Another quiet day at work

Dear Diary
Over the weekend, we migrated the Quickservice domain to a new server and a new host. This moved from a Windows platform to a Linux one. This is the native platform for this CMS, so now everything is working as it was always meant to! The web site works flawlessly, but the DNS switch caused some temporary (expected) caching issues. Some back-end links to the update software for Tim Hortons also stopped working because they tied into database files which needed permissions I was not told about. No biggie, just another curve ball. I spent the morning working on that.

  • I also spoke with Bill Smith, CFO of the Drummond Group about adding the legally required text to the Sigmund site for our Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) certifications.
  • I also began work rewriting the software features section and creating downloadable PDF’s for each of the 12 pages. And adding SEO. And registration forms. And Google Adwords…
  • I also added 301 redirects to .htaccess for 414 separate error pages, holdovers from the old site…
  • I also finalized and approved the e-mail blast going out to 14,000 medical facilities (all subscribers, no spam!) across the U.S. today
  • I also completed work on the next marketing campaign for our sister company, we have new graphics and tag lines!
  • I also scheduled a meeting to discuss site migration requirements and total rebuild of our other sister company web site.

It is only 10:39 a.m.
I need a coffee.

OK, don’t listen

I got a panic message last night, after business hours. “I’ve got a virus! Help!”

Sure, drop it off now, we’ll take a look and fix you up within 24 hours. OK. Agreed.
So I wait. 6:30, computer gets dropped off. Time passes… 11:30 that night I get another call. “Hey, a friend said they know how to fix this and will do it for free. Can I get my computer back?”

Where do I start? Being available after hours? Almost midnight and I’m still on call? No charge for any of this. Making arrangements the next day to be available? And when the person turned up late, letting them come to my partners place of work, pick up a key for our home and let themselves in to pick up their computer so they can take it elsewhere to be fixed for free? No charge.

What if I had done what I normally do, jumped right in and fixed it up? Would I have got paid? What if I had been working on it for four hours when that call came in? What would you have done? I think we can agree that giving the key to your home is above and beyond normal customer service levels.

I hate being messed around like this but it goes with the territory. I can deal with it. What I can’t deal with, is the irony. The same person we’re doing this for walks in to my partners place of work to pick up our key and proceeds to rant that they can’t make a living in their own profession any more because everybody is jumping in as an expert and working for free. Exact words, I’m told.

That part I found a little hard to swallow, given what the person was standing there doing to us. No charge.

As I advised, from the description of the virus that was given over the phone, a simple System Restore will appear to work, but it won’t. If this is the virus we think it is (and a small wicked part of me hopes it is), we have seen it before. It will be back within a week, the next time the computer restarts. Sure as apples. Second Tuesday of the month, regular as clockwork: Patch Tuesday. God bless Microsoft and their automatic updates. Tick tock. Five days at most to that restart. And counting. That’s why you pay for stuff like this. And next time, believe me, up front.

CarI is a published technology columnist (again)

I recently received a phone call from a friend that runs an on-line newspaper. The server suffered a major outage and they were offline. Fortunately, the site owner had a healthy respect for backups and had a recent one available. Using this I was able to restore the file structure and recreate the back-end database on another hosting server, getting them back up and running after three days and some sleepless nights.

As a thank-you my grateful friend offered me free advertising for a year. His exasperated Editor wrote a 1500 word front page feature article about me, and Gyst Services, which, if you are interested, you can read here.

I also made such a lasting impression that I was invited to contribute a column on technology, to which I agreed. My column has already begun. You can look me up under Columnists on the web site of the Ontario Press Council’s most recent member, the News in Port Colborne and Wainfleet (NIPCAW), though I will be reposting each of the articles on my own site here, under Tech Talk.

Titled “Carl Talks Tech”, the at-least-weekly articles in this column will focus on practical advice, breaking news and technology trends. I have carte-blanche on subject matter. I am looking forward to writing again.