I generally like things being made available online. Sure, I have issues with putting data online, because when my connection goes out – and it will go out – I like to be able to get to it. But providing the option to get at things online is a nice feature. Making it so that they have to be retrieved online just blows. It really blows.
One of the hats that I wear in my life as a computer consultant has to do with networks – and when I’m wearing that hat, it means that I have to deal with Microsoft products. This really doesn’t mean that I am a Microsoft hater, because a lot of what they do is decent. But some days they do nothing other than make my life miserable. Take eOpen, for example.
Introduced a couple of years ago to allow you to store your licenses online, the navigation is bad. Really bad. Whoever is in charge of making an application for storing information and getting at it in an intuitive manner ought to be shot, because when you need to look up that licensing information, it’s virtually impossible to get. Luckily, for a couple of years, you only needed it briefly. But that all changed not long ago, when Microsoft actually decided to distribute software in this manner.
Now I get that they want to be all efficient, and that it will lead to software rental. I really do. I’m not even against the concept. If it’s done right. At this point, it’s not.
One of my customers, for instance, purchased a new server, and they also purchased SQL Server to go with it. After determining that we needed to download the software from eOpen, we clicked in the logical place – Software Downloads. Unfortunately, this just returned a message saying that we needed to accept the agreements, with a link back to the eOpen home page. That’s it. Nothing more. After twiddling about for the better part of an hour, we finally figured out that we needed to list the agreement, and way down at the bottom of the agreement in question is a box where you can type your name in lieu of a signature. Once you do, you have accepted the agreement, and you can get at your software.
Unfortunately, that’s not it. In this case, you then get the privilege of downloading nearly 3GB of data. Even over a decent connection, it’s still going to take more than 4 hours, according to the helpful download manager plugin. Oh, and did I mention that because of the Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration, we couldn’t actually make that download happen (until we removed all those “protective” settings)? So we have a server, all buckled down, but we can’t actually download the software onto it. Nice thinking, Redmond.
I have no idea if this four-hour download will work, but I have to imagine that the cost of a DVD can’t be worth the customer dis-satisfaction that this is driving.