Welcome to Curious Business

Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, April 06, 2007

The New Curio City Chronicle

See the newsletter signup box to the right? There’s a story behind that.

I was going to send out one more newsletter using the Sunshop routine, as I said in last week’s post. On Sunday, I dutifully popped open Nvu (my freeware HTML editor) and put the finishing touches on the last issue of the old-style Curio City Chronicle. As per my routine, I copied the source code into Sunshop’s newsletter box and sent out a test message.

Virtually all of my HTML formatting was stripped out. None of the links worked. The three custom variables available to me ($name, $username, and $password) were all blank. It was a near-complete technical malfunction.

All of this just automagically worked for the first 11 issues. I’ve gotta figure that this mysterious turn of events is yet another consequence of the server move (Adventures in Moving). MochaHost’s tech support was understandably unhelpful; they don’t know how Sunshop works, so they punted me to Turnkey. Turnkey’s tech support was even worse. In long-delayed replies whose brevity resembled haiku, they concluded that this is a hosting issue.

Well, duh. What hosting issue?

Now I was trapped in the nether zone between Mocha and Turnkey, neither of whom could understand this, or cared very much to try. Eric (my contract developer) is very good at puzzling these things out, and I’d copied him on everything. Surely he could ride to the rescue, as he has so many times before. But as I said, this was going to be my last Sunshop newsletter anyway. With a revamped newsletter function already coming in Sunshop 4.0, why would I invest time and money in an effort to define and fix the old one to get out one last issue?

Well, because it bugs me. I hate unexplained malfunctions. Who knows what other weirdness awaits discovery?

That signup box is there because I moved up my Constant Contact agenda item. I’ve already set up my first “new” newsletter. Their templates aren’t as customizable as I would like, but the end result looks pretty good. Topica is more powerful and more spam-tolerant (I need to send unsolicited email to media lists, which is a no-no at Constant Contact), but it’s also $50 per month. Bzzt! Another company (Bronto) that was recommended to me doesn’t look better than CC, nor do they list their pricing on their website. So my decision was easy. As soon as the Periodic Table Shower Curtain arrives, I’ll upload my mailing list and send out my first New Curio City Chronicle, which begins a new era in marketing to my customer base. CC's free trial ends as soon as my mailing list exceeds 100 addresses. At the moment, I have 434. It jumps to the next pricing tier at 500, so I'll be managing my bounces pretty carefully to make sure bogus addresses don't put me over that limit.

Speaking of "other weirdness"... Yesterday I discovered that the video links in my bird kite pages had stopped working. The double-quote marks in the link code are being converted to invalid text. I’m sure this is another “hosting issue.” I discovered this morning that the links work OK if I just delete the quotation marks, so that’s a battle I probably don’t need to fight.

Finally, speaking of Sunshop 4.0… RC1 finally came out last week. My own background in software development leads me to believe that the Gold version is probably still a month away. Maybe installing that major patch will clear up my “hosting issues”. I'm starting to suspect that the Sunshop software needs to be properly installed on the new server, rather than simply copied over to it as Mocha must have done.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Google Search