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December 2005 - Posts

An update on my life
I used to blog here so much when I was writing my book, and I've kind of slacked off ever since. I'm lame.

The primary reason I haven't blogged as much here this year is because I had a really, really bad year in terms of my personal life. With that came a waning interest in coding and a lot of questioning about what the hell I'm doing with life in general.

If you read this blog back in 2004, you'd know that one of the things I continually struggled with is what I wanted to do in terms of work. Working for The Man resulted in a lot of dissatisfaction. I spent a good portion of 2005 working a pretty good contract job, which I eventually left in the fall so I could concentrate on coaching volleyball. Fortunately my Web sites produce enough revenue to get by, but all this time later I'm still trying to figure it out. In the interest of just challenging my brain, I'm once again looking at some contract gigs. I don't mind working for someone else when it's interesting work, so I'm crossing my fingers that something I can really get into is at the other end of these recruiter calls.

As for my own projects, I'm surprised at how many people downloaded my simple ghetto blog app. I've only really used it seriously, with some mods, for the CoasterBuzz Podcast site, but I'm pleased with the way it works. Not complicated at all, and shows how easy you can whip something up with ASP.NET and Visual Studio.

Probably my biggest neglect has been toward POP Forums v8. I'm ashamed at how little I've worked on it in the last year. The shame is more inwardly directed because it's something I can use. I know others would love to use it, but it has always been secondary to my own use (you get what you pay for ;)). There are two issues that I struggle with in finishing it. The first is that there are so many features I want to add to it, and it just gets daunting. The second issue is that I'm not happy with the way the user data is tied into it. I just can't break it out enough without sacrificing performance.

My ad serving software, while not having great UI, is surprisingly still kicking ass for me. If I could get the reporting to perform better, I think I'd release a beta of that. I've tried some tricks aggregating data, but the hold up is that SQL doing math is slow. I've never really taken the time to find a better way.

So the truth is that I still have a lot I'd like to be doing, I just haven't had the motivation to stick to it. I'm hoping 2006 will be different.
MSDN concierge service useless, customer service still sucks

Already, for the second time in four years that I've subscribed to MSDN, I find that you don't get what you pay for. After my last post about the product key not working for the latest Vista build, this is the chat I had with the "concierge" service.

{Peter}Hello Jeff and welcome to the MSDN Online Concierge. How may I assist you today?
{Jeff Putz}The Vista CTP product key doesn't work for me during installation. I've tried it on two different machines. Other MSDN subscribers that responded to my blog have had no problem.
{Peter}Jeff, the key on MSDN site appears to be outdated. You may contact MSDN customer service by calling toll-free number (800) 759-5474 and reference department A622WEB from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Pacific Time, Monday – Friday, except holidays. (They are closed today).
{Jeff Putz}What's the point of you being here if I need to call someone? That makes no sense. I shell out more than a grand a year so I can be told to call someone else for your problem? That's really poor customer service.
{Peter}Jeff, I can fully understand the inconveniences brought to you by the MSDN Subscribers Download Site. The Online Concierge is a one-to-one web-based chat service for MSDN subscribers to address non-technical questions regarding navigation of the MSDN site, Knowledge Base (KB) article searches, and Subscriber Downloads.

At the same time, you are invited to send MSDN Subscribers Download Site your feedback by posting the survey .

http://register.microsoft.com/contactus30/feedback40.asp?domain=msdnd
{Jeff Putz}Whatever. You're making excuses. This IS an issue with the download site. It has outdated content.
{Peter}Yes, Jeff. The product key on MSDN Subscribers Download Site is still for the initial Windows Vista Beta 1.
{Peter}Is there anything else I can help you at this moment, Jeff?
{Jeff Putz}Obviously not. I'm going to have to waste more time on the phone and then blog about how useless the support for MSDN subscribers is.
{Peter}Thank you for using the MSDN Online Concierge service. Please feel free to come back at any time again!
The user has ended the session.

Lame.

Posted: Dec 23 2005, 02:48 PM by Jeff | with 10 comment(s)
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Vista CTP December 2005 product key?
Is it me or do none of the product keys on MSDN work for the new build of Windows Vista?
Posted: Dec 22 2005, 06:17 PM by Jeff | with 5 comment(s)
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