What’s more frustrating when on vacation … a downed website!


On Monday, we left for our annual vacation in Carbondale, IL.

On Monday afternoon, I received a few messages from colleagues and clients that our Wittefini site was down.

“Ugh,” I thought. “The second I get out of town and have access to the worst internet connection apart from being in Cambodia, my site goes down.”

Since I had limited internet access, I emailed my host (DreamHost.com) from my wittefini.com account on my phone. I explained that the site was down and to please help. The response was:

I am sorry, but the nature of the problem with wittefini.com is sensitive
and to discuss it properly would require providing confidential
information. As you have written us from an email address not listed at
an authorized point of contact for the account under which wittefini.com
is hosted, we can provide you with no information regarding this matter.

You will need to contact the owner of the hosting account for assistance,
and if they need help have them contact us directly. If you are the owner
of the account, you will need to either write to us from the email
address established as the primary contact email address for the account,
or otherwise demonstrate to our satisfaction that you are the owner of
the account.

To do this, reply to me with the answers to the following questions about
the hosting account:

1) What is your full name and address as shown on the account?
2) What is your mom’s maiden name?
3) What are the first 4 digits, and the last 4 digits, of the credit card
in your name last used to make payment on the account?

Once I receive your reply to these questions, and verify them against the
account records, I can further assist you with this matter.

I would very much like to help you and I appreciate your understanding
that it is necessary we confirm we are communicating with the owner of
the account before divulging any sensitive information with regard to our
customers’ accounts to protect the integrity and security of the account.

Any numb nuts would be able to see that the web site’s status and my inquiry really had nothing to do with each other. My personal information had nothing to do with the site’s status.

This is what happens when customer service acts like a bunch of fucking robots instead of mindfully helping people. It’s like the wait staff at a crappy restaurant. Refilling a glass or replacing an accoutrement takes very little more than basic observational skills. Only the customer service idiot is incapable of doing the one-step legwork of, “Oh man, it is down. If you sign into your account, you can likely restore the site within the host panel.”

Tah-dah … that’s good customer service. That’s GREAT customer service.

Apple did that to me before. I called for the answer to a simple question, and they wanted to verify everything from my underwear size to my mother’s maiden name. “You need all this to tell me how to reset my PRAM?”

The folks at DreamHost turned a site down for two hours into a site down for a week. A week when new customers and old ones were accessing its portfolios to determine whether we were the right fit for their company or project.

After sifting through a mire of responses with how to fix the problem via web sites that are expired or not down, I spotted a link to how to fix a site that has been infected with malware, which they claimed was the problem. Fixing the site ruined by malware required backing up our site and its databases. It required deleting EVERYTHING from our host and then sifting through the code of the sites to see what did and didn’t belong. I was to remove what didn’t belong and re-place everything on the host. Voila! All would be better!

The fix seemed so Sisyphean that I needed to wait till I returned from vacation and get on a faster speed internet connection. My head spun with all the info and all I needed to do to fix my issue.

Out of frustration, I twittered DreamHost today. I received immediate responses. Because public complaints are worth more to their customers than private ones. They’re approached more mindfully.

In the end, their responses were more concerned with my profanity than with helping.

While doing a major backup of the site, I found a button in the DreamHost panel to restore the Wittefini site to a backup. I clicked it and Pow! Within 5 minutes, the site was back up to the exact way it was when it went down. I had updated it Monday morning with a blog post, and that post was in tact.

Something we could have done on Monday afternoon from my phone took a week of headaches, frustration, piss-poor, absent-minded customer service before I finally found the solution on my own.

I’m dubious that DreamHost will apologize. I’m not expecting any kind of reimbursement from the possibility of missed jobs. So what they will fail to do in customer service and in the absence of refund, I’m charging them in the form of this negative review.

Shame on DreamHost for not going the extra mile to help me eliminate the problem, quickly and easily at my first request.

Robots are bad customer service representatives, DreamHost. Grow up. I contact you so very infrequently. One time in 10 years should certainly warrant a marginally better experience.

 

 

Hey United States Postal Service! It’s okay to be nice.


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I came to the studio today to let in People’s Gas to turn on our service. I checked the mail, and I found this note on a piece of mail the carrier left.

Keep in mind, the mail was made out to our exact suite number.

I don’t think the USPS has a right to piss people off right now. They’re fast going extinct.

I’m not sure what the problem of leaving mail made out for that suite number might be. But apparently it is.

The issue is that — not only are we sharing the space between three artists — my company is incorporated under r25 productions, inc. but we’re now doing business as Wittefini.

Bill is under his name and we have the other artist. So we might get business mail under many different names. So the names I had to put on the box were many.

But seriously, you can’t leave a nice note or have a printed piece of paper that explains the mail protocol? If it’s so important, it’d be the case.

I had no idea that a mail box required more than mail to a certain group.

The poor carrier is going to have to learn all our business names before leaving us one parcel.

I felt that the note was a little yell-y. Like, “Hey asshole, put your fucking names on the box or you’re not getting shit!”

They also retaped off the box so that the carrier would remember NOT to put mail in our box.

Like I said, the USPS is going extinct. We’ll likely bypass them all together at some point with direct deposits and online bill paying.

But really, you should be nicer. It makes a world of difference!

 

The Pope predicts my miserable future … and his own


The Pope — that genius — told people that it’s better to have children than to keep pets, like dogs and cats or else wind up miserable and bitter.

That’s according to this article anyway.

The article reads:

The Pope criticised couples who decide not to have children during the service, saying they had been seduced by the myth that a life of material comfort is better than raising a family.

‘You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be carefree,’ he said.

‘It might be better – more comfortable – to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or not? Have you seen it?’, the Pope added.

‘Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness,’ he went on to say.

Well, firstly, it wasn’t my decision not to have kids. We tried. Even employed science with a little more investment than I would care to admit.

So either god or evolution made that decision for us at the moment.

Yes, we know there’s adoption. But I hate adopted kids.

[I'm adopted, you bozos!]

But, you know what? Isn’t it weird that the Pope himself is making a judgement against himself and people like him? Isn’t it better for him to stop his Popedom, get married and have some fucking kids?

What giant douchebag.

 

 

The random incoherent thoughts of Deepak Chopra


 

Screen-Shot-2014-05-21-at-4.44.53-PMAlthough a joke, this web site generates random words into sentences very similarly to the always dimly lit bulb Deepak Chopra.

I mean, really. The guy confuses otherwise smart people to think of him as intelligent. He’s a random word generator mixing science with the art of woo.

I love these two random generations:

The universe is at the heart of universal balance.

and

Perceptual reality constructs a jumble of fulfillment.

Generate your own Deepak Chopra quotes here.

Screen-Shot-2014-05-21-at-4.45.06-PM

A brilliant vacation ends with a bump in the road … for the better.


This week was one of the weirdest and most fulfilling.

We returned from an excellent vacation packed with sights, smells, and intrigue. We saw lots of Northern California in a way that Tina and I do best.

While we were gone, we were approached by several different clients asking for estimates or scheduling us for some amazing work that we want. Our goal lately has been to hone what work we accept and only do the kind of stuff that makes our portfolio shine. And that’s what’s been happening.

We had two inquiries about an editorial shoot and also a catalog.

Ahh, what a dream. We love editorial. It’s our absolute favorite thing to photograph.

Another agency client asked us for a table top shoot as soon as we could get to it upon our return. This agency has locations here and in Los Angeles. We’ve been lucky to photograph interiors and portraits with them, and this was going to be our very first time hosting them in our studio!

We were so excited.

But this is where the week got weird. Really weird.  Continue reading