somewhere to talk about random ideas and projects like everyone else



New Host Bitcable 30 September 2012

I haven’t been particularly raving about Hostmonster for the near two years I’ve been a customer of their’s, and it’s time for a change. In the past week, I moved to a new web host. As of this moment, I’m using Bitcable, specifically the cheapest shared plan plus another discount. I’ve had my share of gripes about the service, but speed and reliability so far have not been among them. I discovered Bitcable through a friend who knew a friend who operated a web host, well, primarily a VPS service. Over a fair amount of begging for a VPS discount, I decided to try out their (I always find it awkward when referring to companies or services as a plural in spite of knowledge that it’s pretty much a one-man-show, but that makes it all the more impressive) shared plan, since that was analogous whatever I was paying for with Hostmonster. And anyway, for $2/mo, how bad can it get?

That question was a tad misleading, so far, Bitcable’s pretty awesome. Part of the thing about using a service from a friend-of-a-friend (FOAF, if I ever need to use an acronym later on in this post, but I’ll keep it here just because it’s a fun thing to say) is that you can get some pretty good support over some random communication channels. It’s small enough that he doesn’t oversell, and the performance really shows through.

I did, however have some issues with the configuration of the server. The first issue is that by default, shared customers don’t get SFTP access. That’s pretty annoying because I’ve recently fallen in love with passwordless login using public keys. I sent an angry support ticket and it was enabled soon enough. But a much more pressing issue was that soon after my migration, there was some long server outage due to some power supply failure (which thankfully, since it took over a month to write this post which is more indicative of the bad state that my blog is in than the host, hasn’t happened again, I haven’t noticed a minute of downtime since then and I’ve set uptime monitors to ensure that).

So yeah, I’ll be on this host for the foreseeable future.

Upcoming Changes 18 August 2012

This post has been hinted at by the past few blog posts, but I guess eventually it has to be written. But the basic gist is that rather than making this the home of random announcements of mostly finished projects, it’ll be the home of mostly daily (or weekly, whenever significant progress is made) and probably shorter updates on the progress certain projects. That is, the blog is transitioning back into something more like the olden days (circa 2008-ish) but without falling into the trap of using this as an alternative to having commit messages and still supporting the fact I’m now working on quite a bit more than one project at a time.

The problem is that I can’t exactly stay true to that because I actually have quite a bit of backlog in terms of stuff I have to write about, stuff which is for the most part done (so it’s not particularly viable for me to make up progress updates retroactively, and I’ll probably have to stick with writing a big blog post about it).

This should be the culmination of tons of factors and trends building up for the past year or so. I’ve always felt that the blog needed to be overhauled eventually (or end up rotting as nothing more than a backup kept in the eternal resting spot which is the Internet Archive, leaching fluids into the soil as bacterium leave the corpse punctured by holes and missing vital organs, a sure sign that I’m probably going too far into this metaphor, but in the end that’s the way many of the forums I used to visit have become). But the real spark came in the form of a migration to a new web host, something which I still alas have yet to blog about despite it happening over a week ago.

Those changes are hardly precipitous (however much anyone wants to unveil something in one flash of an instant in order to feign the appearance that everything happened suddenly and approached new heights of grandeur, that never actually happens, and it’s simply harder to work in that sort of manner - slow and steady doesn’t always lose the race). The first part was the change of the web host itself which was actually not exactly planned (I was testing out it, and unexpectedly on a whim cancelled my old web host and migrated over over the course of an afternoon and left the site down for a few hours). The second front at which this evolution occurred was a slight redesign, changing the color scheme a bit, upgrading the theme, reorganizing the categories and menus (this is meant to be chronicled in detail in some other blog post which I have yet to written). And the third and last one (which was meant to be the topic of this blog post) is a change in content.

In summary, three inevitable changes on three different fronts. Content, Frontend, and Backend. All in a not-so-grand gesture to save this blog from decaying into a moldy blob of feces on the internet’s great sidewalk.