Month: July 2009

The Search for Good Web Hosting or Why DreamHost Sucks

Posted by – July 27, 2009

Some Random Server Room

I need to get me one of these.

As you may or may not have noticed we’ve changed servers.  In fact my blog has even moved to http://inferno.freedom-uplink.net.  This was due to a recent failure that took place with our main server Hal.  I was able to get it back up but we still haven’t figured out why it went down.  We decided it best that we move to web hosting and keep Hal strictly for shells and wanted daemons.  Thus began my quest for a Good hosting company.

This came at a time where just a week or two ago I was looking for hosting for the company I work for.  For them we decided upon DreamHost which I thoroughly enjoyed for a week before we attempted to get an account on there for Freedom-Uplink.

So to test DreamHost out to see if it’d fit our needs, I added freedom-uplink.net as a domain in their control panel but didn’t change the domain’s nameservers.  I was then able to configure pretty much everything we needed.  At this point we decided to sign-up and start using them.

So when we signed up we used a promo code I found in Google to waive the setup fee as we were going to pay monthly (in the event that we found a better solution, or ran out of funds).  Everything was going swell until I tried to add the domain freedom-uplink.net to our new control panel.  It stated that the domain had already existed on the DreamHost servers under a promo’d account and thus we couldn’t use a promo if we wanted to keep our domain.

I tried troubleshooting the issue just in case by making sure the domain was not installed on my employer’s account.  I then proceeded to contact their support, this is where things went downhill.

It turns out that my employers also happened to use a promo code when they signed up to save $50 dollars or something.  And since I was able to “test” my domain and see their control panel, I was not eligible for their promo as it’s for new customers only.  I explained that we’re a non-profit (but not registered in the US) but they were unsympathetic and wanted to charge us $50 dollars which is almost our whole hosting budget for this year.

I continued to try to explain the situation about how I am a new customer which just so happened was able to try it before I buy it and now want to give them money for hopefully years to come.  I even explained that my employer would allow me to host the domain under their account if I wanted, but I’d prefer this setup which meant they get more money.  They were still uninterested.  The closest I got to anyone who understood was a rep who explained that they know that I’m not abusing the system at all, but that the policy is there and they have to be vigilant.

Needless to say I canceled my account with them and got a refund.  Am I sure glad I did too, as I found a hosting company that is several folds better than DreamHost.

Arvixe's Logo.  Best. Hosting. Ever.

Arvixe's Logo. Best. Hosting. Ever.

After searching around, and conversing (see: monologuing) in our IRC channel #Uplink, Sabrebutt made a suggestion.  He suggested using Arvixe.  I had not really heard of them except for a few mentions of it’s good pricing.  At the time I wasn’t looking for hosting so promptly forgot about them.  I revisited them though and after looking over their plans decided that it’s practically the same deal as DreamHost but they have better customer support (24/7 chat, phone or email) and much better reviews online.

So I signed-up and it’s been the best move I’ve made when it comes to web hosting.  Their customer support is extremely helpful and will pretty much bend over backwards to help with any weird requests (Freedom-Uplink is a lot more complicated than I remember it being).  I’m so impressed that I might be looking into seeing if we can get a PromoCode made so we can entice Freedom-Uplink users to sign-up.

So while it was a pain, it worked out extremely well.  And while DreamHost seemed quite awesome at first, in comparison to other hosts such as Arvixe, it has a long way to go to be anywhere near as great.

I’d also like to point out that since we recently moved, please let me know if you find broken links or anything not working like it should.  I think I fixed FeedBurner but won’t know till after this is posted.

I’ve also NOT received any payment from Arvixe or incentive in anyway to sing about their good graces.  Nor will I ever sell out like that.

Review: Knowing

Posted by – July 20, 2009

Knowing Movie Poster

Knowing Movie Poster, avoid at all costs.

There are movies that are crap, and then there are movies you regret even watching, this would be in the latter category.

The movie starts well, and is pretty darn interesting up until about 3/4 through.  It’s about a young girl Lucinda who hears voices in her head, she writes down these numbers that they told her and the numbers are put into the school’s time capsule for fifty years.

Fast-forward five decades and Nicholas Cage’s son gets a hold of her note/letter to the future.  Cage soon discovers that the numbers coincide with large scale deaths since Sept 11, 2001.  He then discovers the end of the world, and it’s date.

It’s a pretty good premise and story, which is why it angers me so that it goes downhill so quick.  However I can’t explain why without giving out spoilers, so here is the warning (although I strongly urge everyone to avoid this movie like a plague).

**SPOILERS BELOW**

Alright so Cage uncovers all these clues including that the Earth will be destroyed by a giant solar flare, and finds out the coordinates they’re suppose to be at to be saved!  However his female counter-part ran off with the children as she was panicking about getting to some caves to try and avoid the carnage.

So eventually Cage gains control again and they rush to the spot to find out that only the children can go with the SPACE ALIENS.  They cry and sob for a bit, the kids go off to their new planet.  We then  watch for 15 minutes as Cage cries, drives to his parents, gives his estranged Dad a hug and then watch them (as well as the world’s inhabitants) melt.

Needless to say I was pissed.  I wasted all this time following all these clues just to have them die in the end anyway?  I’m a fan of twist endings where everyone dies (The Myst) but this wasn’t a movie where this should happen.  There was way too much emphasis on clues and finding out what’s going on to just up and die.

Consider for a moment that if in an Indiana Jones movie if you watch him go through all this trouble solving problems and finding clues just to have him shot and die in the end.  It’d be absolute garbage.

And that’s exactly what this movie was.  If you enjoyed Wicker Man, you may enjoy this movie, otherwise they might as well of spit in my face, or played a 30 second short of the film so I at least wouldn’t be so upset that this movie wasted my time.

Rehash: Recovering A Lost Wallet

Posted by – July 15, 2009

I found this article published on TimesOnline about some Psychologists who placed 240 wallets around Edinburgh with pictures of different things in them amazingly recovered nearly half of them.

Here’s the gist:

Put a baby picture in your wallet and your quite likely to get your wallet back (88 per cent of the 40 were returned [9 out of 10]).  Without a picture only (15 per cent were returned [1 out of  7]).

Why this works:

Scientists argue that it would be difficult to genetically code for feeling empathy exclusively towards your own child and much easier to code for feeling empathy towards all children. If you find a baby alone, there is a good chance it belongs to you, making it an effective evolutionary trait, said Dr Wiseman.

There are a lot of other tidbits in there since they also put pictures of dogs, old people and charity receipt slips and such in the wallets, and it explains how they were scattered to make a good test.  Definately hit it up if your interested.

I for one am going to start carrying a baby picture of myself or the wife.

Want To Keep your wallet? Carry a baby picture.

Emergency Texas Trip 2009

Posted by – July 12, 2009

Some of you may have noticed I haven’t updated in awhile, this was not completely my fault.  Sara’s grandfather past away at the beginning of June (I think it was the 5th, the timeframe is a blur in my mind), so we had to make an emergency trip to Texas.  Two weeks prior we had just bought our first car; a brand new 2009 Toyota Matrix, so we had the means, but we really didn’t think it was going to be as big of a journey as it was.

So we found out at about 2am June 6th, and were on the road about 4pm the same day.  We didn’t have a really big plan, we used Google Maps to set a course, and off we went.  We recorded most of the trip and I’m compiling a DVD of the whole thing, which will be one of the biggest video editing projects I’ve done (not saying much), more on that later.

When we got into Jamestown, ND we discovered that Google was trying to drag us more east than we felt necessary and started charting our course (which was easy) which was to take the 281 HWY all the way down into San Antonio.  Here’s a picture of the voyage, keep in mind those dots (additional destinations) are there to show you the course, and don’t actually mean anything.

This shows our trip down (HWY 281) and our trip up (Interstates).

This shows our trip down (HWY 281) and our trip up (Interstates). (Click on Image to Go to Google Maps)

This image sort of does it justice, but having actually experienced it, it’s pretty insane we even made it.  We did however sustain damage to the vehicle from wildlife.

While driving we ran into (literally and figuratively) a lot of wildlife, mostly sparrows, crows, a turkey on the loose (which really deserves a post on it’s own, I have video and you’ll have to see it), armadillos, fireflies,  and a lot more.

We hit a female, which is the one on the left.

We hit a female, which is the one on the left.

However the damage occurred when we came into direct contact with a Prairie chicken.  It’s a fairly large bird, and they were all over, yet they all knew to move when we got even remotely close.  One of them however happened to run INTO the road and attempted to fly but didn’t make it even an inch off the ground before it got hit with our vehicle going 65-75MPH (forget the speed limit).

Needless to say it died probably instantly, leaving feathers in our grill but also it cracked our front “bumper” and ripped off a big chunk of our mudflap.  It’s probably not going to be cheap to replace either.

We got to see quite a few sights just passing through (just rivers, and such) and I’ll try to get some of the pictures up as well as pictures of the car damage and maybe even some video.

I just wanted to get this up here to explain where I’ve been and I’ll hopefully get to writing a lot more.  I’ve also been throwing some ideas around on posting links to other things I’ve read and commenting on them (providing I feel they’re important and something people would generally miss).  If you’re out there let me know how you like the idea, do people really want my commentary or me reading and deciding what they may be interested in?

P.S.  The reason why the loose turkey is so awesome is because he just darts into the road, runs through fields, ducks under fences gets attacked by some random bird (swoops down upon him several times) and disappears into the horizon all to the soundtrack of “Danger zone” from the radio (through no doing of our own, didn’t notice till the playback).  It might not be funny to all, you might need to be sleep deprived, road weary and have been there.