December 1st, 2004


Out of the Office

Just had a couple of days off from the day-job: partly 'cos I'd 11 unused holiday days that really needed to be taken before the end of the year, but also partly because I've some work to get done on one of the part-time jobs. And then someone gets in touch with me about another potential chunk of work.

Basically, the company this person works at once had a website - or, more accurately, they once had a domain name. Someone's off to Foreign Parts™, so it seems like a clever idea to get at least a holding page up and running. Problems: while they own their domain name, the account for hosting and similar with BT has since lapsed. "All" I need to do is get them to replace the name servers with my own, and everything should be fine and dandy. I can do some stuff by phone, but as the client's no longer a BT customer, we can't use the web form to make the change, it has to be done by sending email to the relevant people - but do these guys ever answer thewir email? Nope....

Easyspace considered harmful

Domain server problems brings me onto the other problem of the last couple of days. Back when I first bought a domain name or two of my own, I used Easyspace (I was staying with the_magician at the time, and they were the ones he used). They probably stopped being the cheapest, but they were never the worst, and I occasionally recommended them to other people who found them to be okay as well. This was the case up to about a fortnight ago, when I recommended them to another friend.

Shortly (as in "a few days") after, Easyspace got taken over, or merged, or something with and they scrapped the somewhat idiosyncratic, but working, front-end on their website. Now they've got a dead neat looking "front panel", but it doesn't work - whole chunks of functionality are missing. The help info's no use - because it all refers to the old shop - and adding injury to insult, it now costs about four times as much to change your dns servers as it did before. Oh, and they now charge through the nose for transferring domains away from them - I suspect this could be their major revenue stream for the next year or so, as people get pissed off with them.

And it's not just the domain name thing. The above-mentioned friend wanted to upload a couple of pages to his "Easyspace Gold" (serious inflation here: you'd think 'gold' would be the top, above 'silver' and 'bronze', perhaps, but it's actually the bottom, below 'platinum' and 'diamond') account, but it wasn't having any. Okay, he's not used ftp very often, and there could've been something weird going on, so I takes a look-see (more accurately, he came round here). Nothing seems obviously broken, no news about ftp outages on the web page, but.... the neat web-based file manager's gone (another control panel casualty) and the help info is equally useless. Spent a couple of hours trying various things, but no joy. Eventually, some time after my friend left, find out that Easyspace's ftp is broken, and will be back sometime, but the priority is apparently fixing the control panel, and they've no idea how long that will take....

Neat Gadget

Someone mentioned this at the weekend, I think, and I wasn't really sure I heard it correctly, but you can now buy something my old department would have murdered for, or spent thousands of pounds on, as a children's toy! It's a microscope with a built-in webcam, so you can look at things 1000x life-size on your PC. But that's not the amazing thing. What's amazing is that it's all of £39.99 and it comes from LiDL.


On again, off again.... Restarted at the Writers' Bloc chap-book launch the other week, then managed to stop again for about a week before re-starting the night of the Damned gig. It's looking like I'll be able to do the smoking reduction thing for a while, but I've a horrid feeling that properly giving up again is on hold until New Year Resolution time.

Oh, and actual time spent on the work I'd hoped to do yesterday and today? About three hours!