Tales of an IT Nobody

devbox:~$ iptables -A OUTPUT -j DROP

Migrating from Blogger (Google) to WordPress July 13, 2012

With the sketchy nature of Google, I’m starting to decrease as many dependencies as I can from them. Starting with my blog. A part of it is just a technical test to find out how hard it would be to wean off of the free service.

Overall, there’s few – if any alternatives to WordPress that will let you import your blog from Blogger with such success. There are a few caveats I feel are worth mentioning, however…

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Why Rackspace is bad! July 10, 2012

Fanatical support != Customer service, at all!

Recently I’ve migrated a customer that’s been on Rackspace for 6 years, and paying a handsome penny for it at that. The migration was to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and I sent a friendly reminder to the client to cancel the RS account (9 days in advance to the renewal date).

Here’s how things went down:

RS: “We require a 30-day written notice to cancel your account”.

This is on a host that is on a month-to-month basis and the costs have been on an incline. In fact, the cost was to go up $10/month next month. (Suffice it to say, it’s not much compared to the overall monthly bill).

So I’m thinking to myself, well that’s a crappy “policy”. I give them a ring on behalf of my client and see if we can leverage some flexibility. I simply ask to waiver the 30 day ‘penalty’. Not even a pro-rate for the days unused for the month.

The RS rep is quick to tell me how many people call that dislike that policy and try to get somewhere with it, but they stick to it. At this point I’m thinking, wow – this will be a little challenge.

I explained that the cost was going up and is something that wasn’t agreeable and therefore there is good cause to waive that type of penalty. No go.

We go circular a bit on customer service – I blab a bit about how the competition (Linnode, AWS, etc) allow me to do more than they offer, for cheaper and not have a penalty. I also say that it’s odd that in most circumstances you’ll get a counter offer from a retention specialist (you know, we’ll knock off 10% on your hosting). Still kind of a nod-n-smile go screw yourself attitude from this rep.

Then he says “We value your feedback and it helps us become better”.
I respond: “OH REALLY? You start the call by telling me how many pissed off people are calling about this policy, try to stick it to me as well and then give me a line like that?

Enough is enough – I ask for a manager and exclaim I understand if he “has to say that” but this is an unacceptable situation.

The manger’s response: They won’t deal with me. They’ll only talk with my client. (Who in turn, told the client to hose off in the same manner).

All I can say is this:

  1. Rackspace prices aren’t that hot. Look elsewhere.
  2. The fanatical support thing is cute, but the customer service is pure garbage in the above context. I’ve never been treated like that. I’ve had better luck with credit card companies and land lords than this.
  3. There’s this 30-day thing (Beware!)
  4. If they give you support, they’ll want the root password for your server.
  5. Their SLA is a lie, it reports on the 30 minute interval. Which means they can be down for 29 minutes every hour and not record it as downtime.
  6. Their backup system on dedicated hosting is a bloated, un-tamed mess if you let them manage it, they let the ‘rack’ account on my client’s server exceed 60GB of crap that should be cleaned up. E.g.: backup software updates, provisioning/monitoring tools
  7. They ask for root before sudo configuration (See #4)
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Categories: rant servers

Why are we spending so much time refuting? July 5, 2012

There’s a nice juicy war going on in the ‘data / web’ sector, that seems more heated than I can remember.

It essentially boils down to sensationalist claims from the likes of MongoDB and MemSQL, which in turn draw refuting remarks from industry professionals that are typically embedded with RDBMS technologies.

The typical responses to these new ‘hipster’ systems are usually transaction/consistency centric – as that’s where the RDBMS systems shine – they can perform wonderfully while being ACID compliant.

Or in the case of Node, refuting the ‘Apache doesn’t have concurrency, node is better’ arguments. I have a hunch 99% of the Node fanboys have a damn clue how capable Apache itself is.

There’s also things like Node.js that rub the seasoned people the wrong way, perhaps it’s the sensationalism without actually proving anything? (Check the first few comments) Or the utter lack of security focus? (That’s what bugs me) – I also think it has to do with their approach to enter the market: guns blazing, criticizing other solutions and hoisting their own as THE single option with more tenacity than appropriate for such an immature project. Guys in the trenches can’t stand that crap, we know it’s just another tool to get the/(‘a’) job done in a particular scenario.

But really, I think about how much time is wasted on these subjects going back and forth, so let’s stop wasting time. Be open minded to the new technologies as tools for a particular job and stop making all or nothing stories out of future tech, like it or not – we all have to share the same space.

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Say goodbye to iGoogle. Boo! July 3, 2012

In a clear effort to push Android and Chrome, Google is discontinuing iGoogle Nov, 2013.
This announcement comes as an early 4th of July surprise from Google.

It’s getting really hard to trust Google with how they bait and switch, and kill projects I know are more popular than they even state.

iGoogle is still new, and they’ve dumped effort into a recent redesign, this reverberates yet again how volatile things are. I hope I haven’t made a crucial mistake in using Gmail as well as instructing clients to use them for business mail.

People who use iGoogle use it as the homepage for their browser. Am I to believe they just want to toss out that un-tapped advertisement revenue (which they never tapped)? That’s how I know it’s a play on Chrome, and unfortunately iGoogle cannot be replaced by all the widget and gadget crap that you can install into Chrome, functionally: yes – but not having a birdseye view of many vectors of information on one page (a dashboard) is a very different deal.

At this point there’s no way I could possibly trust an app infrastructure with Google (with their pricing change history). I’m at a new level of paranoia: How long til Google kills their Web Fonts service? Google Web Toolkit (GWT)? Charts API? Blogger?

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Categories: google rant

Worthy of distribution: Your cell phone records July 2, 2012

This is just too cool, and too perfect a testament for how you can derive a lot through data and social networking.

Via the F-Secure labs blog: http://www.zeit.de/datenschutz/malte-spitz-data-retention

Shows an extremely well put together example of combining a tidbit of privileged information with social networking and how this truly is a brave new world.

Map has it all.

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Categories: linkspam security