Why Microsoft is Evil

After years of trying to improve their image, it seems Microsoft’s efforts must have paid off — not many youngsters these days are aware why so many of the previous generation (including myself) vehemently hated Microsoft.

I was searching for “microsoft is evil” just for fun, and one of the common reasons cited is their aggressive licencing practices (which is what got them in trouble with U.S. anti-trust laws).  While a valid point, I feel this is too remote an issue from the average’s person consciousness. The immediate effects of it more screwed PC manufacturers than anyone else.  (End users probably gave less thought about why Windows was the only OS you could get on any new off-the-shelf PC.)

On the other end of the spectrum there is Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation, who says Microsoft’s Software Is Malware.  While he makes a lot of valid points — Microsoft certainly is guilty of many sins — I feel the language of his arguments is often so far to the extremes as to make them less effective.  (I generally agree with his free-as-in-speech software philosophy, but seeing as I make a living selling the software I create, I also give more leeway to the ways developers monetize their software.  We gotta eat, after all…)

So here I will relate my personal journey with Microsoft over the years, to hopefully make clear why somebody like me could have so much hatred for a distant software company. Continue reading Why Microsoft is Evil

Email Service Providers – It’s Time to Stop Using UCEPROTECT

Email spam is the bane of all our existences.  On the other hand, being able to send  (legit) emails to customers and actually have them land in inboxes is absolutely essential to run just about any business.  With that in mind, a variety of Email Blacklists came about and are maintained by various organizations, to help ESP’s sort out the good senders from the bad.  But what happens when a particular Email Blacklist goes from being a force for good, to rather blatant monetary extortion? Continue reading Email Service Providers – It’s Time to Stop Using UCEPROTECT

So much anger over a simple email

One of my businesses sells WP plugins on an annual licensing basis… its a subscription that auto-renews each year unless you cancel.  An extremely common and well known business practice in the WP world.

Well… we had this one German guy cancel his subscription before the year was up — as some people do, and that’s totally fine — but as the end of the year approached he got an automated “your license is expiring soon” email from our website.  He absolutely flipped a lid.

We thought maybe he was worried about getting charged, so we replied and confirmed that, not to worry, his subscription was already cancelled and he wasn’t going to be charged anything.  We explained it was just an automated email letting him know his license is expiring.

Then he replies with this gem (word for word):

Hi [name],

i didn’t worry, but you should.

What kind of company you are working for? Is this a garage sale?

If i cancel a subsription then i will never receive any further messages!

If you need advice to review your internal processes feel free to ask me for a proposal.


So much anger over an email!

I don’t see anything upsetting about a perfectly normal, commonplace reminder email.  I’ve received the same kinds of emails from other companies and have never been bothered.

I wanted to reply something like “I’m sorry our email caused you emotional suffering.  Please do send us your proposal for what process we should use to deal with rude customers who are triggered by automated emails. Sincerely, The Owner of this Garage Sale”…. but I didn’t.

Instead… Welcome to the blacklist!

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Review: LunaNode Cloud Hosting

After having a bad experience with Web Hosting Canada (read my review here), I decided to try LunaNode for the first time.  I’ve been very happy since.

LunaNode is a good, no-nonsense cloud host.  They have everything I need, and (so far) no bullshit.  From the time I signed up my account and ordered my first server, it was deployed and live within maybe 2 minutes.  They have 3 tiers of plans — General Purpose, Memory-Optimized, and Compute-Optimized, each with different levels of resources available.  They have all the common Linux distros available as templates.  (No Windows Server is offered, but if needed it seems you could upload an image.)  In a nutshell, all the standard stuff is there.

Continue reading Review: LunaNode Cloud Hosting

Review: Web Hosting Canada (whc.ca)

I have several projects based in Canada, and as such I’ve had opportunities to try several different Canadian web hosts.  Recently I gave Web Hosting Canada (whc.ca) a try.  It was a terrible experience.  The worst of any Canadian host I’ve tried so far.

In fairness, I didn’t get very far with WHC.  I couldn’t.

Continue reading Review: Web Hosting Canada (whc.ca)

How to DDoS attack a site protected by CloudFlare

Important note: this post is NOT meant to encourage anyone to carry out a DDoS attack on any website.  Rather it is my tongue-in-cheek way of exposing a major flaw in the popular Cloudflare service, in hopes they will take this shit seriously and actually reform their business practices.  If you, dear reader, ever DDoS a site for real, I hope you die in a fire.

I use Cloudflare on several sites — for DDoS protection, as a Web Application Firewall, and also for their CDN.  I have sites on both free and paid plans with them.  Up until now, I thought Cloudflare was a great service — little did I know how easy it is to defeat the entire purpose of using them.

Or to put it another way: Cloudflare is great — until they decide to fuck you over.

Here’s how you defeat Cloudflare:

Continue reading How to DDoS attack a site protected by CloudFlare

Will you give me a discount in return for my feature request?

I’ve shortened the first part of his message for brevity, but the rest is 100% exactly what he wrote to us:

FROM: Some user <somebody@somewhere>

I am trying to [some random thing, we have no idea what he’s talking about]
Do you have anything like that?

If NOT and you implement it, will you give me some kind discount for the suggestion?


We honest to God laughed out loud when we read that last line.  I wanted so bad to reply back “Yes, pretty please won’t you give us a suggestion for something to do with all our free time over here, PLEASE!!”.  (But I didn’t.)

Seriously though.  The poor guy must not understand that feature requests are a dime a dozen.  EVERYBODY has some idea, and everybody thinks THEIR idea is the most amazing thing ever.  (I got news for you: they’re not.)  Nobody ever stops to think our schedules might already be full, or that maybe we have our own ideas to pursue.

So yeah… some random guy with some random idea that I honestly couldn’t even understand what he was trying to say… and he wants me to PAY HIM for the suggestion?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I love this guy!

Customer From Hell – A Case Study

Customer makes a purchase through our website on Saturday, May 16th at 11:11pm (our timezone).

Seven minutes later at 11:28pm, he opens a support ticket:

my order confirmation number is [number]

with my PayPal with email [email address]

I no longer have access to this email above help me today please before I cancel payment through paypal

How nice is that? Demanding we help him “today” (on a Saturday) and threatening a chargeback right off the bat.  Well we don’t work on weekends, much less after 11PM on any day.  Nobody will even see his message until Monday, but that doesn’t stop him from leaving a flurry of messsages:

11:35pm – he sends us a copy & paste of the email confirmation he got from PayPal.

12:07am – he sends us a copy & paste of the email confirmation he got from our website.  (So obviously he got both these emails… why is he saying he doesn’t have access to them??)

3:55am – “just resend the welcome email i updated me email on paypal”

4:06am – he opens a 2nd support ticket with the message: “My purchase needs to be added to or moved to this account thank you”

5:18am (on support ticket #1) – “whats going on is someone going to address this”

5:25am – he sends us an email with the same copy & pastes as above.

5:26am (on support ticket #2) – “ok im going to cancel through paypal”

5:38am (on support ticket #1) – “i just canceled this with paypal. thank you.”

And indeed, at 5:38am he opened a dispute with PayPal.  So in the space of 6 hours, on a Saturday night into Sunday morning, he opens 2 support tickets and sends a total of 8 messages, plus 1 email, then opens a PayPal dispute.  For real.

On Monday we reply to all his messages and he closes the PayPal dispute.  End of round 1.


Round 2.

June 4th. He opens a support ticket saying “I have the [name of product] but there is no purchase history”.  He seems to be referring to the My Account area of our website where he would be able to see his purchase history.  He’s created a 2nd account under a different email address from the one he purchased with, which is why he’s not seeing anything.  We tell him this.

June 12th, he replies:

well check this out I need support and so far your support is so so …. [name of product] is broken i need the up date [name of 1 random file that’s part of our plugin]

so check this out again

[then he copy & pastes again his original purchase receipt email]

OUR support is “so so”?  We’re not the ones who can’t keep their email account straight, but okay dude.  Now for the first time he’s saying something is “broken”, although he doesn’t elaborate any detail as to what exactly that means.  And he’s asking for a specific file to be updated, which is such a random, nonsensical request, we don’t know what to make of it.

We reply asking for some info to help us sort everything out, and we also explain again which account he needs to login under to find his purchase.  He never replies.  End round 2.


Round 3.

July 21st. He opens 2 new support tickets back to back.  The first one:


Because typing in all caps helps us to understand so much better.

The second one:

ORDER NUMBER: [number]

[order number] needs to be added to my profile and history of purchases

Well at least he turned caps lock off, but he still hasn’t found any of his punctuation keys.

We go through a series of messages with him.  We again explain how he’s created 2 different accounts on our site, and telling him which one he needs to log into to see his purchases.  Eventually we transfer his purchase from the 1 account to the other, which seems to make him happy (or, at least, he stopped replying after that and went away.  Not so much as a “thank you”…).  End Round 3.


Round 4.

December 27th. He opens a new support ticket from yet another email address, and now a 3rd separate account that he’s created on our site:

I lost access to everything email cell phone website i mean everything

Hello my names is [name] my business is [name of business]

I had purchased the [name of product] when I received my stimulus check last summer I have the files but I do not have my serial licences for each extension please help.

We point out that he now has 3 separate accounts on our site, and ask him if he has access to either of the previous 2 logins.  Then on December 30th he replies:

no i do not sir. i lost everything and it is very hard to recover from this … but the bright side of life is I am no longer homeless I am renting my gf and myself so now I have stability for my business and myself.

By this point we’re closed for New Years and the weekend, it won’t be until Monday January 4th that we see his message and reply again.  Meanwhile he replies again with this:

ok well whats the hold im suppose to half [name of product] you guys sentme an email because I switched e,mail accounts short time after my purchase please just me my serials

We reply and transfer his purchase (again) to his now latest account.  End of round 4.

Anyone wanna place bets how long it will be until he loses his email access again?  How long will it be before he’s asking us to transfer his purchase to yet another account?  Sigh.

How to choose the right Adblocker

I hate ads. (Who doesn’t?) For me, having an adblocker in my browser is mandatory.

Recently I was working from a new computer that didn’t have an adblocker yet, so I popped into the Chrome extensions store and searched for “adblock”. So many different ones popped up — many with similar or purposefully deceptive names, I had to research again which one was the “right” one that I wanted.

So here to save you the effort, and to remind myself in the future if I ever forget again, is the one you want:

Continue reading How to choose the right Adblocker

I think you need to learn English better

A guy messages us through the “pre-sales questions” contact form on our website, asking some technical question about how to do something with our software… or so we thought. One of my staff email him back:

Hi Ian

Sorry you’re have trouble. Please note that for queries like this a support ticket needs to be logged via our website here [link to our support site] so that we can assist you.

Thanks in advance,


You may have already noticed the typo, right? Well this “client” had something to say about it… his reply:

FROM: Ian <ian@someasshole>

I think you need to learn English better. I am trying to buy one of your products and you make me do a stupid ticket?

(emphasis added)

Now, Megan is a super nice lady and, guess what, a NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER. But we all make mistakes sometimes. She said “sorry you’re have trouble” when she meant to type “sorry you’re having trouble”. Big whoop-de-do. When you answer hundreds of emails it’s bound to happen once in a while.

Megan replies trying to make light of it:

Hi Ian

Thanks for pointing out my grammar and spelling mistakes – I see you had a few as well. lol
Must be that time of the year! One can tell it’s really been challenging for everyone.

(message then goes on about his technical request and why he needs to talk to our support team….)

To which he replies:

FROM: Ian <ian@someasshole>

Ha! You are a joke. We are going with another option. Bye

All I can say is, thank you Ian for revealing to us what a major asshole you are before actually buying our software, so we won’t have to deal with your bullshit on an ongoing basis. Welcome to the blacklist!

See more from The Joys of Customer Support