Monthly Archives: October 2005

What is Great Service?

It’s human nature to point out, in a public forum, an example of a bad product or bad service.  I am guilty of it here myself.

Rarely do we point out an example of great service.  This blog is hosted by Typepad which is part of Six Apart.  Over the past few weeks Typepad has shown some signs of overwork with the ability to post to the weblog either slow or down all together with other times the weblog itself being slow to come up. 

Typepad recently posted an apology and reasons why this was happening AND a description of what Typepad was doing to resolve the problems.   This is, in my opinion, a example of great service.  Communication with customers or the lack there of is a great way to lose them.

I have only been with Typepad since the beginning of the year but the overall experience has been exceptional.  They are always sending updates via email letting users know what is happening in the company and how they are continually improving their products.  We all have multiple choices to the companies we buy from everyday and those companies that treat me like they want me as a customer will get MY business.

UPDATE: Barak over at Typepad posted another update on their problem resolution.  Just another example of their great service.

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More Visual Studio 2005 Stuff

Dan Fernandez pointed out in his blog about a tool from Microsoft to do an Automatic Uninstall of the pre-RTM bits of VS2005.  It’s unsupported but will probably be better than going through the mound of steps required to perform before doing other VS2005 updates.

Also released today on the MSDN site is RTM versions of SQL Server 2005 and the .NET 2.0 Runtime.

I noted earlier I had tried to get to the MSDN site and had no luck downloading VS2005.  I noticed in my first try the only downloads available were ISO of CD’s but returning to the site later should DVD ISO’s instead, which I was able to download on the first try.  3.6G but on my 4MB cable connection it didn’t take long.

I noticed while on the MSDN site that there are several flavors of VS2005 available:

  • Visual Studio 2005 Standard
  • Visual Studio 2005 Professional
  • Visual Studio 2005 Team System for Software Developers

Visual Studio 2005 Released

Well, the title says it all.  Finally we have access to Visual Studio 2005 via MSDN Subscriber downloads.  I have been trying for a while now and the MSDN servers seem to be overworked a bit.  I guess I will have to try later.

The announcement from Somasegar’s WebLog

Third Party Controls

I am not a big fan of third party controls.  Our company uses a variety of controls from various vendors and it always seems there is one problem or another with them.  My complaints very from the complexity of the controls, lack of documentation and lack of good support.

I really wish Microsoft would just build enough into Visual Studio so developers don’t have to deal so much with third party control vendors.

We use controls from ActiveUp.  They have a set of controls for doing ordered list boxes and various data entry controls.  We started using them last spring and have had one issue after another.  Our problems start with textboxes that don’t respond to and Enable flag to an ordered listbox with no way to return the currently selected item.  Contacting the developer reveals these problems were fixed but after upgrading and almost 3 months of trouble the problems still exist.  It seems to me that writing out our controls would have been cheaper in the long run.

Another set of controls that I have little use for is the suite from Telerik.  I don’t see how a company can release a product, charge $1000 per developer and not supply documentation that is of any use.  After using these controls for 8 months or so I dread every minute I need to use these controls.  The lack of documentation is really frustration as well as the frequent updates or hotfixes as they are called by Telerik.  These controls have a lot of features but if the documentation is weak at best, then what good are they. 

We also use the Validation and More Controls from Peter Blum.  These controls work as advertised and have THE best documentation you can imagine.  We recently upgraded to the most recent version of Peter’s VAM controls and experienced some difficulty in setting up the controls and their license files.  A couple emails to support got a very fast reply and the fix to our problems.  Peter agreed the part of the documentation was not as clear as it could be and was modified on our request.    This is what I call service and revives a bit of my willingness to use third party controls. 

We have used Peter Blum controls for over a year now and they just work, period.

FeedDemon 1.6 RC1

Newsgator has released FeedDemon 1.6 RC1 to their beta download site.  I have been using FeedDemon since the early 1.6 beta and it has gotten better and better.  I think the performance has gone up all around in each beta.  It seems to be the best Windows Forms-base aggregator out there, in my opinion.

Visual Studio 2005 RTM

I picked up this post from Jeffrey Palermo, it appears the Visual Studio 2005 RTM will be available to MSDN Universal subscribers.  I haven’t seen an official Microsoft announcement yet but it’s still something to keep a watch out for.