jake.

Notice how my agitation is really affecting my sentence construction! I’m riled!

OK, let’s see what Tracy has to say…

Alrighty. Four days on and not a peep from Tracy. Like I said: with all those happy customers, you’d think they might just have the magnanimity to refund a lone unhappy punter with a meagre $5. It’s not like I’m asking for the $8000.00 of the ‘proper’ Trinfiniy8 system back.5

Well Tracy, I guess you’ve forced me to exercise my other iTunes customer prerogative. A user review on the iTunes app store site. Viz:

This app is nothing more than a piece of pseudoscientific nonsense. The four included ‘programs’ simply play ambient tones and very ordinary fractal animation movies (such as those that can be created by dozens of cheap or free fractal apps). They are in no way ‘uniquely generated’ as described. The ‘mathematical algorithms’ that supposedly get transmitted to your ears are ‘sub-audible’ (yeah, right, of COURSE they are…) and therefore completely undetectable. Since there is no science that would explain how such a mechanism could work, there is no reason to suppose that it does.

This app is listed under the Medical category. That’s interesting, considering that the Trinfinity8 website holds this disclaimer: ‘Trinfinity8 is best described as a “Crystal Meditation Machine”. It is not a medical device.’

My advice is that if you’re really looking for an energy boost or a mood enhancer and have five bucks to spend, you’d be better off buying a chocolate bar.

Let’s see how long that stays there before we see a whole swag of ‘This-is-the-best-thing-since-sliced-bread’ ‘unsolicited’ user reviews. I give it, oh, two days (This app has had exactly ZERO reviews in the Australian shop since it’s been available. Mine is the first. If we start seeing positive reviews here suddenly, we can be TOTALLY sure that they have been solicited by the Trinfinity8 people and we’ve caught them with their hands in the cookie jar.)

You can be sure we will be visiting Trinfinty8 again in the not-too-distant future.

  1. Not using my real name, obviously… []
  2. I’m pretty sure Tesla never said this – at least not within anyone’s earshot. I’ve read many books about Tesla and I never once came across this quote. Searching for it only returns hundreds of sites of dubious credibility (usually quoting it in the context of ‘frequencies’ doing some damn thing or another to your ‘life energy’). If anyone can find a reliable source for it I’d be grateful. []
  3. Any Trinfinity8 representatives reading: that is a technical joke. A magnet rotating in a field generates electrical current… geddit? Tesla (a woo magnet) rotating in a field… No, I guess not. You probably need to have some understanding of science to figure that one out. []
  4. I wonder quite often when I’m on the Apple iTunes site why it is so crummy and un-Apple-like. It feels like it’s been designed by some third-rate Microsoft team. It’s clumsy, unintuitive and full of borked UI functionality. Why can’t you search in just ‘Apps’ for instance, rather than having to wade through the entire catalogue of the iTunes store? Why are there text fields like this escapee from a Windows spreadsheet? []
  5. It is, in my experience, a universal truth that peddlers of pseudoscience, when criticized, turn into the most unpleasant of people. So much for their supposed touchy-feely ‘we are all brothers and sisters’ mantras. []