Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dear Acronis, You Let me Down

The short: Acronis makes great backup products for business use. If you are going to spend money, buy Acronis® Backup & Recovery™ 11 Workstation. Do not buy Acronis® True Image™ Home 20xx!

I debated putting the True Image icon with
the International Standards prohibition symbol.

Some quick bullets from my experience with True Image on two different computers.
  • Sometimes take 5+ minutes to connect with online service
  • Becomes unresponsive often.
  • Regularly can't suspend backup to online service
    • Tried stopping every service and program that has to do with Acronis, and no luck. Have to restart the machine, which is not a huge problem until you get to the next bullet.
  • Included "safety valve" that stops Windows from restarting during backup.
    • I'm sure this is great if you aren't doing the initial online backup that takes five days.
    • I have found I can manually stop Acronis services and restart, but seriously why should i have to stop services to restart my computer? Can't there be a check box that says "Dude, we can continue this back up after the 2 minute restart instead of trying to wait for the backup."

The rant: So I'm not a huge fan of customer support, the following are reasons why.

My issues aren't show stoppers so I chose to use the email customer support option. Only after I explained my problems thoroughly in the text box did it tell me I was limited to 1024 characters. I'm going to ignore how silly it is to limit a tech support email to 1024 characters and ask the hard questions. Would it really be to much to have a note about that? Better yet one of those nifty text count down things that changes as you type and tells you how many characters you have left.

SO I luck out, hit back, copy and paste my well thought out questions into notepad and fire up the "chat with customer support options". Not trying to be rude to the guy, I am a very patient person and I've got all day to keep the chat window open. When we started I specifically mentioned I have been through the forums and knowledge base (which is one of the things I love about Acronis) and could not find the answer to my questions. I even linked him the articles somewhat related to my issue, but didn't address it. I politley asked, in a less blunt manor, not to copy and paste from these articles I've already read. The very first response he gives me was right off the "initial backup to online services may take days." Duh? You don't say? Will it really take me days to upload ~30GB to an online service over my 512kb upload speed? I didn't exactily need a calculator to figure this out, but I certainly don't need tech support regurgitating what I told them. Don't get me wrong. I understand the guy is just doing his job. It's menontonus, he deals with people every day asking questions with answers available in the knowledge base. But if you aren't even reading what I write to you, how can I take what you tell me seriously? Now I know you're just blarbing out anything remotely reltated to what I'm talking about. 

THAT'S NOT ALL, I can actually over look all that ^ What really grates me is when customer support says, "I'm going to send this to a higher level of technical support, you'll be getting an email with all the information you need to talk to them" then I never get an email. It's not that it will take longer. It's not that you don't know the answer and I have to talk to someone else. It is simply that you said you would do something that never happened. This is pretty much the problem with the whole world. Many many people say many many things, but have no intention of actually doing anything they say*.

*I cannot claim this without recognizing some hypocrisy, but at least I am aware and apologize when possible.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

That Light-bulb is Around here Somewhere

Finally got around to revamping's main page with my new "structure is important" goal in mind. The more I get to know PHP the better I understand how powerful it can be. My infinite noobness actually had me going to all the pages and making changes. This was fine for a while, when I had 2 pages. Now that I am expanding and learning I know I can have a file named head.php with the line

link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href=""

Then when or if I ever want to change my style sheet I don't have to go and change it on every page. Every page I make just does a file_get_contents. Then if I want to try a new style sheet just go change the line in head.php.

I'm sure I'm the last person on the planet to figure this out. It also feels like I'm reinventing WordPressAlbeit, a really simple version for slow people like myself. Either way, I am learning and that is what is important.

Side note: omgthx for updating post interface Blogger/Google/whoever you are. We can write post using most of the browser window instead of that little useless box!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Definition of Maximum?

I'd like to preposition this post by saying I am a fan of 7-zip. I couldn't help but notice in their Compression level options they have an option above Maximum.
Is there a definition of maximum I was unaware of?

Noun: The greatest or highest amount possible or attained.
Adjective: As great, high, or intense as possible or permitted.

Photo courtesy of my Print Screen button.
I suppose, because it's open source, I can fork it and make my own version that changes the position of Maximum and Ultra. Maybe just remove Ultra all together. There is a decent chance my programming skill is not good enough to do even that (though usually I can find and delete pretty good). I find this over site a little ridiculous for a whole community of logical thinkers, so I can only assume I am missing a key tidbit of relevant information.

Poor web design

One of my recent projects has been It's a website that is pretty much useless, but gives me something to code by hand to figure things out. Today I came across this article about bad html and css.

Other than the bullet about flash dependency, I think I've broken every one of these dang rules. I found the part about "visual thinking" the most eye opening. That is pretty much how I've always done websites. First figure out how I want it to look, then make a structure that conforms to it. That paragraph changed the way I will make websites from now on. Worth a read.