Category: Blog (page 1 of 13)

Moving Hosts

I’ve hosted my websites via DreamHost for years. Good price, excellent uptime and ok performance. Recently though I’d been starting to see the shared hosting plan I was on creak at the seams. My needs were pretty minimal but it looked like I would need to move to one of their VPS plans. It’s at this point all the podcast adverts rang in my head…so I tried Linode.

Linode’s front page says ‘hosting for developers’ which as Shak keeps saying isn’t me! However the plans looked appealing and I took advantage of an offer to try it for a month for free and so far it’s been really good.

Linode is a bit different to the hosting I’m used to. You pick a Linux distribution, tell Linode where in the world you want it deployed and boom – you have a Linux server that’s all yours. That means root access and ability to install whatever you like…but also means you are responsible for security and keeping the server updated.

Linode supports many distributions and also has an excellent set of tutorials and guides. Within a day I’d migrated a domain and WordPress website over to Linode from DreamHost. Performance was superb compared to what I was used to. I actually enjoyed controlling Apache directly, setting up redirects and getting to grips with installing security certificates.

Last weekend I migrated this blog. I’ve stuck with WordPress for now but starting to look at static site options so I’m more in control and rely less on plugins. Again the performance of WordPress on Linode is excellent and the website migration was pretty trivial. Next up is the podcast which will be a little more involved but hopefully not too bad.

If you are using shared hosting and thinking of moving to something more beefy then consider Linode. Requires more effort but being this in control of my sites is something I wish I’d done years ago.

Newsletters

I subscribe to quite a few newsletters. I find a good newsletter is something to savour and despite going out to hundreds if not thousands of people it feels more personal. Someone is talking to me rather than me reading their blog post which can feel like reading just another web site…or RSS feed.

However there are two newsletters that really hit the spot and I wanted to highlight them. First is Exponential View by Azeem Azhar. This weekly technology newsletter focusses on AI, electric and future transport and many many more topics. The links shared by Azhar and the stories that he weaves around them are a great way to learn and understand a variety of current and future tech and are always thought provoking. Visit http://www.exvw.co to subscribe.

The second newsletter is quotemail by pixeldiva. This is simply a quote in your inbox every day. So what you may say but I’ve found almost every quote to be of interest but more importantly it’s the narrative of why Ann has selected the quote that gets my brain engaged. I love to not only read the mail but give myself the time and space to think and reflect on the quote and what it actually means. Run, don’t walk, to https://tinyletter.com/pixeldiva and subscribe. You won’t regret it.

Any newsletters that you love and would recommend? Comment below or mail or tweet your recommendations.

Year of the Rings

Last year I posted on getting out and about and filling the Apple Watch rings each day. I said I wouldn’t be too fussed about filling each month but that turned out to be not strictly true.

Today marked the 365th day of completing the rings. At least 30 mins of activity, 440 calories and the slightly more mickey mouse stand at least once an hour 12 times a day. Doesn’t sound much but it’s kept me from lazing around over the weekend and also forced me out at work to get a much needed break from the office over lunchtime. It’s also delivered a few achievements in the last 12 months.

There have been a few weird days in amongst the 365 like getting of a flight at 22:00 and needing to walk for 20 mins, a couple of ill days where I forced myself out, the odd walk in the snow (loved it!) and the occasional soaking but overall it’s been a great wee challenge to do. Not so great was trying to up the walks into cycles and runs – the body not quite right to take the extra excercise. Weight however has stayed pretty constant although slightly up this year so need to work a bit on bringing it back down.

Will I keep it going? No reason why not but I’ve no target now so won’t be fussed about breaking the streak…although the complete year of workouts looks pretty nice 😉

Primed

At the turn of the year I saw some posts on how much people had ordered from Amazon and I wondered…how much have I bought from them over the years?

Turns out, quite a bit. The free trial of Prime made a difference to my buying habits and I’m now averaging over a delivery a week from Amazon. Wow. I do check around from time to time to make sure products aren’t cheaper elsewhere and generally Amazon + convience of Prime is the better option. I do wonder if I’ve peaked with my ordering though as the last couple of years has been quite spendy.

Who am I kidding, I’ve got another delivery coming tomorrow!

Who goes first?

A few weeks ago the New York Times asked the question Which Tech Giant Would You Drop? Did you take the test? If you haven’t then give it a go, it only takes a minute. For me it was pretty straightforward. I would drop in the following order:

Facebook
Microsoft
Alphabet
Amazon
Apple

Since then both Microsoft and Google have had major events, Amazon have released new Echo devices and WWDC is only around the corner. I’ve also been thinking more about what I’d lose if each service was shutdown. These tech giants own so many products. Take a look at what would go if each one shutdown.

Facebook

Microsoft

Amazon

Alphabet

Apple

Instead of choosing between five companies you are choosing between dozens of products. Does it change your drop order? For me it does.

Facebook would still go first. I’ve been a bit harsh and missed out a couple of important products like Facebook Messenger, but Facebook would go despite my love of Instagram. Either people would flock to Flickr (ok, that won’t happen) or Google Photo’s would evolve to take Instagram’s place. Oculus isn’t doing anything that HTC’s Vive couldn’t and you’ve got Signal to take over from WhatsApp.

Originally I had Microsoft in fourth and Alphabet in third but it’s now a choice between Microsoft and Amazon. When putting the graphics together I was going to swap Amazon into fourth but one thing stopped me – AWS. How many app’s and services would disappear because AWS is no longer around? Azure competes really well but when I look at the Microsoft services I can swap them out for alternatives. PSN for Xbox, AWS for Azure, macOS for Windows and who needs LinkedIn or Bing? So Microsoft stays in fourth and Amazon moves to third despite the lure of Prime.

That leaves Alphabet and Apple. For me it breaks down to Apple for the hardware and O/S I use all the time, and Alphabet for the services I use all the time. For years I’ve preferred Apple’s hardware for it’s design and reliability but there’s no doubt that the shine has lessened in recent years.

I use Google services every day. Google Search is still my goto, Google Doc’s drive’s the podcast and has never let us down in six years of usage and YouTube really has no equivalent. However services are only as good as the hardware they run from and for me Apple still wins out in that front. Just. The speed of the iPhone is hard to beat and while the rest of my hardware is getting long in the tooth it’s reliable and I trust when I upgrade devices over the next couple of years I’ll get a great hardware boost.

Whats also helped has been Google (and others) making sure that they are available on all platforms, not just their own, so that all users can benefit and also so they can get access to as many eyes as they can. Compared to a few years ago it’s really a great time for users with the best choice of hardware and services.

So, who would you drop first? More importantly who would you keep until last?

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