A Short But Cool Tech Support Story

We’re all guilty of creating content about bad news…from you’re gonna get heartburn or pimples to the world is coming to an end and by the way, you’ll probably die.

How about something cool for once?

The other day, I had just written the post about Noam Chomsky’s take on Russia and Ukraine. Since it was in the 2 daily time zone windows of shooting it out in email (where American readers get it in their inboxes either early morning or late afternoon…I’m 15 hours ahead of the west coast) I ginned that up and during the process, it failed. I had just updated the FluentCRM plugin in WordPress I use to do this.

I retried again and again. No joy. I go through all the standard troubleshooting things like trying different browsers, clearing caches, clearing logs, etc., and nothing works. I put in a ticket with tech support and waited. It was a critical issue, because it wasn’t where some feature wasn’t working properly. It’s that it’s whole main function wasn’t working.

In the interim I wrote another post, about Vladimir Putin’s speech.

And I waited more. 24 hours. No reply from tech support. I went to the FluentCRM blog, saw their post about the big new update release and posted a comment. Hours and hours later, it was still in the moderation queue.

Mind you, this is a paid plugin. Not hugely expensive, about $170 per year. I’ve never had a big problem before and have sent dozens and dozens of email campaigns. Unlike those who send their emails with Mail Chimp and other very expensive services, I do it in-house with FluentCRM, FluentSMTP, and AmazonSES (simple email service) where it costs me about $10 to send 100,000 emails directly from my own server, no 3rd party with daily changing terms of service and censorship. My bill for emails from this blog is $5-10 per month. With Mail Chimp, it could cost upwards of $50 just to send a single email to 10,000 subscribers.

Still no help, I begin searching the web to see if anyone else might be railing about the same problem. Nothing there, but I do catch a link to the plugin page on WordPress.org, and head on over. I go to the support section and post a new topic addressing all the foregoing and give my support ticket number with FluentCRM.

Here’s where shit gets cool.

Only minutes later I get a reply to my ticket, and Shahjahan is asking for the server error log which was easy enough to find at SiteGround, by bestest server-host company ever, over in Bulgaria.

Then he asks, are you up for a Zoom call? Immediately, I reply.

I get a link, and a few seconds later we’re on video chat.

Nice presentable guy, background a nice house with a vaulted ceiling.

Where are you? I ask.

Bangladesh.

Ha, and I’m just a Burma away over in Thailand. The video connection was stellar, HD quality. I could not help but tell him I’ve been in his country for about 4 hours—when in 1990 I flew a Bangladesh Airlines B767 from Paris to Bangkok with a 2-hr stopover in Dhaka, both ways. He’d visited Thailand before too, so things couldn’t be more cool.

More cool shit happens.

I share my screen to show him how the error is happening when CRM goes to select recipients for the email. He watches it, then asks if I can give him control. I wasn’t aware that Zoom had this capability but then a pop-up asking to give control, I click yes, and he goes through the same procedure but with an inspector window open so he can see the code processing.

YEP!

He knew the problem. Query Monitor, a plugin installed by the last developper guy I had doing some work here a few months back. Apparently, it’s processor intense and in the latest version of CRM, they changed the recipient selection process to be almost instantaneous, but more processor intensive, so that was 2+2=overload, timeout, error.

Then he simply went over and deactivated Query Monitor—a developer tool not needed for operational function—and all worked swimmingly.

So there you go. You can actually find a little joy in the world now and then and the technology we’re afforded provides really amazing capabilities when used creatively and constructively.


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1 Comments

  1. David Nikoley on March 3, 2022 at 21:34

    Cool story Bro!

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