Oh, no I didn’t…

August 9, 2007

You all know the feeling of abject horror that takes over your gut and soul the moment you do something entirely preventable and simultaneously irreversible.

I enjoyed one of those moments yesterday while trying to set up my email program. The story requires a little backstory, so grab a frosty beverage or a non-crumb-making snack and snuggle up to the computer.

Here’s the sitch (as my friend Katie would say)…

I love my computer.
I love email.
I am a slight tech-head.
I’m sometimes cheap.
I’m often petty.
I am impulsive.
I am stubborn.
I can sometimes get frustrated.
I have a little ego.

About a year ago, I became annoyed with my site hosting provider because they were dinging me for about $320 a year for two sites… ideas2words.com (my Novel Ideas writing site) and jeffcutler.com (my Jeff Cutler vanity site). So I decided to move.

Let me stress that it wasn’t one factor that made me jump ship – and I still recommend their services highly (the company is ConceptHost), but I wanted more hand-holding and bandwidth than I could afford or that they could provide. The disclaimer here is that I helped found that company in the 1990s and should have stayed with them.

Unfortunately, we had worked at building a Web-rehabilitation company for about seven months without pay and I ran out of money and extra time. So I had to jump ship. The firm is now run by a team that is focused on solutions for mid-sized businesses and it’s poised for continued success.

Enough about the past.

As noted it has taken a year, but I’m finally in the throes of moving over to BlueHost.com. Their tech support has been great and the transition – as you will see – has had its bumps, but hasn’t been unmanageable.

In a nutshell, I moved two sites (soon this blog will be there too) and all my email to their servers. That last bit of info is where my particular issues began.

I live by email. My clients use it to contact me and 70% of my communication with friends and family occurs over the ‘information tubes’. Thanks to senator Ted Stevens for that wildly incorrect description of the Internet.

With my connection to others dependent on electronic communication, I knew it was vital to have a smooth transition to BlueHost. Before the Paris trip I moved my business site and email over and the move was seamless. I did it over a weekend and in about 48 hours everything was resolved – just tech talk for ironed out – and Novel Ideas was up and running.

This time – for Jeff Cutler dot com – I figured I’d make the move at the beginning of the week and things would be fine. That was my first mistake.

As many of you know, email slows to a crawl at 2PM on Friday and then restarts at about 7-9AM on Monday. People use cell phones on the weekend instead of their computers and that probably makes weekend Website transitions easier. Starting this process on a Tuesday wasn’t brilliant.

Now you’ve got the background, here’s how the move went…

10AM switch nameservers to BlueHost
10:10AM jump on live chat with BlueHost to allay my fears that I might lose emails
10:17AM fears allayed, I continue the process and all looks perfect
10:30-4PM set up new account settings in MAIL on my Mac, tested and retested settings, FTP’d the site to both locations
4:30PM smiled broadly because email was now coursing through BlueHost and was seemingly off the old provider’s servers
7PM-12PM checked occasionally to be sure all was right with the world. It was. Mail was still coming through BlueHost. PERFECT!!

Things had moved over far faster than I thought and I was home free. The next morning, mini-freak-out. Couldn’t get mail from BlueHost’s servers and mail was coming back into my computer from the old ConceptHost servers.

What had I done wrong?

Turns out that it wasn’t me, it is just the way the move to a new server system resolves itself. Some mail (if coming from other ConceptHost clients) would come right through the old email path. New emails would come through the new path or be held up somewhere.

It was just a waiting game.

Well, last night around midnight I thought everything was resolved. My mail was coming through cleanly and the old server path wasn’t delivering anything. SO I JUMPED THE GUN and went to erase my old settings in Apple MAIL.

Did you hear the Ming vase falling off the pedestal?

Adjust settings, see warning, ignore warning, click ‘delete’. Suck in air like Doc in Back to the Future. Wonder if I’m better off without those 114 emails. Vow not to do that again. Spend the next morning befuddled that I could be so dumb.

So now I’m carrying on without 114 emails. And the kick in the pants is that right now the servers have unresolved themselves and the original estimate of 72 hours will likely be true.

Lesson learned. Life simplified.