Marginalization in One Easy Sticker

Filed under:Abortion,Bumper Stickers — posted by Anwyn on March 13, 2007 @ 9:31 pm

To the Portland woman who drives around with an “Abortion Is Mean” bumper sticker:

Go you! With one fell phrase, you have, however weakly, absolved yourself of any supposed partiality towards abortion and completely trivialized the scope of an unnatural act of cruelty. You pair that up with that other sticker that says “Mean People Suck,” and you’ve got yourself a statement.

I Heart My Webhost, Part II: ICDSoft==Professionalism

Filed under:Blogging,Reviews — posted by Anwyn @ 5:23 am

Xrlq uses ICDSoft for hosting, and after my unfortunate experience with DreamHost, so do I. They had me set up almost instantaneously, their rate is good ($6.00/month for 1000MB and 20GB of transfer, which is ample for me. Xrlq, who occasionally gets linked by Instapundit and other such bloggy luminaries, upgraded to the $10.00/month plan for the extra bandwidth), and their control panel is crisp and easy to manage.

But just as tech support was DreamHost’s downfall with me, so ICDSoft’s major outstanding feature is their unbelievably fast, comprehensive, and ultra-professional tech support. I could not be more impressed with this department. They guarantee a) 24/7 email support and b) one-hour response time, and I can unequivocally say they deliver on both promises. I’ve dealt with them on at least three different occasions: on trying to set up my blog email address, on experiencing an unexplained inability to reach my site (probably just a connectivity blip from my end, since it loaded within the following five minutes), and during a system downtime on their end (the only one I’ve experienced in six months of service). In reverse order, a few anecdotes about these experiences.

The Downtime. The dread of any webhosting customer who is online as much as I am, downtime spells loss of clients and generalized doom to a webhost. On DreamHost’s status blog during a downtime, all was chaos. The DH team, in an effort to be open and friendly, would detail their maneuvers to cope with the outage … thus exposing them to the wrath of their commenting customers when their efforts were unsucessful. I know that the people staffing IT companies are only human and that they use trial and error as much as the next person, but laying it all out like that for us to read only frustrates the client and makes the company look unprofessional. ICDSoft, by stark contrast, maintained a page concisely stating the big-picture causes of the outage, the various groups who were working on the problem, and the general means they were using to solve the outage, as well as a generous estimate of the time involved that did not get our hopes up. They had us back up and running under the estimated time. Support that knows how to give clients sufficient information about a problem without over-extending themselves with feel-good estimates they can’t keep? Check.

The Connectivity Blip. As a naive user six months or so ago, I panicked briefly when I couldn’t reach my site (or Xrlq’s, on the same host) and shot off an email before sufficiently troubleshooting my own internet connection. I got an immediate response to the effect of 1) we can load your site just fine, 2) the server your site runs on is in the green, 3) nevertheless we are concerned about your problem, so would you please run the following diagnostic steps, laid out in great detail, and tell us the result? By the time I got this response, in about five minutes, I had already been able to reconnect to my site. I sheepishly told them as much and got a courteous reply asking me not to hesitate to contact them any time I had a problem. Support that doesn’t make me feel like an idiot even when I contact them prematurely? Check.

The Email Problem. This was a genuine problem that required a tech-support solution, but here’s the kicker: It wasn’t their problem. In transferring from DH to ICDSoft, they each use the same webmail utility, and I used the same username and password at both. My Microsoft Outlook Express would attempt to get the email but fail, even though I could log into the webmail utility. I went many rounds with their tech support, me describing the error messages in detail and them offering various diagnostic tools, before they had me empty out a little cache Microsoft apparently keeps of its own nameserver records. Thus, even though my site had been switched to ICDSoft, my local Microsoft program was hunting for my email at the former DreamHost server. ICDSoft tech support stuck with me until they ferreted out the problem, even though it had nothing to do with any hardware or software of theirs. Support that will get to the bottom of whatever problem is preventing my computer from talking to theirs, even if it’s not their problem? Check.

I love ICDSoft and will keep my blog here. I will be adding an ICDSoft banner/link to my sidebar–if you or anybody you know is looking for a webhost for their blog or other kind of site, it’d be great if they could go through the banner here. I’d get a commission on any webhosting purchase that goes through my banner. I’ll also be submitting this review of their service to ICDSoft–they occasionally pay for selected reviews. But though I may benefit financially from having written this, the fact that I keep my blog here should speak for itself–I ran from DreamHost, and I wouldn’t have hesitated to run from my second choice if they were to disappoint. Instead, they excel. I’d recommend ICDSoft to anybody who wants to start a hosted blog.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace