TechFriday: Servers, webhosting, pricing and performance

Posted By on January 19, 2018

Besides my personally server and fading Raspberry Pi server projects (just too small), I been using several different companies to host Internet connected servers for Consolidated Printing and Publishing’s customers – traditional servers and virtual Droplets. Having used a variety of dedicated servers and virtual shared machines over the years since first getting into archiving digitally for customers and webhosting in the 1990s, I’ve seen good and I’ve seen really lousy.


A current favorite is DigitalOcean. Their "Droplet" options are near perfect for most Linux projects; they are inexpensive, reliable and can be "spun up" quickly for each customer or a testing environment. The longer I use them, the more comfortable I am with scalable cloud computing. About the only thing I dislike is ServerUpgrademanaging (and paying for) backups and "snapshots." The latter I use the most.

Recently they upgraded performance and pricing to bring them inline with the lowest cost players in the business … although I haven’t looked into Vultr or Linode since a few dollars a month isn’t hardly worth switching (who knows, I might give them a try next project though?)

For now, all seems to be working with my old school servers and using Digital Ocean for virtual machines and attached SSD volumes. MyDesultoryBlog running on WordPress occasionally stresses the smaller processor and memory, so with the new pricing I’ve added some additional memory and some SSD storage, plus use a DO Volume for some extra storage, Amazon Web Services (AWS) for streaming video and my company’s server for most photos.

Perhaps in 2018 I’ll give MongoDB and Digital Ocean’s Spaces a try for my stalled project? If you are interesting in anything I can do for you, send me a message.

Do you boil water in a microwave? Take note …

Posted By on January 18, 2018

An old warning that has been passed around the Internet before, but because something similar happened to me with a Corning Corelle bowl last month, figure it was worth sharing.

Boiling Water in a Microwave (also see Snopes)

A 26-year old man decided to have a cup of coffee. He took a cup of water and put it in the microwave to heat it up (something that he had done numerous times before). I am not sure how long he set the timer for, but he wanted to bring the water to a boil. When the timer shut the oven off, he removed the cup from the oven. As he looked into the cup, he noted that the water was not boiling, but suddenly the water in the cup ‘blew up’ into his face. The cup remained intact until he threw it out of his hand, but all the water had flown out into his face due to the build-up of energy . His whole face is blistered and he has 1st and 2nd degree burns to his face which may leave scarring.

He also may have lost partial sight in his left eye. While at the hospital, the doctor who was attending to him stated that this is a fairly common occurrence and water (alone) should never be heated in a microwave oven. If water is heated in this manner, something should be placed in the cup to diffuse the energy such as a wooden stir stick, tea bag, etc, (nothing metal).

General Electric’s Response: (more…)

A beautiful sunset looking west towards downtown Cincinnati

Posted By on January 17, 2018


Taylor continues to impress me with his enjoying photography. Above isa recent photo (click for larger) he sent me overlooking Cincinnati along the Ohio River – another beautiful sunset photo. I told him that I was going to start encoding them with a digital watermark they are so nice.

I’d like to think of him as a "chip off the ol’ block," … but I faded from the hobby of photography by the time I was his age and only ended up falling back on what CPPBuildingArtworkI learn in order to teach it (stipend for grad school) and in a way go into business (worked for a newspaper company and started a printing and publishing business– Hmm … I guess the hobby skills transferred a little?)

I hope he stays with it and can enjoy keeping it as a hobby … because from personal experience, once you start making money with it … the interest as a hobby fades or at least it did for me. Great photo Taylor! Keep them coming.

Doppelgänger time with Google Arts and Culture app

Posted By on January 16, 2018

Ok … this Google app is a bit personal … but curiosity and some appreciation for art has me interested enough to forgo my privacy concerns. Google updated their Art and Culture app that compares a persons selfie with their huge archive of art from museums and other institutions. The computer-vision technology compares points on your photo the the ones on thousands of portraits and offers up your doppelgänger.

Here we go with mine, now it’s your turn to give it a try: Android app or iPhone app.



Do something for someone this Martin Luther King Jr holiday

Posted By on January 15, 2018

Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.Today, January 15, 2018, our nation celebrates the life and accomplishments of one of our greatest Americans on his national holiday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This past Friday, President Trump signed a proclamation that honors Dr. King by designating his birthplace, church and tomb as a National Historic Park.

Along with the president’s respectful remarks, Housing Secretary Ben Carson made an even more inspiring speech … at least it was for me. If you don’t find time for "national service" today, at least spend a few minutes listening to Dr. Carson and perhaps follow the recommendation of Pastor Isaac Newton Farris by remember Dr. King in "doing something that benefits someone other than yourself."  

  Sec Ben Carson and Pastor Ferris remarks (mp3) | 1/12/2018


An old wooden ladder and memories good and bad

Posted By on January 14, 2018

OldBoatLadderToLoft180106As my son Taylor said, “ladders will be our family’s downfall.” So true …

The old wooden ladder I inherited from the late Harry McKee when we bought our first sailboat Brenich in the early 1980s is still in active service. It is no longer chained to the old boat cradle we kept in Huron, Ohio (where we stored it), but now is used regularly to access the loft in our poolhouse / detached garage. I found myself chuckling at the “vintage shag carpet” still duct taped to the ladder — I used it to protect the side of the boat!

As for “ladders being our family’s downfall,” this past week while putting away Christmas decorations, I climbed up to the loft as I’ve done hundreds of times in order to put away the wreaths and such and on the way down felt a rung crack ending up on the floor. Thankfully I was at the bottom so the fall was not anything like the one that injured Brenda or her Dad. The biggest take-away is “not to step in the middle of the rung” (I know that) AND take note that the bathroom scale does not lie! (Yes, I’ve gained a few pounds this past year … ugh!)

Here’s a great shot of the ladder (before cutting it shorter) and a “young” Brenda and Rich with Brenich in 1983.


Encore has a new dock space in February if she is ready?

Posted By on January 13, 2018

Google Maps view of the space D-8 that will be Encore’s new dock

After hauling Encore last year for some much needed out-of-water bottom work, I’m hoping to relaunch and have her back in the water in February for the improving weather this upcoming spring. But with such few trips and infrequent sailing, I’m torn between keeping her EncoreOnTheHard170714and testing the market with a FSBO sign? 

Having owned and worked on her for the last several years planning for our "great escape" and thinking Brenda and I would be able to fly down to Florida and sail regularly before we fully retire, I’m starting to have my doubts? "Realistically," we are still a few years from retirement and health insurance when not working (Medicare) … and are currently both enjoying our very comfortable home, granddaughter and family who are now all in Ohio.  What to do, what to do???

So for now, I’ll buy a little more time, try to enjoy life and escape now and then to the boat when possible – it’s really not all that bad!

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.