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Peer 1 Network recommended?

When I tried to visit Peer1 Network (the hosting company Joel recommended in his latest blog entry), I get re-directed to this page, which doesn't seem to work:

I was actually looking for a new hosting company, but this doesn't give me much confidence in Peer 1.

J. D. Trollinger
Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Funny you should mention that JD.

I saw Joel's post and ran off to the development software site he  listed there where he is goiung to be writing articles and saw just the product I was looking for so I tried to order it. I pressed "Checkout" and -- nothing happened. Dang it! It's a stupid Javascript button! Now I have to go and enable Javascript. When are shops going to learn that making people enable Javascript is just one more step on the way wowards an abandoned shopping cart. But these guys are Joel's friends so I have more patience than usual. I enable Javascript, press Checkout, and get a web page with the following:
Microsoft VBScript runtime
error '800a01a8'

Object required: 'objMSCSOrderGroup.Value(...).Value(...)'

/__Customization.asp, line 5320
...and that's all.

Ok, folks, here's a clue. This is NOT the first time I have seen this sort of  stuff. I see it all the time and I figure companies who haven't even tested their own web sites to see if ordering is possible -- well, what exactly am I supposed to think about that? Look, don't use MS products for one. Intranet/internal sites I guess so, but MS products are not the way to go for a commercial business site. They are *much* too fragile.

<OFFTOPIC>As long as I am ranting about this subject, I recently got MS Office for the first time after avoiding it for decades and have found that it crashes whenever I click on the font menu. Let me tell you, this is not a useful program because I would like to use something other than the default font. I'll continue using the world processor I used before and call my brief experience with MS junk an unfortunate learning experience. Ms does not hire professionals. I don't see why there's such a big to-do about working for MS. It's obvious you'll just learn sloppy development techniques if the quality of their products is any key.</OFFTOPIC>

X. J. Scott
Tuesday, December 24, 2002

J.D., try for peer 1. The normal URL seems to be working for me but it does silly stuff with flash. I don't personally care if peer1 can program a web server or keep one running, since that's not their line of business -- I will rely on them for connectivity and rackspace, and if they have less than 100% uptime or if it rains on my server or the power to my server fails, I'll be unhappy. In fact I don't even know if Peer1 does traditional hosting, I'm pretty sure that you have to bring your own box to their colo facility and manage it yourself. If you need hosting on a smaller scale I have friends at datapipe and like them. We also use rackshack for large bandwidth applications because they have uncapped bandwidth, but they have actually corrupted files I stored on their web server a few times, shockingly, probably when they moved it to a different machine, so I can't really recommend rackshack.

X.J., I do agree that bugs are bad and Programmer's Paradise does seem to have a rather fragile ordering system, but I wouldn't place the blame on Microsoft. We use ASP for almost all our web development, and it has been rock solid. I suspect that the programmer that introduced this bug using VBScript would have introduced just as many bugs if he was using PHP or ColdFusion, and he probably would have introduced 10 times as many bugs using a complex application server product like BEA. The real problem is that P.P.'s core skills are in marketing and retailing software to programmers, not writing code. Which is not to excuse it. I don't know who the web programmers are over there, my role is just writing a column for the catalog :)

Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Thanks Joel,

You're right. MS's development tools are really good and the problem with the site is most likely bad programming + abysmal testing. And their office products division are different people entirely and not relevant to the development tools group. The reason why I usually see MS error messages on failing web sites, kiosks and billboards is just because so many people -- good and bad -- use those products.

X. J. Scott
Tuesday, December 24, 2002

X. J. , MS Office should not crash when you click on the fonts menu. It does have some strange bugs, but in general I have used all versions from Office 95 to Office XP in three different language versions, and it's pretty stable (more so than most non-Microsoft programs I have installed).

Post more details about the crash; what application, what version of Office and what OS. We should be able to find the problem.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, December 25, 2002

crash on fonts menu is almost always actually a printer driver crashing, often because it's trying to communicate with a network printer that's not there.

(To enumerate fonts, Windows has to ask the current printer what fonts it supports. This is from the old days when you had these dot matrix printers that only had like 2 fonts, ugly and fat-n-ugly)

Joel Spolsky
Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Peer 1 is my #1 recommendation for co-location. Great service, friendly staff... I lost one of my access cards to the data centre and they replaced it for free, within a day. My sales rep even stayed past business hours to meet me in person the day I travelled to the datacentre to install my servers. Oh yeah, and they have a multiple fat piles, with amazing pings/routes.

Nick Holland
Wednesday, December 25, 2002

"multiple fat piles"

On the day after Christmas this is a common experience.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, December 26, 2002

I think Joel nailed it. Installed a fresh HP printer driver and now I can safely select the fonts menu. Thanks!!

I feel for all the people out there trying to get their holiday computers to work.

X. J. Scott
Thursday, December 26, 2002

"I feel for all the people out there trying to get their holiday computers to work."

I once helped an elderly couple set up their new Macintosh computer so they could send e-mail to their son, who was working overseas.  I was astounded at how difficult the whole process was.  (The modem didn't work, tech support was useless, different manuals contradicted each other, etc.).  My acquaintances never would have succeeded by themselves.

Computers have a long, long way to go before they're truly easy to use.

Alex Chernavsky
Thursday, December 26, 2002

Just saw this one when trying to order off another site:

Database Results Error
Description: [Microsoft][ODBC Microsoft Access Driver] Type mismatch in expression.
Number: -2147467259 (0x80004005)
Source: Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers


Sure I know it's the programmer's fault but still.

X. J. Scott
Monday, December 30, 2002

<OFFTOPIC crash MS office>
A sure way to crash your computer, is to force it to open a bunch of files. When you're openning the font menu, MS Office opens and reads a lot of information, and writes it in their font.
Try one of these (or both): Delete the 95% of the fonts that you're using less than 5% of the time. And/Or: in MS Word, open Tools>Customize>Options>uncheck "List font names in their font", so Word will only show the font names.
</OFFTOPIC crash MS office>

Bob Schwartz
Monday, February 10, 2003

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