ServerBeach versus XLHost

December 13, 2005 at 6:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 25 Comments

So I’m just plain jonesing to do the podcast. That means bandwidth and that means storage. And the desire to play with stuff that TextDrive* just won’t support means that I’m going down the dedicated server route. Given that I’m an ex-Rackspace customer this really isn’t surprising at all to me. I just like having a box which is dedicated to my whacky adventures. Example: The ability to install MySQL 5 and start using it in Python. My TextDrive won’t give me that since its shared hosting. And given that I’m a true MySQL believer and my other buddy Mike says its ready then I want to be all over it. Stored procedures here I come!
So Kevin thinks I should go ServerBeach and Nick thinks I should go XLHost. XLHost is cheaper and offers remote reboot via the web which is, imho, important. XLHost also does a better job on the “Sucks” test:

So anyone out there have any direct experience with either of these guys ? Thanks in advance.
*TextDrive which both Mike and Niall recommended is actually excellent.


Busy Podcasters Guide

December 9, 2005 at 6:47 am | Posted in podcasting, Uncategorized | 34 Comments


Google Desktop Continued

December 9, 2005 at 3:09 am | Posted in Computing Tips, Uncategorized, windows | 13 Comments

So I’m on like Day 3 or so of Google desktop.   Overall I’m still happy.  Some things have changed:

  • I really want Google desktop to index my Gaim logs.  Sadly it won’t and the plug in for it has gone missing (site offline). If the owner of could put their web page back I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants it and if anyone has the whole source for this (it seems like it was open source at one point), I’d be interested in stepping up and maintaining it (yes I really want IM indexing that bad)
  • I’ve reduced the sidebar applets to mostly just the Scratch Pad and the Todo list.
  • The Photos widget can be embarassing if you have any photos on your machine that aren’t work safe (or you have kids around).  Oops.
  • I discovered that double clicking the size of a sidebar panel increases its size (basically the equivalent of maximizing the window but in a vertical context).  Its very, very nice actually.

Overall I’m hugely pleased with Google Desktop.  Its small, light, fast and “feels right”.  Bravo guys.

Link : How to change your AIM password without downloadin the client software

December 9, 2005 at 1:35 am | Posted in Computing Tips, Uncategorized | 76 Comments

Just go here.  And change ‘foo’ to whatever your account name is (there’s a form field; you don’t have to do it manually at the link level).

Podcasting — How to save money on your bandwidth

December 8, 2005 at 7:13 am | Posted in podcasting, Uncategorized | 24 Comments

When I was speaking at search engine strategies a few days ago, I had this wonderful discussion about podcasting with Randall (Hi Randall; hope all is well; sorry I can’t link to you but I lost your business card).  Randall is in the real estate business and they want to do a podcast.  Like a lot of real internet businesses, they own their own hardware and want to do podcasts but are concerned about the bandwidth.  Yeah I could argue about how bandwidth is cheap, etc but the simple fact is that he was right and I was wrong.

Regardless of how bandwidth is priced, the fact is that he feels its expensive so the question became to me:

How do I make him realize that there is cheap bandwidth out there?

And then, in a flash of clarity like a bolt from above, it struck me: The answer is in DNS.  DNS or “domain name system” is what matches up Internet IP addresses to Internet hostnames.  And, like many geeks, I often thing that the answer is in DNS.  And what he really needs is to do this:

  1. Start podcasting
  2. Create where is the company’s real DNS name.
  3. Set up an alias for  because people will get the singular versus plural wrong anyway.
  4. Store all of your podcast media files whether video or audio on a cheap server like TextDrive or ServerBeach or whatever.    You don’t need expensive bandwidth and 5 9s of reliablity for media files.  As different companies come out and are cheap then rotate your DNS entries onto some new hosting place.

See?  Wasn’t that simple?  Seriously tho if you’ve got a real data center and you want to experiment with something like podcasting, don’t store the data files on your SAN or use up bandwidth at in your real NOC.  Just get some cheap hosting and get on it.  DNS can isolate you from all but very temporary breakages.

Ubuntu — where is the apache root ?

December 8, 2005 at 5:36 am | Posted in ubuntu, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

ls /var/www/apache2-default/

Ubuntu – where is the apache error log ?

December 8, 2005 at 5:16 am | Posted in ubuntu, Uncategorized | 13 Comments

tail -f  /var/log/apache2/error.log

Ubuntu – Where is httpd.conf for setting up apache ?

December 8, 2005 at 4:50 am | Posted in ubuntu, Uncategorized | 25 Comments


or in my VI centric little world:

vi /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

Ubunto – Installing Django

December 8, 2005 at 4:49 am | Posted in django, python, ubuntu, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So I’ve decided to go with Django as my 1st python web framework.  The documentation is basically spot on but I hit a typically bizarre setup error about not being able to find make files under the python directory so I loaded up Synaptic Package manager and selected Autoconf and then did a search for python and basically selected close to everything and clicked update and it just plain worked.  Outstanding!

1st Notes on Google Desktop

December 8, 2005 at 1:53 am | Posted in Computing Tips, search, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So here’s the report on the 1st day of the 30 days. Here’s what it looks like on my system:

GDS Main Screen

And here are some details:

  • I moved it from the far right hand edge of the screen to the far left. That feels more right for what its worth.
  • I’ve seen a few window redraw issues and my windows programming experience says that that’s tied to applications grabbing the wrong screen contexts / sizes and making assumptions that they had the whole display area. Given that I didn’t see any of that before I moved it, there must be some bad fu associated with left hand side of the screen (and that’s likly why Google put it on the right). Still I read from left to right so having it on the left feels right.
  • The internal notepad, “Scratch Pad”, is brilliant. All of my machines since 1995 have had a single file, todo.txt, launched at startup into notepad.exe or another editor. Why? Well its my equivalent of a sticky pad / writing on the screen. This is better since its moderately visual and I can always see it.
  • So that’s great BUT their own search engine can’t find text you type into it. I started by entering “where doth these notes go” into the Scratch Pad but now 12 hours after I typed it in, its still not indexed. Consistency thy name is engineer!
  • Not knowing where the data is stored for Scratch Pad bothers me a lot but that’s just me.
  • The little todo list widget is nice. Very nice. I’m the classically disorganized guy who focuses hugely on what’s in front of him so having this is cool.
  • The email widget is really, really nice but I don’t understand the filters UI at all. Here’s what it looks like:

    GDS Filters

  • I know that’s hard to see but the idea is that you put in terms of what you don’t want to see in your list of emails.  I like that because I don’t want a list of 10,000 messages in here.  But what I don’t understand is how to use this dialog.  Subject is a text field as is From and To.  So do I put the words in the subject field or the Has the Words field.  I suspect that what they wanted was a checkbox or radio button here.  Recommendation: See Thunderbird’s filters dialog box.  While I have many, many issues with Thunderbird, they really did get filters right.
  • It seems hard to do filename searches or perhaps it was still indexing my disc.  I wanted to hack the iPodder / Juice code a wee bit to help my snaky goodness (Python) and was looking for xrced and all it found was a mail message containing a reference to xrced but not the xrced script.
  • I’m hugely biased towards currency in search results.  Hey I founded Feedster right?  For me currency is often all that matters.  If I’m searching for *.doc what I want are the latest *.doc files NOT everything on my blasted hard disc.  I’d strongly recommend to whoever writes this absolute gem of a piece of software that they read Gelertner’s papers on the Timestream / Lifestream approach to organizing data.  Gelertner rocks.

But overall I still love this little beast.  Its actually gotten me to respond to emails which any long time reader knows I generally don’t do.

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