disc_harrow_grinder_standsI was working on a design for a work stand, you know the kind of thing that holds a vise or a bench grinder (or table top or whatever..) In my case I need a few of these.  I started looking at stuff online. I was quite impressed with these stands from Matt Walrath.  Apparently Matt used 24″ diameter harrow disc blades from an agriculture supply place.  Way nice.  I’m thinking wow, this might be a nice way to go.. get a little bit of welding practice in, make something cool and useful.  Did I mention that I need a whole lot of improvement in my TIG welding skills?

So I started to make some inquiries. Called / searched around, Ebay and what not.  New blades are definitely available at a reasonable price, but holy cow are those shipping costs expensive.  No Amazon Prime free shipping here, sigh.  Now I hate spending money on stuff like that.

 

 

collector_vise_stand

I’m thinking, hey now wait a minute, how about a different design?  And hey, while I’m at it, how about some more TIG practice?  So I came up with a design, inspired by some awesome welding work I’ve seen by guys building custom exhaust manifolds.  Here’s what I came up with.

Its a tripod stand built exhaust collector style.  I’m intending 3″ thin wall tube, with welded on feed flats, so I can fill the thing up with sand.  Everybody knows a tripod is the most stable base for something, right?  And how wide should the ‘stance’ be? Well that’s easy… I’ll make sure the end of the tripod feet fit into a 24″ diameter circle.  If that was good enough for Matt, that should work for me, too, right?

It turns out that’s not exactly the right answer.

 

 

 

 

 

Bicycle Repair Stand Tripod

I was pretty determined that a tripod was the best most stable base for what I was doing. I mentioned this to my brother, and he asked, hey, if that is the case, why is his bicycle repair stand so tippy?  He’s right, those things when loaded up with a bicycle up high are sort of tippy. So what’s going on? Yeah, 24″ isn’t 24″ isn’t 24″ or in other words, there is a reason virtually all wheeled office chairs have five legs on them as my buddy Dirk so graciously reminded me.
What really matters is the distance from center to the “tip over axis”, and that’s the shortest distance observed from center.  So I went ahead and did a little spreadsheet analysis.  Two notes:

  • Angle refers to the angle between two adjacent legs of any polygon in plan view.
  • For any polygon, the sum of all the angles = (no. of sides – 2) * 180 .
  • Leg length (Plan view) = Inscribed Circle Radius / sine( angle / 2 ) .

 

 

 

How many legs? How many sides to the polygon? Sum of all angles of that polygon degrees per corner degrees per corner divided by 2 Tip Over Distance from Center (Inscribed Circle Radius) Length of leg (Plan View)
3 180 60.0 30.0 12 24.00
4 360 90.0 45.0 12 16.97
5 540 108.0 54.0 12 14.83
6 720 120.0 60.0 12 13.86
7 900 128.6 64.3 12 13.32
8 1080 135.0 67.5 12 12.99
9 1260 140.0 70.0 12 12.77
10 1440 144.0 72.0 12 12.62
11 1620 147.3 73.6 12 12.51

 

Whoa… that means the three legged stand, may take up a whole lot of floor space if we want a 24″ stability inscribed circle diameter.  Here’s three shapes laid one over the other, to show what a dramatic difference the number of legs makes.  Does this make it clear?

BaseStabilityGeometrySketch

 

 

(bike stand image here from: http://nuxx.net)

I’ve just had the most horrific experience with GoDaddy. This is a service I’ve been using since 2009 and generally I’ve been very pleased with their services. Not feeling the love right now. I wanted to get a customer’s website naming scheme up and running. The customer had purchased the name years ago at Register.com, but its been parked. We wanted to go live and link the URL name to the prototype site on my GoDaddy hosting account. That shouldn’t be hard, right?

Wednesday 1 July 2015: Set up dns stuff at both register.com and GoDaddy around Noon. We call and ask GoDaddy if things are setup correctly. They tell me yes. I do see the domaincontrol addressing visible on gwhois.org after around 4PM or so.

Thursday 2 July: URL not propagated. We realize we didn’t do the domain tool update to point to the correct folder on the server side. (How did first help desk call miss that?) Call help desk again, ask how things are going, they say yes, everything set up correctly, have to wait 48 hours from from domain tool update (is that even true?) domaincontrol.com addressing shared in detail. domaincontrol addressing visible on gwhois.org, communicated over the phone. We ask again, is everything setup correctly. Ans from GoDaddy = Yes, everything is correct, please wait for propagation.

Friday 3 July: Url still not propogated.  We ask again. Ans: you have to wait 48 hours from last change to propogate. Everything is setup correctly.

Saturday 4 July: URL still not propogated. GoDaddy help folks say yes everything is setup correctly. Problem has to be at register.com Call register.com, they say, no, everything is correct on their end. Must be GoDaddy. Call GoDaddy back. (around 8:15AM) Lots of long wait times. Get a transfer to somebody else. Finally end up talking to somebody (I believe this guys name was Devon.) This guy was really poor at dealing with customers. He tells me that I have to change the name servers pointers at register.com. (ns27–>ns17 and ns28–> ns18)

ns17.domaincontrol.com.
ns18.domaincontrol.com.

I ask him what went wrong. He refuses to answer. I ask him what should I have done differently to preclude this from happening again. Again he refuses to answer. I ask him what happened for the previous three days when I was asking is everything set up correctly? Again he refuses to answer. Yes, I’m pretty pissed off at GoDaddy, and frankly my language wasn’t as nice as it could be.  So yes, Devon I owe you an apology.  I’m sorry I lost my cool at you.  At some point I’m talking to him, and he hangs the phone up on me mid-sentence. I’m more than pissed.

I end up calling back to complain, and I ended up with Miranda. She is way helpful, and I think she understands 90% of my issues. She asks me if I want to speak with a manager, and I definitely do. She puts me on hold for awhile, tells me the manager is busy, but will call me back. We verify my telephone number. I wait all day for a call, but nobody every calls. (What’s up with that?)

Suggestions for GoDaddy:

(Organizational Goal) It looks like GoDaddy’s mission is “to radically shift the global economy toward small businesses by empowering people to easily start, confidently grow and successfully run their own ventures.” Change DNA/goal of the entire organization to “don’t fuck customers, cause fucking customers is just bad business” Live to the goal. Everyone.

(Include complete, accurate and correct directions for customer processes) I think the journey starts at Setting Nameservers for Your Domain Names.

This is actually a very awewsome webpage, and exactly gets the users started towards doing the right things. Unfortunately for the choice “Elsewhere / Here”, there are some glaring holes in the directions. No where does it tell you how do you add a domain name to the domain panel when the the site is hosted elsewhere. There are no instructions anywhere that tell you how to do that if you start at the “Elsewhere/ Here” link.

You know if GoDaddy was to say… Getting the naming system setup correctly can very easily go wrong.  If you don’t do this more often than once / month, we STRONGLY urge you to call us and let us talk you thru the system (or do it for you…). I would accept that. That’s not what it says, however.

(solicit customer feedback to make your products better) Get an open source attitude… let your customers provide specific feedback to improve your product. In this case there are some very misleading / “how-to” guides on the GoDaddy website. The addition of a few more sentences would go a long way to improving this. There really isn’t a good feed back mechanism for customers to tell you where you’ve gone astray, and its obvious nobody at GoDaddy is reviewing your current content. Hint: add a “customer suggestion for improvement to this page?” link at the bottom of each and every help page in GoDaddy’s system. Link goes to a contact us form for a submission, page url is hidden form element, etc… Include the opportunity for user to upload an image/screen shot to show your folks EXACTLY what is wrong. Let your customers work for you to make you a better company! Why is that so hard to figure out?

(Help desk checklist) Updating website domain name stuff is an occasional task for me. No way would I every be an expert at it… I only do this once or twice a year. On the other hand I suspect it a daily occurrence for the help desk at GoDaddy. They need to have a better checklist for each of the selections on updating website url pointing system.

Domain Name Registrar? Website Hosting? Help Desk Instructions:
1) Here Here XXXXX
2) Here Elsewhere YYYYY
3) Elsewhere Here (total fail here for me)
4) Elsewhere Off-Site DNS ZZZZZ
5) Here VPS/Dedicated Here etc…

 

 

For the #3), the Elsewhere / Here combo, the checklist for the GoDaddy help desk should probably be:
  • Hosting account has url listed under Hosting Details, DNS Manager (yes or no?)
  • Hosting account has correct directory pointer under Hosting Details, Hosted Domain Tool (yes or no… does content at that directory look like its a website?)
  • Domain account has new url added, and the name server locations from the tab zone file registration system have been communicated to the customer, and those name servers match?
  • If more than four hours has transpired, which name servers show up on gwhois.org? Are they the right ones?

I asked for verification on setup four different times, once per day 1-4 July. For each of those requests I was told, Yes, things are setup correctly. Four times, four different help desk employees. The true answer turned out to be No, things were not setup correctly, a minor correction is required. Not once, not twice, but four different times.  I expect your folks to be better trained on how the system works. A whole lot better trained.

(Help desk customer training) Yes we’re all human, and when GoDaddy screws up, what is the mechanism for apologizing to customers? Burying your head in the sand, telling the customer you don’t want to talk about it, and hanging up on the customer is not acceptable. Not returning promised phone calls from the manager doesn’t work for me either. Say what you do, then do what you say. Don’t make promises you have no intention of keeping. Special request for the help desk employee Devon. The guy needs a lot of retraining on how to deal with customers. I’m happy to volunteer my time to drive to Arizona to provide customized one on one customer feedback training. I do ask for mileage reimbursement.

(Institute a no drugs/alcohol policy for employees during working hours) I’d have the help desk person Devon tested immediately.

(Solicit better customer feedback) GoDaddy has a lot of places to contact them, but virtually all of those mechanisms are phone call or chat only. Not a great way to get insightful, thought out feedback from customers. Great for quick issues, no so much for fixing inherit deficiencies in their customer facing system.

(Do what you say you are going to do) I was told by Miranda on 4 July that a manager would be calling me back. I’m still waiting. On a side note, I wanted to sell one of my domain names. Your website shows a service that provides an estimate of the value of a domain name. I submitted there, but have yet to see any feedback. I did ask one of the help desk folks, and they told me feedback would come thru email. I’ve checked my spam folder and inbox, seen nothing? What’s up with that? Its been four days.

(Work dilligently on improving customer service)  Wow, I was looking at godaddy.pissedconsumer.com and apparently I’m not alone as an unhappy customer.  Perhaps you should directly address some of the underlying issues there?

This has been a terrible experience. I’ve been a loyal GoDaddy customer since 2009. You’ve made me look bad in front of my customers, tarnishing my reputation. A promised URL for a critical customer wasn’t delivered from 1-5 July. And based on the last promised phone call (which has still not yet been returned, today is 6 July) I’m guessing the future for Godaddy customers is to be treated poorly.

Here’s a question: Can I just go ahead and use this document to create an entry on SeekingAlpha? Forums at fool.com? GoDaddy is a publicly traded company. I gotta believe if this poor attitude towards customers continues, more customers will get pissed off enough to hurt their bottom line. Now just because I can post this elsewhere, should I? What would you do? Would you short the stock right now? Ouch. I was just looking at the earnings projections for GoDaddy. Not good. From what I can see the business is losing money now and for a few years to come.  (go figure.)

Update, 23 Sept 2015:

I’ve been watching GoDaddy for signs of improvement since writing this note. I can definitely see some changes. Somebody has read my note.

  • Today I received an unsolicited call from the folks at GoDaddy. They just wanted to know how things are going… Wow. I’m very impressed. Enough to write this addendum. That’s a really hopeful sign for the future.
  • There are definite improvements to the how-to screens.
  • There is a clear note soliciting customers to call the “24/7 technical support team at (480) 505-8877 should you experience any confusion or difficulties.”
  • There is a box at the bottom of the screen soliciting comments from users. Awesome. I know this wasn’t here before.
  • Unfortunately the only way you can leave a note is via your Facebook login. Huh? No anonymous login I can understand, but why can’t I login via my GoDaddy account to leave feedback? What the hey? (Is somebody smoking dope in the decision department? Better look at my suggestion on no drug / alcohol policy again.)
  • And that help page linked above.. when you follow the path you get to a place that is still way too complicated. It still does NOT tell you how to find the correct DNS zone file. The page is just really poorly written. No one thought the page should be tested by a real user. Its just bad.
  • That poorly written page got me to call back the help desk person that called me today. I took him through the start –> finish drill, and he agreed it was just bad. He did say that a new updated help system is schedule to roll out soon (we’ll see), and that one key thing I did not see was this button. (And no, that button is NOT described on the help pages..)
Here’s the misleading page.
godaddy nameservers2
And here’s the insert to make it clear.
godaddy nameservers

GoDaddy, put that picture right there into the help screen, where those sentences are circled in red. Get rid of those sentences. Not sure why that is so hard.

A very long time ago, I took a one day class with the Franklin Planner folks.  The seminar pushed you to ask yourself the question:  Are you doing the right things for you?  That class totally changed and improved my life.  Yeah, I know how dumb that sounds.

What it really did was reduce my stress level.  I know I’ve got a busy life, and there are a whole lot of things I’d like to accomplish.  The class gave me some skills on how to prioritize those efforts.  Additionally if gave me a convenient tool to keep track of what I’ve done. I can capture my thoughts now, and find them again later.

I built up a list of governing values.. those things that control HOW I want to live my life.  What values I hold dear.  This list took me two months to put together on paper.  Yeah, I know your values are built into who you are, but putting them in black and white on paper is somehow, pleasing.  What’s really awesome about this list is it is prioritized.  When there is a conflict of do I do this or that, the value priority will ease the decision process.

Two tenants of the planning system that stood out for me were:
–You get an intense feeling of satisfaction in completing tasks that lead towards long term goal accomplishment.
–You put something on your task list EVERY DAY, that leads towards your long term goals.

I don’t want to overdo stuff many others have done.  The Franklin Planner class I took was based on the book, The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management: Proven Strategies for Increased Productivity and Inner Peace, by Hyrum W. Smith.  An extract summary is located here.   The summary is fine for refreshing me on what I’ve already learned, it probably doesn’t work as a stand alone (hint: buy the book!)

Additionally I still use daily planner pages.  I’ve picked up an XL template online (Vertex42), then modified it for my own purpose with the addition of a second page.  I print it out (full duplex – double sided printing) generally a week or two ahead.  I use it daily to keep track of what I’ve been working on, tasks, travel / business records and web links of interest.  Its pretty helpful.  I particularly like the dotted back page.  Good for either writing out sentences or drawing idea sketches.  I’m going to provide my mods to the XL sheet here on my web site.   I also use the ARC disc binder system from Staples.  Makes things very easy to use.

I will say, I’ve often toyed with the idea of writing an app that ties your daily things to do list to a google task list (free online storage).  Something that has the same functionality as software Franklin-Covey used to sell years ago.  I really liked drag and drop daily task re-priority as required.  What I really want is a way to look at history and see when tasks were started and then completed.  Not quite sure of the best way to do that yet, using a public and free storage in a pre-formatted task list. We could use google drive / dropbox and then create a small SQLite database, but where is the fun in that? I’ll have to add that to my list of tasks to do in my spare time.

Oh, and it does look like the Franklin Planner thing has transitioned into a Seven Habits of Highly Effective People seminar.  Check it out yourself.

 

 

 

I have always intended to do this someday, that is, write about technical or social issues of interest.

Things I want to rant about, things I want to share, things I want to teach to others.   So I finally made it to step one.

Now if I can only remember what I wanted to talk about, sigh…

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