Microsoft Support

You often read about companies messing up with customer support, so I figured I’d write a short article to praise Microsoft for my great support experience.

Last year I purchased a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet. Some minor performance issue aside, I have really enjoyed using the device. Unfortunately a while back I noticed that the tip of my Surface Pen started to bend a bit and I noticed it has a small crack, which fairly rapidly expanded as I used the pen. The pen included with the Surface Pro 3 doe not have replaceable tips, so I got a bit worried. After searching online, I found a new tip for roughly 8.50 EUR (or let’s say about 10 USD) on AliExpress, which I personally thought was a bit too expensive for a tiny piece of plastic.

This did indicate to me that it should be possible to replace the tip. A lot of Q/A sites suggested taking the pen apart using tools and brute force to remove the tip, but not wanting to damage the expensive tool, I figured out that you can easily remove the tip by using some tweezers to just pull it out. It goes fairly deep into the pen to reach the pressure sensor.

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Surface Pro 3, a headache and an addiction

So about one and a half year ago I wrote up my thoughts on tablet devices. This was the general idea:

Tablets are bulky smartphones with large screens to play low-end games on.

My point being that tablets are not devices for productivity. The market has changed a lot since I wrote up that post, but it has also changed very little. A lot, if not most tablets are still bulky smartphones. But they have improved in regards to productivity.

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InstallMonetizer: Money from installs

So if you’re anything like me, you love developing freeware software. But in that case you also know it’s not a cheap way to pass your time. If you want to develop software legitimately, you’ll often need to purchase development tools, your hardware needs to be up-to-date and you need a way to distribute it, like a good server for webhosting. Unfortunately these things do not come cheap and you’ll often make “big” losses, at least for a while if you’re going into freeware development.

I’ve been developing freeware for 8 years now and during that time I’ve managed to build up a self-sustaining development environment. I’m not going to get rich any day soon, but I’m now spending less than I get in return. A first step for most people who host a website is to add ads to the site, for example: Google Adsense. Unfortunately you need a really large userbase which not only visits your site, but also stays there for a while and returns afterwards for this to actually be profitable. It is also tricky to work out an optimal placement pattern for these ads to generate as much revenue as possible. Regardless, this could compensate you for your hosting costs in the beginning when you don’t have that much traffic and needs on your server.

After a few years I noticed that my server and development costs kept rising while my ads revenue did not quite follow the same pattern. So I set out to find a way to make enough from development to support it. When you’re installing free software you’ll often find that it asks you to install some additional software, like a toolbar, a browser or any other range of things. This I thought could offer a solution to my problem. It did however prove to be very difficult to find a PPI (Pay Per Install) project that did not distribute any malware or require you to sign any sketchy contracts. Then about a year ago I came across InstallMonetizer. At the time the company wasn’t older than a year, but I signed up regardless.

I’ve now learned that InstallMonetizer is a great way to earn a revenue off of your freeware software, sufficient to pay for (most) of your development and hosting costs! The company works with a great variety of advertisers and pays revenues of up to $1/install. I choose to stay with this company because not only do they generate a decent revenue, they also work with advertisers that provide legitimate malware-free software, including things such as the Bing toolbar. This was the most important factor for me as I certainly did not want to bring my users in contact with any malware infested software. Payouts are done on a monthly basis and I can guarantee that they do actually pay out, as there are many other sites like this out there which are just scamming people out of their revenue. On top of these things they also offer easy to understand video tutorials on how to integrate their software into most popular installers.

So if you want to earn an extra buck from your freeware software and you’re not sure where to start, sign up for an account at InstallMonetizer.

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