Life sucks…

Ok, it’s not been THAT bad, but it has been a bad week.  My new personal saying is that ‘the light at the end of the tunnel always seems to be attached to a train’.  Very little has gone right. 

First off, a couple of weeks ago, someone hit my car.  I had to rent a car, and I used my check card.  Ok, I can live with the nonsense that goes along with using a check card for a car rental.  What I CAN’T live with is the fact that two weeks after the car was returned (a MONTH after the initial rental) they charged my card.  Now, normally this wouldn’t be a problem EXCEPT, somehow, the insurance payment to the rental company got, ah, LOST.  Ok, I can live with getting over charged…  Unless, of course, it happens to overdraw my bank account.  Well, even that’s not too bad.  But… the kicker is that instead of charging 1 charge to my account, they charged 4 SEPERATE CHARGES!!!!!!  So now, instead of a $35 fee, I end up with $150 in FEES!!!!!!  Enterprise-Rent-a-Car REALLY sucks.  I’ve had too many run-ins with them to be even close to nice.  NO MORE!!!!  Avoid Enterprise at ALL COSTS.

– End public service annonucement…

We now take you back to our regularly scheduled blog.

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Change is good?

I know Microsoft is going to be hearing whining all day about this.  Well, I’m going to add to it.  MSN Messenger and MSN Spaces are out of Beta.  Why no links?  Because I am not terribly thrilled with some of the ‘tactics’ that are being used to push advertisments. 

Let me start by saying that I understand Microsoft is a business.  Business’s number one goal is to make money.  The beta of MSN Spaces had no advertisements, so no revenue was being generated.  Now that it is out of beta, to maintain the internet connection, provide servers and storage space, and continue development require money.  Unfortunately for us users, there are two ways of generating money for this site.  Either we pay for the services, or advertisers pay for them (or Microsoft loses money).  So we get advertisements.  Nothing’s free, folks.

I wish Microsoft had done something like what they do for Hotmail.  Don’t like advertisments?  Pay us a little bit of cash, and we turn them off.  Please, please, please offer that option for Spaces and/or Messenger.  Or, do the google thing, and use context sensitive advertising.  Unfortunately, I don’t think any of this will happen.  Why?  Because it’s a numbers game.  Why do you think telemarketing was a lucrative business?  Doesn’t EVERYBODY hate it?  What about spam?  Enough people respond to these methods that ‘the company makes more money than they spent’.  Positive Return On Investment.  Guess what?  They will continue to advertise in those manners until there is Negative Return On Investment.  I am guessing that Microsoft makes far more money by running nontarget ads then if everyone who has signed up for spaces pays $20 (and that’s with over 4.5 million subscribers).

What can we do as users?  Well, we’ve got a couple of choices.  Find a service that we pay for.  Use Google’s Blogger.  Ads are optional and based upon user’s choice.  (How long it will stay like that is anyone’s guess).  Build your own server and run you own blog.  Or, just live with it.  Unfortunately, I know what I will do…

Change is good?

I know Microsoft is going to be hearing whining all day about this.  Well, I’m going to add to it.  MSN Messenger and MSN Spaces are out of Beta.  Why no links?  Because I am not terribly thrilled with some of the ‘tactics’ that are being used to push advertisments. 

Let me start by saying that I understand Microsoft is a business.  Business’s number one goal is to make money.  The beta of MSN Spaces had no advertisements, so no revenue was being generated.  Now that it is out of beta, to maintain the internet connection, provide servers and storage space, and continue development require money.  Unfortunately for us users, there are two ways of generating money for this site.  Either we pay for the services, or advertisers pay for them (or Microsoft loses money).  So we get advertisements.  Nothing’s free, folks.

I wish Microsoft had done something like what they do for Hotmail.  Don’t like advertisments?  Pay us a little bit of cash, and we turn them off.  Please, please, please offer that option for Spaces and/or Messenger.  Or, do the google thing, and use context sensitive advertising.  Unfortunately, I don’t think any of this will happen.  Why?  Because it’s a numbers game.  Why do you think telemarketing was a lucrative business?  Doesn’t EVERYBODY hate it?  What about spam?  Enough people respond to these methods that ‘the company makes more money than they spent’.  Positive Return On Investment.  Guess what?  They will continue to advertise in those manners until there is Negative Return On Investment.  I am guessing that Microsoft makes far more money by running nontarget ads then if everyone who has signed up for spaces pays $20 (and that’s with over 4.5 million subscribers).

What can we do as users?  Well, we’ve got a couple of choices.  Find a service that we pay for.  Use Google’s Blogger.  Ads are optional and based upon user’s choice.  (How long it will stay like that is anyone’s guess).  Build your own server and run you own blog.  Or, just live with it.  Unfortunately, I know what I will do…

Enums (no not an April Fool’s Joke)

Ah, the joys of programming .NET.  If you’re writing a lot of code to do something that SHOULD be simple, you’re probably doing it wrong…  Case in point, converting a String to an Enum.

Being a Delphi programmer, converting Enums to Strings usually involved taking the string, walking the list of values, breaking out of the loop when the value is found, and then returning the enum value.  My co-worker, Zach, started to search for converting to a String to Enum, and most of the code he fould was similar to those thoughts.  After a bit of searching the web, he found a MUCH simpler way to do it.  System.Enum has a static method called Parse!  Much simpler to call Enum.Parse than to try to go throught the old Delphi hoops!