Tag Archives: host services

ahhhh! now we find out…

my newly redesigned site uses the enfold theme, which has faulty (under certain circumstances) caching and optimisation routines, so we use lightspeed cache, which doesn’t have those (particular) faults, and works better (under certain circumstances).

except, last year, prior to my site being redesigned (when i was still using the avada theme), i was told (by SOMEONE) to disable lightspeed cache, because it had some sort of incompatibility with… something…

so, i went through the site redesign with a disabled lightspeed plugin. no problem, until i put in the enfold theme, and whatever circumstances that cause the caching and optimisation routines to fail, were happening, which was the cause of the first go-round.

turning on the lightspeed cache fixed the first go-round, but whatever incompatibility i was trying to avoid by having the lightspeed plugin disabled, took effect, which was the cause of the second go-round.

which was further confused by the fact that part of my routine for fixing the first go-round was good enough that it fixed the second go-round well enough that i didn’t find out about it until it was too late.

what i found out, today, via my web developer, is that the people who make the lightspeed cache and webhost python (my host provider) have their own battle going on: on webhost python’s servers (which include mine), the lightspeed plugin causes expired transients to multiply and duplicate. lightspeed says it’s python’s fault. python disagrees…

on the record…

OFF the record, python agrees that there is a bug in their system that they haven’t found yet… compounded by the fact that it was THEIR ERROR which caused the third go-round… 😠 but it’s not for me to say “i told you so”, especially with my already somewhat precarious position with this particular host provider…

and so, i’m caught in the middle. 😒

apparently, for the time being anyway, the plan is to disable the caching modules on both enfold AND lightspeed, keep an eye on the database (which hasn’t blown up since implementing this plan), clear the expired transients manually, and examine other options for a cache.

😒

oy! why won’t this just go away?

at midnight (which was 3:00 in the morning, florida time), i got a message saying that the database was blowing up again. they said it was 183 GIGABYTES

because of the fact that i was asleep (thankfully), i didn’t actually read the message until 7:00 my time (10:00 florida time). i immediately logged into my web server, and discovered that the MySQL disk usage was lower than i have ever seen it before, which is to say 253 MEGABYTES

what this tells me is that there’s something else going on besides this whole “enfold-theme-not-caching-correctly” horseshit.

which is bad.

it also tells me that, whatever it is, we haven’t actually found it… we may have found another problem, but not the one for which we’re looking… yet…

which is bad, but not as bad as it could be.

it also tells me that, whatever it is that is going wrong, the cronjob that we put in place to solve the problem, works, REGARDLESS of the actual problem.

which is good.

but, when it comes right down to it, it is not good for me to be so stressed out about something over which i have very little control.

which is bad.

something has to be done. this is ridiculous.

oh, but it couldn’t have ended there, now, could it?

and the answer is, a big, fat, OF COURSE NOT! 😒

i woke up this morning, and couldn’t log in to my web site… at, like, SEVEN in the fucking morning, i was wide awake because i couldn’t log in to my web site.

at NINE, the web designer gets back to me. he can’t login either. apparently the host provider has disabled the config file that makes everything work — i login using SSH, and there’s the file… everything LOOKS okay, but… the host provider apparently did SOMETHING to my web site. as far as i can tell, everything works, sort of, until you get one or two pages deep, at which point it gives me a “unable to connect to database” error.

😠

so, i file a ticket with the host provider. a couple hours later, (all the while, i’m sweating bullets) they get back to me, apparently, the database blew up AGAIN. they disabled the config file so that nobody could use the web site, because the database was growing by gigabytes A SECOND.

😠😠

eventually (seriously, they took most of the day to UN-disable the config file), the web designer went in and turned off everything having to do with the built-in, screwy, does-not-work, enfold caching and optimisation routines, turned OFF “store transients”, and set a cronfile to delete three rows of a table in the database, every hour.

😠😠😠😠‼‼‼

this better be the last of it for a while, because i’m just about ready to throw in the towel.

database update

the database is fixed. 😌

what happened? that’s complex.

recently, i had my web site redesigned. the new design uses the “Enfold” theme, which uses a lot of what they call “transients” to maintain the look and feel of the site, regardless of the platform on which it’s being viewed. “transients” are sort of like cookies, except that you can’t opt out of them, and they don’t contain any personally identifying information. some of these “transients” expire immediately when a person leaves the web site, and others persist, for a few minutes to several days. they persist on your computer AND on my server… in the one of the tables in the database…

the “Enfold” theme has automatic caching and garbage collection routines that are supposed to handle these expired “transients”, but, because it’s a wordpress theme, it doesn’t do all the jobs very well… or, sometimes, at all… which is why i also use a caching plugin that actually, you know, works ALL the time, and not only some of the time… 😒

except that, for some reason, prior to my site upgrade, “someone” (and i have yet to identify who, but it was either my web designer or my host provider) recommended that i disable the caching plugin, because of some issue with the new version of wordpress… or something like that… as i said, i don’t remember. i distinctly remember disabling the plugin on someone’s recommendation, i just don’t remember exactly who, when or why. 😖

one way or the other, my caching plugin was disabled, which meant that, when i installed the new theme, it was relying on the not-working-the-way-it-should, internal cache… which, basically, didn’t work, causing the table in the database to expand beyond my disk space allocation. 🤯

it didn’t show up in my cPanel because i wasn’t looking at the SQL disk space, which is “below the fold” of my browser, and i just didn’t scroll down far enough to see it. 😕 during the nightly automatic backup, it was overwhelming the server for everybody, not just me. i had to pay my web designer for two days of poking through piles of arcane SQL code and deleting bits and pieces of it. it was not fun.

the solution was to enable the caching plugin(!), and to install a “transient manager” plugin, so that i can delete the expired transients from the wordpress dashboard, and not from the SQL database,… which requires A LOT more “knowing what to look for” and “knowing how to delete stuff without damaging other stuff” than i have on board, personally.

databases

my first direct experience with databases was in the late 1980s or early 1990s, when i got a “job”, “working” for this… guy…

i don’t remember his name — possibly “henry” — but i remember his attitudes: he was always right, nothing he thought of had ever been thought of before, he was the richest, smartest, trendiest, most “on-top-of-it” dude that ever hit the face of the planet, and GAWD HELP YOU if you EVER got in his way.

needless to say, the “job” didn’t last long. it started with him demonstrating how generous he was, by buying me a disk caddy, so that i would have somewhere to keep all of the disks i was going to accumulate working for him. then he started asking me about computers. at the time, i was NOT a “computer geek”, nor did i want to be one (my father was one of the original “computer geeks” and i DID NOT want to be like my father), but i knew about computers because i had been working as a typesetter for a few years. he asked me what i didn’t know about computers, and one of the first things out of my mouth was “databases”, so he signed me up for a week of training with “FileMaker”…

what i learned was a bunch of recycled stuff from my already ample knowledge of microslut word and excel, with a bunch of “hypercard-like” stuff which i sort of vaguely understood (but nobody i knew used hypercard for anything, so i never really knew what i had missed until years later), and, at the same time i was doing this training, i was helping this… guy… clean out his house, because he was going through a divorce, or some awful shit like that, and he, basically, had to move EVERYTHING that was “his”, out of one house and into another, that was a few houses down the street…

which is where i learned that his “rich” persona was heavily financed by several HUNDRED overdrawn credit cards — he had been using one credit card to pay off another credit card, and when he ran out of credit cards, he would just start up a new one, and use it to pay off the previous ones… FOR YEARS… — at which point i decided that working for this guy might not be such a good idea, if i wanted to get paid.

quite apart from the fact that working for him was REALLY annoying…

so, ultimately, i spent a week learning really complex software that i never got to use for anything, and that was it, until i got my job at software.com, testing email servers, in 2001.

and, for all of my work with databases at software.com/openwave, i still don’t have a really solid grasp of what they are… where they “live”, what they do, how they work… anything… all i know is that, under the right set of circumstances, you can give “commands” to a database, and it will perform certain functions with a variety of different “objects”, the outcomes of which can be used in a multitude of different ways, depending on what is contained in your database.

i get the impression that databases are a lot like the world wide web, in that they both have a lot of objects (web sites) that are linked together in a somewhat-haphazard, but definitely organised way.

so, you can imagine that it was something of a surprise when, the other morning, i woke up, checked my email, and discovered two somewhat alarming notices. the first was warning me that i had used up 90% of my disk space on my server, and the other was warning me that a “table” on my main database was malfunctioning… or something… and collecting 251 GB worth of data… which, somehow, was NOT showing up in my cPanel, which says “Disk Usage 18.43 GB / 292.97 GB”…

and, of course, it happened on a sunday, when nobody’s in the office, and on mothers day, when even fewer people are in the office, and during a PANDEMIC… 😒

so, first thing this morning, after waking up to a broken heat pump, and a wife who wrenched her back, i wrote to my web designer, who said, oh yeah, we’ve seen this kind of thing before, it’ll cost between $200 and $500 to fix it…

and I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT’S WRONG… 😖

the battle…

the battle of other peoples’ computer started before i left for the fair.

about a week before the fair, my (now former) host provider decided to move the machine on which all of my web sites live from californa to florida. in the move, they somehow freaked out my VPN, because it started giving me an error that said “socket operation timed out” whenever i tried to send email. i could receive email just fine, but no sending.

and, because of the fact that the VPN isn’t SUPPOSED to interfere with normal network functions, i didn’t suspect that was the cause.

then my clients started reporting intermittent email failures. so i contacted my (now former) host provider and inquired about answers to what you would expect to be their problem (since they are, now “were”, my host provider).

as the week progressed, there was also concern that my scheduled web maintenance (which i wanted to have happen before the fair) was not possible, because of the ongoing problems with the web server, combined with the host-provider-support-drones who couldn’t speak english, answered (or not) only one question at a time, and who persisted in giving me scripted instructions for how (not) to fix the problem on a windoesn’t machine.

fortunately, most of my clients were also at the fair, and couldn’t access their email anyway. i gave up after being there one day, and only getting spotty WIFI coverage on my personal hotspot.

when i got home, much to my surprise, the ticket i had opened to fix the problem had been closed, but there had been no “fixing”… they closed the ticket because i hadn’t responded to it in three days, not because they had fixed the problem. almost as though they thought, if i wasn’t there to harrass them, there wasn’t a problem that they needed to work on.

i reprimanded them, and proceded to deal with my, now worsening, email problem. macque couldn’t access the list, monique’s email was spotty at best, a number of people said they had “given up” on getting messages to the list, and i STILL could only receive email, but not send.

i tried to deal with the now former web host for another week, getting less and less actual information, and more and more frustrated with my inability to communicate in anything like english (which strikes me as somewhat odd, given that it’s a british company, located in london). finally i had enough, and switched host providers…

AGAIN… 8/

it’s been about five years since i switched to EZPZ and ended my spree of switching host providers about every 6 months for a couple of years, and, at first, they were cheap AND excellent host providers… but in the past couple of years, i guess they must have outsourced their support, or something, because suddenly their tech support got CONSIDERABLY worse, and their language skills steadily decreased to the point where i would have to, DELIBERATELY avoid asking more than one question per ticket, in order to get anything close to a complete answer…

so, i switched host providers about a week ago. they quickly diagnosed my VPN problem, and got monique’s email working, sort of… but i forgot that i don’t have complete control over all my domains (Rev. Guido DeLuxe is actually the owner of two of them), and, instead of getting better, monique’s email problem actually got worse…

and the new host provider — ionblade — had conveniently forgotten to add “mailing lists” to my cpanel, so the two mailing lists i manage were completely offline…

and, meanwhile, i had to explain to macque that sending to “official-list-owner” sent mail to me, while sending to “official-list” sent mail to the list, and, because of the fact that i couldn’t send email, i couldn’t actually do something sensible, like forward his message… and even if i had been able to forward his message, i would have gotten a bounce also, because the FUCKING EMAIL LIST WAS DOWN!!

i actually helped them diagnose the VPN problem: i learned that i could access webmail at hybridelephant, but that it forwarded me to their server, and i could send from that, which i did for about a week. then the VPN updated, and quit working all together on my tablet, which meant that i had to do the “run-around” on my linux box when i absolutely HAD to respond to someone. basically, i took the message to which i had to respond, responded in my email client, copied the message, switched to a browser with webmail open, hit “compose new message” and pasted the message into that, in order to be able to send. when i couldn’t do that, either because my computer was down for the night, or i didn’t have access to it, i would use the browser on my tablet to respond. at some point within the past few days, it dawned on me that if i could send from webmail from port 80, even though my VPN was up, maybe the VPN was getting in the way, so i tried disabling it, and — lo and behold — the message went through. i enabled the VPN again, tried sending a message, and “socket operation timed out”. disabling the VPN made the message go through almost immediately.

so, i opened TWO tickets at the VPN provider, one about my tablet, and one to find out if there is some way to un-block my SMTP service on port 465. i (FINALLY) convinced the (new) host provider to re-add “mailing lists” to my cpanel, and, like magic, i suddenly had email lists that work (i think) again.

i (still) have two open tickets with the VPN provider, but my impression is that if they’ve got a bug that affects the connection of my tablet, it has probably struck a lot of people with similar tablets, so they’ve got a lot to deal with.

and i’ve still got web updates to get to, but the web update guy says that they can wait for a month or so, at which point there will probably be more anyway…

why is this happening?

several of my web hosting clients have been having trouble with their email not getting through, recently. i went through a frighteningly similar situation last year, which ended up with my moving my web sites, lock stock and CGI scripts, to another server with a different IP address… same host provider, just a different IP address. the reason was that, for some unexplained reason, the IP address kept getting listed in the CBL… which means that someone using that shared-hosting machine (not me, or any of my clients) was using it to sent spam.

the same thing has happened again. i complained, they suspended someone, it didn’t fix the problem, they told me that it takes time to propagate, i waited, it didn’t fix the problem, i complained again, they told me that it was an exim misconfiguration, that didn’t fix the problem, i complained again, they told me that they had written to the CBL to get answers…

well, guess what?

copied from the CBL home page: “There is no supporting data or “evidence” file available for any given listing, and no mechanism to ask why any given listing took place.”

so i wrote back to them, and said “whatever is causing the IP to be relisted hasn’t gone away, and won’t go away with you guys waiting for a response that won’t come.”

whereupon they closed the ticket with no further response.

maybe it’s time to start looking for a cheap VPS… 😐

a "smart" spammer??

i may have worked out why the mailing lists that i administer have been not delivering messages to all of the registered members of those lists recently. it was because of a “smart” spammer.

if you recall, Rule #3 of The Rules of Spam states that Spammers are stooOOpid, so how could a “smart” spammer even exist in the first place?

in this case, it’s a matter of degrees. you can be smarter than the ordinary spammer, but if you’re a spammer yourself, you’re still pretty stooOOpid compared to those of us who aren’t spammers.

the “smart” spammer shared my IP address, and was very definitely sending out spam, but he was not flooding the net with spam, like most spammers do, he was trickling spam out at a rate that was just below the point at which my host providers’ spam alarms would indicate. thus, while other, more brash spammers got the mallet immediately, this “smart” spammer continued to share my IP address for several months before he got the mallet.

of course, this was also complicated by the fact that, for several weeks, my host providers’ answer to all of these problems i was having, was to delist my IP address from the CBL without actually attempting to discover why that address was listed at the CBL to begin with. which is where persistence comes into play. instead of accepting that “the host provider knows best” and closing the work ticket the first time they requested delisting, i actually checked CBL myself, to determine whether or not what the host provider had told me was true, and when it turned out that my IP address had been relisted, i called them on it… and then, i called them on it again, when they told me that everything was the way it should be… and then, i called them on it again… and again… and AGAIN! 😐

i think they finally got the idea, because as of 10:00 this morning, my IP address had not been listed at the CBL for 24 hours, which is the longest time it has not been listed in 2 months.

let’s keep it that way, okay?

nameservers

my domain, hybridelephant.com has ns5/ns6/ns7/ns8.thewebhostserver.com as its nameservers: that is, when you go to any page on hybridelephant.com your request is actually handled by one of those four servers. the web site (and all of my clients’ web sites) actually lives on a server called us8.la.thewebhostserver.com.

because of the fact that i design and host web sites for the community, i have registered two nameservers of my own, ns1.hybridelephant.com and ns2.hybridelephant.com, and pointed them at two of my nameservers. they’re not “real” nameservers, but they work just as well, as long as they’re pointed at my real nameservers.

from time to time, i check IntoDNS to make sure internet knows where to find me. this afternoon, i checked and discovered a whole bunch of error messages where, when i checked the last time (a few months ago) everything was copascetic…

it’s generally been my impression that if I don’t change my DNS settings, they DON’T change unless something is SERIOUSLY wrong, so naturally i freaked out… just a little, but it was definitely something that made me sit up and take notice.

after some wangling around, it was determined that it was because i had hybridelephant.com’s nameservers set to hybridelephant.com. it works, it just throws errors all over the place. the solution, i come to discover, is to create “real” nameservers. to do that, i would have to “upgrade” my account to a “reseller” account. currently i have a “shared hosting” account. if i upgrade, in order to be able to afford the account, i would have to drop from 30gb of space (which is the “master”, or largest shared hosting account avaiable) to 5gb of space (which is the “starter” or smallest reseller account available), and that would still be more than twice what i am currently paying. the “up” side is that i would get to have “real” custom nameservers, and my clients would all get their own cPanel account (which they would have not the first clue about how to use)…

of course, the “starter” account comes with a lot of other stuff, like web templates and legal documents, and a free WHMCS license — that i don’t, can’t or won’t use — all for more than twice as much as i am currently paying for 30gb of space.

the only thing i would use is the “unlimited SSL certificates” but in fact, i only really need one, and i’m fairly sure there are other ways to get a SSL certificate…

at this point, i can deal with the intoDNS errors… it works, i get a pointer to my nameservers for my clients who don’t understand, and i get FIVE TIMES AS MUCH disk space, for more than HALF the money…

grmph!

it’s getting really close to opening night for the panto, and the fremont players domain has developed a DNS hiccup that i haven’t been able to figure out. apparently, “ticking the box that says “Use the nameservers specified at the Domain’s Registrar (ignore locally specified nameservers)” on the “Create a New Account” page” isn’t part of the deal, but i haven’t used a “Create a New Account” page on fremontplayers.com for almost a year, and certainly not before i switched to the new host server, approximately 5 months ago… even more bizarre is the fact that it was working just fine yesterday.

not only that, but the webdavs web disk applet that i use has suddenly decided not to work: instead of connecting me to the machine in california on which hybrid elephant lives, it hangs up and won’t go any further on my mac, and on the linux box, everything loads, but when i try to copy or move files, it says “the disk ‘hybridelephant.com’ doesn’t exist”. i can move things around with ftp and ssh over a text-based connection, but i’ve really come to appreciate the reality of doing all that technical web stuff with a graphical user interface…

symbolic links

they’re called “aliases” on a mac, and i don’t remember what they’re called on windows – probably something like “links” or “bookmarks” or something, who knows – but the way they work is basically the same on whatever platform you’re using, and that is to direct you somewhere other than where you thought you were going.

on web servers, they’re especially useful when you have moved a bunch of pages from one place to another. you move the pages wherever you want them to be, then you make a symbolic link to the first page, and place that where the old first page used to be, and then when people go to your old URI, they’re automatically redirected to your new URI and you don’t have to do anything else.

the way you make a symbolic link on a -x machine, is like this: go to the terminal, navigate to where you want the link, and type in ln -s <the absolute path to the document you're linking to> <the name of the new link>

the way you make an “alias” on a mac, or a “link” (or whatever it’s called) on windows, is to select the icon for the file that you want to make a symbolic link of, and select “Make Alias” or “Make Link” from the “File” menu. alternately, you can select “Make Alias” or “Make Link” from a context menu as well…

but here’s the big point: an alias that was made on a mac (and, presumably, a bookmark made on windows) will not work the same way that a symbolic link will work, when the disk you’re working on is a -x server.

in that case, an “alias” on a mac brings you to a page of gibberish, which starts off with

book????mark????0???0???´ê???????3š­<??H??T??H??H??H??H??????????Æå???icns?åÆics#???Hÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ???À?à?ð?ø?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?ü?üis32??Q?„?…?þþýýúò¦„? ÿüûûùñ¦ëƒ?ÿ€úøð¦ù덂?ÿ€ù÷ï‘€¦?? ÿöÏh²À‡ÒÙށ? ÿ훢»°i³èò? ÿçÝà¢a4‰ùü? ÿâÌš+$ ¤Êü? ÿÓϵ…\Êêü? ÿѺà3€çàû? ÿê´µ×Üããëû? ÿêêÓÍÜßéêÿ??‡ÿ??‰???„?Ž…?þþýýúò§Ž„? ÿüûûùñ§ëŽƒ?ÿ€úøð§ù뎂?ÿ€ù÷ï’€§?Ž? ÿõÑ–ÝìµÍÙށ? ÿ¾Wqà÷Á¨Öò? ÿ“J^•È˜–Îü? ÿqAV‰{C—¨ü? ÿ_LNac0™Ÿü? ÿŒ:eG&Tˆ°û? ÿåV4\_l—áû? ÿêêžpˆ©ãêÿ??‡ÿ??‰???„?…?þþýýúò¨„? ÿüûûùñ¨ëƒ?ÿ€úøð¨ù돂?ÿ€ù÷ï“€¨?? ÿôÖÂèõÒÆÙށ? ÿ 9^Ýÿåv¬ò? ÿZ†ðÚyXü? ÿ.<͏YEü? ÿ7 Rtv+.ü? ÿƒ *E/ ƒû? ÿåO  DÖû? ÿêê•S[†àêÿ??‡ÿ??‰??s8mk??

:|

the only way i know of to make a symbolic link on a -x machine is to use the terminal, and the only other option is to give around 25 different webmasters in different countries the option of changing their web pages so that they link to the right page... which isn't going to happen any time soon.

so i try to SSH to my -x machine, only to discover that i don't have SSH access.

according to the host provider's FAQ, they only provide SSH permissions if you have a "legitimate" reasons for them. so far the new host provider has been providing exempary service... let's hope it continues that way. :|

ETA: they gave me what i need, and 95% of my 404 messages now point to the correct place (the remaining ones are for old internal links from 2003 to 2008). for example, this link and this link now point to the same place, whereas, previously, the former gave you a 404 message. :) happy web designer :)

host headaches

so i was forced, once again, to switch host providers.

i was having a conversation with the (now) previous host provider, who said that there was nothing to worry about, and then, two days (literally) later, i get an email from him that says he’s going out of business – again… he gave me a date of 18th septembr as the date… then, he sent me email the next day that said that the original message was sent “as a draft”, and that the actual date was 9th september.

i have gotten so tired of people jerking me around – this guy was doing okay, with the exception of saying he was going out of business a few months ago, but then changing his mind and deciding that he was going to stay in business for his existing clients – but after i got the “draft” message, i decided to be proactive and rustled up a couple of potential new host providers, and began the process of moving. whether or not he was going to change his mind, i’d simply had enough of his being able to jerk me around.

i switched the DNS numbers two days ago, and there was the requisite 48-hour chaos period while the new DNS propagated, but it appears that everything has settled down at this point.

shortly after i switched the DNS numbers, the (now) previous provider called me to see how the process was going. i get the impression that he was waiting for me to get out of his system, because now, none of his domains are available. this is a guy who is apparently a high school student who “lost his job” and can’t run his service any longer. the problem i have with that is that hosting web sites is my job, and if i don’t have a host provider, I will go out of business.

i switched to a professional host provider, not a “skript kiddie”, that has a proven, international record (no, i did NOT go back to 1&1), and i’m actually paying less than i was with the previous host provider. hopefully this will be the last time for a good long while, because i’m totally over it.

quick update

my host provider has decided that he’s going to stay in business for his existing customers but not take any new customers. it eases my concern about finding a new host provider immediately, but i’m still going to move eventually, because i really don’t like being jerked around like that. the first time you said you were sorry and i gave you another chance, but the second time it was entirely my fault, and i don’t want it to happen again.

The Beatlesin other news, my copy of The Beatles Complete Scores came in the mail today. this is a book that i have wanted ever since it was first published in 1989, and it’s 1136 pages of the actual music by John Lenon and Paul McCartney from the people who would know. this means that i can now work on arrangements of things like Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite for Snake Suspenderz without having to rely on somebody else’s frequently incorrect interpretations of what the chords are… and i can finally figure out the chords for Michelle, which i have been wondering about for 30 years… 8)

now, off to get denatured alcohol. i ran out yesterday and i need it to clean up the sticky residue which was not left by the lining tape on my car, because the packaging said that it didn’t leave a sticky residue, so, in spite of the fact that, when i pull the tape off my car, it leaves a sticky residue, apparently, it wasn’t left by the tape… 😐

oh yeah, i got email from someone who wants to interview “Rev. Guido DeLuxe” concerning the Church of Tina Chopp. she said she was interested in tracking down the truth behind the rumours… she was also born in 1988, which was well after the church had established its presence… i wonder what sort of gibberish i should spout in order to confuse her even more… hey, she wrote to me

oy… 8/

so the host provider that i finally settled with in january, after leaving them for someone else, because they wanted to raise my rates by 300%, but decided not to after i switched to the host provider that decided i couldn’t have a mailing list after helping me set up a mailing list, so i switched back… and, surprisingly, has been doing a more or less outstanding job ever since…

that same host provider is apparently going out of business for “personal reasons”. the “personal reasons”?

the owner is 16 years old, and is the president of his high school’s linux club, and doesn’t have time for it any longer… 8/

damn, damn, DAMN!! 😡

spammers

okay, this is getting ridiculous, but at the same time, i’m really glad i got myself far away from 1&1 internet services, and now i’m going to recommend that my associates distance themselves from 1&1 as well… and you spammers have succeeded in irritating me enough that i’m ranting about it in public. 😯

it started out with a spam message that “made it through” the spamcop defense, but didn’t make it through my local instance of spam assassin that i run on my local mail host. one of the reasons why i’m satisfied with doing so is that if i use a web-based service like yahoo, hotmail or gmail is that, none of my mail, contacts, calenders and that sort of thing “live” on a computer over which i have direct, physical control… and my information is my information, thank you. it also makes it a hell of a lot easier to parse headers and report the spam messages that do manage to sneak through my defenses (which are around 5 or so a week, these days). spam assassin puts the messages that it detects into my wastebasket, without any prompting from me, but if i’m feeling obstreperous, i’ll pull it out and report it anyway, which is what i did with a message that looked like it had come from me: it had someone else’s name, and my email address in the To: line – which is notoriously easy to spoof. it also had a URI that tracks directly back to oneandone.com.

yes, a host provider that i used, and then discarded a year ago when they tried to scam me, hosts spammers.

and spammers dumb enough to think that i might respond in any way other than the way i did, to a message that looks like it came from myself!

that’s all the justification i need to avoid them. 😐

虋紡跉䘈㝔

Night Lightsokay, the server interruption seems to have settled down. i was in the middle of updating the sedentary sousa web site, and i get this email saying that within 24 hours i’m going to be moved to another server, and before i was able to get in touch with them to find out exactly when, the server went down. it came up again, breifly, yesterday, but then there was some sort of SNAFU at drizzle, and the server was inaccessible to me for most of today. i appreciate the move, but i could have used a little bit more precise notice.

i’ve made about as many changes in the sedentary sousa site as i can with plain ol’ html, and she keeps demanding different functionality, so i’ve brought up the possibility of a wordpress site, that she can update herself. she hasn’t said no yet, so i’ve been researching how to do stuff with the default theme that is more what like what she wants artistically. i’ve got a BSSB rehearsal on tuesday, so i’ll probably end up talking with her more either before or after the rehearsal.

i took the picture on the right on my way to rehearsal wednesday. i didn’t actually take the picture from the location that i wanted to, but everything else was just right. i’ve been driving to rehearsals and seeing that combination of lights and sky for years, and i’ve finally got it together to take a picture of it.

miscellaneous

yesterday i went to moe’s friend diane’s sheep ranch in woodinville and picked up a chest freezer that diane didn’t need any longer. now we’ll be able to get lamb from diane, when she has lambs for sale, later on in the year. moe is a currently a vegetarian – although i have seen her eat bacon recently – and i have been a vegetarian in the past (and i’ve been the rabid rabble rouser who knew all the reasons why you shouldn’t eat meat, so cool it with the rhetoric, because i’ve been through it all, already), but at this point, i figure God is perfect, being an omnivore is more likely to ensure my survival in the event of a global catastrophe, and besides all that, lamb just tastes so damn good… and because of the fact that i actually know where it’s coming from, i’m getting a lot closer to eating real meat than i would be if i ate the anonymous, corporate beef that most people eat most of the time.

but this is all, undoubtedly one big excuse to make me feel better because i’m sinful and eat meat, despite my claims to being a hindu. i know a bunch of american hindus who eat meat, and they don’t worry about it, so why should i… especially when lamb just tastes so damn good… 8)

today i went to a place very close to the hospital that i was housed at shortly after i had my injury (and was amazed at how much new construction was going up since i was there) and got a bed to put in what was the office, and is now the guest room. now we have a room for people to sleep in when people come to visit… which, apparently, we’ve got a few of coming up later this year, including my mother-in-law within the next two weeks or so (i’m still not exactly sure when, though).

i got an email list set up for the fremont players, which is exactly what wouldn’t have happened if i had stayed with the old host provider, whose “tech support” goon specifically said that i was “kicked off” their server for having – although he also, specifically, said that he was the one responsible for having me kicked off their server, because “he didn’t like me”… 😛

i’m having some trouble with my email, and i’m not sure whether it’s my email client, or my new router. it seems like, sometimes, i don’t get any email, but when i reboot the router, i get hundreds of emails from the past three days or so, and other times, i don’t get any email, and when i reboot the router, nothing happens, but when i restart the email client, or reboot the computer, i get hundreds of emails from the past three or four days. either way, it doesn’t happen with enough regularity to make it very obvious what the culprit is, although it doesn’t appear to happen as frequently when i turn my computer off, rather than leaving it running all night. i seem to recall drizzle saying something about having me on DHCP, despite the fact that i have a static IP address, so maybe that’s got something to do with it.

i had a whole bunch of links that i was going to dump, as well, but my browser crashed and when it came back, i chose to start a new session, because i think one of the links crashed my browser, and i don’t want to foist any of that nonsense on to anyone else. one of them was more stuff about how google is really evil, though…

miscellaney

so far, the new-old host provider has been doing an outstanding job, although he just installed suPHP (ostensibly to keep an eye on potential spammers) which requires all of my PHP files to be set with their permissions at 644. unfortunately, that leaves the two configure.php files in my store open to attack. hopefully he won’t object to a couple of PHP files that are set to 400, otherwise there’s going to be yet another host provider switch again in the near future. i applaud his keeping an eye on potential spammers, but opening everything up like that is another thing entirely. all in all, though, for a guy who i moved away from because he was going to raise my rates by over 300%, he’s doing an exceedingly good job.

i’ve got an appointment to meet with bill, one of my clients, this afternoon at 3:00, and i’ve got a fremont phil rehearsal at 7:30.

supposedly the soon-to-be Ganesha The Truck is going to be handed over to me at some point in the next few days. it’s red, which, naturally, means that i’m going to paint the names of Ganesha in blue, so that it will be the most difficult-to-read colour combination. i’m going to try to get all 1008 names of Ganesha on the car this time, which means i’ve got to figure out how to write smaller, but i’m not 100% decided on what it’s going to look like yet, because i haven’t actually seen the truck yet. there’s also a possibility that i’m going to use a range of blues and purples. the truck currently doesn’t have a canopy, which is going to be one of the first things that changes once i get my hands on it, and i’m probably not going to start on the artwork until the canopy is in place. it’s a good thing i’ve got another car to drive temporarily (moe’s friend micah’s father, curtis, is keeping his jeep at our house while he winters in florida, or philadelphia or some place like that, and he said we can use it as much as we like as long as we look after it and wash it every now and then), because Ganesha The Car apparently decided that it really is dead: i was going to drive it around the other day, and i got in and turned the key… and nothing happened. so i turned the key off and on again, and there was a dismal clicking noise, followed by more silence. so i cycled it again and there was more clicking and this time it started. i figured, as long as it was running, i’d drive it around, so i went up to the post office in milton, about five miles down the road. i went in to the post office, and when i came back and tried it again, it was the same thing – nothing, then clicking, then, finally, it started up. i just had it tuned up a few weeks ago! this is not supposed to be happening! fortunately there’s the jeep, so i don’t have to figure out some other way to get to my rehearsals. at the same time, i find it really interesting that the mechanic said that it wouldn’t pass inspection, and practically the next thing that happens to the car is that it decides to give up the ghost. it’s been a good car, and i’m very strongly thinking about attending the electric vehicle workshop at south seattle community college and turning Ganesha The Car into an electric car, so that the artwork will continue on the road for a while.

further information about snake suspenderz @ the palladium so far is that we’ve been confirmed for the 8:30 to 10:00 slot, but we’re supposedly going to be sharing the slot with another band (Bakelite 78) and we haven’t heard back from them yet, so we don’t know whether we’re going first or second.

host service bathroom

now that (touch wood) the host provider fiasco is behind me, at least for the moment, i can focus on much more mundane things, like the fact that today is the day when the contractor comes by to remodel our bathroom, take out the existing, but broken “garden” bathtub, and replace it with a new shower stall. pictures will be coming when the batteries on my camera are recharged.

i still haven’t gotten refunded by the old host provider, but it’s not that much, so if i don’t get refunded it’s no big deal, apart from the fact that it further cements in my mind the fact that they really offered some of the worst customer service i have ever experienced in my life (further information can be found here). the fact that the “support” guy who has been part of this whole deal from the beginning (and, oddly enough, is apparently the cause of the whole thing) is, according to his vehement ranting, "a Web API/Software Developer… I know these things more than you!", he apparently doesn’t even know enough to avoid logging in as root on his linux machine, which has been making a hair-tearing fiasco amusing enough that i’m actually pretty calm at this point. it would be nice, however, if all of these people were in the same time zone. the fact is, the “support” guy is in bangladesh, and the host provider itself is in virgina or some place like that, means that most of the “discussion” on the WebHostingTalk forums goes on while i am still asleep, and when i wake up and check my mail, i get riled up about what they’ve been saying before i’ve even had breakfast, which makes the rest of my day sort of interesting.

that didn’t take long…

so on 10 january, i filed a support ticket with my new host provider, cpanel-host.us, that email wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. two days later, i learned that my clients’ email, and the BSSB mailing list wasn’t working at all, and i filed a support ticket about that, as well. on the 14th, they (finally) responded saying that the mail servers had been fixed. then, on 15 january, i got an email saying that mailing lists were now forbidden, and if i had a mailing list on my account on the 17th, my account would be suspended. i wrote back to them, asking if they were serious about suspending my account two days after they had helped me get my mailing list working, and their response was “yes”…

😡

but at the same time, i got email from my previous host provider, IsMyReseller.com. apparently he felt guilty for saying that he wanted to raise my rates almost 300% (from $5 a month to $18 a month). i wrote back to him saying that it was all well and good that he was feeling guilty, but what was preventing him from doing the same thing again in a month, or five, when he, once again, discovers that he isn’t making enough money from me. his response was to send me a .pdf of a document that says he will charge me $6.50 a month for the life of the account.

so i switched back.

the thing that’s really amazing is that he took me from a backup to being up and running in a little more time – 15 minutes or so – than the time it took him to download the backup from my old host… and that includes all of my databases, my email addresses and my mailing list.

i find this somewhat unusual. nobody has ever tried to get me back as a customer. usually if i decide not to be somebody’s customer any longer, it is for a very specific reason which the person has no intent of changing. this guy said that he actually felt guilty for asking to raise my rates, and as soon as he had a way to continue running his company without raising my rates, he emailed me immediately.

cpanel-host.us (the second to the last host) was saying that my email address was sending mail to 50 addresses at once (which is true) and that this was causing unusual server stress. i know from my days at openwave that 5,000 emails a day isn’t uncommon (i’ve even still got a script that sends anywhere from 100 to 100,000,000 emails to any address or addresses you put in to it, but it only works with openwave mail server software), especially for a mail server that has a lot of users, so i was sort of wondering why it was a problem, to which they responded that they were afraid some spammer would gain access to my mailing list and have their IP address blacklisted. they obviously chose the wrong person to accuse of being a potential spammer.

and the fact that IsMyReseller.com on top of the email problems which were what the previous host provider was balking at doesn’t hurt his chances either… 😉

now as long as it stays this way for a few months, maybe i’ll have the chance to wind down from this semi-permanent state of panic that i’ve been in ever since december of 2008, when i decided to switch from drizzle to 1&1…

The Church of Tina Chopp got this piece of snailmail...in other news, i went to check my PO box today and found this very amusing letter:

L.J.M. Steijn
Juliana van StolBergstraat 30
2805 CN Gouda
The Netherlands

CHURCH OF TINA CHOPP
P.O. Box 1864
Milton
WA 98354
USA

Gouda, 10 January 2010

Dear Tina Chopp,

My name is Leo Steijn and I live in the Netherlands.

I have look at your very interesting site, and for more information must I be contacted the Church, What I now do.

Please, gife me if you will more information about the Snake Destiny and what he is theach, also the secrets about bizarre sex.

Another question, is your church also be present in the Netherlands? If so, than I like it to come in contact with your members. Can you please bring me in contact with them. I will be very thankfull for it!

I hope to hear soon of you.

With kindest regards,

Leo Steijn

P.S.
i don’t have e-mail

gee, where do i even start with this letter…? i know a couple of people who live in the netherlands, but i’m not sure if they would be willing to contact this guy about the Church of Tina, and even if they were willing, i’m not sure they’re properly prepared to be representatives of the Church, but at the same time, what other choice do i have?