Well, I was right about why the Conner tape drive I bought wouldn't work: Despite what the salesperson in the store assured me, the drive is not NT compatible. Conner makes a SCSI version of the same drive, and they do have an NT driver for that unit. Unfortunately, I bought the IDE version, for which an NT driver is not available <sigh>.
So I returned the drive to the store. And rather than spend another day trying to find a DAT drive locally (and, not incidentally, to save some $$$ on sales tax), I ordered one from CDW, a "mail-order" house I've used before. This one is a Colorado drive; I called the nice folks at Colorado before I placed the order, and they confirmed that it would work with NT. Unfortunately, the drive will work only in uncompressed (2GB) mode under NT; I won't be able to get compression (4GB), not with the controller they ship with the product. But if I ever need compression (it'll be a long time before that happens), it may be possible to achieve it with a different controller. Which would be a lot cheaper than buying a new drive. (The DAT drive, for those of you who are keeping score, set me back about $1000.)
I've spoken with about half a dozen companies that provide credit card processing services ("merchant services," they call it) to businesses like mine. (Some of them even specialize in Net-related businesses.) They all offer pretty much the same deal:
I believe I'm going to go with an outfit called Commercial Bankcard, in Atlanta. They're actually the most expensive place I spoke with (although all of them were pretty close), but I got a better feeling talking to them than I did from talking to most of the others. I'll let you know how it works out.
Since I'm having so much fun spending money I don't have, I bit the bullet and ordered Quota Manager from NTP today. (That's the program that will let me limit the amount of disk space each of my subscribers can use.) At least, I think I ordered it; they were supposed to fax me a confirmation, which never happened. I'll call them tomorrow to see what's going on.
BTW, it's costing me $500 to get this critical capability. If I were using UNIX, from what I understand, this function would be built in. Of course, if I were using UNIX, I would know even less about what I'm doing than I do now, if you know what I mean.
Finally (for tonight), I've been exchanging Email with the creator of a package called PolyForm, which (he says) will allow me to make forms capabilities available to my subscribers without giving them access to CGI scripts. It's important for me to be able to provide forms capabilities; but, for security reasons, I don't want to allow general access to CGI on my server. I think that PolyForm may do the trick for me.
I have no idea of how much PolyForm costs. But if it's like everything else I've had to buy to get this venture off the ground, it'll be more than I could possibly imagine.
Am I becoming cynical, or what? Well, maybe this time I'll be pleasantly surprised.
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