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The downside of being hosted with

The logo of the blogging software WordPress.

Image via Wikipedia

Generally WordPress is very good. It has some odd things however, and I wanted to share one of the biggest ones for me. It seems that you have two options when you have comments.

  1. To have anyone comment, and all pingbacks to post automatically.
  2. To have to approve each comment, and have to approve all pingbacks.

Now clearly with the volume of Spam I get, over 11k in the past 2 years I can’t allow just anyone to comment. However every-time that I link to an older post I have written I have to approve it.

Now naturally I ask the spam people if they could change this behavior. They said that it was up to WordPress to offer this as a feature. I asked WP technical support and they confirmed that those were my two choices.

I think that there are 3 things that cause people to want to move to a self-hosted situation.

  1. More control over the plug-ins or ways that a blog functions. If I had a self-hosted blog then I would have a choice of discussion plug-ins. So then I could theoretically change or find a better way to handle pingbacks.
  2. More control of the themes/css/java. It is amazing the kind of beautiful blog themes that you see on the web. Unfortunately even the premium themes are boring/disappointing. It is frustrating that you have to pay for a CSS upgrade. Part of what makes a successful site is how it looks. I understand that WP needs to make a profit, I wish they would explore the advertising aspect more. Like if they help their customers gain an audience then that advertising money should be credited to them. For their immediate need, they could offer a partnership ad program where someone could pay $30 a month and then half of the money raised from ads goes to them. That would ensure the payment that WP needs, and also provide an incentive for the blogger to make good content. Things like java and stuff are expected by surfers, so the lack of things like flash and more advanced things don’t help people stick at a site. I paid for the No-ad upgrade, but I had no way to know if WP was making more or less money by me doing this. If the monitzation had been more transparent then we could make better decisions on our resources/times.
  3. More control over performance, analytics, heat tracking, or really the wide range of functionality that a normal site would allow you to have. You can’t use many tools like Google’s Website Optimizer or any way to do things like A/B testing/multivariate testing. Really if you are trying to ensure a SLA or quality of service there is no way to enable this. For that reason alone you can’t really use WP for a business purpose.

More experiences of being an AT&T wireless customer in Chicago

Verizon logo

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You have probably read some of my adventures before with being an AT&T wireless customer in Chicago. (Read here, or here) My issues have been continuous since becoming a customer.  Why not change companies? It is hard to pay for a new phone when your finances are challenged. Once money is no longer an issue I will change to Verizon gladly.

So I have had more issues with dropped calls, poor voice quality that I couldn’t understand what they were saying, delayed texts/voice mail up to 8 hours later, wildly fluctuating signal and more that I can’t remember. I was talking to my friend and couldn’t understand what she was saying even with 4 out of 5 bars, so I called her back. Still couldn’t understand her so I asked her to call me back. While waiting for her call she IM‘s me and says that she is calling and its going to voice mail and why aren’t I picking up? I tell her that I didn’t receive any calls, or notice from the phone that I had a voice mail. I turn off the phone and wait 30 seconds and turn it back on and call her back. That fix usually works, but not all the time.

I called AT&T the next day and explained my problem to customer service. Then transferred me to technical support. Since I have called in almost every month my file was big. “I can see you have had lots of issues and there are a ton of notes on your account,” the technical support rep said. “Technical support will call you back tomorrow on Thursday.”

I was called Thursday at 6:30 at night and spoke with technical support. They wanted me to go to the local corporate office immediately “It would be best to go asap,” she said. I said that the store would close in a half hour and that I had to walk there late at night and I would prefer to go tomorrow. So we both looked up the time and I asked her to call me back tomorrow morning. “I can’t call at specific times, I will call you on Tuesday and find out what happened.” It was actually my suggestion to go to the corporate store because she said that they needed to do troubleshooting with the phone itself and that they could only get me to a second level support if I could call from another line.

So Friday I go into the Corporate store at noon. I knew this was going to take two hours and they didn’t let me down. After speaking and repeating everything that has happened to me the last 2 years the technical support person said that she has to move me up to “Level 2.” Ok, at that point I had been there 90 minutes.

“Hi this is John with Level 2 technical support, how may I help you?” he cheerfully asks.

I tell him my story.

“We need an example where this problem happened.” he says. I tell him the exact time and date.

“Oh I see what happened. Yes there is a problem.” then the next thing he said shocked me. “I’m sorry I can’t help you.”

“You can’t help me?” I said stunned.

“That’s right. We have a policy that to enter a case the cause of it has to happen in the last 48 hours. Since that is out of this period we can’t do a network trace.” he said.

“Let me get this straight. I do what the representative tells me and come here and you are telling me that I can’t get helped because I am too late for the policy?”

“Yes I am sorry but that is the policy.”

Oh this is not what I expected to happen. “Let me talk with your manager.”

“My manager will say the same thing but you are welcome to talk to him.” he said.

So I spoke with the manager and he said the same thing. I explained how I was following the instructions that AT&T technical support gave me to come to the corporate store and repeated the last 2 years of issues. He said he would open up a network case to do a “network trace” and gave me the number.

I went home pleased that I got something done. The next phone call I got was from a recruiter. It had poor voice quality and the call dropped. I called AT&T technical support back and told them the time that it happened and my case number and was told it would be applied to my case.

Bottom line: if you have a problem with AT&T let them know ASAP.

Fed Up with HP (via Kristel Has Something to Say)

HP Pavilion dv6000z Laptop

Image via Wikipedia

I can understand Kristel’s frustration. I felt the same thing with most HP computers I have worked with.

After ongoing issues, and lack of confidence or overall overwhelming experience with HP Customer Support, I have had it with HP. In May of 2008 I was given, from my parents, an HP Pavilion laptop as my graduation present.  I had previously had an HP desktop that was my college computer, lasted me all 5 years without any major hangups.  I think my CD drive died on it, and I had to have it replaced, but that’s it.  So, expectedly, I was in love wit … Read More

via Kristel Has Something to Say

How do I recover a Mac wifi password? :: Free Tech Support :: Ask Dave Taylor!®

How do I recover a Mac wifi password? :: Free Tech Support :: Ask Dave Taylor!®.  Good instructions.

‘Pay up or your PC’s history’ (via )

Not technically breaking any laws but clearly scammy. Something to watch out for.

'Pay up or your PC's history' Overseas scammers are cold calling trying to offer paid technical support for “infected computers“. Australians are being swindled out of hundreds of dollars by dodgy call centres pretending to be affiliated with Microsoft, who cold call victims and scare them into believing their computer is infected with a virus. Microsoft Australia says the scammers, who typically operate out of India, are sophisticated enough to avoid blatantly breaking the l … Read More


A usability case study: Microsoft Online Assisted Support (via usability | security | freedom)

Microsoft support gets the issue correct. Great job guys.

A usability case study: Microsoft Online Assisted Support I never thought I’d be writing this on a public space but Microsoft is getting this right. As most of us techies, I do tech support for all of my less-techie friends & family. People who are particularly close to me even get ongoing preventative maintenance. (They don’t really know it’s happening, but it is.) I thus maintain Debian servers, Macbooks and Windows XP/7 laptops alike. A few weeks ago I had a misbehaving Windows 7 laptop. It would … Read More

via usability | security | freedom


Apple – Support – Discussions – IMPORTANT GUIDE FOR ANYONE WITH AN HP ….  If your HP printer isn’t working you might want to try this guide to fix the problems.  Basic troubleshooting advice.

Rebooting the Confused (via Croisan Views)

Are we going to have to reboot everything in our lives?

Rebooting the Confused I had to reboot my stove again this morning. Once in a while the digital controls get, as the customer support person told me years ago when it first happened, “confused.” That confusion can only be fixed with a reboot. Since I no longer use a stereo component system for my music, relying instead on my iTunes collection and some upscale Klipsch speakers, I had to reboot my music once during a social gathering. I’ve also had to reboot my Siemens G … Read More

via Croisan Views