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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just wondering, who here reads the newsletters, critical updates, maintenance alerts, etc.. they receive from companies whenever they sign up for a service?

I ask this because we recently migrated several services over to a newer, more-powerful dual-Xeon server we'd picked up and it's just really been an eye-opener for me. I just want to get a feel for whether or not I'm wasting my time with this or perhaps there's a better way of doing this. Personally, I usually read this kind of stuff, especially things regarding network maintenance and the like. I guess I like to be informed.

Anyways, on Sunday I sent out an email to everybody marked "IMPORTANT" in the subject regarding the scheduled database migration for late Tuesday evening. It mentioned a simple change that needed to be made in order to prepare a site for the migration. Change the database connection hostname. That was it. With that, I could "carry over" sites to the new server with absolutely no downtime. Afterwards, they could change it back to a more personalized and easier-to-remember subdomain I'd setup for each domain.

So, Tuesday evening comes and the MySQL migration goes as planned. No data is lost and I actually get done a half hour ahead of schedule. So, I go ahead and bump the special hostname I'd setup over to the new IP and halt the MySQL service on the old server.

Once again, I send out another email to notify everybody that the migration was a success and to remind them of the changes they need to make.

Much to my dismay, I started cycling through some of the sites I host and was very disappointed by what I saw. I could only manage to find 2 sites I knew used MySQL that didn't display an error. That's right, only 2 people out of roughly 60 customers took the time to read an email I'd sent out marked "IMPORTANT."

It wasn't my responsibility to fix everybody's site. I gave ample notice (they knew it was going to be moved and to watch for the instructions at least a week in advance). So I just waited to see what would happen. It's about 2 days later and, in all, I have received 2 phone calls (one from California), 6 emails, and about 8 PMs telling me that there are "problems with MySQL." The first thing I ask these people is "did you read the newsletter" and, of course, the response is always "no." I remind them of the neccessary change, they make the adjustment and..presto...things work again.

Anyways, the point of my post was just to find out what the general consensus is with email material sent from service providers. Do you usually read it? Also, is there some kind of better way of sending out announcements? I don't plan on making any additonal major changes any time soon, but this has really made me wonder how I'm supposed to handle things should customer intervention be required in the future.
 

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Canadian Spaceman
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You could add SMS text notifications that give a nice reminder of server maintenance. How personal and cool could that be? Sure it might cost a little extra but it would be hella unique to get sms text notices from your web hosting company about critical changes.

Of course when you get your website fully operational you can have an alert blurb at the top in the "Newsflash" part. Overall there is nothing much else you could do.
 

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I do scan newsletters, and then read what I believe to be important info. I don't really think htere is a better way, short of calling up each person individualy, but that's just baka
 

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I've just had a pretty similar experience myself. One of the disks on one of the old calculation servers here died (it had been flaky since a power spike hit back in august). The things using an ancient non standard scsi inferface I've never even heard of, so it's next to impossible to get disks now. So we rebuilt the array minus one disk and moved all the users data from "/work/name of user/" into "/home/name of old server/name of user/" on the main fileserver to compensate ( shoulda really been there in the first place, the fileserver is mounted on that machine anyways ). To let everyone know, the MOTD was changed so that the first thing any sees when they login is a message saying "your old results are now in /home instead of /work"

Yet I still got an email from some prof asking where his old files were. You'd think someone which that kind of iq could read a login message Oo.
 

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My answer would be just like Kane's.

But the problem with company's newsletters is that they're usually full of crap. 90% of the stuff they send to you is useless.

But there's nothing you could have done, though.
 

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I'm too lazy to do it, besides I always use public commputers because I don't have internet at home :(

by the way, I sent you a pm FLaRe, I know how much you like to ignore me but please read it
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Boltzmann said:
My answer would be just like Kane's.

But the problem with company's newsletters is that they're usually full of crap. 90% of the stuff they send to you is useless.

But there's nothing you could have done, though.
Yeah, I'd considered that, which is why I actually divided things up into 3 different categories. There's critical updates, which are mandatory and would include extremely important and urgent information (basically anything that might create downtime). There's maintenance alerts, which are optional and are mainly informational maintenance notices (ie: we upgrade PHP). Then there's the actual newsletter, which is optional and I intended for things like feature announcements, future plans, etc...

I only class the other two as "newsletters" because they're included in the same newsletter system. So, really when I send out a critical update, it's usually marked "IMPORTANT" and there should be no "crap" with it.

I guess this is really what I expected to hear. I really hoped somebody would have a better idea. Like, maybe they saw another company do something that they thought was a great idea and worked better than the standard email announcement. We do have a forum that I could use for announcements, however, only about 4 people have bothered to register there and it doesn't seem to be visited very often. I've actually been trying to use the newsletters to push people to the forum, so it's like a catch 22. If they don't read the emails, how can they find out about the forum? :p I just think the forum would be great because that kind of environment usually takes care of itself if you know what I mean.
 

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The email seems like the best way to me. There is always the cool popup in the control panel, but unless there's something to change, it's not so usual to open it. Anyway, maybe "downtime alert" would be more attention dragging than "important". But it's like readmes, faqs and stickies... people tend to ignore them.
 
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