Zepfanman.com faces 5 days of downtime

Just thought I’d give a quick report about this site’s downtime since Wednesday morning. I’ve used 1and1.com as my webhost since early 2004 and this has probably been my longest outage (just came back online early Monday, today). I can remember a couple of other outages, but rarely is it more than a couple hours.

I don’t have much to compare their service to, although I had a site on Dreamhost for a couple years. I seem to remember not wanting to continue with Dreamhost, probably from reading negative reviews. Although, as can be expected, if you search “1and1 reviews” you’ll get mostly negative feedback, as well. It’s rare that you find customers who will rate a service when they haven’t had any problems with a product. In the end, I guess I stuck with 1and1 because they offer a great deal for $3.99 or $4.99/mo whereas Dreamhost is $9.95/mo (less if you prepay more than a year). Since this website is just a hobby for me, I can’t justify shelling out much more than I already do. I did just notice that Dreamhost is having a Memorial Day sale for $9.24 for the first year of a new service. Jump on that!

One other thing I want to note about 1and1 is their customer service. I called them the first day that the site was down last week and I got an Asian customer service rep. They gave the typical “we are working on it” canned response. I called back a couple days later and got the same response, although this rep said I could email complaints@1and1.com. I was surprised to get a response back a day later where a rep offered a free month in compensation of my wait. This was nice, but in the end how does it take 5 days to restore a server back to working order? That’s pretty pathetic.

On a positive note, this incident made me realize that I should monitor my site’s uptime. I discovered mon.itor.us and have found it to be quite a nice tool! I’m hoping that the alerts will work in the future when the site is down for more than 30 minutes.

PBS Video even more compelling

PBS.org greatly improved its online video content last month. Sure, Google Video, YouTube, and Hulu can keep you occupied, but you can always count on PBS Video to provide quality, relevant programming. I rarely watch primetime television, so my recent discovery (thanks to a good friend) of FRONTLINE, Nature, NOVA and several other shows on the website has been quite eye-opening.

Not only do they have reliable Flash streaming of most of their shows, PBS Video also provides a wealth of additional information about their episodes. I was particularly taken by the April 21st FRONTLINE episode, Poisoned Waters.  “More than three decades after the Clean Water Act, iconic American waterways like the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound are in perilous condition and facing new sources of contamination. With polluted runoff still flowing in from industry, agriculture and massive suburban development, scientists note that many new pollutants and toxins from modern everyday life are already being found in the drinking water of millions of people across the country and pose a threat to fish, wildlife and, potentially, human health.” Poisoned Waters is also one of the videos that can be embedded, as I’ve done here:

Why We Love Cats and Dogs is another recent favorite of mine – made me cry!