Thursday, May 20, 2010

WebHost4Life? Not on your life! They suck

I originally thought they were just plain incompetent, but now I think they are slow, unreliable and incompetent. Which is a polite way of saying that WebHost4Life sucks. Badly.
The graph above shows that they have failed to provide a continuous service on the site for the past month. Then check out the speed in the right hand column:
Now compare this with my new hosting company:
So WebHost4Life is slower. Much slower. When I measured this I also measured the "time to first byte" as 175 seconds, and a total load time of 298 seconds. (The numbers in are in the status bar on this screen shot):
Since 300 seconds is 5 minutes, we are talking about a very slow load time indeed. Most users would have cancelled the page after 10 to 15 seconds, so they would never have seen the page at all. I'm told this was caused by their "migration scripts". The ones that screw up your web site for you.
Maybe I should also add useless to the list. It certainly describes their help system, and their much-vaunted "migration" process. Incidentally, the "new platform" doesn't support multiple web sites. They proved it to me because they couldn't get it to work, although they wouldn't actually admit that it couldn't be done. They are under the false impression that it can be done, but when push comes to shove it doesn't work. How sad is that?
Update: We can add "losers" to the list. According to, WebHost4Life's hosted domains grew for 2007-2009 from 62,076 to 70,669 domains. In 2010 the decline has set in, so that by May 17, 2010 they are down to 60,912 domains, a loss of 16% in just 5 months. It boggles the mind that they could throw away 10,000 customers so fast.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mustang waves goodbye to WebHost4Life

The Mustang web site has found a new home, thanks to the technical incompetence and bad planning of the Endurance International Group, the new owners of WebHost4Life. The DNS transfer from WebHost4Life to Arvixe should be completed in the next 24 hours. This blog uses graphics from the Mustang site, so there might be a hiccup or two, but I'm not expecting anything like the fiasco that occurred when WebHost4Life screwed up the FishWisePro web site.
The difference between WebHost4Life and Arvixe is like chalk and cheese. Arvixe sends you an email that explains how to set up everything. Their control panel is easy to use and mostly intuitive. Their database setup is totally straightforward, and even the domain transfer instructions are clear and easy to follow.
Two of my support questions were already answered in the support knowledgebase, and two other questions were answered by a technical support person who actually knew what was going on. Quite a change from the idiotic and nonsensical responses I got from even the most senior people at WebHost4Life.
They automatically created a test domain called that allows me to test the setup before changing the DNS settings. I'm a very satisfied customer.
Update Thursday 2pm: The DNS changes have been implemented, and the switchover went completely without hitch. Unlike the balls-up with (now fixed) and ("cancelled" by WebHost4Life). Why is it that they break everything they touch?

Friday, May 14, 2010

AutoHotKey is Awesome

AutoHotKey is one of those free programs you wonder how you ever did without.
One of my recent uses for it is to paste difficult-to-remember passwords or user names to the clipboard. Here is an example script:
clipboard := "RandoMe20?~"
This pastes the string "RandoMe20?~" to the clipboard, which allows you to use it as a password.
Here is another example. There are numerous connections using a password that always start with "login" and end with "12345". This script asks for the part in the middle, and then types the calculated string into the password dialog box.
; Press Shift-Space to begin
; create password and paste it
InputBox, passw, password, Type in the middle letters of the password press ENTER
Send login%passw%12345

This particular script has become a real time saver for the people who use it. There is a learning curve involved, but there are plenty of examples and the help file is well written. Check it out!

Monday, May 10, 2010

No Defrag Benchmarks

This is just a brief not to say that the planned defrag benchmarks and reviews are cancelled until further notice. I have lent the FRAGG machine to a friend for a month or so, and this makes it impossible to run any publishable benchmarks for a while.
I have not abandoned the idea of doing the benchmarks, but the whole process has got bogged down for a while.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Cost of Ignorance

South Africa has become a nation of idiots. Take our politicians for example. A Cabinet Minister tells us to save electricity by only switching on the hot water geyser during peak load periods. Municipalities are bankrupt, and/or providing little or no services. Politicians blame all the country's problems on racism. Yeah, right. I guess it's too much to expect a national leader to say "I don't know" in public, but what do you do at a company level?
My biggest customer runs a national call centre. The people who work there are men, mostly young. Many of them have no idea which province half the towns in the country are, and so instead of finding out or checking on a map, they guess. Customers get sent hundreds of km in the wrong direction because the idiot in the call centre is too lazy or stupid to do his job.
Another call centre has had to fire people because they can't spell. We aren't talking about place names (those are bad enough), but traffic-related words like "overtaking" or weather-related words like "raining". There is a limit to how many errors a spell-checker can catch.
Filing a police report can be an exercise in patience. There have been plenty of cases where the complainant has had to fill out the police report because the policeman can hardly write. The same is true of government departments, including the tax department.
How do you fix it? It's difficult to fire people in South Africa, so useless people get passed from one job to another. Many teachers simply shouldn't be teaching because they are nearly illiterate themselves. Many pupils are too lazy and irresponsible to learn, and expect to pass because they are "entitled" to an education.
Many companies, such as the Endurance International Group, are content to employ people who are totally under-qualified to handle "technical support" queries. Other companies, such as Microsoft, refuse to accept or acknowledge bug reports, or are too quick to blame someone or something else as the source of a problem. How do you encourage excellence and literacy in a society that tolerates mediocrity and TV dinners? I wish I knew.