Worst Support Ticket Sales Pitch Ever

Wild pitch
Image by williamhartz via Flickr

Long story short – for a few days last week I was unwittingly subverting the Chinese Government.  Somehow my private proxy server was discovered and published.  I may get into that story more later, but for now all you need to know is that I decided to ask around a few cheap hosting sites to see if I could run a small ad-supported proxy site.  This particular host shows up when Googling proxy hosting, but a couple of support tickets later it turns out that they don’t actually allow proxy hosting.  I let them know about the Google ad and got this enthusiastic sales pitch:

Hi, David.
Thanks for your notification.
If you like to host your sites, xxxxxxxxxxxx might be one of your choices. Let us know if you need more help. Thanks.

Now, I don’t know about YOU, but as for ME – I really like to host my sites.  It brings me much more happiness than when I was burning them onto a CD and trying to fling them into open car windows as I drove to work.  (readership tanked in winter and return visitors were hard to come by if the CD happened to peg them in the face).

So we’ve established that I like to host my sites, the Tech follows with the time-tested hard sell technique of telling me their product is soooo great it just might make it onto my list of choices.  It might be time to rewrite the script here folks!

Happy New Year Everyone!  Have you had any similar bad sales pitches?

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CA Internet Security Uninstall Error W9011

Joe working within the constricts of work's security firewall

Image by lloydi via Flickr

CA Internet security and I haven’t gotten along very well in the past and my attempts to get rid of it were just a continuation of the same problems. Previously I had had problems getting a Removed by HIPS FW error on webpages and that led to me researching the efw file problem that so many people were having. Well, the next and hopefully final problem I’ve had is when trying to uninstall. I was signed in as the administrator but still got a W9011 error claiming I didn’t have the correct permissions and giving me a registry key.

It’s pretty easy to give yourself the correct permissions, but we do have to dive into the registry so you’ll want to be very careful and change only the items that are listed in the error message (or 10 messages as mine ended up)

Here’s what you need to do to fix the problem

  1. Run the uninstall and leave the error message up on the screen
  2. Click on the Start Button and the Click ‘Run’ and type ‘regedit’ and press enter
  3. You should now see the registry editor
  4. Find the correct registry key (this is set up like normal folders so just navigate like you would in the windows file system
  5. Right-click and select permissions
  6. Click on your user name
  7. Check the Full Control box and apply
  8. Close the error and rerun the uninstall process
  9. Repeat as needed for more error messages
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Microsoft 2008 Launch Event

The Microsoft 2008 Launch event for Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 in Charlotte, NC has already gotten a negative review from Knetwork writer Franklin Pettit on his on blog. And while I do agree with some of the points Franklin makes I won’t say that the event was a total waste of my time. The free versions of VS 2008, SQL 2008, and the surprise addition of a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate made the trip worthwhile, but the presentations just didn’t have the kick that I’ve gotten used to at Microsoft events.

Let me offer the disclaimer that I don’t regularly program in MS products, I do occasionally and I’ve been considering going for the new certifications when they are released to beef up my knowledge and ability to do work on the side. Still, I love going to MS events because they are so well presented and really get you excited about the work MS is doing for developers. I usually leave an event wanting to go out and try the technology immediately even if I have no ability to do so! To give you idea of how this launch event went, I haven’t installed any of that nice new, shiny, powerful software yet. It’s still shrink wrapped a week later. I wasn’t motivated, I wasn’t inspired, and I wasn’t impressed.

All this is not to say that these products aren’t great and that the new features weren’t covered, it’s just that the coverage was a watered down rehash of info gone over at MSDN Events or was presented without any point of reference to how it was better. If you have a captive audience staring a big screen then make use of the visual! I was 75% of the way towards the back and I couldn’t read any of the code unless the presenter zoomed his screen (this only happened once while I was there). If you want the audience to Oooooh and Aaaaah like they’re watching a knife cut through a cement block then you’re going to have to give us some eye candy… why no silverlight?!? Being in Beta is no excuse, it has never stopped an MSDN Event presenter from showing us the goods.

All said I’ll keep coming to the launch events for the software, but I hope to see better presentations in the future. MS knows you can’t do much that’s meaningful in the short time we’re a captive audience so give us a quick run down if the changes, some before and after code samples, and lots of eye-candy!

12 Sites for Virtual Easter Eggs

EasterEggsHappy Easter!  It seemed appropriate to put together a list of Easter Egg sites, and I’m not talking about the beautiful colored eggs, I mean those little surprises hidden away in movies, DVDs, games, software, and web pages.

Easter Eggs in Movies and DVDs:

  • DVDEasterEggs – Focuses on Easter eggs in DVDs and helpfully includes the region code.  If you have a huge DVD collection consider signing for the RSS feed to give you something new to look for when you watch your favorite movies over again.
  • Netflix – The DVD rental by mail site lists lots of easter eggs for the movies it has, need something for your queue?  Take a look and see any of these sound interesting to you.
  • IMDB -  While not official listed as easter eggs, you can find a lot of theme under the “Fun Stuff” category on the sidebar.  Just check out the movie you’re about to see and find out if there’s anything you should be looking for.

Easter Eggs in Games:

  • GameSpot – GameSpot has a great article listing the Greatest Easter Eggs in Gaming History, a good read if you want to hit the highlights.
  • YahoVideoGames – Another list from YVG of their favorite gaming easter eggs.
  • DigitPress – Hits a lot of the older games, lists eggs by system and then game.

Easter Eggs in Software:

  • SoftwareTipsAndTricks – This computer help site has amassed a great collection of easter eggs hidden in various operating systems and other common applications
  • FreeSoftwareMagazine – This site that caters to free and OS software users has a list of easter eggs in free software.

Easter Eggs on Web Pages:

  • robert.accettura – This is a fun list of eggs that can be found in the HTML of some of the larger sites
  • Moo – Moo.com is running an online easter egg hunt this year, find the eggs and win prizes!

General Easter EggSites:

  • EggHeaven -  A clean and easy to use site with over 1000 eggs in 14 different categories
  • EEggs – The site isn’t as nice, but with over 10,000 eggs in 7 categories this is the place to go if you want to find an egg

Great Free Software for Your Laptop

I recently got a new laptop, nothing fancy, but it needed some tools to be really useful. This is the list that I came up with and it’s just as useful for desktops:

  • PC Decrapifier – Get rid of the preloaded junk so we can make room for the good stuff

  • – You have to have Firefox right?
  • Notepad++ – Great replacement for Notepad, particularly good for programmers
  • Open Office – It’s not MS Office, but it’s amazingly close and amazingly free

  • GIMP – It’s not Photoshop, but still very powerful and useful, and again free
  • Picasa – Easy and free photo organization if you plan to store pictures on your laptop
  • Itunes – Even if you don’t have an Ipod it’s a good organizer and makes burning easy
  • Filezilla – Free and secure FTP program, if you like that kind of thing
  • UltraVNC – Computer Remote Control and Vista compatible
  • IZArc – Free zip/unzip program
  • AVG -Free antivirus
  • XAMPP – Free WAMP webserver. Easy to setup to build and test webpages locally.