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The Fair Is Ready, Our Stand Is Ready, And We Are (Almost) Ready

September 22, 2006

Yesterday was the last day of construction on our stand at FEXPO. The stand looks absolutely beautiful…

All of our actual programming work is done.  We’ve been heads-down with the newly engaged graphic design team and have the design completed. We’ve tested our designs in IE, Firefox, and Opera. Even our animations and videos are complete for projection on the big screen over our booth (ohhh, the administration of the fair didn’t like that at all!! but we’ve built no higher than some of the other booths and stands in the pavillion).

We are blocked on two things:

1 – Terms of service: Some late additions by our lawyer forced a retranslation into Spanish and Portuguese that won’t be completed until this coming Monday. I’m not really happy about having to take the changes as I prefer simple terms but some of the items are important. {Who knew about some of things added….yikes!}  We can’t take actual listings without these documents.

2 – Change of Production Environment: The initial production environment that we selected simply didn’t meet our needs. Though we had a dedicated server, the process for registering changes to our software component was manual and cumbersome (we had to fight just to engage their support team in order to install changes that then took no less than 24-36 hours for what is a one-line administrative function- they seem to have conveniently omitted the details of their support process in their shiny sales materials).  Despite their statements of 24/7 support, nothing would happen until 6 am.  My hours are much different – it’s 3:35am eastern time here now for example.  Having to wait so long for changes would be unacceptable for an actual production environment. Lots of lessons learned here that I’ll wrap up into a later blog post.    (6am update: I just found out that using the old provider’s online support resets your priority in the queue back to 0 hrs and 0 seconds…..so if you check on a ticket that is 4 hours old and has not been resolved, you are automagically reset to be the lowest priority again…yikes!) 

Since we were delayed for a few days by the legal documentation anyway, we decided yesterday to migrate the component, code, and database again to a provider with automated component uploads and much more robust support (Intermedia.net). After much discussion, it’s the right thing for us and for the users before going live – using the examples above, sometimes cost can’t only be measured in money. Hopefully, the new provider will meet our needs. Since we’ve already migrated once, we know that it takes a day but changing the DNS records (also known as redirecting the domain name to the servers) may take a bit longer.  In the interim, we’ll redirect to our weblogs through Tuesday.

The change in providers also means that we’ll roll out the full functionality over the following two weeks or so since we need to re-test everything in a new production environment. We’ll publish the schedule of that functionality rollout once we run some quick smoke tests with the new provider.

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