Koenji, the world and elsewhere

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Hey Cortana! You kinda suck.

Cortana could be–and should be–so much more. But instead, it–sorry, she–is just another blown opportunity by Microsoft.

She is very limited in what she can do, and a lot of the time she doesn’t even do that right. When I instruct her to open my Line app, she also brings up the Line Uninstall program, as if that’s really something I’d want to do with a voice command.


Cortana knows how to flip a switch up but has no idea how to flick it down. While I like being able to say “Hey Cortana, open weather” and she opens my weather app. It would be great if she possessed the minimal intelligence required to close it as well. I’m not an AI engineer or researcher, but I tend to feel that ON/OFF are pretty fundamental basics. Cortana can’t close programs and can’t shutdown the PC. However, she can tell me how to turn off my PC. Thanks Cortana.


Add to this lack of … almost everything, there is also the fact that numerous times throughout the day she’ll just pop up uninvited and say “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that.” Well, at least Cortana–unlike Microsoft– can admit when she drops the ball.

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Honest criticism does not meet Microsoft’s guidelines

I took time to write an honest review of Microsoft’s Assure Software Support Plan. Which I stupidly bought. And am now paying the price for my stupidity. On the Microsoft Store website I left a One-Star review. It was without profanity, without name-calling, without lies. Unless “smug” hurt their feelings. It was simply an explanation of my dissatisfaction. So other consumers could make informed decisions before purchasing (or not).

Unsurprisingly, it did not pass the Microsoft Censors. But they ended their email with an exclamation point and an inspiring “you’ll get ’em next time, slugger!

The Pitch

They’re available online to provide your service 24/7 throughout the US, whenever it works best for you.

The Scam

You get in line with everybody else (ie: free support).

Microsoft Store - Answer Tech Chat Page(1)

The Review

I bought this a couple months ago for advanced support with a “Level 2 Tech”. I scheduled a call for the next morning (they require a 2-hour window). The two hours came and went. Nobody called. I tried phoned them. Nobody available. Scheduled another call. Some smug unhelpful guy called me a day later. Ended up resolving issue on my own. Had a second problem last week. Waited in queue (it’s the same queue as everybody waits in, not a priority service queue) for 8 hours. So much for a Tech Support at my service 24/7. Finally scheduled a call for the next morning between 8-10am. The 2 hours came and went. No call. I emailed, tweeted and phoned. Someone finally phoned at half past midnight! The worst Customer Support I’ve experienced. Made even worse by paying for it.

The Reply

Our staff has read your review and values your contribution even though it did not meet all our website guidelines. Thanks for sharing, and we hope to publish next time!

MS is full of BS.

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Hands-on first impression of Windows 8

I was meandering through Shinjuku’s massive Yodobashi Camera complex yesterday and obviously could not avoid the fifty million posters, signs and other various adverts informing me that Windows 8 is to be released this Friday (October 26, 2012). I have actually been looking forward to it as I am a “Windows Person”. I don’t like Macs and never will. And I’ve never had much interest in Ubuntu or any other OS my techie friends tell me is “kind of like Windows but a billion mega-times better because Linux fucking rules.”

I’ve also had Vista for the past three years, three months and 15 days. And yes, it feels like I’m confiding a disease when I write that. It was the early days of Summer 2009, I was in desperate need for a new laptop, and could not put off the purchase the few months required to wait for Windows 7. To make matters worse, the laptop I ended up buying was an HP Pavilion dv7. I had no idea that “HP” was an acronym for “Hot Plate”, but that’s what I get for not doing enough pre-purchase research. It’s my fault and has nothing to do with HP selling me a piece of shit. So, here I find myself again, three years down the road, looking for a new PC. However, through a lot of time, personal effort and anguish on my part, I’ve managed to keep the Hot Plate running and can wait for the stable retail release of Windows 8 before I buy my next disappointment.

Hearing that Windows 8 is a brand new operating system, built on some kind of Super Kernel for all platforms – desktop, tablet, smartphone, etc. – I must admit I’ve waited with slight-to-mild anticipation for its release. I was therefore pleased to see that Yodobashi had a version installed on the floor model of a touchscreen laptop, even if it was in Japanese. I gave it a touch here and gave it a touch there and then I looked for the button to touch to Go Back. I could not find it but I kept my cool (in spite of being mildly OCD when it comes to UI) and asked a nearby staff how to go back a screen. She then pointed to the button. On the fucking keyboard. Replete with a sticker pointing to it. And I felt all the hope I had for this OS and for Microsoft go out of me like air out of a whoopee cushion. I hope this was just due to the staffer not knowing anything about Win 8. If not, where can I download Ubuntu?