An update on the poor customer service from Microsoft Band support

Be warned: this is a Whinge-piece.

I wanted to provide an update on the poor customer service I’ve been receiving from Microsoft UK Support with my original Microsoft Band.

Microsoft seemingly ignored my “escalated complaint” through that I raised in December 2015, so I raised a new service ticket before the 1 year anniversary of my Band purchase, around March 2016. In May 2016, Microsoft got back to me, and then promptly (again) told me that I wasn’t eligible for a replacement because they believe I damaged this myself (I definitely didn’t) and that the damage they witnessed isn’t covered by the warranty.

I have multiple issues with this whole saga, and Microsoft’s behaviour in general:

  1. Accusing a customer of purposely damaging an item is pretty poor form.
  2. Microsoft voided my warranty without even contacting me to understand the damage or allow me any kind of response.
  3. Microsoft rejected my request to refund me or replace my Band with a Band 2, which has been designed to avoid the issues I’ve seen with my original Band.
  4. Microsoft ignored my complaint through
  5. I hate having to use the law, but Microsoft Support seem to be ignoring The Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) which states that goods should be as described, of a satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. The Band in my possession, is absolutely not fit for purpose given the wear and tear it’s sustained since I purchased it.

I’ve probably said this before but, I love my Band, and have been a fan of Microsoft for a long time. However, this series of incidents has genuinely sullied my opinion of Microsoft. Shame, really.

My Band, after less than a year of use
My Band, after less than a year of use

I’m joining Citrix

I’m pleased to be able to say that I’ll be joining Citrix in July 2016.

I’ll be moving away from “pure” IT support and into an internal sysadmin/software tester role within the Citrix Interoperability Team. Their job is to regularly stand up the latest builds of the entire Citrix portfolio and ensure it all works smoothly and, if it doesn’t, work to help fix issues so that it does.

I’m looking forward to this for a number of reasons:

  • New Technology: I’ll be learning ridiculous amounts of new technology in complex infrastructure environments (This may surprise you, given the role, but I have almost zero background in Citrix products 🙂 ).
  • Closer to the product: I’ll be moving to an Engineering/R&D department, so will be learning Engineering workflow stuff like Agile and Kanban as well as being more closely involved in the product portfolio and (hopefully) improving it and other’s ability to implement it.
  • Culture: Citrix’s culture is fairly well known, and I was very impressed with the people I met during talks. One thing in particular that really got me was the effort taken to setup and maintain talent pipelines to help feed the organisation – and I admire long term strategy/thinking like that.
  • Mentorship potential: I’ll be shifting roles from one of the most junior staff in an IT org to a more senior role within a team. This excites me a lot, as one of my long-term career goals is to be able to mentor and provide some level of elder leadership/guidance 🙂 .
  • That C word: Oh, and of course, I’ll be doing stuff with Cloud, which is nice.

But what about Broadcom?

Some of you may not know my position, but when Avago acquired Broadcom in February 2016, many in IT were put on “transition”. Effectively we were told we’d be made redundant at various stages throughout the 18 months after acquisition. My position will be redundant in February 2017. If I stayed until then, I’d get a nice pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I’ve decided that the role with Citrix was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

I learned a lot at Broadcom, had some great managers and worked with frankly, a world-class group of global IT professionals who’d gladly throw themselves under a bus to help each other and the business to succeed. I wish them all well for the future, and I’d gladly work with any and all of them again (and who knows…)

WTF is a Unikernel?


Unikernels are going to shake-up the Docker/Container world, in a really good way. They’ll make containers more efficient, faster and more secure. What’s not to love? While I don’t work with Unikernels, I am very curious about them. Below, I’ve summarised some resources that may help if you want to learn more about Unikernels. Share and enjoy 🙂

From a tech journalist

Chris Williams, over at The Register has a really good write up on what Unikernels are, how they work, and what they mean for Containers (including Docker) going forward. Well worth a read if you’re curious about this kind of thing!

Docker bags unikernel gurus – now you can be just like Linus Torvalds

From one of the developers

Amir Chaudhry has a nice presentation available:

Thanks to Raseel for sharing this

Official Unikernel page

There’s also some additional reading here: Unikernel Resources

Job hunting resources: Resume, Cover Letter, and Interview tips

It seems it’s the season of layoffs, so I wanted to share something that I feel might be useful to anyone affected.

No one likes updating their CV/Resume and attending interviews as the best of times, let alone when you’re forced to by decisions that aren’t under your control. Help is at hand though, thanks to a nice free career book and some things we can all do for each other.

A great career resource, for free

The IT Career Builders Toolkit, written by Matthew Moran, has been, and continues to be, a really helpful resource when it comes to finding a job and building a career. Best of all? It’s now available online, for free.

The book is absolutely worth a read in its entirety, but I’d recommend the following chapters:

The links I’ve provided above are the “Print” view, which gets rid of the pagination and adverts (yay).

To give you a flavour, additional chapters cover things like, job searching, networking (with people), and making yourself indispensable.

Help each other

If you’ve worked with good people in the past, you can do something wonderful by taking 5 minutes to recommend them on LinkedIn. Give it context, make it relevant, and try not to make it too gushing (it just ends up sounding fake). Some people may wish to be recommended on certain aspects of their work, so don’t be afraid to ask them before recommending them. Also, don’t recommend people so that they’ll recommend you; if you’re doing that, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

Simple gestures go a long way in situations like layoffs: Don’t be afraid to use your network to see if there’s unadvertised jobs out there, offer support to those affected, maybe offer to proof-read their CV/Resume.

Some other random bits

  • A Job Specification is simply a “Wish list”. If you’re missing a few of the items on the wish list, you should still apply! Your attitude and passion is far more important than your technical skill-set.
  • Some Job Specs are literally, a list of stuff that the last person did, which could be really dull. In the interview, be sure to ask how the role may evolve and progress, what new projects are coming up.
  • Resume reviewers are usually really short on time, so make sure that your Resume is easy to scan (as in, scan it with your eyes).
  • Is the company culture right for you? An interview is a two way discussion: It’s not just about the employer seeing if you’re right for them, you need to make sure that they’re right for you! Feel free to ask questions about anything that would help you figure out if you want to work for them 🙂

Learn some new IT skills

In recent years, there’s been an explosion in the availability of free online IT training, mostly provided by IT vendors. The content is professional and gets you up to speed quickly. You can see a full list in my post: Completely free IT training resources to help diversify your IT career

Understanding the human animal: The importance of packs, feeling safe, and good leadership

I love understanding human nature, and why I feel the way I do in certain situations.

One of my favourite videos on this, which touches on human teams, the important of feeling safe, and leadership responsibility, is Simon Sinek’s “Why leaders eat last” talk. At 45 minutes, it’s a good lunchtime video.

For those who prefer to read, I’ll try to summarise the themes and my main takeaways, including what we can all do to make each other feel safe and valued.