Archive for December, 2007

AccessWatch Finds a New Home

December 13, 2007

Greetings AccessWatch Users:

Over the past four days I have written to you more than I have over the past three years. I told you the AccessWatch review system appeared to be in trouble. I sent a couple of you into a panic when I suggested the worst-case scenario I was looking at regarding the cost of maintaining the site. I asked for honest feedback regarding whether or not users would be able or willing to subscribe to the site. A few of you were willing to do so, but most of you stated candidly that, although you would hate to see the review system go away, you didn’t use it anywhere nearly enough to justify paying for it. I visited with people smarter than me about what I did and didn’t need in the way of a web host. I read dozens of reviews on the Internet regarding a myriad of Web host providers. I am amazed at how negative most of those reviews are. I looked at pricing and wore Tyson out on Skype batting ideas back and forth. I took the review system offline for an evening and spent the rest of the time reconfiguring the Victor Reader Stream discussion list to reflect the fact that I had been given the position of list moderator by the former owners. Tyson called GoDaddy with our AccessWatch database issues and, while one tech support person was able to replicate the problem, the advance team running all their scripts on the database was unable to replicate the problems we have been having. I put the site back online for a day and found that it worked marginally at best. Thanks Blake for managing to get one more review up while the site was still really unstable. Tyson continued to scour the Net for any affordable Web hosting company who had decent customer reviews. He sent me a link to ICDSoft.com last night. I read some very positive reviews about the company and decided to sign up with them today. So here is where we stand.

AccessWatch is up and running at its new home. The review system is working again. Be aware that after you activate the submit button, you will need to wait about 15 seconds for the review to go through. That feels like an eternity when you’re waiting, but just be patient.

I have 60 days to decide whether this new host is going to work out. If it doesn’t, I most likely will take the review system down. The new guys are a bit more expensive and give me less storage space, not that storage is a big issue for me now. Nevertheless, if ICDSoft can’t deliver what I need, I might as well stay with GoDaddy. I need you all to submit as many reviews as you can reasonably think of. Let’s put the system through its paces in the next two months. Oh, by the way, the site is still free!

For the person who requested that I find a way to post reviews on the blog, I’m looking into that as well. Stay tuned.

Happy holidays from the AccessWatch staff. (That would be Tyson and me.) Can we be staff if we don’t get paid? (smile)

Back Online? We’ll See!

December 12, 2007

I decided to bring the review system online again this evening to see what would happen. Low and behold, I was able to add a review for Studio Recorder. If you are receiving these messages, try to submit a review or two and let’s see if this thing will actually fly. I may still switch web hosts. Reviews for ICDSoft.com look pretty good. If anyone knows about these guys, drop me a line or leave a comment on the blog. GoDaddy can’t seem to consistently replicate my database problems on their end and apparently neither can I. Stay tuned for more details!

The Exciting News I Promised Yesterday

December 12, 2007

I told you yesterday about some exciting news I wanted to share with you but was not at liberty to divulge at the time. Well now I can tell you that I am the new moderator of the Victor Reader Stream discussion list. Whether you are interested in purchasing a Stream or you already own one and want to visit with other users about how to more efficiently use it, this list may be of help. Send a message to vrstream-request@freelists.org with the word subscribe in the subject.

The Future of the AccessWatch Review System

December 11, 2007

Greetings AccessWatch Users:

I have decided that it will be necessary for me to take the AccessWatch review system offline for the foreseeable future. It is becoming apparent to me that some careful consideration needs to be made in order to determine how to best make the database for the review system as reliable as possible. I am looking into several options, not the least of which is to increase the entries in the AccessWatch blog significantly. Thanks to Jeff Bishop and the Main Menu team, AccessWatch has an incredible opportunity to share software reviews with the blind community. Several people have expressed a desire that the AccessWatch blog be better maintained. My friend Tyson Treasure—the real brains behind the review system–is increasingly busy and has less and less time to devote to the project as well. The last three years have been fun, and AccessWatch isn’t going anywhere. I think it is simply time to reexamine how AccessWatch can best serve the blind community. On a personal note, I have more exciting news coming, but I don’t want to divulge it at this time. Watch the blog in the coming days. Thanks to everyone who has submitted reviews to the site and made it what it is. If you would like me to feature a product review on Main Menu, please drop me an e-mail with a short review. Unless you request otherwise, I will give you credit for the review by name. If you don’t already have it in your contacts list, you can find my contact information on the AccessWatch site. Take care and happy holidays.

Very Important AccessWatch Issue

December 9, 2007

Dear AccessWatch Users:

It is becoming increasingly apparent to me that the AccessWatch review system is not going to work reliably using the inexpensive hosting

packages I have used for the past three years or so. In order to have a reliable hosting service that will support the AccessWatch review

system, I am going to need to spend quite a bit of money over the course of a year, possibly as much as $1000. I need to know how many

current users of the system would be willing to pay $19.95 per year to continue using the review system. People would still be able to access

all other areas of the AccessWatch web site for free, but the software review area would be on a subscription basis. I might also include

some exclusive content such as tutorials and audio reviews with the yearly subscription. This idea is still in the very preliminary stages of

development, and I need to know how many users feel that they use the software reviews enough to justify paying for the privilege of using

them. I have considered alternate ways of presenting software reviews such as the AccessWatch blog already in place, but it certainly

wouldn’t be the same as the original review system that has been in place up to this point. It really is decision time for me and I honestly

need to hear from you the AccessWatch users regarding this matter. Please drop me a line at the e-mail address below:
jamiepauls@sbcglobal.net
If you are reading this on the blog, please feel free to leave a comment there as well.

Thank you very much for considering this matter.

Jamie Pauls