Archive for category Annoyances

Changing the circumference of my webisphere

My hobby sites make me sad. They’re a lot of fun and give me a good place to dig around in my PHP and Ruby sandboxes, but they’re a tremendous amount of effort to maintain. They were well worth it to me 14 years ago, when not many people in my little set of concentric circles had the hutzpa to register, set up and administer their own domains. Network Solutions charged about $75 per year then, too, and that was just for the registry. The hosting fees and all the other constant nibbles at my wallet kept me motivitated to stay active with it and do good enough stuff to justify all the various expenses and aggravations involved.

These days things are a ton cheaper. I moved to PairLite last December, and that costs about half of what I was paying each month for my regular Pair account. Plus, since I made the switch not long after they began the new service, I was able to take advantage of the two-for-one offer they had at the time and wound up getting two years of service for $99. Plus, domain registrations at PairNIC are only $16 or $17 per year, and they often have $10 specials for long-term pricing. I bought a 4 year renewal on two of my domains not too long ago for that price. I know there are cut-rate places like GoDaddy that always have the cheaper rates, but saving a couple of dollars isn’t worth what I’d be giving up with PairNIC (yes, I’m quite pleased with Pair and all their offerings… how could you tell?). Anyway, there are so many crappy little cheap hosting providers around now that, coupled with the current bottom-drawer domain pricing and the trend toward effortless (but crummy) website-in-a-box templates that providers supply, there’s really no reason why a person of mediocre intelligence and disposable income couldn’t have his own site, complete with vanity email address. And from some of the stuff out there, it’s apparent that the intelligence level need not even rank as high as mediocre.

Anymore it seems harder and harder to justify the effort of keeping all my webtoys active. The cost isn’t a big factor anymore, like I said, but I currently have neither the time or patience to develop and maintain all the tools and sites and whatnot that have been occupying the bulk of my mental wishlist for many years now. And right now, with my little son demanding as much attention as he does, even having to maintain the simple stuff keeps me peeved most of the time.

I’m working on some things right now that should help reduce some frustrations, and also give me a sense of accomplishment. Big Carter probably thinks there should be ten of them so it’d be a proper list, but unfortunately there are only two. I should probably make the numbers really big so the list will appear longer, but I think I’ll just handle it the way I do everything else: talk about it for a while and not actually do it.

  1. Move all mail handling for from PairLite to GMail.
    Mail storage is eating up two-thirds of my disk quota at PairLite, plus I’m just about sick to pieces of struggling with spam. Switching to GMail will help tremendously on both counts, plus our email addresses won’t have to change.
  2. Use this guy’s thing to merge the file structures of the four WordPress blogs I maintain.
    I almost deleted the word “maintain” there, because what I mostly do is stress about how out-of-date most of them are all the time. With the low traffic they all have, in terms of viewers and active posting, it never really seems worth my time to meddle with them.

And, hey, if these things don’t work out, they’ll probably at least give me something good to bitch about here.

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Whipping Vista, sorta…

Vista is crap. Let me just lead with that. I got all excited about the possibility of downgrading to XP, but my hopes were dashed like so many Hobbits on the rocks after reading that Home Premium wasn’t one of the versions included in the offer.

So I’ll have to move my expensive-as-crap XP Pro license from my desktop to my laptop, and I guess just be happy with a KDE desktop downstairs or something. I don’t delude myself that I’ll have time to do that anytime soon, though, so in the meantime I’ll have to be stuck with Microsoft’s most miserable excuse for an OS yet.

Today I learned something new about the crappy thing, though, that brings it a bug’s hair closer to the pathetic/miserable threshold (it still has miles to go before I’ll consider it good enough to be a pathetic OS): how to permanently unblock an application Vista won’t stop bitching about, no matter how many times you uncheck the “always annoy me about this” checkbox or click the “freaking unblock this application” button. It’s a simple fix, really, but to a problem that (in Microsoft’s typical fashion) is remarkably stupid.

This example is a discussion of unblocking the excellent PuTTY SSH/Telnet client, but it should work in most similar situations.

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