My best worse experience with Tech in the last two years. XBOX Live.

When my XBOX live accounts work, I love XBOX live. I used to buy movies on it – before they banned my credit card for life just because it expired.

I love almost everything about my XBOX Live experience except for their support, which completely sucks, and is without doubt, the worse I have ever experienced from a large company.

Yes – worse than my mortgage company, my water company, whatever.

XBOX Live is a great service – but they do not offer great service.

Once your credit card is expired, and Microsoft attempts to bill it and it fails, then that number is locked out – seemingly forever, according to the live “help desk”.

Then you start getting random email messages, like the one I got today:

This mail is confirmation that your subscription to Xbox Live 12 mo. Gold Membership has been cancelled on Thursday, April 03, 2008.

If you have questions about this cancellation, or if you want to reactivate your subscription, please go to or call Xbox Customer Support at 1 (800) 4MY-XBOX.

Canceled? WHICH account? I have several. Canceled? I canceled nothing.

I have NO CLUE what this email refers to.

Microsoft has no clue how to resolve credit card issues in XBOX Live – really – do a Google Search for it (30,800 hits).

I don’t have credit cards. I have one ATM card that works like a credit card. For me to change that number I need to change bank account numbers. Microsoft – why should I change bank account numbers, get a new ATM card, AND order new checks just because your software and/or operators cannot figure this shit out!

Credit Cards expire. So do debit cards. Deal with it, already. Really – just fucking deal with it. Work with me.

Search this blog, or the XBOX Live forums – you will see how long I have been fighting this idiocy.

And. I. Am. Just. About. To. Stop. Fighting.

And as an owner of three XBOX systems I think I am a customer worth keeping. But Microsoft has to do the work now. I’m tired of working to make sure I can give them money.

That’s just unacceptable.

Microsoft, you HAVE to know about this problem – I’ve talked to you about it for a year. Just fix it! Don’t just teach your Indian Tech Support to just tell me to “get a cash credit card at the grocery store”. That is bullshit. Teach your call center employees to help me.

Or lose me forever. You are on the brink. And right now, you are disappointing me.

And many others, if you believe in search results.

My number is right up there in the about box – call me. But only if you can fix your systems to use my completely valid debit card. The same one I can still use to buy Microsoft Points via the XBOX. I just can’t buy XBOX Live with it. Really. Your systems are that broken.

If you work at or for Microsoft and you can fix this, then please call me. PLEASE!

This won’t help adoption of Microsoft Silverlight!

OutlookMy brother sent me this screen shot, so of course I had to go digging around – I mean, this isn’t a phishing site!

Click images for a larger view.

Below you can see a larger view of the "phishing site" warning.  I’ve seen this on a few sites before – but never on my own!




phishing So what causes it?


oddly enough,

it is Microsoft!

Really.  Look at the top post on my blog (as of this screen shot – or the post just before this one)

There is an embedded "Channel 10" video from Microsoft.

And it wants to install Silverlight.




If you already had Silverlight installed you wouldn’t see this error.

So basically, Microsoft is warning users that a piece of Microsoft Code is making my site look like a phishing site.

Poor form.


And yes, I did extensive testing of removing this post, having Silverlight installed vs not installed, etc.

The only way I can replicate the phishing warning is if I have Internet Explorer view this post and do NOT have Silverlight installed.

Fix, please?

Silverlight Rehab

You don’t have to be a programmer to enjoy this video.  You just need a slightly warped sense of humor.  Like these Microsoft employees (err, and me, I suppose).

Anyway, this made me laugh.

Silverlight Rehab – You’re not alone



Trying Silverlight can lead to an addiction. We know this. But you’re not alone. Whether you’re a Developer, Designer or just a web junkie…there’s people out there just like you. Don’t be afraid to come forward. Share your story with us. It’s okay. In a unique move, we decided to allow cameras into one of our Silverlight Rehab meetings. Brace yourself it’s not easy to watch.

Home | Channel 10

Microsoft patent makes Plug-and-Play smarter – istartedsomething

Let’s see – Microsoft applied for their patent on March 20, 2008.  Mine, for virtually the same thing, was filed November 25, 2004.

Microsoft Patent Application.

My Patent Application.

I think I win.


The problem lies with device drivers. The device drivers which ship with each operating system release is only what is available at the time, so it cannot support new hardware which has been released after that time. This means when you plug in the device, the system is not going to find a suitable driver or it’s going to end up becoming a generic device. I’m sure you too will be quite pissed when you just installed a $300 gaming keyboard and mouse, and it defaults as a generic USB keyboard and mouse.

Up to and until now, operating systems and hardware vendors have tackled this problem by the use of internet updating mechanisms which seek out new drivers when you plug in a device. This of course relies on vendors actually actively updating the drivers in this drivers pool which so far they’ve failed, but more importantly, it requires an active internet connection. The paradox of installing a new network adapter which requires a network connection to download a new driver is a good example where this fails.

Microsoft has just patented an idea that solves both of these problems with one stone. Patent application 20080071935, Self-Installing Computer Peripherals for those of you playing at home.

Microsoft patent makes Plug-and-Play smarter – istartedsomething