Saturday, October 27, 2007

Kinda dusty in here, eh...?

Phhhhblt! Judging from the heavy buildup of cobwebs in this joint, it's been awhile since anyone's come by - including yours truly! Let's catch up a bit, shall we?

It would seem that my transition from snow-accustomed Midwesterner to chicken-shit Southern chick has had its smooth patches and rough spots: the smooth being that I've successfully acclimated myself to these Hades-like temperatures, to the point that 60 degrees has me donning a sweater and my M&M's flannel jammy pants. The rough part? MY GOD, how do you people live with all these huge and plentiful masses of creepy-crawly, squirmy, wriggling, many-legged, ugly, nasty species of yucky things? I HATE BUGS!!!! :shiver:

I should add that we live on several acres of wooded land in a very small town. How small? Well, we've got a grocery store with about seven aisles, a hardware store that would fit in my linen closet and a florist's shop about the size of a pup-tent. Small.

Lots of stuff on my To-Do list has been shoved off into the procrastination never-land realms lately, obviously this blog being no exception. The good thing about being away so long is that now I can step back and take a look at my lil' happy space and see that GOOD LORD, do I have a lot of CRAP on this page!! So I'm also looking into a total redesign, and have made some contacts to that end. Maybe I can find someone who can make me a "blog toys" page, so I can keep all this useless junk and still have it be separate from the main page. ...Or maybe I'll just circular file all of it, which is probably the better option.

Since the cost of childcare has gone completely through the roof, I've begun a couple of ventures of my own: WaterLilies Online, a sort of "virtual assistant" venture, a la Microsoft Office Live's small business site offering, and a site for selling my hand-crafted doohickeys called Lilies of Annwn over at Etsy.

Now before you get all excited and rush over there to poke around, lemme just do some 'splainin here first:

Now hypothetically, Microsoft seems to have a cool idea here: Free domain registration and free hosting for a basic small business site, along with up to 25 company branded email addresses, also free. Sounds kinda cool, right? That's what I thought. So off I went, registered for my free site and had the whole thing, site design and all (with their built-in page editor, though the template pickins are mighty slim), done in a matter of a few hours. I was a happy camper...

Until the next morning.

I woke up with some idea on how to add a little more oomph to my new site and went right back to my digital husband (ie: my computer) to play in my new sand box. Much to my dismay, IE 7 refused to load the page editor. "Microsoft Live is experiencing technical difficulties, try back later", yadda, yadda. Great. So I tried opening IE without all the add-ons (you all know how much I love my toys). Still nothing. I cleared the cache, checked the firewall settings, everything I could think of. I also could not add nor access any of the email that is going to the site via the "Contact Us" module. Nothing I tried worked, so I sent an email to tech support. Here's what I got back:

Dear Shanna,

Thank you for contacting us at Microsoft Office Live support regarding your issue unable to edit your website and create user account and permission. I realize how this may have caused an inconvenience to you. My name is Shilpi Khandelwal and I will be assisting you.

I am creating SR # 1047664332 so that we can track this issue until it is resolved. I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. Please allow me to assist you in resolving your issue as soon as possible.

Shanna, I would like to inform you that the issue you have mentioned is an on going issue and we have escalated the same to our Product Development team and they are working diligently to resolve this issue at the earliest. So, we really appreciate your patience in this matter.

If you require any further assistance in Microsoft Office Live, feel free to contact us.

Have a great day.


Shilpi Khandelwal

Microsoft Office Live Support

Um... And this means what, exactly?

So next I try the help forums for Office Live, posting my issues and the response of tech support, in the hopes that this was just a little glitch with an easy workaround. I tend to be moronically optimistic like that. I think it's the blonde in me.

I don't know exactly what kind of support these forums are meant to offer, but both of my posts asking for assistance or advice were deleted and marked as spam. The one Mod who answered me said he understood my frustration and said I should contact tech support. Yeah, been there, done that, ate the t-shirt. Support?? Are you freaking kidding me?! If this forum was a bra, my boobs would be catapulting off my knees.

So the forum idea bombed hideously and several days later, with many a grumble and plenty of whines, I again emailed tech "support" and got this response:

Dear Shanna,

Thank you for contacting us at Microsoft Office Live Support regarding your issue that you are unable to create email accounts and permissions.

I am working on SR # 1047664332 which was created for this issue.

My name is Arti Sharma and I will be assisting you today.

You have identified an issue for which there is currently no resolution. We will not be able to provide any updates or timeframe for resolution as no-fix can be determined for this issue.

I apologize for the inconvenience this might have causes. Please let me know if you should have follow-up questions.

Please do not alter the subject line if you reply so that we will receive the email at the correct department.

Have a nice day.
Arti Sharma
Microsoft Office Live Support

What the heck?! So this means a) the whole part about the page editor was completely ignored, b) my site is un-editable and I may never see an email from a potential client, and c) Microsoft is obviously outsourcing to second graders.

Apparently this issue is one that is affecting a number of people using this new Office Live Basics service, and none of us are reaching a resolution to a problem which, according to tech non-support, may never be resolved. I'll be looking into whether my domain is transferable upon deletion of the Live account. I'd read somewhere that it's possible, so we'll see how that goes.

My second venue with Etsy went much more smoothly. I got my little shop all dolled up in no time flat. All i had to do was upload some photos of my lovely creations, and I'd be all set. Uh, yeah....

Do you have any idea what happens to a digital camera when a four-year-old with peanut-butter-and-jelly fingers gets hold of it? At least, I think that's what's making all the buttons and dials stick. Or maybe I don't want to know. Add that to the fact that I tend to drop things. A lot. Including my camera. Which no longer holds a charge longer than ten seconds before abruptly powering down.

Hmm... So how to post some pictures? I tried powering it on and snapping a picture really quick, but that didn't work since it needs power to upload the photos, anyway. It's not charging via the cord or base, either. And yeah, yeah, you smart ass, I did make sure it was plugged in and had batteries in it.

The new-and-improved Mr. Sunshine-with-the-pole-up-his-wazoo (whom we shall from here forward refer to as THE MAN) offered to let me use his camera, which is nicer than mine was. He told me that he didn't have the memory card for it, but that it had its own internal memory. I figured I was good to go and could post away on Etsy to my heart's content. Hahaha, funny me.

Let me reiterate here that I am blonde and tend not to think things through quite as well as I probably should.

After THE MAN left for the entire weekend, I realized that I don't have the transfer cable to upload the pictures from the camera. Oh, now that's just brilliant. But hey, the shop's storefront looks great...

So to kill some time and blow off some steam, I'm alternating between making seasonal and holiday banners to alternate on my Etsy shop, and making cute little glass bubble magnets. I'd show you, but I don't have a photo at the moment...

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