Thursday, March 15, 2012

New era

What does the title mean? Well, we'll use the forced migration of OfficeLive users to Office365, or wherever they choose, as a means to discuss several things. It's not that the move was forced that is the issue; rather, it's the short time frame allowed. Some may have gone too far in their dependence upon what they did with OfficeLive (to run their business - you would think that Microsoft would appreciate this), yet their efforts ought to be applauded as they are indicative of what people can do with computing if given the chance.

Theme: How do we protect the 'jewels' (all sorts of connotations, folks) from those who like to twist, tangle, and otherwise mangle such? As we all become more dependent upon computing, we will have to exercise rights (are these even being defined?) and responsibilities in order to not allow those who would want to do so to trample on human dignity (ah, Facebook is an example -- more than metaphor).

Background: OfficeLive offered a free site, originally, and the means to build a website. Many took up this offer. The one problem, that I see, is that most of the technical issues were covered due to the tools provided. It is one of these that is a real sore spot (see Reactions).

Later, the registration was billed, for a nominal fee granted ($15 vs the $35 of Melbourne IT).

There is a lot more to discuss, but, for now, we'll just look at one business issue. I got a notice about a month ago that I needed to transition off of OfficeLive. The deadline was April 30, but the counsel was to be off by the end of March. The site would support access until the end of April. One carrot was a six-month trial (free) with Office 365. So, I signed up and started to research what was behind a migration (hosts, software, tasks).
  • Aside: Mind you, for a lot of those folks who built their business methods around their OfficeLive site, it's becoming a stressful situation; ah, ought they not to have believed that Microsoft would look out for them?
Finally, this week, I started to attempt the movement. One thing that was clear is that we're not in the old days of HTML (and its extensions) anymore. I knew that. In fact I'm happy for this chance to catch up on what the young ones hath wrought, so to speak. Another thing is that it's obvious that flash (as opposed to substance) is more important than real content (my favorite site - please notice the older format, yet the subject matter is non-trivial).

Office 365 would continue the non-techie mode. In fact, the web page builder was very similar (making me wonder why a more automated process wasn't available). Too, I looked at other providers, especially those offering Linux (I worked for years in Unix). And, I liked what I saw, but I was going to attempt Office 365 (while trying to keep their costs within some reasonable bounds - unknown at this point how much the monthly rate would be).

So, yesterday, I told OfficeLive to move my registration to Melbourne IT. I then got an account at Melbourne. Everything was fine. Too, I first put the TXT record (rather than the MX). Later, I saw that in one place the instructions used 'or' and in another it used 'and' which are different, folks. I tried to cover the bases by doing both of these. Then, when I tried to get Office365 to confirm my registration, it barfed. The writeup says that this might take 15 min to 72 hours. Well, it's obvious that the problem rests with Microsoft's process, why haven't they listened to complaints? (See Remarks, 03/15/2012, that after 48 hours, the thing still cannot confirm that I own the domain - yet, where is there someone to talk to me to override, or otherwise force, the thing to work?)

Reactions: What complaints? This site here is one example. Notice, when you look at these complaints, that people are following a documented process, without any clear feedback, and stumbling. That is to be expected. Yet, on closer look, instructions do vary by site. One complaint said that the video to be used did not agree with the written instruction.
  • Aside: My role, when working, was Technical Fellowship in Advanced Computing. I've been using the Internet since the late 70s, in fact, I have worked at the low-end protocol level, with graphics, and algorithms. I've been doing the WWW since the days of Mosaic. Yet, here I am blindly trying to get Office365 to work [since there is no feedback except what instructions say is supposed to happen].
Notice that people complain of iterations, and error. And, not being listened to. Continually. Why? We'll look at that more closely, okay, and get back to you on the reasons.

Thoughts: I wouldn't be complaining if Microsoft had thought to ease the transition from OfficeLive to Office365. Why couldn't the former had told the latter that I owned the domain (after all, it was registered under OfficeLive at its inception and since) so as to let me add the domain on the latter and get busy with the manual transition (yes, cut and paste, folks, from the former to the latter -- ah, thank you, Microsoft)? For that matter, why wasn't there a tool suite to assist in the transition?


There are more important things to do than help MS chase their problem causes. Other posts on this subject will look at different aspects. We really need to be more cognizant of some core issues of computing, folks. And, we can't leave that whole bit of truth engineering solely up to the vendors.


05/31/2016 -- Continuation of the theme.

08/23/2012 -- Had a similar problem (that is, semantics changing without user's awareness) with Google which it took me a day to resolve (on my own - without much help from traces left on Google's self-help areas) and much angst (have content there, made me anxious, will look to make sure that anything critical in the cloud is under more control by me). Will document this in another post.

05/05/2012 -- MSOL sites still there. So, went to check. Sure, enough. Some haven't converted and are having the same problems mentioned here two months ago. Of course, many say that they're losing money, to boot, having put reliance (albeit, unwarranted) on MSOL (lots to talk about here).

03/19/2012 -- I see that Evan replied, on 3/15, to my 3/14 post. This note here is sort of a closure for me as I've moved on. Notice that the suggestion to me was to see if the TXT record was there (what?). It was there. I put both it and the MX there on 3/13. The question is: Why couldn't the Office365 process see this record? But, then, notice, too, that the suggestion to me is to change the DSN name server on my record to the Office365 server. Why this? The content won't be there at the new site until I move it (manually from OfficeLive) which I cannot do until I get Office365 to recognize ownership (that was the hangup, I could not even start to do the manual move). So, I'm to point to a non-existent page (oh yes, that's what the 404 is for). You see the cycle (and why some were turmoil'd)? I still wonder about the motivation for the manual approach (punitive? for using OfficeLive?) to the transition. It's as if we all have unlimited time to play with issues (well, I'm going to do that anyway in order to talk more specifically about issues that have been too long overlooked).

03/18/2012 -- For one thread, evidently, some progress was reported, as of today, thirteen days out [try longer, from 2/5 to 3/15]. For my domain, I tried the confirmation again, and it didn't work. The Melbourne IT record was fine and has been since 3/13/2012. So, what is the issue? Perhaps, in time, the problem will be resolved; one hopes so for future customers. Ciao.

03/16/2012 -- The domain (see experiment, prior Remarks) that was moved already has its new address known throughout the web (less than 12 hours). The domain that is being confirmed by MS? Still says that it cannot confirm (black hole, wouldn't you say?).

03/15/2012 -- Posted at MS Forum at 825 pm, CDT.

FYI. After waiting for 48 hours for the confirm process to work, and without any insight provided by MS, I took another domain and transferred it to another provider (not MS) just to see what would happen. The whole process was done in a minute, Melbourne was updated, and the change started its propagation across the web.

That type of response is what I had expected two days ago from the MS system. It's obviously their oversight at some point in their process. The domain that I was trying to work through Office365 is still hung on looking for confirmation.

From my queries, it looks like their 15 min to 72 hours is way out of line. And, their letting people iterate through that long period time after time is just plain madness. That people would go through this shows how much they value their content. And, MS ought to recognize such.

So, if MS is going to do a Cloud thing, will they provide the proper level of support? And, 'proper' needs definition. Come talk to me, MS, if you don't understand.

03/15/2012 -- 345 pm, CDT, I've been pushing the button every once and awhile for 48 hours. The result? Sorry, we can't find the record you created from Office365's process. This is obviously their error. Sheesh. One provider says that they get responses in 1-24 hours. It is unusual to wait longer.

03/15/2012 -- Microsoft ought to extend the time-out for OfficeLive so that we, mere mortals, can get the move done. After all, we have other things to do than play with Office365 all day.

03/15/2012 -- Comment on Facebook, yesterday. When I put something similar at the Office365 page, they deleted the thing.


Office 365 -- yes, Microsoft

They want OfficeLive (Microsoft) members off and over to 0365 by the end of April (a mere six weeks). Yet, people are having problems moving content. Here is one interchange copied from a forum on the matter.

JMS:  (in response to seeing people write that they've tried to get out of a confirmation cycle for days and weeks):

Echo, echo, ... Yes, tell someone you have a problem, then they tell you that you have the problem.

This confirmation problem is an oversight by our beloved MS. Yesterday, I told OfficeLive that I was moving one domain (oh, and I have to do this for multiple domains?). Using my Melbourne account, I have everything in order (TXT and MX -- one place said 'or' another said 'and' what?). Well, it's been over 24 hours and still no confirmation. I've pushed that stupid button numerous times.

The problem? I can't start to move my content over until I add the domain. And, you can't add the domain until it's confirmed. Idiotic process. MS (this is to you), why did you not allow OfficeLive to tell Office365 to allow us to start our build? Too, someone, please, debug this stupid protocol. It is ridiculous to say to make a change, then wait for 15 min to 72 hours to know if you did it correctly.

That, MS, is worse than the days of queuing up with a card deck in order to get a few seconds of computer time.

The deadline of April 30 was way too short of a time. Too, you ought to have facilitated the move a little better for the OfficeLive users. All you would have had to do was move files and modify configurations files. Sheesh.

One response:

I've never come across such a shambles in my life!

The official techies seem to have a dozen pre-written help articles with a few links in for good measure, to just cut & paste willy nilly?



Motivation for this post: I put a comment at Office 365 earlier (FB, of course). They deleted the thing.


Modified: 05/31/2016

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