Permalink 04:16:01 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 669 words   English (US)

Why You Should Cancel Your NetFlix Account Now and What Your Options Are

What do a middle-aged Web Developer, a middle-aged French/American Operations Director and a twenty-something gay Program Manager have in common? They're all leaving Netflix as a result of Netflix's drastic price increase. And if I were a stock holder of Netflix I would seriously have my ears tuned in to who and who is not pissed off enough over the price increase to bail on Netflix so easily.

It is clear to me from various people's reactions in our peer/work circles that NetFlix is going to see a lot of customers leaving them for alternate sources of movie rentals.

Cancel or Suspend Netflix?

A positive for Netflix in this whole mess they've created for themselves is their Suspend feature which allows you to, as the word says, suspend your account for up to three months due to vacation or whatever. During such time you will not be charged and of course you have to return all "At Home" DVDs and will not be able to stream. You will however be able to access your account and see what you have rented in the past etc. You can turn off the Suspend at any time during your defined suspension period. If you allow the suspension period to expire your account will become active again. To continue your suspension of their service you will have to extend it before it expires.

Most people we've talked to are choosing this as opposed to cancelling their accounts altogether. For one obvious reason, they're pissed, but not pissed enough to kick NetFlix COMPLETELY to the curb. They're just suspending their accounts in the hopes that NetFlix will see the error of their ways. This way, if NetFlix gets a clue and reverses their moronic business decision, people will still be able to pick up their accounts where they left off.

What Are Alternatives to NetFlix Service?

The second, and MORE IMPORTANT, reason is there are many options out there to provide the same results that NetFlix provided, or even better. The below video from Funny or Die (which makes a great deal of fun out of this "tragic event") offers a clue as to what many former NetFlix users will be turning to:

Others are choosing the popular RedBox service. Can't really argue with $1 buck/night if one of these is on your daily path. But what about us streamers? Yea, that's right! The glorious promise by NetFlix that we would all be able to stream movies WE WANT with the push of a button! Which would almost make up for the jet-packs we were all promised. Well, there's the rub isn't it? NetFlix's streaming content sucks. There is nothing there! And that's actually what they're charging more for. They think their streaming content is worth an additional $6/month. Sorry! It is NOT!

In addition, there has been a steady increase in LONG delays on the availability of physical DVDs. Here is an example of just how poor NetFlix's DVD availability is:

NetFlix Cue
NetFlix Cue

Each of the above Movies in the cue is either not available yet from NetFlix or is a "long wait". Each and every one of them was available at the same moment from Amazon's Instant Video for $3.99 or less. When we saw that comparison our decision on how to handle the NetFlix 60% price increase was done. In addition to Amazon's Instant Video we decided to add HBO to our cable service as they were running a promo price of $10/month. So between those two and a DVR, we're pretty sure we'll be completely cancelling our NetFlix at the end of our Suspend period, unless NetFlix reverses their price increase AND increases the number of available titles both DVD AND streaming.

UPDATED TO ADD: Since this original article, Amazon has now updated their Prime deal which is unlimited two-day shipping for $79/year to include unlimited streaming of their video content.

How about you? What's your reaction to NetFlix's price hike? What are your sources for Movies/TV Series? Leave us a comment below.

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Permalink 01:41:01 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 414 words   English (US)
Categories: Website Hosting Tips

Free Antivirus, Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE)

Microsoft recently did a very smart thing. They started giving away their antivirus program for free! Microsoft has an anti virus program you ask? Yes, it was called Windows Live OneCare and it was a subscription based security and performance enhancement suite which was discontinued June of 2009. The free security program is called Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) and is FREE for download here. If you don't run an anti-virus program or are tired of paying for one download and install Microsoft Security Essentials now and you won't have to worry about malware and computer viruses again.

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE)

Microsoft's decision to give this antivirus software away for free is quite simple. Keeping the Windows user experience as secure and pain free as possible is only in Microsoft's best interest and should have been done a long time ago. In fact, it should be part of the Operating System just like the OS firewall. But this is a step in the right direction.

Microsoft Security Essentials Runs Quietly In the Background
Since switching from AVG to Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) I have noticed nothing except for the "Protected" icon in the lower right hand corner.

Which is the point. Good antivirus for household users needs to be hands off, needs to update it's definitions quietly in the background, and run without hogging resources and MSE delivers on all of these points. AVG was a resource hog. Running it on a webbook, it would take the entire CPU for several minutes after booting up, to update it's definitions and whatever else it was doing. Very frustrating, but MSE does all of it's business quietly when resources are available.

Ok, But is Microsoft Security Essentials Any Good?, " Austrian Non-Profit-Organization, which is providing independent Anti-Virus software tests free to the public", recently released a study comparing the effectiveness of various pay and free anti virus programs at removing malware from already infected/compromised computers. "Although none of the programs performed 'very well', eScan, Symantec and Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) were the only products to be good in removal of malware AND removal of leftovers." according to the results.

malware removal test results

And there you have it. If your computer is running XP, Vista, or Windows 7, there is absolutely no excuse for not running an antivirus program for free and one that is not only hands off but highly affective.

UPDATED TO ADD: Here's a recent article from ZDNet's Ed Bott regarding an experience he had with MSE versus several paid anti-virus services.



Permalink 11:05:46 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 386 words   English (US)
Categories: Website Hosting Tips

Scheduling FTP Transfers for Off Site Backups

If you need to schedule the transfer of files via FTP, save yourself a lot of headaches now for just $30. The program Second Copy from Centered Systems will give you the power to schedule FTP transfers for such things as backups and file distribution across different domains.

One of the best uses of Second Copy is for off site backups. Off site backups are essential to bringing you back from a disaster such as your web server's hard drive failing or worse, fire in your office. You should always keep your important files backed up off site. With Second Copy you can push and/or pull a folder's contents to/from any FTP location.

To backup your files with Second Copy you simply set up a Profile to specify the different parameters:

  • To Start you specify if you are Pushing from your Local to an FTP destination or Pulling from an FTP source to your Local destination
  • You then specify What is to be copied, either the Local source folder or the FTP source server information
  • Then specify Which Files are to be copied and which to be ignored if there are specifics or if all are to be copied you can choose that option
  • Then specify Where the files are to be copied, for Pushing files, the FTP destination information or for Pulling files, the Local file destination
  • Now specify When these copies are to be copied which includes MANY options such as every few minutes, hours, or days, days not to run, and run at startup or shutdown
  • Now you get to choose the How which includes many useful options:

    + Simply copy files to destination
    + Copy files and delete source upon completion
    + Compress to Zip with optional password then copy
    + Run a specified program before copying
    + and many more including Skip If Unchanged

  • You can even set the options of a profile to Email You the results of each running of that Profile

The main message here is you can never have enough backups and Second Copy makes it easy, oh so easy for only $30. We have been very happy with it and have never had any bugs or errors with our backups. Do not ever doubt that backing up your files and having a recovery plan will save much pain in the future.



Permalink 08:39:01 pm, by Jet-Screamer Email , 523 words   English (US)
Categories: Website Hosting Tips

GreyListing to Fight Spam

What is GreyListing

There is a powerful new method for combating spam and that is called GreyListing. This is how it works. When an email recipient's account is utilizing GreyListing, the first attempt by a sender's email server will get a message from the recipient's email server to the effect of, "I'm a bit busy right now, try again in a few minutes". Now, it needs to be made VERY CLEAR here that these send/responses are ONLY between the email servers. A sender would NOT receive an email back stating the above. These communications are ONLY between the recipient's email machine and the sender's email machine. So no human gets annoyed by it.

So the recipients email server says I'm busy, try again in a few, and if the sender's email server is configured properly, it will essentially say, "ok", and resend the original email after a few minutes. NOW the recipient's email server checks Three things from this follow up send to match the original email send:

  • The IP address of the original sender
  • The envelope sender's address
  • The envelope recipient's address

If these three things match the first send attempt, the email is accepted by the recipient's email server and delivered to the intended person's inbox. ADDITIONALLY, the sender's IP address (essentially the same as their phone number in internet speak) is "WhiteListed" for a period of time, often 24 hours. This means that for the next 24 hours, the GreyListing "I'm busy, try again" message will not be sent to the email server that has been WhiteListed. Which essentially boils down to, the most delay GreyListing will cause a recipient on a daily basis for communicating with a particular individual is an extra few minutes ONCE.

Now this brings up the BIG question of, "OK fine, but why the hell should I use GreyListing?" It will ELIMINATE up to 90% of the spam you are currently receiving! How? It's simple really. Spammers make their money from blasting out an average of 200 million emails in a 24 hour period. They only need a small percentage of suckers to click on their messages to make thousands of dollars a week. BUT, if your email server replies to their "knock at the door" with "hold on a few minutes and I'll be right there", they don't bother to wait and move on. The software spammers use to blast out millions of emails, one every half second, can't afford to wait a few minutes and resend the email. They can't get enough of their junk out to make it profitable that way.

In addition to preventing the original spam from getting to you, if the original sender's email server does not try again after a few minutes, then that sender's IP address is listed as bad. This prevents any future spam from getting to you from that IP address. It's a WIN WIN WIN situation.

So if your email hosting company is not offering GreyListing , contact them and ask for it. Or contact us and we will put this powerful technology to work for you so you can stop spending your mornings deleting all of that spam.


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