Archive for Technology

Dreamhost Rocks.

[ music | Queen – We Will Rock You ]

I was hosting some files for a friend in a semi-hidden directory. Well, the URL got leaked, and I got slammed for 300GB of transfer in less than a day. This means I’m looking at about $260+ for bandwidth overages. This is not a good month for that. So I emailed Dreamhost about it. They replied mere hours after I sent my mail, and I sent it at around 4am Eastern time on a Saturday. That means someone was reading it and replying in the wee hours of Saturday morning Pacific time. How can you expect more than that on a billing issue? I’d have been happy with a response Monday morning. And the issue I mailed about was so easily handled I was flabbergasted.

Unlike other hosts, DH doesn’t shut down your site the instant you hit your limit. They do offer a throttling option that once a day checks your use, and if you go over, it’ll change to a backup site YOU create to help limit your overages. This doesn’t totally prevent you from having overages if you get nailed in a single day like me, but it helps limit the bloodflow a lot, automatically. And it turns out I have a significantly generous period in which to pay that bill down, more than I’ll need thanks to the rewards I’ve earned from people who have signed up for DH with me as their referer.

I can’t recommend DH highly enough now. And I’m not even talking about their superb communication, professionalism, and hard work I witnessed on Monday when they were fighting with a catastrophic power failure in Los Angeles. They kept us informed in a series of status updates that continued throughout the week. Very honest communication with their customers and public. They didn’t have to, they chose to. I’ve known web hosts that give little to no explanation about anything. These folks weren’t afraid to admit mistakes, because they learn from those mistakes.

At this point, I’m sold on DreamHost for life. I have no qualms about recommending DreamHost to anyone. If you’re interested in their hosting, use promo-code BE25 to get $25 off your first year.

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Dreamhost Discounts

[ music | Monty Python – Accountancy Shanty ]

Well, New Orleans was spared 20 feet of standing water in the downtown area – this time. They really need to get some better preparations, and hopefully this close call will spur some movement on that front. There was a bar on Bourbon street open quite late into the night last night, and this morning, Jackson Square saw folks welcoming the calm with a drink. You have to love that town. 🙂

So, about Dreamhost. Use promo code BE25 and you get a one-time $25 off your hosting bill. It’s valid for all plans and all term lengths one year or longer. If you sign up for monthly billing, you save $12 off a Level 1 plan, $16 off Level 2, $20 off Level 3, and $25 off Level 4. You can check here for plan details, and enter promo code BE25 on the payment page.

Comments off not so harmonious…

In my never ending quest for misery and self-torture, I went over to after seeing one of their ads on TV for the fifteen-billionth time. I went through their 29 dimentions of compatibility matching profiler, and it came back with “Unable to Match You at This Time”. Yep, their extensive psychological profiling was unable to figure out what kind of girl I might like.

“Unfortunately, we are not able to make our profiles work for you. Our matching model could not accurately predict with whom you would be best matched.”

I could have given them some clues if they allowed a little more input besides religion, smoking, and drinking (like, say, HEIGHT! I like TALL women, damnit!). But no, they instead tell me I’m an enigma that science is unable to understand. Thanks! Anyone want to point me to the nearest bridge?

Click the thumbnail for a screenshot…

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For your supernatural data transfer needs.

<jX> Have you ever been out ghost hunting and suddenly needed a USB flash drive, or been transferring files to your USB flash drive and suddenly needed to check for ghosts?
<jX> PROBLEM SOLVED! (magic token)
<jX> Intricate diagrams in crazy moon man language here: (I can't read this)
<MightyMu> jX: make sure jwz knows about that...

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Fuskered again…

Another six gigabytes up in smoke again yesterday. Recently Slashdot ran a story that perfectly phrased a thought I’ve had for years. The Social Contract. I don’t block most ads because I feel viewing a few ads and occasionally clicking an interesting one is the least I can do in exchange for free content. I also don’t really mind TV ads, except when the SCREAM AT ME and such. I block ads from DoubleClick due to their heinous data tracking efforts, and popup ads. Those break the advertisers’ and content providers’ end of the Social Contract. But normal ads, I leave them alone, because I’m not going to break my end. The key to it is equity and fairness. Don’t make your ads evil or obnoxious, and I’ll view them.

But then there’s Fusker, a web tool to blatantly break the social contract. It’s used primarily for image and porn galleries. It allows the users to scrape all the images on a page or gallery at one time in the browser, bypassing a site’s framing and support content. In the forums they suggest disabling Referrer Logging, to bypass referrer blocks. Referrer identification is useful to servers to help prevent file and image hotlinking, a big drain on bandwidth. I moved from TCH to DreamHost specifically to get more bandwidth. I now have 6 times more than I did. But I got Fuskered again, and at this rate I’ll burn up 180 GB of my 120 GB by the end of the month. That’d leave me with -60GB, which would cost me an extra $60 this month alone. This is not good.

I’m trying to keep the Shared Media directory as open as possible, but I’m having to lock it down a touch. Most people will never notice what going on. That’s good, it means we’re abiding by the social contract. I thank you for that, and that’s why I have some stuff up for folks to enjoy.

But A few of you may be reading this when you were expecting something else. If that’s the case, you were redirected for hotlinking. You’re making it hard for other people to enjoy the stuff I’m trying to share on my nickel. I don’t ask much; don’t be a jerk.

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Adventures in Hard Disk Geometry Translation

Wow. Ok, while my DSL was out, I decided to play with Knoppix. Well, the short of it all is I completely hosed my partition table, and nearly lost all my data. That sucked. I asked for help as I was getting errors from Partition Magic and PARTINFO that I couldn’t decipher. I found a whole new range of computer problems I’d never experienced, and was dying to figure it out. I was 10 again for a while, learning something so basic, yet new to me. Looking back, it’s been a blast fixing it, and I’m glad it happened and I didn’t lose too much data (nothing important). For those technically inclined, below is a more detailed account of what happened and how I fixed it. I posted this to the newsgroup too, to let the few folks who chimed in how things went. I post it here for a different and wider audience. Please feel free to comment. 🙂
» Continue reading “Adventures in Hard Disk Geometry Translation”

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For Sale, Priced To Move!

At these prices, we have to be crazy!

Anyway. For Sale:

  • (2) New, Unopened copy of The Grudge with cardboard foil-printed DVD case cover sleeve. $7 via PayPal, includes postage. Amazon’s marketplace has them starting just under $12, not including shipping. These are new, unopened, 100% legit.(they’re both gone. Sorry folks. It is a good film, though, I finally watched my copy)
  • (1) AMD Athlon processor Socket A, 1GHz (overclockable with proper cooling). Guaranteed to work. Includes heatsink, but no fan. $30, includes shipping. Pricewatch shows them starting at $53.
  • (1) 200MHz and (1) 233MHz Pentium MMX CPUs. Guaranteed to work. $6, includes shipping.

If interested, comment here. I’d like to unload at least the Athlon and DVDs quickly, while they’re still fashionable. 🙂 Thanks.

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Informal Review: Zinio Reader

I was lucky enough to get in on a free 1 year subscription to PC Magazine a couple months ago. I stopped buying it years ago because it was becoming so Internet-centric and home-user oriented that it lost the power-user edge it had when PCs weren’t as popular in the pre-$20-ISP age. I still read it now and then, and the columns from Bill Machrone and especially John C. Dvorak still are almost worth the cover price alone. Sadly, when I got to the free subscription offer, all the print-edition giveaways were gone, so I had to accept the subscription in digital format only. I figured, “well, it’s still PCMag, and still free, so why not.” I already have a print edition subscription to eWeek, and grab the PDF versions when I need an article and I’ve already tossed the aging paper version. I was not-too-pleasantly surprised to see PC Magazine’s digital edition isn’t in PDF, but in a format from a company called Zinio for their proprietary Zinio Reader. Frankly, Adobe’s PDF would have been a far better choice for many reasons. Acrobat even does DRM, which seems to be the main point of using Zinio’s software.
Click the link for my informal review on the app.
» Continue reading “Informal Review: Zinio Reader”

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Scavenged Dreamcast and PS1

Well, my neighbor threw out a Dreamcast and an original model PlayStation. I grabbed the PS1 for no particular reason, but the DC can run Linux, so I was excited to see it. But, no accompanying cordage came with it, so I’m on the look out for free/cheap AV cables and controllers. If anyone has some they want to give away, let me know. I love old hardware. 🙂

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Google lowers IPO share price expectations.

For the hell of it, I got a Google IPO Auction Bidder ID. Not that I had the money to buy any, just for kicks. This morning, some interesting info came through the pipe.

Please be advised that the prospectus for the offering of Google’s Class A common stock will be amended to change the estimated offering price range and the number of shares to be sold in the offering. The offering price is now expected to be between $85 and $95 per share. Google expects to sell 14,142,135 shares of Class A common stock in the offering as originally filed. The selling shareholders are reducing the shares they expect to sell to approximately 5.5 million shares in view of this new price range. This is a reduction of approximately 6.1 million shares. In addition, the selling shareholders have granted the underwriters the right to purchase approximately 2.9 million additional shares of Class A common stock at the initial public offering price to cover over-allotments.

I guess the auction didn’t go quite as well as planned. I personally figured $135 a share was high, but I didn’t think the price would come in $40-$50 a share less than anticipated. Interesting though…

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