Wednesday, May 29, 2013

App Crash Quick Tip

If you have had an app constantly crashing on launch or asking for an admin password to repair the library on launch try the following to resolve the issue.

Remove files from the following locations.

Note: To find the user library folder in 10.7 and 10.8 hold down the option key, click Go in the Finder and choose Library.

 ~/Library/Containers/ 

 For instance if TextEdit keeps crashing delete com.apple.TextEdit folder and then open the app again. 




Also in the following folder find the folder of the app that keeps crashing and delete it. ~/Library/Saved Application State/.savedState



 Launch your application and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Omnis Web Hosting Not What It Seems

Normally I review products that I like and interest me so for the most part my reviews tend to be pretty positive. However, in this case I have to take issue with a company and write a bad review. The company is Omnis www.ommis.com I have been using them myself now for more than a year for my personal website, my podcast, and was so impressed with their pricing and promises I moved a technical group website, and the website of three companies I work for in my day job.

This means I have a total of three separate paid accounts with Omnis for these several sites. A couple of weeks ago I woke up to an email sent to me at 2:15am from Omnis telling me they were slowing down my websites because I had exceeded their storage limit. I went to one of the company pages to test and found it taking three minutes to load a single page. This made our three company websites and help desk ticketing system effectively useless.

Immediately I opened a chat with tech support. Tech support online told me my best bet was to call on the phone. So I called on the phone. I was told on the phone delete a site I didn't need I was over my limit. All the sites are needed and being used. I asked for a supervisor and was told I could only email a supervisor and they would get back to me in 24 hours. In Internet time that is forever for a site to be effectively down and not acceptable.

All through this process I kept asking about the unlimited claim they made on the website. Below are samples from the Omnis website abut the Unmetered Data claims. It states clearly on their main page unmetered disk storage space, and bandwidth data transfer in bold with an exclamation point.


On the next page where they list the price it is $5.95 a month for Linux cloud hosting which is a killer deal! In the hosting features it again states unmetered disk space, unmetered data transfer, plus other features of the service.


So when I inquire about the unlimited claims they direct me to the terms of service agreements. To find these agreements you have to click the small web hosting link at the top corner of the screen to get a pull down to go to the policies page where six different policy agreements live which of course I had to agree to them to use the service. Buried in section 7 of the fifth agreement is where they apparently try and define unlimited. 

This is a direct quote from the Omnis Web Hosting Service Agreement

Customer acknowledges that the real-time resources allocated for hosting service are dynamically allocated based on the amount of overall resources used by Customer. Real-time resources include but are not limited to bandwidth, MySQL connections, email connections, web server CPU, and web server RAM. Real-time resources may be affected by things such as, but not limited to, bandwidth and disk space used, the number or size of configured email accounts, the number of web sites configured under hosting service, or the number of or activity on connections to MySQL databases.
Omnis Network uses Network-attached storage devices to store Customer's files. The nature of this type of storage requires that Omnis Network limit the number of files Customer can store with the hosting service to prevent exhaustion of the total number of files permitted on the storage device. This limit is 81920 files. Customer acknowledges that this limit exists for all hosting service and can not be adjusted.

So if you are a customer and use more than the average resource of the other customers then your service this throttled with no warning. When I asked where these limitations are listed in the control panel I was told "they change all the time and are not listed anywhere". So you when you get the email and you have been hobbled then you know you went over your limit and it is too late. 

A week after I opened a support ticket well past the 24 hours window in which I was supposed to get a response I got the following email:

Dear Customer;

You may review the Web Hosting Service Agreement that you agreed to when you purchased your hosting account at http://www.omnis.com/policies/hosting.php

Section 7 explains how the resource allocation system works.  If you wish to upload files beyond the average usage of our customers, your available resources will be restricted.

In order to maintain unrestricted resources, you will need to ensure that you keep your disk usage within a reasonable amount.

Currently, we apply restrictions once a hosting account exceeds 6.05gb, however that number is dynamic and can change at any time.  If you cannot get your disk usage under that amount, you would need to purchase an additional hosting account to split up your disk usage to avoid the restrictions.

Thank you,
Jeremy
---------------------------------------------------
Omnis Network, LLC

After again explaining that one single website with a lot of images and very low traffic took 20 GB of space and there wasn't a way to break up the site across multiple accounts it seemed as though a basic site with a lot of photos was not something that Omnis could handle. I moved the site off to Host Gator who offers better customer support and an escalation procedure that goes all the way to the CEO of the company, now that's service. 

So I emailed the sales department to explain the utter failure of tech support in resolving my issue and the additional problems I suffered after removing one of the websites. The system didn't recover right away and with another call to tech support they said it would recover within an hour. Two hours later another call to tech support to be told it could take a few more hours the system that disables the websites can't be overridden and runs on a schedule. The next day we still had slow sites and I called again. That tech was able to run the job and make it remove the restriction from our account, which still only slowly returned over a period of hours. 

I got a response from the email to the sales team and it was Jeremy again from support with the following message:

Dear Customer;

I apologize if any of our policies do not work for your business.  All of our technical support representatives are empowered to make decisions and assist customers with the highest level of support, so when a ticket is escalated to management it is usually an emergency or requires an administrator to fix an issue.  That is where the "escalated tickets are normally handled within 24 hours" statement came from.

In your case, you simply wanted to express your displeasure with our policy, and did not agree with the support representative's solution.  Those policies are put in place by the owner of the company, and will not change.

You can view the policies at the page I provided.  I also clearly stated that the disk usage number at which restrictions occur is a dynamic number, so we cannot simply post that number for customers to view, since the number changes every second.

As a shared website hosting company offering website hosting for $6 per month, we cannot allow customer's disk usage to become so large that they dominate the resources available to the rest of our customers.  That is how shared hosting works, and we will not adjust our policy or make any changes at this time.

I understand that this type of hosting is not always the perfect solution for every customer, so if you feel that shared hosting is not providing you with the disk space and bandwidth necessary to host your large websites, you may need to look into a dedicated server option.

Thank you,
Jeremy
---------------------------------------------------
Omnis Network, LLC

Note at no time am I referred to by my name just a generic Dear Customer; and none of my interactions with tech support by phone or email indicated they were empowered to do anything. In fact all I ever heard is what they were not able to do. Once I even asked after they told me what they couldn't do I asked what they could do and they told me again delete my sites. 

 I went online and did some research on Omnis and other hosting providers and see a lot of unsatisfied customers with Omnis sounding off in various forums with similar complaints. That is what finally prompted me to write about this experience in detail and now when it comes to hosting I tell my readers here, my consulting clients, my podcast listeners, and anyone else who wants support for websites DO NOT use Omnis. Choose a hosting company that provides tech support with escalation methods if you can't get help. Read the fine print and make sure unlimited is truly unlimited you don't want your website to be hobbled because it grew or became popular. 

Hostgator.com offers excellent support and reasonable prices.
Godaddy.com offers excellent support and reasonable prices. 
sqarespace.com offers excellent support, great tools, and reasonable prices. 

There are a number of companies out there that can meet most users web hosting needs. Just make sure you read the fine print and the control panel has a method to monitor any limits so you can be aware of the situation before you reach the limit and not be notified until after it is too late. 

Also hold your providers feet to the fire if they make claims that are not true. If they claim it is unlimited fine let it be unlimited. But if their are limits make them clear, easy to find, and easy to monitor so we aren't surprised. Don't settle for your web host over promising and under delivering.