Why not to use XO Communications

Don't go near them, their service is terrible.

XO communications., network outages, lack of contact, and the ability not to understand what the customer wants, and giving false information about quality of service.

This is a bit of a rant, but it's also being placed here in the hope that anybody who is contemplating using XO communications as their ISP doesn't. I'm a small customer, but that doesn't mean they can treat me like shit.

Here are my issues:

The service I was sold is not what I requested. I asked for a service where I was provided with a transfer or 20GB/month, on a connection which could burst up to 10Mbps for people on fast connections, as I was providing streaming media. What I got was a 128Kbps rate-limited system, which allowed for about 3 seconds of bursting. This is not suitable for multiple streams, or [for instance] supporting responses to email shots, where server activity is high for a short response period. If I had wanted a 128k line I would not have co-located a server...

When I complained about this issue and told them that the rate limiting was affecting users they said they would see if they could find a suitable solution, but I would have to pay. They did not act on the complaint, they just tried to sell me more. They offered me a 256kbps connection with the same level of bursting, which makes next to no difference for users on fast connections. [The faster connection only allows the same amount of burst, and because of the bit bucket XO are using, once the bucket is emptied, I have to wait for a quiet period before the burst is available again... but of course, I don't need the burst then]

Their sales people refused to try and work out any further arrangement, or be adaptable at all, but also weren't able to accept that the solutions they had offered were not suitable to fulfill my requirements. The sales person also told me that a competing ISP's service was not up to theirs, even though I had installed a system at the competitions and tested it.

Further, during the time I have been with them they have failed to report several network outages, and when they have reported them details have been week or missed out. One outage was failed to be reported to me during a conversation when I was trying to find out why my server had shutdown at an unusual time : it appears they had cut the power to the server... it took 16 hours for them to report an outage, and a further 4 days until I got an explanation of what the outage was. All this meant I spent time looking for a security compromise on my server.

They're technical people have failed to contact me, and the staff I have spoken to have limited knowledge of networking or service other than that of simple M$ style coursework.

I've been told that they have tried to contact me via phone but that my phone number was no longer in service. It's a mobile, it's always on, and there is voicemail. My Telephone company confirmed no faults each time XO technicians have tried to contact me, and there we're no attempted calls.

They're routing has failed on several occasions : when I informed them of this, and sent them traceroute information, they told me that my firewall was blocking ICMP packets. I don't have a firewall, and if I was blocking ICMP packets I would know about it, and none of the traceroutes would have run. When I explained this to them they sent another message telling me it was because my firewall was bouncing ICMP packets. 40 minutes after my complaint the routes magically started working...

They have removed connectivity on several occasions due to Denial of Service attacks to other customers, as opposed to blocking the source at their routers, leading to outages of up to 45 minutes. They seem no to have 24 hour support for some network issues, a there is a lag time on monitoring and response which shouldn't be there for a quality ISP.

I rest my case. There are a lot of good ISP's out there, XO communications are, in my opinion, not one of them. Keep away. Very far away.

This is my opinion on the service that XO have provided by me, and is to serve as a recomendation to any other people who may consider using them.

Prix Ars Electronica 2001

Woooh! We won a prize

Chris McGrail, Dorian Moore, Dan Sayers/ Kleber (UK): "Warp Records" www.warprecords.com

The web site for "Warp Records", one of the most innovative record labels in the electronic music scene, is striking because of its style-setting design and a specially developed, efficient online shopping system, which enables the independent label to distribute its products at low cost.

[From : //http://prixars.aec.at/2001/prix.asp]

At last, recognition for all the work that went into the warp site...

My contribution:
Information Architecture
Content Management System
Shopping System
Order Management System
Scripting and coding in general
Looking after the server configuration

and all that that entails. It doesn't soud much, but it's hard to make a site look that smooth :)

published 2001.09.17 updated 2014.11.03

Analog & RealMedia G2 Server Logs

How to analyse logfiles from a RealServer

Having been running various server for RealAudio provision over the last few years I've never really kept an eye on the logfiles, primarily because I didn't want to install Java for the progressive networks log file analyse. However having set up PostEverything I wanted to check what the usage for the RealMedia files was ... so I installed Analog and configured it using the following LOGFORMAT line

LOGFORMAT (%s - - [%d/%M/%Y:%h:%n:%j %j]%w"%j %r %j" %c %b %j %j %j %j)

So, why am I sharing this with you? Because I spent time looking for this information and couldn't find it. I knew it was possible, but awkward: there is an extra space between the date and the request line, which doesn't exist in standard log files, which makes this a little bit unobvious.

Hopefully this will help somebody, someday.

published 2001.08.09 updated 2014.11.03


A bit more than an on-line shop

http://www.posteverything.com Goes live

At last, the first part of the long awaited [by who, we ask ourselves] PostEverything.com goes alive. Yes, it's a .com, but with a difference... it's bringing together some excellent music and making it available over the web cheaper than anywhere else, but increasing the money which goes back to the labels and, more importantly, the artists who produce the music.

How do we do this, you ask. Well, if we told you.... you'd never believe us. So check it out.


where i [used to] work

the company i dedicated most of my life to for 3 years.

Update I no longer work at Kleber, or am involved in it. But they are still bloody good people!

Kleber n. German. Glue, gluten, adhesive.

Chris McGrail and Dorian Moore first worked together at the legendary web design collective Obsolete. As that company slowly unravelled during 1996, McGrail and Moore stuck together, working on designs for a varied roster of individual musicians and small record companies. Sharing an in-depth knowledge of the technical side of the web and a clearly defined sense of the aesthetic imperatives of new media, they set up on their own in early 1997.

Kleber has always been about finding the most innovative and creative ways of dealing with their clients' needs. It has expanded quickly in terms of staff-numbers, but remains dedicated to personal contact and working with, rather than for, clients. It�s important that everyone connected with each project is happy with the final result. Putting the client first, and developing close hands-on relationships and a detailed understanding of needs, means that Kleber can produce the best possible work, whether the client is a small independent record label or a major international artist.

Kleber remains a company that's highly flexible and instinctively creative. It�s grown to be more than simply a web company, acting now as a provider of complete design solutions in both practical and conceptual terms. Recent work has ranged from album sleeves to on-line shopping systems; from screen savers to CD-ROM based games, with some video production thrown in for good measure. And McGrail and Moore still find time to create music and DJ in their spare time!

In the past Kleber have worked on projects with advertising companies such as BBH and Saatchi & Saatchi to produce campaigns for Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Columbia Tristar, The Financial Times, Money Extra, Lotus, Capital FM and many more. However times change and the need to use advertising work to pay the bills have been forgotten, with Kleber deciding to dedicate themselves to their clients in the music industry as they have grown to realise the impact of the internet.

Currently Kleber are working with Warp Records, Ninja Tune, Post Everything, Creation Records, Sony Music [Epic, Higher Ground, Disco Volante, S2], Pressure Sounds, Echo Records, WEA, Hydrogen Dukebox, The Undertones, Kylie Minogue [Polydor], The Creatures and The Designers Republic.

published 2000.04.20 updated 2014.11.03
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