The Bicycle Wheel

In a previous post I referred to the slope of the bath tub which was an analogy for proving your photographic gear. Of course the wise will do heavy testing at all ISO and lighting conditions to work out how the sensor records details in the shadows as well as the highlights. They will also test their lenses for sharpness, flaws and find the optimum aperture for it and so the testing goes on.

So back to the bicycle wheel; This is another analogy that relates to the business side of photography or outside services that you use, like printing, webhosting etc.

My webhosts recently disappeared from the face of the world wide web, reasons unstated. This left me with my personal websites vanishing, my 5 domains pointing to nowhere and a drop in email service and all just into the credit crunch, so my survival rate with clients going to empty 404 pages and email bouncing back must have thought I had gone bust in the doom and gloom of yet another recession.

This left me with at least a couple of weeks solid mess to clean up at a time when I was just to busy.

It would be easy to lay blame at the host, but my friend and photography buddy was notified of the closure ages ago, (oh yes the sod gloated about it as well…big time) with tools to move websites and domains to cause as little disruption as possible.  Now for some time I have realised that I was not getting service notifications direct, for some years in fact and despite changing my email on there control panel, no joy. so this was a loose spoke in a wheel; as it happens it was not the first.

You see that spoke came undone because of another spoke, my ISP years ago was Wanadoo; who I had no problems with but for some reason, were taken over by Orange who decided they were not big enough  as a mobile phone company and could play at being an internet service provider. It was these who gave me problems with service; so much so I ended up requesting the MAC code (several times and without internet) and switched and bang goes my ISP email with Wanadoo. Cancelled as I told Orange where to stuff there awful service, and not in a polite terms either.

Now what I did not realise at the time was that my email for the webhost was now dead and although I changed it in the control panel there was no way to verify/authenticate the change so this was the first loose spoke, which led to the second loose spoke, before the wheel became broken.

In the past I have remedied an alternative services because of poor service on an online archival system. I ditched them after 6 months because their servers went down and the backup failed; it took weeks for them to restore service and it was at a time when I needed to get images to a client urgently.

Indecently, it was a right move as before Christmas they went under leaving hundreds of photographers and agencies stranded. In comparison my current archive people have not been down once, since 2005 (or as far as I know, before then when I joined) Yes I pay a little more, but it is at least one weight off my mind, and the service is one to one via a phone, with people who know a lot about the photography business, so the advice extends beyond the archive. If I need help with a difficult pricing job I can phone them for advice, their success is my success as they see it!

There are lessons here of course:

  • If a company niggles away at you because of poor service, ditch them, it makes you out as being un-professional and one day will catch you out.
  • The other is to use an online webmail like Google, Yahoo etc for your logins and system notifications, that way regardless of your ISP it will always be available.

Remember a loose spoke puts the rim out of line, and other spokes will become loose or break, so when you notice a loose spoke….fix it


One thought on “The Bicycle Wheel

  1. Ah… I understand now. So well in fact.

    Ok, I take back all my snidey little jibes in that case… but that’ll learn ya!

    Anyway, I wholly endorse your “lesson 2” (having gone through loadsa fun & games with a seemingly endless succession of email providers). Webmail definitely seems to be the way to go, and preferably one of the “big boys” (Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL/ICQ etc).
    My personal preference nowadays is for Google (despite all my concerns about their “privacy policy” etc), mainly cos they’re user-friendly, they’re (generally) fairly reliable, and they offer a host of other damn useful freebie add-on services.
    They displaced what used to be my first choice (ICQ) quite a while ago cos ICQ used to have a limited storage capacity for freebie users. (I was a “premium” user but then, bizarrely, found I couldn’t renew my subscription for some obscure reason so suddenly my unlimited storage capacity dropped down to their former limit of… er… 2Gb I think. Since their merger with AOL though they now offer unlimited capacity even for freebie users, so I’m still using them as a backup for whenever Google falls over.)

    The great thing with webmail is of course that one keeps the same address even if you change your ISP, physically move, or whatever. And it can be set up so its slightly less easy for some busybody snooper to do a backward audit trail sorta thing.

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