Zerigo Sucks

By Kord Campbell · January 30, 2014

I've been using Zerigo more than 5 years for my DNS. I liked the features they offered, the UI and the technical support. It wasn't unheard of to talk to Thomas, the founder, for support back in the day. In 2011, Zerigo was purchased by 8x8, and things have evidently been going downhill since.

Back in December there was a post about 8x8 raising the rates on existing accounts: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6991692

I read this post and looked at my account on Zerigo. I looked at the pricing, and it did appear I was going to be charged more: $20/month for 25 domains. I also puzzled over the differences between their DNS Pro and Virtual DNS offerings. Confusing, at a minimum.

Yesterday I logged in to update some DNS for an older domain that I'm going to be putting into service. I noticed my email address was pointing to a custom domain. After reading about the recent @n theft, I decided it would be better to change my email to my gmail.com account. I tried to change my email and it fussed about it being owned by another account. Logged back out, logged into the other (empty/free) account, changed that email, logged out, logged back in, changed the email on my main account. Did my DNS changes, changed my password, logged out.

A few hours later I logged back in and was met with a 500 error page. Reset my password and tried again, getting a 500 again. Called support. Was told an engineer would call me back. I opened a ticket on the site, just in case. I called back around 5PM PST, talked to a guy for a hot second, and then he put me on 'hold' which actually transferred me back to the call system. Pushing 2 for support got me the message "we're closed now".

11 hours go by with no emails from support.

At around 2:45AM PST today I get an email that says, simply, "Please let me know if you are still experiencing the log in issue on your end. Thank you.". When I got up I replied saying, yes it's still broken, did you find an error, etc. Another several hours goes by and I get this message: "Please let me know which is the password for your account...I will troubleshoot this for you". I reply that I will not send my current password via email. More time goes by and I get this: "Please reset your password using this form https://manage.zerigo.com/account/forgot_password and try to log in with the new password. Let me know in case you experience any other issues."

I then moved all my domains to DNSimple. Nice and fast UI and all my domains are all switched over. Cool.

I then replied to the last Zerigo email with a less than happy tone explaining there was still an error on the site for my account and added I wanted to cancel my account. I then called their support number again and asked to speak to someone about canceling my account. The agent said there was no way to call the Zerigo guys and that to cancel my account I'd have to email them. Strangely enough he offered, with no prompting from me, the fact that if they charged my card again, I could email Zerigo support and they would 'fix it'.

Eventually the guy said he talked to 'some guy' in the office who 'knew some guys at Zerigo' and he was going to email them about this to see if they could escalate. It's been over an hour now since my last email to Zerigo and there's been no reply. At this point I can't log in to cancel, can't talk to the people who can cancel it, and am getting no responses from my cancel emails. I used an AX card for the account, so I'm planning on doing a chargeback for anything they bill me from yesterday forward.

This is a rant, so it is what it is. Hopefully this can help head off any other issues someone might run into migrating away from Zerigo. Don't switch your emails around with another account. It'll probably break their system. Don't expect to talk to anyone if you run into issues.

The software market is like a railing.

By Kord Campbell · February 9, 2013

I took the family last night to see Ellie Goulding at Oakland's Fox Theater. If you've never been to the Fox, the bottom level is standing room only, save for a few barstools. Knowing the theater can fill up, I scoped out a spot for my 5'2" daughter to be able to stand to watch the show without being blocked. The far left end of 2nd railing from front seemed to be a good choice, so I gathered everyone up and headed over to an empty area against the wall and about 8-9 feet wide across the railing.

As we strolled up, a shorter older woman who was standing to the right of this 'spot' announces to me that she's 'holding' the railing for two friends. Glancing at the space to the right of her and back at the giant space we were getting ready to claim I determined there was plenty of room for everyone, and maybe three or more to boot. So, in a calm yet assertive voice I said to her, "It's a railing. I mean, you can't reserve a railing for people who aren't here, right? We're here now." I then proceeded to claim my 'spot' on the railing next to the wall and remained silent on the matter. She didn't look very happy, but I dismissed it as a negotiation of resources and nothing more.

A few minutes later the woman's friends show up, and end up standing to the right of the lady where there was still plenty of space. Of course. Shortly after, the kids decided to leave and go wander around, which left quite a bit of room on both sides of my wife and I. As soon as the kids were out of earshot the woman leans in and announces to me, "I didn't want to say anything with your kids here, but you were a jerk to me earlier." Without skipping a beat my wife says to her, "You can't reserve a railing. It's standing room only. Stop being a bitch, clearly there's plenty of room for everyone."

Railing the Markets

Given we were dealing with someone who thought you could reserve a railing, I'm not surprised she said anything to me. I wasn't exactly warm and friendly to her either, but she might as well have said "go away" when we met. It was after this I thought to myself "I don't want to be bummed out about her. What can I do to take away something positive from this encounter?". I mulled on it a bit, considered a change in name calling tactics with my wife and then suddenly lighted on the real issue: Why did this lady assume she could save a swath of railing?

People save seats. Our society accepts "This seat is taken." without hesitation or retort. Seats, like spaces at railings, are a commodity in a busy market. Unlike railing however, seats are discrete. Exactly one ass goes in one seat at a time. Railings are, well, they're continuous. Run out of room on a railing? Squeeze in people! The more the merrier.

And that's when it hit me. The software application market today is just like a railing at the Fox. It's huge, continuous, and elastic. Sure there may be a handful of 'seats' which only a few companies can occupy, but the rest of the space is as wide open as the Wild West. There's plenty of room for companies to squeeze in! We have room (boom?) because the entry cost is so small and the opportunities are so numerous.

If you don't code, I encourage you to pick up a book and learn. Today. We're damn short of engineers out here in Silicon Valley. We could definitely stand to have more people on the railing with us.

Just don't tell me that little spot next to you is reserved. I'm taking it.

Post to Google+ from Twitter Using IFTTT

By Kord Campbell · October 10, 2012

I use my own URL shortener at StackGeek to do most of my Tweets. The shortener has code to post to Twitter, but it lacks functionality for cross posting to my Google+ account. About a month ago I configured an IFTTT recipe to take my tweets and post them to my Google+ account which 'solved' this problem. Unfortunately IFTTT pulled Twitter inbound support last month, so I was left looking for another solution. Here's how I solved it.

IFTTT

Configure Google+ for SMS

You'll need a Google+ account which has a Google Voice account associated with it. You'll also need a phone number associated with your Google Voice account. Go take care of all that if you haven't already.

To turn on SMS posting, start by making sure Text Forwarding is turned on in your Google Voice account. Go to your Voice Settings page, then click on the checkbox next to forward text messages to email. Click save changes at the bottom. Now navigate to your Google Plus settings page. Under notification delivery, click on add phone number. Enter your number and then click send verification code. Enter the code when it shows up in your inbox on Google Voice.

Once your phone is added to your Google+ account, you'll see an option popup below called SMS Posts. Check the box next to allow posting by SMS. It'll save automatically.

Test posting by SMS works by clicking on the red text button on the left and sending a message to 33669. Wait a few seconds and then refresh your Google+ profile page to see the text you just sent over.

Setting Up IFTTT to Email Google+

Go check your email now. You should have an email from +133669 in your inbox saying your post was shared on Google+. Use the small pulldown next to to me to view the email details. The from field is important. You'll want to copy the portion of the email address after +133669. It should look something like this: 19252577777.33669.rBDHlnlc7Z@txt.voice.google.com. This email address can be used to post to Google+ by email. Try it now by emailing something to that address and verifying it shows up on your Google+ profile. Delete both test posts when you are done.

Head on over to IFTTT and create and/or login to your account. You'll need a Gmail channel, so click on channels at the top and then click on the Gmail Channel. Follow the instructions for setting up the Gmail account you use with your Google+ account. You'll need to authorize IFTTT's access to your account. Once you are done, navigate back to the main dashboard by clicking the IFTTT logo at the top left.

Now click on create a recipe and then click on the big this link. Click on the orange RSS feed channel. It should be positioned between the facebook pages and ffffound channel. Click on new feed item trigger.

Note: You can alternately click on the new feed item matches trigger and enter #googleplus (or whatever) to have your tweets selectively cross posted from Twitter. Up to you!

For the feed URL text box enter the following while substituting yourusername for your actual Twitter username:

http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.rss?screen_name=yourusername

Click create trigger and then click the massive that link. The chose action channel screen should appear. Click on the Gmail channel below, and then click on send an email (the only choice) in chose an action. The complete action fields step should appear. Enter the email address you extracted above for posting to Google+ in the to address field. Delete everything in the body field except for EntryContent. Add the tag '+public' to the front of the post to encourage Google+ to show this post to everyone. Click create action and then enter a description and click create recipe to save.

Using IT

There's really nothing much else to do. Use your favorite Twitter client and post to it. A few minutes later (worst case 5 minutes) you should see that same post showing up in your Google+ profile feed!

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