Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm changing the locks to my home!

A while back, I had purchased a Xbox 360. All was well in the land of Lexi, as she blissfully played Gears of War, Guitar Hero, and Eternal Sonata. But soon all was not well. Some time after bringing my new computer home, I noticed that some of my belongings were on the floor - some dvd box sets that were on a shelf in my room. How odd, I thought. I put them back into their place, and as I stood upright, I noticed that my Xbox 360 has a nasty brown scuff on it. I had began thinking someone had knocked over my 360 and put it back like nothing had happened. But the scuff mark told plenty, but not everything.

I had immediately assumed that the cable guy who had been in my room a couple of days earlier had done it, and didn't bother to let anyone know he broke it. I raised my voice at my mother for not watching him while he worked. She assured me that he couldn't have done it, or else she would have heard it being knocked to the floor (the big white sucker IS heavy...). So I was stumped. It couldn't have been my brother. He assured me that no one had been in my room when he had company over. So what was I to do? I gave up on finding a culprit and accepted that my Xbox had keeled over. I called support, and in a few days, I received the packaging to send off my 360 to Microsoft's Repair Center. And then I waited...

Today was a joyous occasion, for I had finally received a repaired Xbox 360 for my troubles. I hurried to my room, set up the 360, and turned it on. As I was creating new settings for the 360, the system recognized that there were already profiles on the hard drive. I proceeded to load my gamertag as the primary profile, wasn't even there. Three profiles were already on the hard drive, and NONE of them were mine - a Brett, a Keem, and a Lakeem were the only profiles on the drive, and I was stumped to how they would've gotten there. I decided to recover my gamertag anyway to speed up the setup process. A few moments later, I began combing through the system to see what was on it. My game saves are nowhere to be found. My only downloaded game, Puzzle Quest, was not on the hard drive. As a matter of fact, by the time I made it to the media section of the hard drive, I was fucking pissed off. There's so much (c)rap music on this hard drive, and some vid about the Titanic, and yet none of my stuff (save my recovered gamertag and Puzzle Quest) is on this drive. This hard drive is not mine. As a matter of fact, THE XBOX 360 WASN'T MINE EITHER. I've been swapped!!! Someone came in with their own busted 360 and took my (somewhat) brand new system. OMFG?!?!

I know I sound a bit paranoid now. I began looking for suspects again. My sister would never do such a thing to me when she has her own systems (she has a Wii and I don't -_-), my brother hasn't had company over in a long time. My mother doesn't even know what a 360 is FFS. The only one who could've done it is someone who knew my Xbox was only purchased a few months ago, has easy access to the house at all times, and obviously dumb enough to think that they had to take my hard drive with the system just to use it. I know who my prime suspect is...I'm already pissed at that person. I will not name this person in case they find my blog. But know this...the suspect is not welcome in this house while I live here. I am already consulting with my mom to change the locks to the house. The worst part of this isn't having to start all over with my games - it's the fact that someone was so trifling as to take something they knew didn't belong to them from someone they grew up very close to.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Network Solutions - What you get (and what you don't) with DIFM Standard Design Services

First of all, I'll start by saying that I've only been working at NetSol since September (check the archives). I am not an expert on everything at NetSol, nor do I claim to be with customers or potential customers. If you need help with any of our packages other than the Do-It-For-Me Standard Design Package, please go to for the appropriate information.

And that's another thing... a lot of NetSol customers get to us by word of mouth rather than viewing our website and seeing what we have to offer. This can cause problems, as people who come to us as referrals tend to not read what's on the website, and even then some of the wording has come up rather poor for the DIFM Standard Design packages that are available. As I said before, I'd like to clarify what's included in the Network Solutions Do-It-For-Me Standard Design packages. As a web designer in this department, I will share as much information as I can. Let's get started with what our Standard Design packages are and what you, as a NetSol customer, can do with them.

A.: First we have the "DIFM Standard Design with Hosting" package. This package is for those who are 1.) new to Network Solutions (or having a website period) and have not purchased a web hosting package with us, or 2.) Have an existing website but want something that they can manage without knowing how to use HTML/CSS/etc., and don't mind having the existing website "recreated" through Network Solutions' ImageCafe application. This package not only costs $499.00, but it comes with a required monthly fee of $11.95 for web hosting.

B.: Second, we have the "DIFM Standard Design Only". This is a package for those who 1.) Already have web hosting with Network Solutions and have decided to have their website designed by our team, or 2.) Already have web hosting at some other hosting company, but would like to use our Design services. Web hosting does not come included with this package. If you make the mistake of purchasing this package and you do not yet have hosting, you can log into your Network Solutions account manager and purchase the appropriate web hosting from there. Or call our sales team, and they will happily assist you. The Design Only package costs $499.00, with no extra fee for hosting.

Both packages come with a default 5 pages. If you want more web pages than that for your website, you can purchase additional pages for $60.00 per page, or purchase an additional 5 pages for $200.00 altogether.

Here's what you can have with either package:

1. You can choose from a multitude of templates for your website's design. This does not mean that you're stuck with what you see on our samples website. In DIFM Standard Design Services, we customize your template to suit your needs... to an extent. Please note that there are limits to what can be done, as we work with existing layouts that are created for STATIC websites. By static, I mean the website will have to be updated manually every time there needs to be a change.

2. We do offer Flash animation with our DIFM Standard Design packages. HOWEVER, the animation is usually limited to simple text or image effects and image slideshows. Flash animations are also restricted to the content area of the website template (where you insert your website's text/images/videos/etc.). What can and will be done for the customer is at the discretion of the designer.

3. You can sell products through Network Solutions' DIFM Standard Design packages. During the design process, you will be limited to roughly 10-15 products per page, and you can only sell your products using PayPal. If you're looking for a package that offers you more by means of E-commerce, I suggest that you look to our E-Commerce packages.

Now, here's the bad news – What DIFM Standard Design does not include:

1. We DO NOT create Flash-only websites. As stated above, web designers in the Do-It-For-Me Standard Design teams only design websites that are to be maintained using Network Solutions' proprietary website editing application, ImageCafe. If a salesperson told you that you can have a Flash-based website, you've been misinformed.

2. Even though we do simple Flash effects, we do not do custom Flash website banners unless they are to be added to the content area. Please see above for what we usually do for customers concerning Flash animation.

3. Both "with Hosting" and "Design Only" packages come with only ONE round of revisions. There is no doing it over and over until it gets done right. There is only once chance for proofreading and changing any or all design elements within a Standard website. After that, the website will publish to your web hosting, and you will need to purchase modification time.

3. DIFM Standard Design websites cannot be integrated with other web applications or custom server-side programs (like a shopping cart system or lovey-dovey match-maker website complete with user registration and login functions). As stated above, the websites we create consist of static web pages that can only be used with ImageCafe. If you're looking for database functionality and dynamically-updated user content, the Standard Design packages are not for you. Our DIFM Premium Design service can be used to create a design for an already installed and configured web application. Note: Premium Design services cannot be used for the design of weblogs, such as WordPress, Movable Type, or Blogger. None of Network Solutions' design teams design blogs.

4. We do not add any more than 20-30 products to a DIFM Standard Design website. That is about as many products a designer in the Standard team will add to a website during the design process. This is because a.) The entire process is supposed to take 3 weeks, with the second week designated for the web designer to complete the overall look of the website and add content that you send to him/her, and b.) as stated above, your products are limited to about 10-15 items per page. Purchasing additional pages during the design process for the sake of adding more products will cost you more in the end, and c.) It is difficult to maintain a manually updated web store through ImageCafe. If you have more than 30 products to sell at any given time, you should look into E-Commerce.

5. Blog functionality is not included with either DIFM Standard Design with Hosting or DIFM Standard Design Only packages, nor is other type of application. It just isn't. ImageCafe overwrites all files that you upload to your web hosting. According to a recent update in ImageCafe, it should now be possible to publish ImageCafe-created websites without it deleting everything else on the web hosting package. However, you are warned of this possibility while working within ImageCafe. If you want to be able to add custom pages that are not created in ImageCafe, you are advised to find some other way to maintain your web pages (i.e., Dreamweaver, Expressions Web, etc.).

6. If you purchase the Standard Design Only package for the sake of creating a website that is to be hosted elsewhere, Network Solutions requires a "take-away" fee of $25 per page. So if you have a regular 5-page website created by our team, and you'd like to host it someplace like GoDaddy, then the price for doing so would be $125.00. The reason for this is because if the website is to be hosted by Network Solutions, we own the website. It was created for use in ImageCafe, which was created and is owned by NetSol. If you purchase the take-away, then a designer will clean the website of all of ImageCafe's proprietary code, package the website into a zip file, and email it to you. What you do with the website at that point is up to you. And that leads to another thing we don't do...

7. We do not do file transfers to or from ANY web hosting provider. You must transfer your own website files to your NetSol/GoDaddy/Earthlink/etc. web hosting or have someone who is more web-savvy to assist you in file transferring.

8. Concerning the submission of web content to the designers – web designers in the DIFM Standard design team WILL MOVE ON in the design process without your content. During the first week of the website design process, the client must put together all content that is to be included in the website prior to being published. It is recommended that all web content be sent via emails no larger than 5 megabytes so that the emails will be received by our servers. We do allow for content to be sent via fax or postal mail, but keep in mind that once you agree to the "Web Asset Submission" deadline, you must meet that deadline, or else the designer will design a site that has no content. If you communicate with your designer during the final week of the design process and send him/her the missing content, he/she will then add that content to the website along with any aesthetic changes needed prior to the website going live to the internet.

If you have a dire situation in which you cannot submit anything on time (i.e. tragedy in the family, emergency surgery, or emergency business trip), please notify your web designer as soon as possible. Once the designer is aware of your situation, he/she will hold your project for a maximum of 60 days. Any time after that, your website project will be deleted. Let your designer know when you'll be able to resume the project before the 60 days are over. If you start your website design project 7 days before, say, leaving the country for a vacation or business trip, please reschedule your web design consultation for a later date if it hasn't already been done. Once we conduct the design consultation, that is the start of the design project, and as said, we will move on without assets being submitted to us. DO NOT start your website design project in the mist of you not being available for communications. You may appoint a trusted person to take care of the website project in your stead.

9. There are some third-party solutions to overcome the limitations within ImageCafe, such as more complex web forms. We can configure web forms that are provided by services such as or However, we do not handle support for third-party solutions. For example, if you consent for your company's online job application form to be created using Bravenet's web form services, you must go to for help on issues concerning web forms.

10. DIFM Standard Design websites are created to be compatible with Internet Explorer 6 or later, or Mozilla Firefox 2.0 or later. We try to make sure we code our websites to be valid with today's web standards, but we do not test our sites in any other web browsers besides the aforementioned.

11. Post-Publish Changes: Once your website has been published to your web hosting, any emails sent to DIFM will be sent to a closed project activity, and no one will read it. Do not try to contact the designer of your website if you need additional changes. Instead, contact our Modifications team to request more changes to your website. Once your round of revisions is complete, the website will publish, and the website design project will be considered complete. If you manage to "break" the code that holds your website's design together, don't call and ask for your website's original designer. All design requests that are post-publish must go to Modifications. If you decide to change design elements within your website yourself, then that is your choice. We are not obligated to fix it for you for free if you delete something by mistake. Be careful when editing your ImageCafe-created website.

Last, but not least...

DIFM DESIGN SERVICES DOES NOT PROVIDE TECH SUPPORT FOR ANY APPLICATIONS. If you are having technical trouble (not design/content trouble) with ImageCafe, you should ask for tech support, not someone in design services. If you have trouble setting up mailboxes, you must ask for tech support. If you have trouble reaching your new website via a link within your email, you should ask for tech support first. If you're having issues with your website's domain(s), contact tech support. If you have a question concerning the billing of your website, do not ask to speak with someone in Design Services. You should speak to someone in sales instead. If you want to know your FTP account information, contact someone in hosting, not DIFM Design Services. Please make sure you assess your issue(s) properly so that you will know where to direct your support call.

That's about it for now. The most important thing to all of this is to READ THE INFO ON NETWORKSOLUTIONS.COM. If you have questions concerning something that you can't find on the website, call the sales team. It is important that you know what you're about to or already have purchased. Do not purchase DIFM Standard Design just because it's the cheapest package. You'll get what you pay for and then some, but you'll more than likely not get everything you WANT with it. Do your homework first!

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