On Safari

Today I signed up for a paid Safari account, as the five-slot basic account I get with my ActivePerl Pro Studio is completely full. I considered one of the limited accounts, but the all-you-can-eat Safari Library subscription costs less than a regular computer book per month, plus it saves me having to lug them back and forth to work and buy new editions when they’re released. It seems like a reasonable deal.

I was less than impressed at one point because the process of activating my account was acting wonky. I’d try to sign in and it would put me at the start of signing up for the current ten-days-free promotion. If I filled all that out and gave it my credit card it would complain that I already had an account and should sign in. When I clicked “Sign in” it would kick me back to the start of the promo sign-up. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I got on the support portal and tried chatting with the support reps, but no dice — they seemed to be completely ignoring me. After the second time I hit “Exit” to leave the chat and received one 400-class HTTP error or another I began to suspect something was up. I hunted down the phone number for their support and called. This turned out to be a good move.

A CSR answered the phone after about thirty seconds, and I explained I had just had a very unpleasant experience trying to get some assistance from the CSR chat on the portal. At that point the rep called me by name and explained that she had just tried to figure out what was up with that, as the folks in India had started checking to see if the chat system was on the blink. I tried to give some information that might be of use to whoever is stuck debugging whatever happened, then we moved on to the reason for my call.

After I relayed what was going on and a few minutes of debugging had passed the reason for the problems started to become apparent. My account had originally been an O’Reilly portal account that I had used for registering books I bought back in 2006. A little later that year I bought a book that had a Safari promotion and had transferred my account from O’Reilly. Apparently something went wrong there, because she described my account as looking half O’Reilly and half Safari. In the end, we agreed it was best if she just deleted the account so I could sign up again.

Three minutes later I was signed up again and was prowling through the book list. While I was angry at the beginning, I was won over again by the end. A big thanks to Diane at Safari for that!

(Disclosure: I work for a Safari Books Online reseller (you get a basic membership with your Pro Studio subscription), but this blog entry is about my experience and opinion, and something I bought on my own dime — not anything related to work.)

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