Azure Functions with QueueTriggers and .NET Core – Configuration and Troubleshooting

On my Twitch stream today, I wanted to use Azure Functions to receive notifications when a stream goes offline and start downloading the chat transcript. I’m writing this post to share the things I learned while writing that code so that you can benefit from my research as I bumped and bruised my way through the code

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Code of Conducts, Conferences, and Better Behavior for Everyone

It’s been a week since TwitchCon San Diego 2019, and I’ve had some time to reflect on the VERY public events of that weekend and my own experiences at conferences / conventions (cons from here forward) over the last year. I wanted to take some time to write about Codes of Conduct at cons and what I have learned that should make for better and more enjoyable events for everyone.

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New Live Streaming Gear for July 2019 – Updating the Travel Rig

My SurfaceBook set up for streaming at the SharePoint Conference

This May, I spent a week in Las Vegas hosting and streaming the SharePoint Conference event. It was the first event that I streamed that relied on me solely as the producer. I brought in a friend to help with the art and direction throughout the event, and I realized just how under-equipped I am to live stream at an event. Fortunately, we got some help from the crew at the event, and I made a list of gear that I would need to upgrade or order. This is that list of gear that I have since acquired or will be acquiring in the near future with the reasons why they’re needed. I’ll also include some notes about other equipment that I already have and conclude with information about what my entire travel rig looks like in July 2019.

This continues my ongoing strategy of getting just the equipment that I need now, and not investing more for the best equipment before I’m sure that direction is appropriate for my production.

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How NOT to engage your customers

Yesterday, I ordered a USB hub from Amazon and was promised a 24 delivery using Amazon Prime. That’s cool, I wasn’t expecting the device until maybe Wednesday, but thanks for the deal! Except… that’s not what happened. It seems there was an accident or my package was lost… but I’m not sure what happened, and I’m even more lost as to my next steps. Let me share what I have heard, and why Amazon makes these RARE scenarios impossible to figure out as a consumer.

Out for Delivery!

This is now the email we receive to know that the magic folks, the delivery people, are going to visit our doorstep today and drop off the packages we ordered. We consumers have been trained to keep an eye on the front door, sometimes even with a camera, to prevent our packages from being stolen. I received this email early in the morning:

Now we’re talking!

The Yellow Ring

An Amazon Echo with the Yellow Ring

At 1pm today, while grabbing lunch, I noticed the Echo device in my kitchen was flashing a yellow ring. What the heck does that mean? I opened the Alexa app on my phone, and there was an indicator next to “Activity” when I clicked that, there were no messages or notifications there, but the yellow ring stopped. I checked the ‘Track Shipment’ button from my original email and it reported that my package would not be delivered today. Oh… ok… no big deal, I’ll get it tomorrow I guess.

The Super Bowl started, and my Echo started with a yellow ring again. This time I reached out to folks on Twitter and searched for the meaning of the yellow ring and how to decypher it. I was directed to ask Alexa for messages, and she reported I didn’t have any and stopped flashing. Strange again.

This leads to a real problem in my mind as the consumer: why was this yellow ring appearing, where Amazon is trying to communicate something to me without ANY directions, any indication in the companion app, nor any email that correlates to it if I DIDN’T own the Echo device. Something smells fishy, and I start to lose trust when I get half-hearted attempts at communication from customer service.

Package Lost Email

At 11pm, received the dreaded ‘Package Lost Email’, after the package was promised to be delivered by 9pm. I’m not upset, but more annoyed and think to myself: It’ll be here tomorrow… right?

I clicked the ‘Contact Us’ link to figure out the next steps. Not a problem… but why is ‘Track your package’ so prominent and happy looking when CLEARLY there is nothing to track. In fact, here is what ‘Track your package’ shows:

Right… got it… can’t be delivered and you can’t tell me anything more. After I clicked the ‘Contact Us’ link I’m greeted with this:

Once again: ‘View Tracking details’ is prominent and right there highlighted as THE action to take. It leads to the previous screenshot, an obvious dead-end. The second option clearly isn’t the answer here either: ‘Return or replace in 3 easy steps’ as I’m not returning or replacing anything – it never made it to me. There’s no feedback for me to leave for the seller either: it was lost in transit.

My only option is the ‘Tell us more’ combo boxes at the bottom… there’s just one problem: I don’t know anything about what happened to tell Amazon!

This is all happening before I expected to receive the package, so I’m not angry about the package, but now I’m annoyed because I’ve fallen into a customer service problem that screams “we don’t appreciate you”

What am I supposed to tell Amazon about a problem that I am visiting their website to learn more about? Don’t they know the problem with this order? There are “12 more items in stock!” as their helpful order page reminds me. Why not just ship another one and not even route me through this nonsense?

How Jeff Would Solve This

This is a HUMAN problem… not a technical problem. There are accidents, missed connections, and things break all the time. We all understand that, and occasionally these things happen.

Customers know NOTHING about your company’s processes, and quite frankly they don’t care. How can you keep them happy when something like this happens? A simple email similar to the following would have made this 100% better:

“Mr. Fritz, we’re sorry but there was a problem with delivery of your order today. We will attempt to re-deliver it tomorrow. Our apologies for this incident, and to show our gratitude for your patience, we’d like to give you a gift card credit for 20% of the value of the package that should have been delivered today”

Simple… I don’t care about what happened, and I’m getting a little thank you credit that I’ll use with some of my own money in the next few weeks to buy something else from the service. Customers are EASILY pleased when you work with them, hide your politics and processes, and give them CLEAR directions on next steps.


I’m still clicking around this website trying to figure out the best step to take to understand what I can and cannot do to have my package delivered. It’s late… I’m tired… and I know I won’t receive the package tomorrow regardless of what I do on this website. I’ll figure it out some other day, because at this point its a waste of my time

Fritz's Audio Mixer

Advanced Audio for Streaming – Fritz’s Configuration

I was pretty excited yesterday because a new audio cable arrived for my Mackie ProFx8v2 mixer. How and why would I be excited to receive a patch cable? Why does Fritz need an audio mixer, and should I get one? In this post, I’ll show you how I have my mixer configured, the pros and cons of a mixer, and what this latest cable allows me to configure now.

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