» BREAKING: Decent Dell customer service – now more expensive!

Dear Customers,

We know that Apple provides you great customer service for the first year for free and for a small fee thereafter. Unfortunately, we have come to realize in our short-sightedness that we can’t “make” money using this business model. While happy customers may say nothing; unhappy customers write about their experience on the internet – for this reason we would like to offer our Decent Customer Service team. Now if you have an issue that cannot be resolved by our standard (read: awful) customer service you do not have to contact the Consumerist. Instead, for a nominal fee you can get the same customer service that our brothers in Cupertino provide you for free. Of course, since we’re a penny-pinching, soulless corporation, you can pretty much guarantee that all you are paying for is to talk to someone without an accent who still can’t find your laptop or determine when the backordered part will arrive – even though the same part is used in roughly 90% of our models. We hope you understand that we’re failing as a company trying to race to the bottom and forgive us our mis-givings as we catered to the Wal-Mart shoppers of the world rather than focusing on quality and customer satisfaction.

Sincerely,
Michael Dell

From the Consumerist

» FancyZoom really rocks my socks (and my site)

FancyZoom 1.1 (released in February) from Cabel Sasser is a bit of JavaScript used on Cabel’s blog and later rolled to Panic’s site is a very attractive way of implementing thumbnail viewing on your site.  From the site, It is “Designed to view full-size photos and images inline without requiring a separate web page load” and a wonderful job it does at that!

It is a breeze to install for anyone running their own site with instructions that are easy to follow.  When I ran into a snag and emailed Cabel he responded with the help needed to realize it was my own fault.  This alone is quite a feat considering I’m not a commercial user.

According to the site FancyZoom is free for non-commercial sites; however, if your site is of the revenue-generating sort Cabel requests a one-time fee of $39 / site.

Feel free to peep the demo (click the thumbnail) I have set-up below or visit Cabel’s site here to intall it yourself!

» Day 2 – some small fixes and more info

Utilizing my EXTREMELY limited (non-existent) knowledge of PHP I managed to create a Page.php template separate from the Articles.php template. This resolved one of my issues with this theme – specifically, since there was not previously a Pages.php template my About and Contacts pages were simply using the posts template – not attractive.

I also dugg into the CSS a little bit and changed a few colors around to suit my liking. While I was doing that I discovered some sidebar stuff that could (possibly) be tweaked to make it (and my search widget) less ugly. I know a TINY bit more CSS than I do PHP so I stumbled my way through rather than commenting-out random lines and crossing my fingers.

Here are some details about the site that might interest anyone who is curious… Since I am not financially capable (broke) I cannot currently afford paying someone else to host the site. It’s another monthly bill and I would rather buy a house. That being said I am hosting the site on my Mac mini using my business DSL line. Until I get a domain set up I’m using the free and awesome dynamic DNS service. It is particularly nice because for OS X there is a dashboard widget that updates dynDNS of your IP address.

I know you’re probably thinking “oh crap, if three or more people are on this site it’s going to crash” – well, you’re probably right. Actually, I have more faith in Apache, MySQL, and PHP on my Mac mini than I do my ISP’s ability to handle the bandwidth.

I consider this quite a feat because of two points 1) I know almost nothing about most web technologies – the fact is I’m a n00b. But I’m proud to admit it and determined to change it. I think that’s important. The reason this is a feat is because it was incredibly easy to set up using OS X.

The UNIX underpinnings in 10.5 make my Mac mini a fairly robust server for a fraction of the cost of an Xserve. Enabling Apache required me to simply check a box – that’s it. Granted there were a few other steps involved in enabling PHP and installing MySQL; but let’s be realistic, one is going to have to dirty one’s hands at some point.

Please pardon me if I’m sounding too much like a “fanboy”. In all honesty, I would install whichever OS made it the easiest – I’m not afraid of using a Linux distro. or installing Windows on a Mac. The fact is that OS X made it the easiest to accomplish the goals I wanted to accomplish.