Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Things that work and things that don’t

Starting to show a little wear and tear and the miles are adding up, but still going strong!

  I passed the 60,000 mile mark on my Kia Rio a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think 60,000 is a significant milestone in and of itself but in this case it marks the end of the company warranty on the car and means I’m on my own if any major problems come up since I didn’t purchase the extended warranty. I have my suspicions that any warranty would have been honored since I stopped bringing my car to the dealer for oil changes when the service department wouldn’t accept the $8 oil change discount the dealer sent me (I wrote about that incident here) and haven’t paid for the suggested 24, 60, 96, or 682 point inspections where somebody you never meet supposedly looks over every nook and cranny of your car for a little (or a lot of) $$$.

  It’s only taken me 27 months to put the 60,000 miles on my car and that’s with 5 months of ride sharing mixed in. I’d love to have a more prestigious car, but after 3 years I’d just have a prestigious car with 90,000 expensive miles on it so I prefer to get the cheapest car I can get and hope its well-made. This Kia Rio seems extremely well made. I keep the oil changed and replace the tires and wiper blades and haven’t had to spend a penny on anything else other than gasoline except for one wheel alignment. I had 4 GM cars before the Kia for my commute to Des Moines. My 2005 Aveo had the clutch go out before the warranty expired (and I bought the extended warranty) and GM told me it was a wearable part. My 1996 and 1999 Geo Metros both had the dashboard lights go AWOL at the 65,000 mark, and my 2002 Cavalier had an engine backfiring problem due to some bad sensors that the dealer wouldn’t cover as part of the extended warranty because the sensors were ‘corroded’. That time I was lucky and happened to be in the process of buying a minivan from the same dealer. I mentioned to the salesman that I was not going to get the minivan after all because I was concerned that the minivan might have corroded sensors that also wouldn’t be covered (LIKE ON MY CAVALIER) and the dealer fixed the Cavalier for free in order to get me to buy the minivan. The Chevy Venture minivan has been a dependable car. It’s had a few problems but it gets a lot more wear and tear from thousands of the short in-town trips that its taken over the years. The cars I use for work travel almost all their miles on the highway which I think helped them last longer.

  Matt still drives the Cavalier and Ben is now driving the Aveo so I can say I’ve got my money’s worth out of them, but this Kia cost less than either of them even though I bought it years later than the Cavalier (9) and the Aveo (5). As much as I dislike the service department at the Kia dealership, I’d have no problem getting a Kia as a replacement for my Rio or the minivan. I like that their cars are inexpensive but since my car hasn’t broken down even once I wouldn’t call them cheap. As the commercial could have said ‘Not getting stranded…PRICELESS’.

  Last December I got a phone call from GoDaddy.com asking if I'd like a free upgrade to a new server. GoDaddy hosts my book’s website (www.thebulldogbeagle.com), my chess website (www.centraliowachess.com), and some other prototype web sites that I’ve written for customers. Their service and support had always been top notch so I quickly agreed. As soon as they upgraded me, my chess site stopped working while all the other sites were just fine. I called their support and was told it was my problem if it didn’t work on the new server and they sent me an email on how to debug my website. I eventually figured out that some of my settings got lost in the move and when I reset them all was well…or so I thought.

  After the move, I had intermittent problems connecting to all my web sites. Sometimes I had to retry the website 5 times before I could connect, sometimes I couldn’t connect at all, and sometimes I could connect right away. I’d call GoDaddy and they’d tell me their server was having a problem and it would be fixed within 48 hours. After a couple of weeks of this, I asked them to put me back on the old server and was told they could but it would take a week and I wouldn’t have any operational websites in the meantime. I didn’t find this very helpful and asked to talk to a supervisor. The supervisor gave me a free month’s rent on the GoDaddy servers. He also told me the problem was in one of the 2 servers that pointed users to my sites and that my sites could be reached from either coast but not the Midwest. I suppose he was telling the truth but I didn’t bother calling anyone on either coast to see if they could connect.

  I could access my site within a day, but the problem kept happening at least once a week and I collected a month of free rent from GoDaddy whenever I complained enough. After my chess tournament of February 18th, I came home and updated my database with the tournament results and article, but when I tried to see the changes on the web site, I couldn’t access it. I called GoDaddy and was told that they were ‘aware’ of the problem and they would have it fixed within 48 hours of being notified. I asked them when they were notified and they said 'just now' and I was the first to notify them. I then asked how could they have been aware of the problem if they were just notified by me. At that point I was offered another free month’s rent, but I wasn’t buying this time because I wanted to send the players a link to the article on my website and I didn’t want to send them to an error screen. Instead of telling the rep that I wanted to go back to my old server, I told him I wanted a free upgrade to a new server. He told me he couldn’t do that and if there was nothing else, I could hang up.

  That told me that the GoDaddy rep wasn’t going to hang up on me! (I wrote about that trick last month) I told him that I was going to stay on the line until my web site was back up. The rep told me that it could take 48 hours and I told him not to worry, I had plenty of coffee, No-Doz, and other stimulants. I also told him that he could stay on the line with me until my site was back up. The rep put me on hold for 5 minutes and when he came back he said my upgrade to a new server was approved and I’d be transferred within 24 hours. I said thanks but I would stay on the line until my upgrade was complete or my site was back up and running whichever came first. The rep then told me that there really wasn’t anything else he could do for me and if there wasn’t anything else I wanted I could hang up. I told him that I was going to wait and I did want something. I wanted him to stay on the line with me until my problem got resolved. He put me on hold for 10 more minutes and when he got back he told me that because I was such a loyal customer, GoDaddy had decided to immediately upgrade my account to the new server. Sure enough, I was able to get on my sites with no problem. I even had the following email waiting in my InBox:

"Dear Hank Anzis,
As part of a continuing effort to provide the highest quality service for our valued customers, your hosting account has been migrated to a new server that will provide you with increased performance and reliability…
"


  The rep then asked me if there was anything else he could help me with. I was sorely tempted to ask for $50 dollars but I was so happy to have my web sites back up, I thanked him, complimented his superior service, wished him a good night, and hung up. I haven’t had any more problems with my web site since. If Kia Motors managed web sites they might have a new customer but for now I’m very thankful that GoDaddy.com doesn’t make cars!