Posts tagged: Business

Valve & Steam support is useless

About a week ago I posted that I was having trouble with Valve and Steam support in fixing a region coding problem with their software called The Orange Box that I purchased in Hong Kong.

According to Valve Corporation’s first line support, all packaging is clearly labeled that the software is region restricted to the region it was purchased in.  I would never buy software for the PC that was labeled like that and because of that I read the box and asked questions about EVERY piece of software I purchased while I lived there.  I still have the retail box that I purchased which says nothing, anywhere, not even in the fine print about having ANY region or territory restrictions.

Since my last post, I have made full color scans of both the retail box and the quick reference card from inside the box that has the CD Key.  I sent them these so that they could see for themselves that there is nothing on there about region or territory restrictions.  I asked them to please escalate the issue to management if they still could not help me.
Here’s the response I got:

A staff member has replied to your question:

Hello Vincent,
We cannot accept pdf files for image verification.

You must submit your photos as a jpg, or gif.

That said, in restricted territories all official packaging for our games contains wording indicating if the game has any restrictions.

We will not be able to lift the restriction, nor provide you with a replacement CD Key for this issue.

So much for attempting to be helpful.

So today I have again, politely asked them to escalate this to their management or give me the contact information of their management so I can talk to them directly.  I paid roughly $45 USD for this game and I don’t feel that I should be punished because some of their packaging is not labeled as they THINK it is.

I don’t really want to spend hours creating accounts on forums and creating posts about how horrible Valve Corporation and Steam software is but if they can’t even be bothered to replace a simple CD Key that has no monetary value (since I already bought the game) then I don’t see a whole lot of choice.  It won’t be the first time I’ve made a formal complaint to the Better Business Bureau either.

Just telling me to buy their software a second time is not a good enough response.  It’s ridiculous and callous and is the face of everything that is wrong with modern tech support and business today.

There’s no reason to think that you will have a similar problem with a company until it happens to you.  What will you do when that day comes?  Roll over and accept being screwed over or try to put up a fight?  Help me get the word out.  I can’t be the only person having this problem and if their tech support is this useless in this case I’m betting there are a lot of screwed over former Valve users out there.
Link back to this post if you want to help out.  Every bit of exposure helps.

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Software news

Recently the following software news has been filtering through the web: MicroFocus aquires Borland.

And…?

Yeah, me too. Who cares? I didn’t even know either company was still around. I had assumed they had both withered away with the likes of Interplay and Origin Systems. So I guess the real news headline should have been: OMG Borland and MicroFocus still exist!?!

Which of course all of this is as newsworthy as this post. I’m just saying.

Anheuser-Busch sold; goes global?

Here’s something I never expected to see: iconic St. Louis and American company Anheuser-Busch has agreed to be purchased by European based InBev for $70 per share.  The biggest maker of beer in the United States is selling to the Belgium based maker of Stella Artois and Becks.  Why?  I have no idea.  I’d never even heard of Stella Artois till I moved to Hong Kong where it’s a moderately popular brand of beer.

But why is AB selling in the first place?  Their stock prices are as high as they were years ago which indicates no serious problems.  Is the rising gas costs hurting them that much?  I doubt it since they use all 3rd party shippers.  So why is AB selling?

They say that all the breweries will remain open and that St. Louis will remain as the world headquarters of the AB brand, but it will be run and owned by Brazilian management in Belgium.  I’m still waiting to hear of some nefarious plot and the appearance of James Bond to put a stop to their insidious plans or world domination by mind control drugs in the beer.  It would make more sense that way.

Today I fly East

Well, I’m heading to the airport soon for my flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Because of the odd flight schedules and the almost 4 hour flight time, I have to fly there today and spend the night if I want to spend a whole day in the office tomorrow. Which I do.

Our Kuala Lumpur office will probably be the next one to be fully integrated into our corporate global network. So that means I have to go and check out the new offices and see what they do and don’t have. What needs to be purchased and what might be able to be reused. Probably not a whole lot of reusing going on I’m betting. But we shall see.

I probably won’t get to really see anything while I’m there. But if I do run across something, I will have my camera. Which doesn’t mean a whole lot since 99% of the pictures I take just sit on my camera or on my computer and no one ever gets to see them. Meh, whatever.

EDIT: South!  Not East.  South, and just a bit West.  Not East at all.  I’m surprised no one corrected me on that one….

I hate Blackberrys

I hate Blackberrys. Not the fruit but the more popular psuedo-pager Blackberry that most people assume work by way of magic. Which they do kind of. They also seem to stop working as if by magic as well. Perhaps it’s more like voodoo. The only thing for sure is that business people love them and can’t live without them. And when they don’t work they want us tech people to wave our magic wand and make it better in 10 seconds or less.

For those of you that don’t have to support Blackberrys, here’s how we troubleshoot them when they stop working:

  1. Check to make sure that the radio is still turned on. So often it gets turned off for mysterious and dark reasons.
  2. Make sure it shows that it has a signal and sees the network.
  3. Realize that Step 2 was absolute rubbish (because that means nothing) and pop the battery out to truly power off the device.
  4. Put the battery back in and start chanting praises to the lesser demons of wireless. They sometimes enjoy that.
  5. Sit and stare at that stupid hourglass till it finishes booting up. Continue with the chanting or begin the ritual dance as described in Blackberry tech support article FU666BS86.
  6. Check to see if mail is being sent and received. Most of the time, it will be fixed and no matter how many times you tell the user that simply removing the battery (with ot without the chanting and dance) is well within their means.
  7. If it’s still not working, curse the lesser demons of wireless and try manually setting the Network Provider. You know, just in case.
  8. If the user is standing over your shoulder, you may want to poke about in the Advanced options as quickly as possible with a stern yet determined look upon your face until they decide they have better things to do.
  9. Mumble to them that you’ll get back to them. They like that.
  10. Remove the Blackberry account from the Blackberry Enterprise Server. Because you’re using that, right? If not, you are a mockery to all the other Blackberry support people. And also a bit of an envy to us too. We hate you either way.
  11. Add the Blackberry back onto the server and get a new activation password. If you are doing this for someone else, make sure you make the most difficult password you can possibly imagine. Especially if the Blackberry is saddled with one of those crappy T9 inputs.
  12. Wipe the Blackberry. This isn’t always necessary BUT it seems to work better sometimes. Magic.
  13. Go through the Enterprise Activation one more time and enjoy the thrill of clicking Next on meaningless screens of crap you’ve seen a hundred times before.
  14. Enter the e-mail address and password and then take up a new hobby. Model plane building, learn the guitar, paint your office followed by the rest of the offices in the building, blog posting, etc. Whatever you do, and this is crucial, DO NOT sit there and wait for that activation to complete while you sit there and watch. You have a better chance of curing a person of leprosy by licking their wounds than you do of outlasting this painfully long process. This is where the lesser demons perform their activation rituals and they are shy. And evil. Do not mess with them at this point.
  15. When you get back from vacation, check the Blackberry and see if activation is complete and then see if it’s working. If so, yay! If not, quit your job and become a firefighter or a bomb defuser or a journalist in the Middle East. Because that would be easier than trying to figure out what exactly is the issue.

As you might have guessed, there’s been a few Blackberry issues here lately. They come in groups it seems. Nothing for weeks and then four or five of them will flake out at the same time. Very rarely do you ever see one go bad on it’s own. They just don’t have the ambition or self-confidence to do anything on their own. They live and work in a pack mentality. You just have to learn to deal with that.

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