Friday, June 28, 2013

Brick Oven

I went to Brick Oven for the first time today.  I wasn't impressed with the menu.

Waitress only kept half the drinks full.  She seemed to mostly give up on the table after food started coming to the table.

A coworker said that their root beer was great.  It did taste good, but I was assuming it would've had a head on it since it was their signature thing.

I got the Market Room Buffet, which includes the soup and salad buffets.  I wish I had gotten a sandwich and the salad bar.  The pasta part of the buffet, which was the extra onto the soup and salad when getting Market Room, was confusing.  It wasn't an open pasta bar.  You had to go put in an order and wait a few minutes.  They had you pick two servings of pasta or vegetable.  They had a bunch of different types of pasta and a broccoli or mixed vegetable it.  I didn't get the vegetables, so not sure exactly what it was.

After they heated up my pasta in some warm water they gave me a couple of pieces of sausage and a piece of garlic bread straight out of a brick oven.  I then took my bowl over to the soup bar where they had soup and also pasta sauces.

The soups were not exciting to me and I like a good soup.  I got the clam chowder and the chunks of clam and such were really small and not many of them.  I realize it is soup, but I prefer a more robust chowder.

The salad bar had several items on their, but the selection of dressings was limited.

A couple of people in my group got ten inch pizzas and they looked good and filling, but I think they were eleven dollars.  Seemed a little expensive.

A couple of people in the group got sandwiches and they came with a cookie and a bag of vending machine chips.  Seemed very chintzy for a sit down restaurant.  I guess it makes them more flexible for their take out customers.  Seems like the sit down experience should be better.

One member of our group customized his sandwich to swap mushrooms for jalapenos.  The down side was that they did not switch them as he asked.  The good news was that they offered to either redo it or give him jalapenos on the side or some other way he would choose to make it right.

It was a unique experience and nice atmosphere, but not a place I would choose to go, especially if I am paying.

Monday, June 17, 2013


While the 1 terabyte of storage is phenomenal, the software is some painful that it is near to unusable.  The software is not intuitive, so it is difficult to learn how to use.  Once you do get the feel for a little of the functionality, it is so slow.  Trying to select a bunch of files for upload the desktop uploader tool takes forever.  I tried using the one online and never could get it to stop spinning the loading screen.

Additionally, Flickr does not appear to have provided true management tools.  It is difficult to upload, download, organize, and view all of my photos.

I'm sure they are fearful that many people might actually use the full terabyte of storage, but if they make it painful to use then no one will use it at all.  It won't just make them use the storage at a slower rate, it will just frustrate them and people will give up.

I've been trying for weeks to up load my photos and have gotten some up there.  Then I tried to show my wife and daughter how to access them.  It was horribly painful to figure out how to expose it to them and only them and then to explain to them the hoops they need to jump through to get to them.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Rackspace Backup Problems

I wanted to document the issues that a company I worked for has had with Rackspace.

When we were given the sales pitch by Rackspace, they said that they guaranteed 1 hour turn around on restoring data from backups.  Perhaps that guarantee didn't include someone monitoring for a problem with the backups and fixing it.  We got a notification the day after we changed the name of our server that our database server was down.  My coworker and I had been in the database all day long and had no issues.  We sent back to them and said we were noticing no issues, but for them to please research and let us know why they thought it was down.  A week and a half went by and we had a data issue caused by user error that was so extensive that we needed a restore of the database.  We contacted Rackspace and they told us they could not do a restore for us, because the backup hadn't run since the beginning of the month, which was when we did the name change.  Within a relatively short time they were able to tell us it was due to the name change on the server.  We told them a week and a half previous to find out why they were reporting the server as down and they never got back to us.  It took us having a disaster that needed those backups to motivate them to move.  Unfortunately at that time it was too late to be proactive and it could've cost our business big time.

We never made the connection to it being due to the server name changing, since we were told when we signed up with Rackspace that we definitely could change the name of the server to make it work for our needs.  We changed the name since the huge name with letters, numbers, and dots was cumbersome to work with.  When we did the name change we were doing other changes on the server and felt the name change was easy and minor.

We had all sorts of support issues with Go Daddy, so we switched to what was touted as an enterprise solution, Rackspace.  The enterprise level solution cost us a thousand dollars each month more than Go Daddy and we still almost lost all of our data and we'd only been live with Rackspace for a few weeks.

The company has invested too much in the move to Rackspace to not give them another chance, but this was  completely unexpected for the reputation Rackspace has and the amount of money they are being paid.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Zoo Tycoon 2/Amazon/A Little Boutique

It is nice to have something positive to post.  It was a bad experience that ended well.

We purchased a computer game for my son as a gift from A Little Boutique in the Amazon Marketplace..  The game was Zoo Tycoon 2 made by Microsoft.

The game arrived and my son and I tried to install it.  It got through disk two and asked for disk three.  We inserted disk three and clicked ok.  It asked us again to insert disk three.  No matter what we did it would not recognize disk three.

I contacted Amazon and told them about the defective disk.  They gave me a link to print with a mailing label and return slip.  I printed them and returned it.

A few days later I got an email stated that they had refunded me just over two dollars.  They said they deducted the following:
        Return Shipping Fee Refund Deduction: ($4.98)
        Restocking Fee Refund Deduction: ($7.95)

leaving me with just over two dollars refunded.

I contacted Amazon and I asked them why there would be a restocking fee on a defective item.  They told me it was a mistake and refunded the entire purchase.

I was very concerned that having purchased online would make it impossible to get a full refund or an exchange.  This was barely more hassle than returning it to a brick and mortar store.  It was actually a positive for shopping online.

Around the same time I got a message asking me to review the purchase.  I gave a neutral rating to the seller, A Little Boutique.  I meant for it to go on the product, Zoo Tycoon 2.  In the comments I talked of the problems with disk three and that Amazon had made it right, but that I couldn't give the transaction five stars, since we were sent a defective product.  That defective product was not the fault of A Little Boutique, since it came in a sealed package from Microsoft, but it did leave a potential dark cloud on A Little Boutique and on Amazon.

A while after I left the neutral review I was contacted by A Little Boutique.  Their representative apologized that we had received one of the bad copies of Zoo Tycoon.  She stated that there is a known issue with some of the disk 3s.  She stated that Microsoft offers a free replacement disk.  If you end up with one of these defective disks you should look into contacting Microsoft and getting a replacement disk.  My hope is that they would ship it to you for free.  I also hope Microsoft will come up with a way get people that buy this program the replacement disk without the customer having to hunt it down.

The representative from A Little Boutique said that she noticed I lived within driving distance of their headquarters and she would like to bring a replacement copy replacement copy of the program to me.  I live about an hour from them.  This was very generous.

She looked and found that she was mistaken and there were no copies of the game left at their facility.  She immediately ordered a copy from another vendor and put my address as the delivery address.

This level of service is well beyond what we expect these days.