Okay so the following is interesting only to anyone who owns and uses a media player or interested MySQL databases, Forums: PHPBB2 & PHPBB3. I’m in two minds now about what to do & where to go from here.
I started this month off with creating a forum to share information on subjects I enjoy. Recent events over at the Astone – Design for Life website looking like it has died, sparked my desire to create my own forum. A bit of history for you here. Up until its recent demise I held the Moderator/Admin position along with Thunder Bird (may he R.I.P. previous post) on their forum. It required an upgrade from version PHPBB2 to PHBB3 sounded relatively simple. Or so we thought. Seems the Achieva (Astone is a division of Achieva) can’t get it back online. I’m not sure I understand this. A little research and I have managed to get a local copy going. Why can’t they? As volunteers neither of us wanted to undertake this responsibility in case something went wrong. Now I’m finding this scenario hilarious. Oh well seems they stuffed it up anyway.
I digress, to cut a long story short. After 2 months or so their forum is still in temporary mode. Being concerned Achieva may not have bothered to do one before upgrading. I emailed them offering my backups. Until then no-one seemed to care. Oops seems they didn’t have any. An email arrived asking if I could upload my copies. Not to their server site but via a free hosting site, in return they would be happy to send me some free products. Achieva is a huge company surely they have an upload area and don’t rely on free hosting sites. Or was this so no-one would know what really happened. I have sent it off and 1 month later still no freebies only more emails for help or ideas so they can work out how to get it back online. They admit to having trouble in doing this. Not sure I understand why……..
Up until recently Astone sent Thunder Bird and I new release products to test for them. This worked well for them to enable us to help others on the forum as well as us receiving a freebie. Our last requests for items to help out a members fell on deaf ears. What happened, no answers via email, no return calls. Did we do something wrong ?……more on that later on.
Back to the website. If I can research what’s required for an upgrade and recreate it successfully then surely someone at Achieva can. Please don’t think this post is blow my horn about me. Quite the opposite. It’s about the lack of support available for Astone products. Seems they don’t want to put too much effort into this side of things. Sadly this is the very reason people turn away from their brand and are willing to pay more for a similar item elsewhere. People want support and are willing to pay more for a brand if they supply support.
What to do ? I believe Achieva don’t think support is very important and would like a sucker like me to do the work for them. Achieva have people paid to look after this stuff. I’m a mere volunteer. The temporary website they have put up is a disaster. Even if Achieva created a basic forum would be far better than the temporary one. Oh and to date I still haven’t received any freebie products. Mind you that has nothing to do with why I won’t do the work for them. I just don’t have sucker embedded across my forehead. I enjoyed testing and writing up posts to help others. I had a good relationship with our contact. (Kevin Qi) He has since left, not sure if he quit or retrenched. Who know’s. The new fella I’m dealing with now. (Rex) I’ve only dealt with via email. We weren’t even told the Kevin Qi had left, until disaster struck. Now I understand why my last request is still in limbo land.
Astone totally rely on volunteers like myself for their forum and rarely post anything other than the odd new firmware. So let me think for a bit. Should I continue and be taken advantage of. Continue to do the work for them and be the only moderator (Trevor R.I.P.) that is still willing or stupid enough to take care of all of it. As it was I was trying to fix their forum that had no editing done for a long time. With no responses from anyone Astone or Achieva re how they wanted it to look. I took it into my own hands and started to revamp it. Nice they totally trusted us on that part totally. Left to Thunder Bird and I, well honestly it was great. Left to our own devices. if you were ever on the Astone forum you would know we did our utmost to solve a problem if we could, along with a few others who participated in there with us.
We believed all posts were lost to somewhere in the clouds and never seen again. Thankfully this is not the case. I have rebuilt the complete database along with the new PHPBB3 with my new structure, retaining all our posts. Even if I was to upload to a freebie host area, what will Achieva do with it. They already has a complete database & structure update. Seems they don’t know or want to do anything themselves with it. Or are they waiting for me to do the work and someone else taking the credit for it. I think the latter as the very tacky temporary website with a few scraps of firmware added is their current contribution. I’m no boffin and if I can do it then they definitely can and should.
My interests have waned for supporting their forum now. Seems absolutely this is at the bottom of their to do list. Most people believed I worked for them. Nope just enjoyed helping others out. This I intend to continue to do on my own. Call me crazy, but I get a kick out of this sort of stuff. Before rebuilding the Astone forum I had created my forum. Still under construction but getting there. The Astone one still requires a load of editing, now I don’t want to spend my time doing that right now. The good news is I can find all of my posts and share them again. I never dreamed Achieva were so unprofessional. Love their products but as far as support goes. Well they stink.
Now to my dilemma do I continue with my forum I have created or add an area on this website to share my stuff for the products I own. Quite a bundle of those. I own over 20 different models & brands or so plus ones in the graveyard. I suppose I’m not really wanting an actual forum but to share all the stuff I have on the models I own. A forum might need more time than I have now due to moving on 3rd December.
Really I suppose I would like to have an area for people to get their firmware, discuss some tips and ideas, mods how to’s. FAQs and not be hassled by angry customers who have purchased their media player and not getting satisfaction or support. To help find answers to people who like me have older models and want to get the best out of them.
I like to get the older models to keep on working too. A bit of a challenge but fun for me. What’s the plan ? To give it a bit of a trial in here while the forum is still in its infancy and see which works better for my purpose. Any ideas let me know. Go here to My Forum and see if there is something on it for you.
It’s not just about media players.
Meanwhile I’m going to do a bit in here and see whether I can create what I really want in here
- MySQL user database (daniweb.com)
- 5 Interesting Ways To Create Your Own Forum Without Having To Run A Website (makeuseof.com)