Welcome, Guest. [ Log In ]
Question   v4.7 July 2002
Search KBase


Top 5 in this Area:
1. v4.1 January 2002
2. v4.10 October 2002
3. v4.3 March 2002
4. v4.4 April 2002
5. v4.2 February 2002

 
v4.7 July 2002
0.  Introduction.
1.  Jabber Dabber Do!
2.  Thawte their prices were cheap?
3.  Mysql, yoursql.
4.  Woody? Why wouldn't he?
5.  DHSOTM


########################################################################
0.  Introduction.

Hello everybody and welcome to the July newsletter! I know it's a little
late... again, but I've got some pretty good excuses, again! You see,
the last few weeks I've been renting a car from 699rentacar.com and it's
been nothing but trouble! I discourage anybody from renting a car with
them until you've at least read what I have to say here.

The problems began the very first day I had the car. I arrived at work,
parked the car in the back lot, and then summarily locked my keys in the
trunk! Thanks a lot, 699rentacar! You'd think they'd have some sort of
mechanism to stop that from happening! I then had to waste a lot of
precious newsletter-writing time calling AAA and getting a locksmith to
come and break me in.

Within the week I had my second big problem with my $6.99 a day 1988
Ford Escort (aqua). There was a party at our office and some
unthoughtful lout parked their pickup truck in the only exit from the
back parking lot! Several hours were wasted locating the owner, hours
that could have been spent writing this newsletter. Thanks a lot,
699rentacar!

Finally, the most recent big rental car time-waster happened this
weekend. I left the car parked at the office and when I came back on
Monday it had a flat tire! I wasted even more time than the previous two
incidents combined just trying to refill the tire, which I eventually
found had a large nail imbedded in it. You'd think 699rentacar would
have a high enough quality service to at least install magnetic tires
that automatically repel that kind of junk. I mean, where does that
$6.99 a day go, anyways?

I hope everybody remembers these warnings if they ever find themselves
considering 699rentacar.com for their car rental needs. If you've got a
newsletter deadline looming, you'd be best off with 749rentacar!


########################################################################
1.  Jabber Dabber Do!

Despite all the time wasted the last few weeks by me, the company as a
whole did accomplish a fair amount! The most exciting new feature added
is something NO OTHER HOST DOES (not that we checked)... free Jabber
 hosting on every plan!

What is Jabber? It's basically an Instant Messaging ala ICQ, AIM, MSN,
and Yahoo, but it's decentralized (like email!) and not owned by any big
company (like Jennifer Love Hewitt!). It's an open source protocol, and
we're now running the open source "jabberd" server on all our web
hosting machines. It's IM at your own domain!

To create jabber accounts at any domain you host with us, you just need
to go to the new "Goodies > Jabber IM" section of our web panel:

https://panel.dreamhost.com/?tree=goodies.jabber

Currently you can create as many users as you'd like no matter what plan
you have! We reserve the right to impose limits in the future, but right
now we really don't have a good idea how server intensive this service
will turn out to be (hey, NOBODY'S done it before!) so we're willing to
let everybody just use it without restrictions. We don't anticipate ever
having to impose limits, but if we do it would only be for the very
heaviest users and they'd probably just have to pay some modest fee to
keep their usage high.

We recommend everybody try out Jabber today for their IM needs! Why? The
more people using it, the closer Instant Messaging gets to being a true
Internet standard! Just think how sucky it would be if email worked the
way IM does today! If you had an AOL email address, you couldn't send
email to Yahoo addresses and vice versa. Yuck!

And don't worry, there are Jabber gateways to the four major commercial
IM services so you can talk to all your unenlightened friends even
before they switch! (Although we don't _guarantee_ future support
forever, we have all four gateways running now.)

Another cool thing about Jabber is the addresses look just like email
addresses, so it's really easy to find another person's account to add
them to your list. Here at work we've started to make the switch from
ICQ, and the thing everybody likes is not having to ask anybody what
their ICQ number is anymore!

Control your IM destiny, switch to Jabber today!

More info is in our kbase here:    /kbase/?area=2661

########################################################################
2.  Thawte their prices were cheap?

This actually wasn't something we really did as much as we had done to
us.. Thawte (the Certificate Authority we use for secure certs for
ourselves and our customers) are raising their prices (a lot!) on Monday,
August 5th. In seemingly unrelated news, VeriSign bought Thawte, who were
their main competitor in the certificate market, about a year ago.

There was an announcement about it (with horrible line wrapping!) a few
days ago, so I'll spare you the redundancy and just give the executive
summary here.

Prices are doubling Monday. Buy now for old rate. We still pay for
Strictly Business certs. DreamHost rocks, VeriSign sucks.


########################################################################
3.  Mysql, yoursql.

We've made some changes in just the last few days to help fine tune and
improve our MySQL database services even more. They are very interesting
so I'm putting them in the newsletter. Here they are. We've:

   * Increased the maximum number of available connections by 50%
   * Lowered the length of time a sleeping connection is kept to 4 hours
          (this will speed up the rate at which connections become
           available)
   * Instituted a new policy & configuration which only allows per user 
     a maximum of 25% of the total available connections.  This will
     prevent one user from "stepping" on all the other users. 

It may seem like I'm just rehashing old announcements, but well, what
would you do in my position if you had just spent your last two weeks
dealing with rental car disasters?


########################################################################
4.  Woody? Why wouldn't he?

The number one request we get here at DreamHost is always "we love you
so much, don't change a thing." The number two request is very similar.
"Please upgrade perl to version 5.6."

Apparently the reason we haven't done this yet is because our current
linux distribution (Debian "potato") doesn't include it, and it's a
really big hairy thing to upgrade perl, much worse than almost any other
sort of software update we do.

Fortunately, Debian Linux has just released the long-awaited version 3.0
("Woody" .. sounds dirty, I know. But I just found out they name them
after Toy Story characters. Riiight.), and it includes perl 5.6! It's a
big job to start using a whole new distribution though, and so we're
doing it really carefully.

Right now we've got our mail servers all upgraded, and things seem okay.
AND... new peons (that's what we call your web servers, no offense) are
now going out with woody on them (how embarrassing!). However, it will
still be a long time, or possibly forever, before we go back and upgrade
old peons to the new Debian. Luckily, people who really need something
that Woody offers can request that support move them to one of the new
machines. We only ask that you please wait until Monday, August 5th
before requesting a move!


########################################################################
5.  DHSOTM

It all started May 13th, 2002, when Hugh Prior made the choice of
DreamHost for his site (localpin.com) hosting needs. He had some
questions at first, but soon everything settled down and his site was
humming. Three days later, it began. Hugh wrote in with a suggestion for
our DreamHost Site of the Month area. He had had a hard time finding
where you actually voted on sites, and suggested we make in clearer. No
problem, it seemed an innocent enough request, we happily complied.

Big mistake! Since that first email, Hugh has sent in no less than 14
suggestions for improvements to the DHSOTM service including:

    Adding Indexes to the table for faster sorting. (done!)
    Making the description field bigger. (rejected!)
    Allowing users to know who voted on them. (rejected!)
    Marking sites with less than 10 votes somehow. (done!)
    Showing all user comments when viewing your own site. (done!)
    Adding a summary of all votes when viewing your own site. (done!)
    Adding new award categories. (rejected!)
    Lengthening the summary box to not wrap with votes of 10. (done!)
    Add a "vote on this site" link on people's summary pages. (done!)
    Announcing all the DHSOTM changes in the newsletter. (doing!)
    Add a sortable "my votes" column to the main page. (done!)
    Add a "previous site" link next to the "next site" link. (done!)
    Allowing you to modify your site description. (in progress!)
    Allowing you to modify a comment without deleting it. (in progress!)

Wow! Hugh has really impressed us with his constant ability to dream up
new features and improvements to what was originally such an ancillary
service here at DreamHost! Of course, we love all customer feedback..
that's the main way we decide where to focus our developmental energy!
Hugh, I just hope that after these last additions to the DHSOTM are
done, you'll maybe turn your attention to a different one of our
service offerings! We're happy to keep getting suggestions from you, but
DHSOTM improvements are reaching the point of diminishing returns fast! 

Oops, I almost forgot! The DHSOTM winner for July 2002 is
http://www.luclatulippe.com/ the site of a very talented illustrator
whose style reminds me very much of another Josh, Josh "Shag" Agle! The
site is flash, the art is fresh, and the name is French.. visit it today!

And if you haven't submitted your site for or voted on DHSOTM before,
now is the time.. thanks to Hugh Prior I promise it'll be a very
intuitive experience!


########################################################################

Until my rental car is hassle-free,
Josh!

Last updated: Aug 01, 2002.