#ModesOfFlight | Taking Off Again
Long time no write!
Here’s just a little of what I’ve been up to since my last post. First, let me rewind.
In early 2010, Bell Canada advertised web hosting service packages. By February of that year, I had signed up with Bell Web Hosting for the Economy Plan which included 300 MB of web disk space, 10 GB monthly transfer, 24/7 technical support, 8 e-mailboxes with 1 GB storage and more. My website was launched with the domain http://www.modesofflight.com, as established in the Registration Confirmation e-mail of Tuesday February 23, 2010, 3:57 PM (I have retained this and many other related documents since then).
I was set up with a Bell sympatico.ca e-mail address but the Bell representative on the phone fully understood my need to maintain my branding efforts as an artist, and agreed that it was far more appropriate for me to use a business address that doesn’t end with sympatico.ca. He helped me to establish the business email account, that some of you know is connected to this blog, so that I could ignore the Sympatico address. In all of these years, I haven’t used the sympatico.ca address. It still exists, somewhere out there in the grand electronic universe but all e-mail in or out of Modes of Flight have been channeled through my official business e-mail address, and I’ve always used it with e-mail client software on my computer. I’m not interested in any less secure online e-mail programs like Hotmail, Yahoo, G-mail, etc. Yes, I do have some of those accounts for special circumstances but they are almost never accessed.
Everything had been working perfectly for years until I purchased a brand-new desktop computer with Windows 10 Pro OS in late May of 2016. At that time, I needed all of my web hosting and e-mail services migrated to the new computer. Between May and September (4 months), I wound up talking to countless Bell operators and technicians who outright failed to re-establish my e-mail, and connect me to Bell’s server so that I could manage the files for my website. Bear in mind that I was paying for these services that I didn’t have access to for all of those months.
The issues had to be escalated to a much higher ranking officer in Bell’s corporation before someone could be found to adequately complete the service migration. It was a tremendous inconvenience. I won’t bother going into those details. Seeing red, I nearly jumped from Bell to one of their competitors.
Unfortunately, throughout much of 2016 and especially during the latter half, my wife Kim and I saw multiple family deaths and others becoming quite ill. Even the pastor for one of the memorial services noted that 2016 had been a most unusually tough year for my wife’s family in this regards. Even now, although we are getting past much of it, these issues have been extremely distressing, and contending with them as they mounted became top priority. They even drew me away from my affairs in MOF for months. Kim’s father was the last death to have occurred a few days before Christmas. We were emotionally and socially drained.
Since the very start of 2017, I began to return to my MOF responsibilities, to find that I could neither send nor receive e-mail. I found out when I tried to log into my MOF Twitter account. My inactivity resulted in me being locked out, and I was notified with the following message that popped up on the screen . . .
“In order to protect your account from suspicious activity, we’ve sent a confirmation code to [ e-mail address ] Enter it below to sign in.
Confirmation code Confirmation code: [ . . . ]”
So, I opened my e-mail client and lo and behold, there was nothing sent from Twitter. I saw that the last e-mail received was November 9, 2016, and I knew that many others had tried to send me e-mail right up to the end of the year. Of course, I immediately contacted my service provider.
I was routed between Bell Tech Expert, Bell Web Hosting, Bell Internet Tech department, Bell Hosting Team, Bell DNS Team and Bell Tech Support none of whom could help me to get reestablished. That’s right; here I go again!
I mean, Bell Canada is a major national telecommunications and media corporation. They also have satellite offices in many other countries around the world. They’re highly resourceful. If NASA can launch and remotely control two exploration rovers on Mars, 54.6 million kilometers (33.9 million miles) away, then why can’t Bell get my e-mail up and running?
Eventually, I was told that I had been locked out of my e-mail due to it not being used for so long which makes no sense at all since I had not been notified in any way about this, and I had been paying for the service the whole time.
I unexpectedly also found out that my domain, and all of its files on Bell’s server did not exist. That’s right, my entire website had been removed from the Internet without anyone consulting me.
I was told that no one at Bell had any trace or record of my website, which is the equivalent of me paying monthly for services that never existed since 2010; which amounts to grand theft. I even have my old bills to prove it.
In fact, I was asked a few times by different people at Bell if I was actually paying them for these services. They honestly thought I was someone with psychological issues mistaking their massive conglomerate for another. There’s no way that their records or lack thereof could be wrong, right?
What does all of this have to do with my art? Well, it’s like this. Anybody who has a fine art career in the 21st century knows that one absolutely must establish an Internet following by having a website, blog and social media management platforms (SMMP’s). In this day and age if you approach a gallery for representation, a collector takes interest in your work or someone becomes interested in potentially collaborating with you on some project the very first thing they’re going to do is look you up on the Internet.
It was bad enough that I had lost people that I cared about last year, I had also lost the business foothold that I painstakingly gained since 2010. Bell helped to flush it all straight down the toilet while their services are supposed to help their customers advance.
I could barely contain my fury. I was again ever so close to jumping to a competitor. I again escalated my problem to a corporate officer, this time to one who is said to be quite close to Bell’s CEO. I’m calling her Wonder Woman.
It took a couple days of investigation but Wonder Woman was able to find out that someone arbitrarily wiped out my e-mail and domain as part of some effort to clean their servers or something. I probably wasn’t the only Bell customer to have faced this major inconvenience. Wonder Woman basically told people to smarten up and get me back online. After a few more days, it was done.
Thank you so much Wonder Woman, you know who you are (Kim and I want to send her flowers but Wonder Woman can’t accept them)!
Now I must begin reestablishing the gains of MOF I have lost. I have new art to create, new blog posts to write – some old ones even stand to be new again, I have to breathe more life into the Hammer Home Street Photography project blog, get caught up on e-mail, I have a lot of networking to do, SMMP’s to work with, exhibitions to plan and join, and a website to hopefully redesign before the end of 2017.