– Worst hosting company on the planet?

Is a bad choice for hosting, or the worst choice for hosting?

And yes, this is just my side of the story. If you want to read their side of the story, well… Their website doesn’t seem to mention this little outage yet, nor does their public forums. Weird.

Anyway, here’s what happened: around noon April 12th, one of my VPS servers goes down. I open a ticket, then a few minutes later notice the system status indicates a possible hardware problem and some services are offline. No problem, we all have hardware failures once in a while.

4pm, “we’re currently experiencing major issues… in all locations”

April 13th the system status is updated with a (Resolved) tag, but I’m still down. File an update to my ticket, they’re still having issues and are documenting things in another location. Fair enough, although the “resolved” was a wee bit misleading.

April 14th/15th We’re still down, absolutely no sign of things returning, I move my services elsewhere and request a refund. Technical support says to contact billing.

April 17th I get a new “account activation” message, apparently threw out all of their customer data and started over after being down for 5 days.

Over the next few days I’ve exchanged several emails with their billing department, and apparently this is an acceptable level of service, and they’re standing behind their “we might not actually provide the service we sell, and we don’t offer refunds” clauses in their terms of service.

Seriously? A week of downtime plus 100% data loss, and a refund is too much to ask?

It was also nice that they took the time to yell at me for opening a second ticket formally request cancellation, after I followed their instructions to cancel service. Thanks for that guys.

Luckily, this is why god invented credit card chargebacks, Visa will stand behind a consumer when they purchase something and the seller doesn’t bother to deliver.

Dear Apple: FedEx and UPS are different companies

Since I like ranting, lets talk about my not-too-recent Apple iPhone repair experience.

First off, for anyone who has never been to an Apple Store to get service on a broken Apple product, let me give you a bit of warning: Apple sells so much defective gear that you apparently need an appointment just to return your expensive doorstop to get a replacement pre-doorstop. Who knew?

Anyway, a message to Apple: FedEx and UPS are different companies. No really, they are.

After having flown to another city to go to the Apple Store and having been turned away by said Apple Store, I complained to Apple’s phone based support until they offered to send a replacement phone and was told I just had to put the broken phone in box with the prepaid shipping label for return.

The instructions contained within the box included a toll free number to call to arrange pickup, the number was answered by a friendly UPS rep.

Unfortunately the return shipping label said “FedEx” so UPS wasn’t able to help.

I found a FedEx’s phone number on the tubes, and was told that despite the fact that I already had a FedEx delivery truck coming later this week, I didn’t have the right colour label for pickup service. FedEx then instructed me to take the package to some location near the airport, approximately a $35 cab ride away.

I called Apple, and was again advised to call UPS, after I explained that the return shipping label wasn’t a UPS label, the Apple rep seemed confused and didn’t know how to proceed. I suspect he was really a software program, and had I been able to see the screen, I’d have seen the “sad mac” logo at this point.

I ended up shipping the phone at my cost via Canada Post, $15 for a tracked and insured shipment; this seemed smarter then $70-round-trip cab fare or wasting any more time or effort.

Let me play the game already, dangnabit

Coming up on a year ago I got an Xbox 360. This was a new one for me, I haven’t really gamed much in many years. I had a Playstation 2 which held my interest for a couple SOCOM games, but not much more jumped out at me, before that, think back to the Duke 3D/Shadow Warrior and even the glory of the DOOM days.

Since buying the Xbox 360 I’ve been gaming more then I expected.

For me, I play games for the (and I know this will be a shocker) gameplay. I’m not generally there for the storyline; I mostly just play games that involve killing things, if I wanted a story I’d go find a book or watch TV (okay, bad example) or watch a movie (okay, worse example, but you get my point)

Sure, there might be some underlying “rescue the hostage” or “save the world” or “kill the terrorist” plotline around some good gaming, but it’s usually as well thought out a plot as goes into most porn. Porn generally has better acting too, incidentally.

I don’t get emotionally involved enough in the hostage’s well-being to care whether I rescue said hostage or not, my only real motivation to not shoot the hostage is that it usually ends the game if you do.

Now don’t get me wrong, story isn’t all bad. I enjoyed BioShock which had more of a storyline then most of the games I’ve played in the past, I really enjoyed Fallout 3 too so I’m not entirely story-adverse, but when it comes to brainless shooters, the story just isn’t usually a focus.

What ruins a game for me is when a game makes me sit through multiple cut scenes or witless dialog (I’m looking at you Gears of War) over and over without offering a way to skip them after failing and restarting a difficult mission. I get it, I screwed up the mission and now I have to try it again, but do I really need to be punished by watching the damn cutscene again and again?

I can live with a game making me sit through the story once, but especially for “boss-levels”, put the damn checkpoint AFTER the cut-scene; I don’t need to see my AI(*) companions peeing their pants and discussing how the upcoming enemy probably smells as bad as he looks cheesy.

Is that so much to ask?

* I use the “I” in AI only for clarity since their intelligence is usually lacking.