Thursday, October 18, 2007

I don't hate Microsoft. But...

... I appreciate why some people do.

If you own an Xbox 360, try this at home:

1. Sign into your Windows Live! Account.

2. Go to  You should see something like this:
Free Image Hosting at

3. Click “Register a New Device” and enter your serial number.  If you’re me, you’ll see something like this:
Free Image Hosting at

4. Repeat step #3 four or five thousand times, confirming each time that yes, you correctly entered the serial number every time.

5. Call 1-800-4MY-XBOX.  Five times.  Have the same conversation with five different people.

CUSTOMER: “I can’t add my device to my registered devices at”
1-800-4MY-XBOX: “What is the serial number of the device?”
CUSTOMER: “############.”
1-800-4MY-XBOX: “That device is already registered to you.”
CUSTOMER: “Not at it isn’t.”
1-800-4MY-XBOX: “Well, what is it that you wanted to know about the device?”
CUSTOMER: “Why I can’t register it at”
1-800-4MY-XBOX: “I can’t help you with that.”
CUSTOMER: “Sort of twisted that the error page tells me to call you, don't you think?”

6. Find KB article 931129, which appears to address the issue and advises the customer to “Click Associate a device you registered on the phone with your Windows Live ID.”

7. Look at the photos in steps 2 and 3 above.  Locate the “Associate a device you registered on the phone with your Windows Live ID” option.  [SPOILER ALERT!  It does not exist.  There is no "Associate a device you registered on the phone with your Windows Live ID" option.]

Your obedient servant,
B. Freret 

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Talking With Xbox Customer Service

[About ten minutes into the call.]


1-800-4MY-XBOX: “Are you using any fans?”


1-800-4MY-XBOX: “You are?”


1-800-4MY-XBOX: “There aren’t any Microsoft® approved Xbox 360 cooling…”

CUSTOMER: “Really?”

1-800-4MY-XBOX: “… devices, so using one…”

CUSTOMER: “Because that’s kind of funny…”

1-800-4MY-XBOX: “… would void your warranty.”

CUSTOMER: “… considering that the only reason that I called you is because the design defect that results in component(s) overheating and failing – you know that one? – has caused my Xbox 360 to stop working.”

1-800-4MY-XBOX: “I’m just letting you know for future reference that using non-Microsoft® approved accessories can void your warranty, that’s all.  I’m still sending you the service box…”

CUSTOMER: “That’s a USB port on the back of my ‘360, isn’t it?”

1-800-4MY-XBOX: “Well, yes...”

CUSTOMER: “Does it comply with the USB spec?”

1-800-4MY-XBOX: “… I don’t…”

CUSTOMER: “Let’s assume that it does.  So since my fan stand relied only on the ‘360’s USB port for power, presumably to spec, then it wouldn’t make any sense to suggest that using a USB device with a USB port could or would void the warranty, I mean, we’re talking about using things for their intended purposes.”

1-800-4MY-XBOX: “But…”

CUSTOMER: “So other than drawing USB-spec power from a USB-spec port, the only thing my fan stand did was to act as a plastic base for the ‘360 while blowing air at it.  Can you tell me if some types of plastic are Microsoft® approved?”

1-800-4MY-XBOX: “Uh…”

CUSTOMER: “How about air, any Microsoft® approved air?”

1-800-4MY-XBOX: “Of course not…”

CUSTOMER: “Gravity?”

1-800-4MY-XBOX: “Excuse me?”

CUSTOMER: “Are some types of gravity more Microsoft® approved than others?  My Xbox 360 just sits on top of this non-Microsoft® approved device.  At sea level.  Just one ‘G,’ so far as I know.  I mean, I don’t suspect any fluctuations in gravity in or around my home.  Well, not other than the usual quantum stuff, but that is to be expected regardless of whether I use the fan stand or not, so THAT couldn’t really void my warranty.  And nothing sits on top of my Xbox 360, so no downward pressure…”

1-800-4MY-XBOX: “Sir, I just have to ask certain questions, and if the answer includes that you’re using an external fan, I have to tell you that doing so can void your warranty.  That’s all.  We’re still going to repair your Xbox.”

CUSTOMER: “I’m sorry, guy.  I know you’re just doing your job.  I've worked for dumbasses who wanted me to say stupid things, too.  So I know what that is like.”

1-800-4MY-XBOX: “Well, I never said…”

CUSTOMER: “You do know it is a stupid thing to tell people, don’t you?”

1-800-4MY-XBOX: “No, I just…”

CUSTOMER: “It’s okay, you can say it out loud.  I won’t tell.  You can say that ‘warning people that using a USB powered fan to try and delay the inevitable failure of their defective Xbox 360s could void their warranty' is just plain stupid.  Come on, you can do it.  Say it.  Say it!”

1-800-4MY-XBOX: “I can’t do that, sir.”

CUSTOMER: “They’re listening aren’t they?”

1-800-4MY-XBOX: [SILENCE.]

CUSTOMER: “You still there?”


Your obedient servant,
B. Freret