I was caught completely off guard on last Thursday when I attempted to go to The 6th Floor and noticed it was a parked domain. Fearing my account had been hacked or taken off line for whatever reason I contacted my host, ipower. In the past 5 years I have had nothing but props for my hosting company. Unfortunately the information and lack of support I received the last 5 days has been quite disappointing.

It seems on March 16 they received a noticed that hosting should not be renewed and the web site was being canceled. Their files show that I made this request. They claim they have documentation to back this up. At any rate I had not changed my default yearly renewal since I had been hosted, so that leads to the question, why was I canceled?

I still don’t know, guess I have to go with their answer, while I don’t believe what they say getting my site back online, as I had it before it was canceled has been challenging, to say the least. Aside from having to sign up with ipower again, after being hosted for 5 years. I lost everything. For inquiring minds, no I had nothing backed up that was the responsibility of ipower since I was paying them to do that as well.

I have been in numerous online support chat sessions with sales and tech support. Neither have been all that helpful. I guess that could be the result of outsourcing, who knows and I can only speculate. After repeated conversations, another yearly hosting fee and $30 set up fee, which they would not wave I have my site back online.

Today was a reach bitch to say the least. I will be the first to admit, I know nothing about SQL. Yet ipower wanted $75 (I was quoted $50 by sales) to set everything back up, including my SQL databases. After some nasty responses back to them, telling them I wanted my site returned to the status it was prior to them deleting it and I refuse to pay any additional fees, some tech support individual converted and imported the main database. Yet some 24 other databases remain. To be honest I might just let it go at this point.

I was not done though. I sent a scathing e-mail to a ‘Contact Us’ link explaining everything that transpired. While I don’t expect an answer or any apology I don’t believe I will be recommending ipower to friends who want to get a web site online. Everything was all find and dandy when they were getting my money, but when I really needed help, they more less said sorry, nothing we can do.

Sorry ipower, while I might continue hosting for 12 months, you have lost me as a real supporter to your company. It’s really sad to see companies shitting on their clients when they need them most. I did learn a few lessons, one of which I already knew. Even though I pay ipower to back up my site, I will have to start the task on a weekly basis, for fear they will silence my word or cancel my site.

XBusted 360

Why I continue to buy and support Microsoft and it’s hardware and software products is beyond me. So I received my state and federal tax returns and at the convincing [which didn’t take much] of my wife, I decided to purchase an Xbox360, in order to replace the original Xbox. One note on that, YES MICROSOFT I DID MOD THAT XBOX AND COPY GAMES AND IT FELT GOOD! Last Friday, we stopped by Toys ‘R Us and I picked up a premium system [includes the wireless controller, headset, Ethernet cable and HDD) for $399. I also picked up Ghost Recon Advanced Warrior and FIFA 2006. The total bill was about $650. Not cheap by any means.

So I get it home, unpack it and connect it up to the Internet, build myself a profile and Gamertag [itgOSWALD] if anyone cares] so I can play online. I spend a few hours playing FIFA 2006 and run through a few practice sessions on Ghost Recon. The following day I go to play FIFA 2006 and the Xbox 360 locked up…just freezes, sort of like other Microsoft operating systems. So I reset the system and go to load my game up. I then get an error message saying the disk is not readable. WTF? I was just playing it 10 minutes ago.

Upon further inspection, I pull the disk from the drive and there is a circular ring, like it had been scratched on the disk. This scratch was not on the disk when I purchased the game. I did not physically put it there, so the only logical conclusion is somehow it got scratched while in the system. No big deal really, my wife returned it and got a new FIFA 2006 and I was off for a few games of footie.

Unfortunately it did not last long before the 360 locked up again [no, not a heat issue either], so I decided to pack it all back up and return the piece of shit and try my luck again. Wouldn’t you know it, I return it where I bought it at and they are out and can’t tell me when they will get more in. So I drive 30 miles southeast to Pleasant Hill and go in for an exchange. Same story, they don’t have any and can’t tell me when they will get any in.

Yesterday, I decided to drive some 55 miles east to Stockton. Thankfully I had a few other errands to run in that direction, so I stopped by Toys ‘R Us. Guess what? Yup, they don’t have any. Beginning to get more and more frustrated, I decided to call it a day and just wait it out until next week. That’s when my wife decides she wants to go to Babies ‘R Us down in Dublin, about 60 miles south of where we live.

Before lugging that box with me again, I called and they confirmed they had the premium systems in stock, so I was halfway to my return. The exchange when smooth, the salesperson was a pleasure to work with, unlike the usual gang of pimply teens or white trash women working at Toys ‘R Us. Foreseeing future problems, I also purchased a 1 year warranty for the Xbox 360, which covers damn near everything after Microsoft’s runs out. $40 bucks, thought it would come in handy seeing as I had trouble from the get go.

Fast forward to 3:30am this morning, I can’t sleep so I get up, come downstairs and fire up the system for a bit of footie. I play for about an hour, win a few games and I decide to go back to bed. I shut the system down and think nothing of possible problems, as all had gone well up to this point.After feeding our son Zachary I start up the 360 for some gaming. That is when the problems started, the 360 can not find my profile to log me in to Xbox LIVE. Further examination and an error message pops up saying, you need a hard drive to store profiles and games in progress on. WTF? More issues, so going against my better judgment I go online for “support” and here is how the conversation went down:

Me: I have already returned one Xbox 360 due to the console locking up during game play. I now have the new Xbox 360 hooked up, I recovered my Gamertag and was playing a few hours ago. Just recently I go to play and the console tells me that I do not have a HDD, which I do since I did get the premium system. Am I out of luck and do I go return a second system or is there something I can try to resolve this issue?

Jonathan: I’m sorry for the inconvenience Stephen.

Jonathan: I strongly suggest that you call our phone support for this issue so they can make arrangements for you.

Me: Arrangements for…

Jonathan: Repairs or exchange.

Me Ill take the POS back to where I bought it from, quicker…thanks*sigh* So it looks like I am back to step one…AGAIN! Stuck with a non-functioning Xbox 360. I know these consoles had issues, but what the hell are the chances that two of them are bad? Well, it is Microsoft. Guess I will give it one more chances, that is, when I find a store that actually had them in stock that does not take me 60+ miles away from home.