I don't really have a website. I used to have Furtopia, but I messed up
and my account was frozen. I used to be a paid member here at LiveJournal, but I had to cut costs. For a while it seemed I didn't "really" need a website since I could just embed images directly in journal posts, but LiveJournal recently (and silently) stopped allowing that. As usual, they didn't reply to my support request, so I'm left guessing as to why they did it. My guess: it allows people to not buy LiveJournal memberships because they don't really need the ScrapBook® feature! If that is really the reason, the new owners have flushed brad
's original raison d'être
for this site and I should avoid paying them on principle. That's too bad because I really liked the (poorly-documented) RSS feed of friends-only posts. It was my favourite paid feature.
A few months ago I created a Google Sites
Last night was the beginning of Rosh Hashanah
. Since "Mr. Bear" and I are both Jewish, I generally make a show of not doing any paid work on major Jewish holidays. What to do instead? I worked on my Google site. Problem: it is difficult to figure out how images stored in Google's File Cabinet (example
) are to be hot-linked from other websites (example
— can you see the laptop photo?). In general, it seems that Google Sites is too concerned with preventing you from doing things that will make Google look bad and not concerned enough with ease of (re)use. Also, their Terms of Service allow them to delete your site at any time for any reason or no reason. Hey, if I didn't care about long-term storage or customized programming, I would use Imgur
So I restarted another old project: find an ISP. I wanted
- Server physically located in Waterloo, Ont. (since we have plenty of connectivity here);
- Runs Linux so I don't have to learn another operating system;
- Offers ssh shell access so I don't have to learn another "website control panel";
- Virtual Private Server technology so I can get root access even with "el cheapo" shared hosting;
- PHP and MySQL for custom programming (which is what initially attracted me to Furtopia);
- About $7/month, which is what WestHost used to charge for this feature-set (but they're in Utah, the cheap plan is now $9 and doesn't include ssh anymore).
Last night I found lots of ISPs that had *some* of these features, but none had *all* of them. And reading through HostSearch
was depressing; so many of these hosts have gone out of business after posting their ads. Consider AroundKW
: They're based in Waterloo, but apparently their server is in Florida
. No Linux, no ssh
, and minimum $12/month. Other people offer Linux for as little as $2/month, but almost nobody dares to offer ssh
(which would be suicidal for a Windows-based ISP to offer, due to lack of security).
But lo and behold! HostMDS
offers Linux, ssh
, hosting in Waterdown Ontario
(at least it's in-province, but they claim it's in Toronto
?), and only $6/month
!!! Their Terms of Service
are reasonably clear ("A website is considered using 'Excessive amounts of resources' when it monopolizes the resources available using 10% or more of system resources for longer than 60 seconds.") although it seems wrong to me to mention "Canada" and "DMCA" in the same paragraph. Sorry, Stephen Harper, nobody but you wants a DMCA here in Canada!
So I tried signing up for their basic starter "Unlimited" plan. Things were going fine until I got to the page where it said "To protect against fraud, we will now call the phone number you gave. Enter this PIN when prompted. Click HERE to begin the call." But it was 1 AM and I had sleeping children! Today I managed to get the signup process restarted to the point where their computer did call me and I entered the PIN and also the voiceprint of my name, but the transaction still didn't go through because it had already been "cancelled". I tried a complete do-over, but then it wouldn't give me the hostname I wanted because "this name is already in use at HostMDS; cancel your other website first" but the name isn't in use and it shows in my account as "cancelled; status FRAUD".
I sent email to their sales department, but it's the weekend and they probably won't reply until Monday. And then Rosh Hashanah will be over.
So I had to think of yet another thing to do that wasn't paid work and wasn't 8 boring hours of chanting Hebrew in a synogogue. I started cleaning out my email inbox. I actually managed to get rid of 10% of the oldest entries (down to 371 now) before thinking of something else to do instead: write this post!UPDATE Sunday 20 Sept.:
Heard back from HostMDS sales. The "fraudulent" signup evaporates after 24 hours. So I signed up again and asked for a new phone call—which failed because Wifey was on the phone to her mother! Oh well, guess I'll try again tomrrow.