March 5, 2006



Hey, Microsoft, you're about to lose one of your evangelists i.e. me.

Could somebody from Redmond [I know a few of you will be reading this] please help me get my wifi working?

skype: "gapingvoid". e-mail:

I spent FOUR HOURS last week at the software place trying to get this fixed and it's still taking the piss. I. Am. Not. A. Happy. Camper.

You want to thrill customers? Fine; you can start by thrilling me. Let's see if it's more than just talk.

You guys like to make a big deal about the power of blogs to connect with customers, and transform your image and busines model. Again, fine, let's see if it's more than just talk.

Your move.

[UPDATE: This story has a happy ending. Hurrah!]

Posted by hugh macleod at March 5, 2006 2:01 PM | TrackBack

Good luck, Hugh... I got a similar problem: my tablet was freezing every once in a while, in front of my many different audiences all over the country! Since I too have good friends at Microsoft, I called them and told them, "hey, it is your reputation the one being damaged here"... Somebody from Microsoft's Technical Support called me asap, but after several questions, he told me "so, you are telling me you got the OS from your OEM (in this case, HP)? Then you OEM is the one that has to provide you with the proper support..." Pretty amazing, isn't it?

Posted by: Enrique Dans at March 5, 2006 3:29 PM

[insert mac vs. pc flame war here]

Posted by: Scotty at March 5, 2006 3:37 PM

So I used both Mac's and PC's all the time, just hafta -- And don't hate the pcs by any means, but I do love my macs but and I wanted to share a little story.

Mac's have a great search thing called Sherlock. You can get to ebay, find movies, track flights, all sorts of good stuff... well I was having trouble with this product because (of all things) I couldn't get it to list the movies in the theater that was closes to my house. But... in true apple fashion, I sent an email and with-in a week it was working swimmingly. I know not the same thing as your OS troubles for sure, and not what you want to hear since it doesn't help fix your problem ( so I appologize for that!) but I still wanted to share.

Anyway, I also wanted to add that sometimes the wireless signal searches for the strongest connect too... so could it be that one signal gets dropped to try and connect to another, and then both get hosed?

And last... love the cartoons.

Good luck!

Posted by: Both-Ways at March 5, 2006 3:48 PM

That doesen't work, I bet.

Posted by: Marc at March 5, 2006 4:11 PM


just put "microsoft sucks" in your post, Robert Scoble searches on that all the time, and I've seen him respond pretty quickly. I recently saw someone actually do this on their blog recently about the xbox 360, and Robert responded at about 2.30 in the morning :-)



Posted by: karl at March 5, 2006 4:36 PM

This is ridiculous, should not have to write, yet another post!

I say Go Mac! All the kids in the know are doing it. Winer. Arrington. Even Scoble's son...;) The only reason Robert doesn't is because he works for Microsoft and he's not allowed to.

Once you go Mac, you never go back. And that new Macbook Pro? Yummy! Wifi is the easiest thing evar with Apple...and...ahem...the new Pro uses intel. so there. ;)

Posted by: Tara 'Miss Rogue' Hunt at March 5, 2006 5:01 PM

shar ing -is- cari ng

Posted by: purple dinosaurs at March 5, 2006 5:05 PM

Actually, I believe Lenn - Scoble's ex-boss who went to Skype - was a Mac user. But you're right, why suffer with Microsoft unless you *really really* have to. Using a computer doesn't need to be that hard, and to be honest Microsoft don't seem to care about losing one or two users, they only care about losing Fortune 500 customers.

Posted by: Ross at March 5, 2006 6:03 PM

Did you get in touch with Microsoft through the normal support channels?

I hate to say it, but I don't think responding to support queries via blog is going to become a mainsteam channel of support. It might work for certain people MS is 'interested' in keeping sweet though, but that'd just demonstrate a certain attitude towards support.

Anyway, good luck with the tablet. It should have been working out of the box! :(

Posted by: Peter Cooper at March 5, 2006 7:04 PM

suffer? I'm not suffering when I'm using applications you can't use ;-)

I use both. A mac and a pc, because that is what my job requires.

I honestly prefer the pc. At home, I have a PC--it cost as much as my (very slow, painful) mac, & yet outperforms it by miles & miles. It's so fast, so easy. Never breaks. Never has to be rebooted.

I dunno--if the people at my office who use macs exclusively weren't restarting/reloading apps/deleting preferences on a daily basis (one of our macs sounds like an airplane taking off & then crashes, losing files--mac refuses that it's a problem though it was purchased via CC at an apple store) maybe I'd feel differently.

If both! of my desktop pcs AND my laptop pc had problems--I'd feel differently.

However, right now, I gotta side with MS--you bought a complete system from Hewlett-Packard. Now, the wi-fi problem is probably not related to the OS--so why should MS fix it? it's related to that specific combo of software/hardware that was installed by HP, who have a horrible reputation for that type of problem ALREADY.

With something as complex as a computer, "Fix it" isn't a fair request, of a company that is only one part of the equation. Apple builds the entire system & does the software--that's different. Of course they can fix it! They made it!

Posted by: David at March 5, 2006 8:05 PM

Hi Hugh,

Here are a few things to check:

1. Update firmware on wireless router or access point.

2. Update NIC drivers

3. Test to see if the problem is happening when a microwave or 2.4Ghz cordless phone is in use (they can interfere). If so adjust the wireless channel to see if that helps, or move the router/access point if it is close to a microwave or on the other side of the wall from one.

4. Are you using a third party utility to connect to wireless or Microsoft's Wireless Zero configuration?

5. Do you have security setup on your router or access point?

6. Have you checked to see that your network is listed at the top in order of prefered networks.

7. How strong is your signal? Does the problem only happen in a certain area of the house or all over?

If you have already got this resolved then ignore the questions. If not then feel free to email me or post back here with replies to these questions.

Posted by: Misty Olen at March 5, 2006 8:49 PM

Why should Hugh have to go through all of this Misty when a Mac does it by default?

Posted by: Dennis Howlett at March 5, 2006 9:30 PM


Please, read the post.

OK--did you read it? You didn't before.

1. The firmware update--yes, we have to do that to the macs at my office.
2. Nic driver--yes, check, that too!
3. Yep! We had to ditch our 2.4 phones when some of the employees started using wi-fi MAC lap-tops. (And PC as well...)
4. OK, so the mac doesn't give you that freedom! True. You don't have to "worry" that you are "allowed" to use any connection software you like. You are stuck using macs.
5. Oh, yea, mac routers don't have security... of course they do! This one is true as well.
6. Macs don't "automatically" guess the right network, either. You have to tell them.
7. ALL routers have the same range limitations. this is not unique to a pc either.

Dennis--I don't normally pick someone apart online, but seriously, there is only one thing in that whole list which wouldn't matter on a mac.

Posted by: David at March 5, 2006 10:11 PM

Wow, personalized one on one support on demand? And software that works 100% of the time across all hardware made during the last 10 years? That sounds a bit outrageous.

Posted by: Brian Puccio at March 5, 2006 10:32 PM

Dave - WTF? I'm glad I'm too thick to worry about these technicalities. All I know is if there's a wifi network around and my Mac laptop can see it then I get the choice to get on...Hugh's problem seems an order of magnitude more problemtic than that.

Posted by: Dennis Howlett at March 5, 2006 10:37 PM

Hi Dennis,

I think David spelled it all out for you. Let me know if you need me to draw you a picture. My comment was an attempt to help Hugh fix the problem. I think he knows he can go buy a Mac so I'm not really sure what the point of your comment is except to repeat something that has been said a thousand times already. Try adding something new next time.


Posted by: Misty Olen at March 5, 2006 11:25 PM

I just don't like Windows... it's garbage! Apple is better, but when you need both what are you to do?

Posted by: Sean at March 6, 2006 2:20 AM

My tablet portege also has major problems logging onto networks, especially if a network fades away (like at a conference). as well as sometimes spending a long time with a blank blue screen whilst booting up. Also it has developed a passion for making the CTRL key active (not physically as it can be released in software).
So good luck Hugh....

Posted by: Geoff at March 6, 2006 9:28 AM

Hi Dennis,

I'm sorry, it's David, if you please.

Those are all problems that have--and do--happen at my office, in an almost all-mac environment, to the macs exclusively. My pc at work has not been restarted in 2 months. My mac is restarted daily to "fix" "problems".

I use both all day, everyday.

I'm happy for you that you haven't had any problems. I don't know why you are so lucky. I have 9 macs here that don't work well on alternating days, and 2 pcs that never cause me any anxiety.

I had to figure out these things, because when I call apple, they say, "Delete preferences". Sometimes this works. Usually, an unhappy employee spends 3 hours rebuilding his/her list of preferences and re-saving important bookmarks, with a computer that still doesn't work.

Misty--thanks for getting my name right, and for having a smart post to begin with :)

Posted by: David Streever at March 6, 2006 6:52 PM

"Hey, Microsoft, you're about to lose one of your evangelists i.e. me."

Shouldn't that be "IE" me? Sorry I couldn't resist

Posted by: Jim Turner at March 6, 2006 6:53 PM