Access Issues (2)
E.g. All the videos, the documents or white papers, or the member pages are missing or not viewable.
- Try viewing the information in an alternate browser. Google Chrome has been good to us. Make sure you log in again when trying the page in that browser. It won't work if you don't log in within the browser you're using. If it works in one browser but not another, it's specific to the browser.
- If it fails in both browsers, try an alternate computer (laptop, office, etc). If it works on one machine but not another, it's specific to that machine. If it fails on both computers, in at least 2 browsers, open a support ticket.
- Free subscribers can't see member content. If you're a paid member, 1. verify you are logged in. You must be logged in to see member content. 2. verify your subscription is current. To do that, log in to paypal, and view your recurring payments. 3. Verify you are using the login with which you became a paying member. You might have a separate, older login that is still at free subscriber level, if you became a paying member separately, without using the upgrade process. If you're being redirected to the Member Options page whenever you try to view member content, the system does not consider you logged in. If you have logged in, but get logged out whenever you change pages, your browser may be blocking cookies. Try another browser (e.g. Chrome or Firefox) or consider updating your browser security settings to allow cookies.
E.g. Do you support all mobile devices? Test the site on your mobile device. Some features are functional on mobile devices and some are not. For instance, iPad does not natively support *Flash* and most Giza videos are Youtube (Google) videos displayed in *Flash*. However Google has created a workaround for this, and videos usually now display fine on the iPad. Phones with full browsers will usually work fine, if they are standard full browsers (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari). We can't troubleshoot for specific phones, however, if the system is working on a normal PC in normal browsers. Technically, the site is supported on PC and Mac in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer (our least preferred browser).
E-mail Issues (2)
E.g. I am not getting e-mail updates for blog posts, even though I subscribed.
Giza doesn't actually control any e-mail subscriptions. They are solely user managed and done through Google.
WordPress E-mail Updates: If you used the old "notify me of new posts by email" option when commenting on a post, and received updates directly from WordPress.com, we stopped using that, because the required plugin was causing the site to be very slow. Feel free to sign up for e-mail updates using the NEWS FEED icon at the top of the site.
Google E-mail Updates: If you signed up with the NEWS FEED icon and receive updates via Google, those subscriptions are self-managed and we have no control over or access to them. Ultimately, if you've signed up, and are not receiving updates, there's not a lot we can do, since we have no access to google's servers. Keep in mind, Google will update the news syndication [feed] at varying times, based on its own formula, so e-mail subscriptions may arrive after a day or more in some cases. Subscriptions to Giza's syndication feed are handled directly by Google and users manage their own settings with Google. If you have clicked on the [feed] and verified it's being updated within a day or two with new posts, and you are still not getting them, you can try unsubscribing via the link at the bottom of the last e-mail you received from Google, and resubscribing (via Google) by clicking "News Feed" at the top of the site and choosing the e-mail subscription. If that doesn't help, you can check your e-mail spam filters or subscribe with an alternate e-mail address, which many excellent e-mail services provide, including [gmail], or use a different monitoring service altogether, such as WatchThatPage, FollowThatPage, ChangeDetection. In any case, beyond the simple binary of being subscribed or not, Giza has no access to Google servers nor any means of interceding between any Google subscriber (to Giza) and Google itself. Google provides any e-mail updates, so any such support would need to come from Google.
E.g. I am getting e-mail updates for blog posts, even though I no longer wish to receive them. Subscriptions to Giza's syndication feed are handled directly by Google. To unsubscribe or adjust settings, you can look at the bottom of a previous e-mail from google that contains Giza content, or the next one you receive, and click the unsubscribe link.
Error Messages (4)
E.g. I’m getting “access denied” in Windows 8. This was an early issue with Microsoft Internet Explorer in Windows 8. Until there’s an official wordpress update to compensate for Microsoft’s issue, Internet Explorer in Windows8 will continue to show this error. If you experience this, please utilize a different browser in Windows8 (e.g. Chrome, Safari, Firefox) that supports web standards. Alternately, please select Extras on your browser and set “compatibility view” to force Internet Explorer to revert to its previous standards for this particular web site.
E.g. When I try to view the member white papers in Internet Explorer, I get "Sorry, the page (or document) you have requested does not exist."
- This is an issue in Internet Explorer. Try viewing the information in an alternate browser. Google Chrome has been good to us. Make sure you log in again when trying the page in that browser. It won't work if you don't log in within the browser you're using.
- Alternately, we have found the following solution may work in Internet Explorer: Tools > Internet Options > Privacy > set the slider to Maximum (Block All Cookies) > Apply. Go refresh the page. Then follow the same steps but set the slider back to the original setting, and refresh the page. This issue will likely be resolved between Google and Microsoft, but in the meantime this may help.
E.g. I got a 503 error when I tried to log in - Service Temporarily Unavailable That can be an "ip ban". There's a setting in place to keep your login from being shared with 6 buddies, etc. So the system looks at ip addresses to try to determine if there's abuse. If it thinks there is, it implements a temporary ban - usually not more than 12 hours. If you think you've gotten this msg in error, please go to our support page and let us know, so we can check the ip logs. It's not our intention to incorrectly serve this message to anyone; with an automated system, it can be mistaken.
E.g. This Video May Be Inappropriate (YouTube). This occurs when viewing some videos on YouTube if you have "Safety Mode" enabled in your YouTube settings. You can always watch the video on GizaDeathStar.com or else disable Safety Mode. Safety Mode allows a computer algorithm to filter videos for moral reasons (we're not sure what theory of morality the system uses) and for age-appropriateness (same), like parental controls. This is very common, occurs with things like paintball videos too, and is not something we can control. Over time, it's our hope the YouTube algorithms will improve to be more accurate in what they block, according to YouTube's intentions in this regard.
Functionality & Speed (4)
E.g. The site is slow. To test giza’s site speed, to see if it’s on Giza’s end or your ISP or PC, you can visit [ google’s site speed test ] and enter www.gizadeathstar.com – any score in the 70s-90s is good and means the site itself is delivering appropriate speeds, allowing you to look at your ISP or local PC for a possible cause. To test your internet latency and speed (both scores can affect your experience on some parts of the web, depending on the routes taken by your ISP), visit speedtest.net. High latency is common on satellite connections or 3G/4G routers (e.g. Mifi). Broadband speeds are roughly something above 1.75mbps. Running 3 tests and getting an average for latency and speed can give you a clear picture of how your connection is doing. If everything is testing well, but the site is still inaccessible or slow, it’s likely an issue with servers through which internet traffic is routed and the issue will likely pass – try again in 10min or so.
E.g. The Recorded Members Vidchats (not Dialogues videos) Don’t Load or Play. Keep in mind, the recordings from past live vidchat sessions are bonus material that we provide over and above the normal member content, which includes the live vidchat sessions. There may be times we cannot guarantee a recording. However, depending on the length of the session (some of these are running extremely long), you may need to wait on the page/post with the recorded video for some time before it actually loads, and then for another long delay after you press the play button. You may or may not get slightly faster results in a different browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari). Personally, we get faster results with the Chrome browser. There’s nothing we can do to speed up the load time except have shorter live vidchat sessions or else only record part of the session. If you value the recorded version of the vidchat, we advise waiting on the page up to 2minutes until it fully loads, and again up to 2min after pressing play for video and sound. Otherwise, you could attend the live vidchat sessions.
E.g. I can see some member articles, but I can't see one specific one. The document might be down for everyone, or it could be a browser issue on your end. We can view a document, if you send us the link, to see if it's appearing normally. But if others are seeing and commenting on the document, it's apparently on your end. Try a different browser than you're currently using - e.g. Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and see if the document appears normally.
E.g. Why did my comment disappear?
SPAM protection is automated and uses complex algorithms to operate. It necessarily lacks perfect accuracy. For any number of reasons, comments are sometimes flagged by the system for approval by Dr. Farrell. If your comment "disappears", it was flagged and is waiting for his approval. Flagging legitimate comments is rare, but does sometimes happen. Technical support has no information to provide on why this occurs with any individual comment. Assuming the comment meets the terms of service criteria, it should be approved the next time Dr. Farrell logs in to look at the comment queue. Be patient and, if your comment doesn't appear in a few days, feel free to ask Dr. Farrell about it.
General Support Issues (2)
E.g. I reported a support issue on Facebook or by direct e-mail and it hasn’t been addressed yet. Technically, we don’t offer support via Facebook or regular e-mail. E-mailing or contacting Dr. Farrell directly is not the same as contacting Giza Support. A lot of content transpires on Facebook, and we can’t watch it all. E-mail can easily get misplaced or marked as SPAM. One of the reasons for the support request form on the site is to ensure proper routing and timely handling of support requests. Please resubmit your support issue via the support form after checking this FAQ for the answer.
How-to Questions (6)
E.g. How do I modify my photo/avatar that shows up with my comments? Visit gravatar.com and set up an account associated with the same e-mail address you've used as a member. Keep in mind, we can't support issues with gravatar.com, but that's how it's done. If the e-mail addresses match, you should see an updated avatar after a few minutes.
E.g. How do I change my name, password or e-mail address? See the Member Options page, and Modify Member Profile.
E.g. How do I cancel membership? Cancellations are handled within paypal itself and supported by paypal. You would log in to your paypal account and access your recurring payments, to cancel. Unofficially, there is a cancellation button in the members area on our site, but it simply takes you to paypal to cancel.
E.g. Can I download videos as audio files or other portable format? Since Giza videos are hosted by YouTube, and that would violate their terms of service, we can't provide a way to do that. It doesn't mean there aren't ways to 'rip' YouTube videos, but they are risky and potentially not legal. Keep in mind, most of the software tools for doing such a thing are infested with spyware and malware.
E.g. "How do I participate in the members' vidchat?"
1. become a member if you're not
2. log in as a member
3. go to Membership > Live Broadcast on any scheduled vidhcat
4. Watch the live streaming video (if it's not broadcasting, check the schedule)
5. Use the chat window on the same page to ask questions. Note: you must create (and remember) a separate login for the chat window - it's not connected to the one you use to log in to Giza.
6. If you have technical difficulties during a show, including chat, the first stop should be *on the same page* (the Live Broadcast page) where there are tips for resolving issues with your browser's interaction with the show.
The most common issues with the Members' Vidchat are:
- Forgetting your login/password to the chat window
- Confusing chat login with Giza login (they're not related)
- Not accounting for time zone differences in showtime.
HOW TO CHAT IN GENERAL: 1. Type something (anything) in chat. 2 Click Send. 3. Complete login info (see above). 4. Return to chat and you can now chat normally.
RULES OF THE ROAD
- Don’t flood the chat box. Ask questions in an orderly fashion.
- Questions taken in the order asked.
- Questions don’t have to be related to the initial talk.
While the vidchats won't work on an ipad using the native Safari browser, because the ipad doesn't support Adobe Flash technology, it the vidchats do work in the ipad if you use a flash enabled browser on the ipad, such as Photon or Puffin. Each of these carry a nominal cost in the IOS store. We can't vouch for their performance on any given ipad or internet connection, but they are often successful for playing live streaming or pre-recorded Flash video.
Live Vidchats (6)
Live broadcasts have a delay, just like with TV. Each person will have a different length of live broadcast delay depending on their connection and browser cache. Clearing browser cache will usually speed it up somewhat. If text chat gets stuck for you, refresh the page.
E.g. "I can't see the video." If you don’t see the video stream, please try updating, installing, or re-installing Adobe Flash Player (google it). If you already have flash in your browser, try a different browser - e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari.
Video Controls: Please use the controls in the orange bar to control the audio level and, if you want, to make the video full screen
E.g. recorded vidchats don't play well but youtube.com videos do.
First, be sure to compare *very long* videos (more than an hour), since it takes a different amount of resources to load up and play those vs. short ones. Youtube lets you search by length of video to identify movie-length videos, which is what the vidchat recordings are. Make sure you're not having trouble with super-length youtube videos in general.
Second, Giza isn't actually hosting any videos at all, so the location of the issue won't be the website. The videos are all hosted on youtube.com and uploaded directly from the vidchat platform. There are only 2 parts to that system. Giza simply provides a member page where the youtube video is fully accessible.
Third, it may be that the original video chat had technical/latency issues that were actually recorded into the video, in which case it's understandable that the video suffers in quality. That can't be repaired except by either a) the broadcaster servicing any latency/packet loss issues on the broadband connection doing the broadcasting, which is outside Giza's scope, or b) changing receiving platforms (which we're actually working on).
If you click through on the video to Google Plus or Youtube, you will NOT be able to use the chat feature. Chat is only available on the Member Vidchat page on the web site. Use the red play button on the video, but don’t click through to Google Plus or Youtube.
There are several parts to any such system:
- the internet bandwidth for the broadcast (Dr. Farrell's internet connection)
- the broadcasting machine (Dr. Farrell's PC)
- the receiving network (the video host where the video broadcast is being sent and produced)
- the viewer's internet connection during the broadcast (line stability, etc)
- the viewer's receiving machine (e.g. browser cache, system resources, etc)
Identify whether all/most users are experiencing the same problem, or it's user-specific (specific to your own experience). If the latter, then it's likely your pc or connection.
A pc/system issue can be as simple as a browser cache (try clearing cache and/or switching browsers - firefox, chrome, safari) or can be (computer resource management) on the broadcaster's end (e.g. current free RAM, % of CPU use, disk speed [for video processing], and available disk space during the broadcast). Those 4 factors are huge, along with one other -- graphics processor RAM and speed, and whether the graphics processor is integrated (cheap and uses the CPU as its brain) or standalone (has its own brain). 5 factors in total determine how likely it is that the video recording will be smooth. Any one of them could contribute to a poor broadcast experience.
If it's connectivity (e.g. you're experiencing a greater delay than most people, etc), you need to identify the exact nature of the connectivity issue you have, and contact your ISP once you know. You can run a CONNECTIVITY TEST: Go to pingtest.net and run a test. If your line quality rates C or below, you may have connectivity issues that will affect the broadcast experience. If you get a low score, and want more specifics, go to megapath.com/speedtestplus and run a test. If upload or download speed is low (e.g. below 1gbps, or packet loss is more than zero, or latency is higher than about 36ms, there’s the issue to report to your internet service provider). We cannot actually resolve technical issues related to connectivity or system resources.
Rather than e-mail blast ever Giza member with reminders (many don't want or need them), we created a mechanism for Giza members to remind themselves of Giza events. 1. If you use google calendar, you can add any events on the GIza calendar to your own calendar, and specify reminders as often as you like. 2. You can do the same with iCal on a mac, and there is Outlook calendar integration as well. 3. If you don't use any of these, you can manually configure whatever calendar you use to keep your doctor appointments, whether it's paper or some mechanism in your head, to remind you. Google calendar is, of course, the most efficient tool in many ways, especially if you've upgraded to using gMail. 4. There are, of course, other calendar alternatives: [example] [example]. Look for one with reminders, and you're golden. 5. There are also just pure reminders with things like "Remember the Milk". However you choose to make your own shows, events, chats, and appointments, we felt it better not to put everyone in a single box. Cheers!
Payment Issues (16)
E.g. The credit card option does not seem to be available for paid memberships, as it is for donations. The donation page immediately offers credit card processing, since it's a one time donation. The subscription/membership page will take credit cards once you log in to paypal, but you must have or create a paypal account, since your subscription is actually managed in paypal itself.
E.g. The membership fee seems high - can you lower it? If you imagine the modest stipend that would normally compensate a speaker for a live presentation (that's how he makes a living - contrary to popular belief, the actual books don't pay very much), plus customized research and writing, (hint: it's only a tiny fraction of what Babylon's Banksters are paying academic economists to prop up their policies on derivatives), and then spread that out, the resulting fee is quite reasonable. After all, members receive lots of custom content (videos, white papers, apocryphal chapters, etc.) as well as live events (call-in shows, webinars, townhall meetings, etc.) - and a lot more is planned. There are also some technical costs to operating a members only area. But we're not trying to gouge anyone. We'll keep weighing the cost/value proposition, going forward - and we're still in the fairly new stages. If we find a way to make fees more accessible later, we'll definitely revisit.
E.g. Can I get a refund? Regrettably, we cannot issue refunds for any reason. It's a decision we made to help keep management and overhead costs low. However, you can cancel at any time, and not be billed further.
E.g. I'm having issues with my Paypal account; can you help? Regrettably, we can't support paypal issues. Paypal support must do that.
We also can't support paypal login issues - we don't have any direct access to your Paypal account.
E.g. Two family members want to pay with the same credit card, but paypal only allows a card to be used on one paypal account. In that case, you can either both pay with the same paypal account, or you can use an alternate payment method within the 2nd paypal account. We can't control this aspect of things, but those two options work as far as we know.
E.g. I don't trust paypal, and want to just use a credit card, paper check, or cash. Can't you take manual payments and manually control my subscription. Cash and paper checks are not in our future, since this is an online/digital/electronic membership platform rather than a physical location, and you control your own subscription and payments, rather than us employing (and charging for) individual human tellers to process manual payments and turn accounts off/on manually. But paypal takes credit cards and checking accounts. Paypal, also provides a way for you to manage your own subscription to the site, so it provides an extra layer of security, since you (not we) control your own recurring payments. If we had to manage subscriptions manually, and process member payments manually, it would create additional layers of administration, bookkeeping, etc, which would make the platform unsustainable. It's sort of like using Netflix - online service, therefore online payment.
E.g. I don't do online payments, or use other online services. How can I participate in the Giza Community? Giza isn't planning a manual payment system since we're an online community, with online content, and sustainability would decrease with every new membership. The online community is only sustainable by having the back-end processes be online as well. Sometimes we like to joke and say that the analogue version of an online premium content for payment system is called "a book store", and Dr. Farrell already contributes heavily to that.
E.g. Why are my Paypal recurring payments cancelled, suspended, or skipped?
- SKIPPED PAYMENTS: are usually a time-out communicating between Paypal servers and your bank/credit card company servers. The system retries again in 5 days, and it usually goes through the second time. If not, it will try once more, five days later.
- SUSPENDED: usually means Paypal couldn't get money via your Paypal account payment sources - either insufficient balance, or out of date or inaccurate bank/credit card info (e.g. expiration dates), or a mismatch in the contact/phone info that Paypal has vs. what your credit card company has on file. The result is suspended payments (and a membership that will expire at the end of the term). See the 'how do I reactivate" question below or, if there's confusion as to what's wrong in the Paypal account, the user must contact Paypal support directly. Giza has no access to your financial account with Paypal or your Bank.
- CANCELLED: usually means the user voluntarily cancelled a membership, and it will expire at end of term.
E.g. How do I reactivate my suspended recurring payment in Paypal? The following is verbatim from Paypal Support. Here's how to reactivate a subscription or recurring payment: 1. Log in to your PayPal account. 2. Click "Profile." 3. Click "Update" next to "My preapproved payments" on the "My Money" tab. 4. Select the merchant whose agreement you want to reactivate and click "Reactivate." If you have any additional questions or would like to speak directly with Customer Solutions, we can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-221-1161. Note: according to Paypal merchant support, since you have your own Paypal account as a Paypal user, Giza Death Star cannot reactive your recurring payment for you. In the case of a Paypal account holder, it must be reactivated by the Paypal account holder. Any Paypal rep that tells you otherwise is giving you incorrect information.
E.g. How do I view the status of my Paypal recurring payments, to make sure my subscription with Giza stays active? The following is verbatim from Paypal Support. Here’s how to view the status of your subscriptions: 1. Log into your PayPal account. 2. Click "Profile" near the top of the page. 3. Click "My money." 4. Click "Update" beside "My preapproved payments." You can view the status of your subscription under "Status." If you have any additional questions or would like to speak directly with Customer Solutions, we can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-221-1161.
E.g. I changed banks. How do I update payment info? You can update both bank and bank card info (check both) in Paypal. We never actually handle any payment data and never know what banks or cards you're using.
E.g. I closed the window during the paypal verification process. Now I am not a member on Giza Death Star, but I've completed the subscription payment process in paypal. What do I do?
1. Log in to Giza Death Star and verify you cannot see any member content. If not, you're probably correct that you interrupted the process.
2. Check your recurring payments set up in paypal and cancel any payment you've set up. We have no access to your paypal account to do this, and cannot cancel your membership on our side, since you did not complete the membership process.
3. Return to Giza Death Star and follow the normal process for becoming a paid member, so your account can be upgraded.
If there was a notice of cancellation of membership, but you did not intend to cancel, it is most likely an issue with the payment or payment processor (e.g. paypal). While we have no access to your paypal account to resolve it on that end, you can do the following: 1. make sure your payment methods in paypal are current and *verified* - contact paypal support if you have trouble. 2. your cancellation isn't instantaneous - you are still a member until the end of your term - i.e. the anniversary of your last payment. At the end of the term, your access will be automatically downgraded. Once cancellation is initiated, this is unavoidable. However, you can simply wait until the end of the term and then re-upgrade, using the member registration page.
E.g. Why Did You Reject My Payment?
We don't run anyone's credit card manually or in-house - it's self-payment via paypal. While we can sometimes shed light on why paypal is not processing a charge (if the user submits an actual support ticket), we can't shed as much light on it (e.g. it's rejected by the user's bank, or whatever) as if the user logs into their own paypal account (something we can't & wouldn't do). If there's confusion over why Paypal is rejecting a charge, the next step is for the account holder to contact Paypal customer support.
e.g. How Do I Renew My Annual Membership?
Renewal is automatic. Once you subscribe, the subscription automatically continues renewing at whatever frequency you've chosen (monthly, annual, etc).
When will you take checks or cash?
We never will. The overhead of having tellers or cashiers and reverting to a manual system of mailing things, driving to the bank, etc etc. would cause your membership fee to be astronomical.
We also promise not to mail out newsletters created with a typewriter or have them hand-delivered by bike messenger. Someone else might, but it's just not sustainable for our digital community.
You can, however, purchase a prepaid visa or a paypal gift card at various retailers that accept cash or check. These require no credit check and can be added to your Paypal account. Alternately, you can simply add your existing checking account to your Paypal account as a funding source. Paypal uses ACH, which is checks without the paper (keep in mind that even paper checks are electronic instruments - they are scanned using the codes at the bottom, same as a credit card), so there's no security gain to using paper.
In any case, since our membership system is a recurring system with automation, it requires something like Paypal that facilitated that automation but, as long as you keep it funded by some method, it should work fine. We do not have the ability to update the system manually and manage a large member community.
Hosting for video is free at Youtube, which keeps Giza costs affordable for members. By contrast, audio hosting at any podcast provider costs based on the accumulation of mp3 audio files and how many people listen to them. Each listen adds to the count. Technically, if a member clicks to play a video, then clicks through to the version on youtube itself (via the youtube logo), they'll get a youtube URL. There are sites (we can't guarantee they aren't spammy or full of malware) that purport to convert youtube URL's to mp3. They may sometimes fail if youtube updates their system and the site doesn't keep pace, but some people have reported success with them. We can't advocate them and be in good stead with youtube - it's up to the individual to decide for themselves. Fortunately, the company that owns youtube - Google - provides a search: http://bit.ly/1wsNmwo