Brent:TextDrive :: Rat:Sinking Ship

Work isn’t the only horrific tale from my life, as of late: my sketchy lifetime webhosting deal has finally met its untimely end.

Longtime readers might recall that TextDrive (said webhost) originally merged into Joyent, and that Joyent had decided to unceremoniously dump its lifetime commitment back in August 2012. (Joyent is still scum, by the way, and should be avoided at all costs. You might be best avoiding Jason Hoffman as well, who was the face of that decision back in the day.)

At the last moment, Dean Allen, original founder of TextDrive, swept in and spun the managed webhosting part of Joyent back out into “TextDrive 2.0”. I figured I might as well ride things out, since my money was already spent. (It certainly looked like a “take the horse out back to quietly shoot it” sort of move, but what else could I do?)

Things went well at first. Then Ten Little Indians kicked in, and people started dropping like flies: the first to disappear was Dean himself. Then what support staff there was started thinning out. By December 2013, it was obvious that there was only one support guy left, and he was the only thing standing between my server and chaos. That said, he did stand there, and my server did run.

And then in January we learned that Lone Support Guy hadn’t been paid in months. Unsurprisingly, Jacques ceased being a support guy in late January. (If this were a horror movie, January would be the scene where the protagonist discovers the bodies of every other character in a Crescendo of Terror.)

This put me in the awkward position of being on a server that would only be up for an unknown, but certainly limited, amount of time. It was time for me to figure out how to be a sysadmin—with my data hanging in the balance. (Stress!)

I don’t didn’t know crap about setting up a server. Now I know more about Postfix and Dovecot and Procmail than I ever wanted. I have set up various DNS record types, not just pointed my domain at preconfigured nameservers, and have once again fought through PHP and Apache config files. Heck, I even have an SSL certificate for my email. It’s been quite the learning experience.

(I’m hosting all my stuff comfortably on a little $5/month Digital Ocean VPS, FWIW. I actually migrated everything in early February; I’m just getting around to writing about it now.)

All in all, I’m still glad I signed up for TextDrive back in the day. That gave me a far more gentle introduction to servers than I could have gotten anywhere else: the freedom to screw with most settings, coupled with the structure of a starting setup that worked and the comfort of having some support if you really effed things up. (Most other hosts, back in the day, either had some sort of CPanel interface or a command-line prompt.) And the total cost, per month, over the nine years that I got out of it is less than the comparative pittance I’m paying now.

I’m also glad that TextDrive died in a visible-enough way that I had time to migrate things cleanly. Or, rather, I’m glad that Jacques was open enough to indicate (however subtly) that it was time to abandon ship.

I’m mostly happy to be done moving stuff, though, and to have moved everything successfully. The new server’s been quite zippy, too, which is nice—at least my new digs aren’t a downgrade.

Jiminy Christmas do I wish that the managers at my work had more business sense than a guy with To Heart 2 wallpaper on his computer.

I’ve been shying away from posting stuff about work because of propriety and the fact that rage would consume me (and this blog) whole, but Holy Crap the tales I could tell.

A Valentine’s Day poem

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Omae wa mo shindeiru

I subjected some friends to this particular poem via email, back in 2010, but (curiously) never subjected my blog to it. That ends now!

Images via CIPATER.NET (this link is fine, but the rest of her blog is sometimes NSFW, by the by).

And, yes, I did lose power. For twenty four frickin’ hours.

Holy balls did it get cold inside.

Yuzuru Hanyu’s men’s short program: If you haven’t seen this, watch it now. This guy was a-fricking-mazing yesterday.

Russian Police Choir performs Get Lucky at the Olympics Opening Ceremony. You don’t have to watch this, but I laughed heartily.

Liveblogging the Sochi Opening Ceremony

This is a spur-of-the-moment thing, but let’s get this party started! (And, yes, I know I’m watching a tape-delayed opening ceremony. You’re not reading this in real time, either, so let’s call it even.)

8:07 PM: Hey everybody, let’s learn the Russian A B 3s!

8:15 PM: The whole “girl flying through a dreamscape” thing is actually really cool. It’s definitely better than our hoedown, which was the moral equivalent of America giving itself a swirly in front of the world.

8:22 PM: Whoever was in charge of that fifth Olympic ring is about to be spirited away by the Putin

8:24 PM: And heeeeeere’s Putin! (Arriving moments after dealing with the Fifth Ring Operator’s family)

8:32 PM: The lone red person who missed his/her mark, in the lower right of the screen, was Hilarious. Also: soon to be Putined.

8:37 PM: Is it IOC policy that the people with the country placards be dressed by someone certified batshit insane?

8:38 PM: Australian gal with the yellow kangaroo doll in her hood: I like your style.

8:40 PM: Wow, this color commentary is harsh. “This is the first and last time you’ll hear about Andorra these games.”

8:41 PM: Marin: “What is this music, anyway? Is this what it sounds like to be Putinized?”

8:46 PM: LOL Bermuda people are wearing Bermuda shorts. I can see their goosebumps in HD!

8:49 PM: I wonder how long the Russian sideline dancers can actually boogie—they’ve been doing this little coordinated dance for a while, now, and they’re wearing heavy(-looking) white coats.

8:53 PM: Wow, those German outfits are, uh, terribly colorful. Emphasis on terribly.

8:54 PM: China’s actually letting Hong Kong compete as a separate country?(?!)

9:03 PM: America’s Hat enters! (Yeah, I’m reaching.)

9:05 PM: Apparently China doesn’t know that they need to keep walking.

9:06 PM: Holy crap, is all of Latvia competing?

Boogie update: Cohesion has broken down a bit, but everybody’s still bopping to the beat.


(kidding, jeez)

9:13 PM: So the IOC banned India due to corruption? What the heck did India do?

9:25 PM: We really need to stop giving Ralph Lauren work.

9:27 PM: When did Shaun White become one of the more respectable-looking of our Olympic athletes?

9:28 PM: I’m not really competitive, sports aren’t really my bag, and I’m not super-nationalistic… but I still get a little chill when the United States enters the Olympic arena. The ideal of the Olympics still has some power, I guess.

9:40 PM: ok i’m done now when does this end

9:41 PM: Awww, why do the Swiss all have their jackets zipped up?

9:43 PM: I just heard the color commentary explain “YOLO” on national TV. Some things need to be looked up online, ya know?

9:44 PM: Something tells me that you don’t want to be the nation entering immediately prior to the host nation.

9:44 PM: Jamaica was very clearly using an iPhone. Samsung must be pissed.

Boogie Update: Boogie-ing is up 4000% as the Russians enter the stadium! Putin looks down, pleased. Many lives were spared tonight.

9:47 PM: The block of Important Russian People is trying to boogie. They obviously don’t do this very often.

9:51 PM: A thousand years of history in three minutes? They shouldn’t have!

No, really, they can stop now.

9:51 PM: Color commentary to the rescue: “you might not recognize these actors, but we think they might be noteworthy to the Russians.”

9:52 PM: I can’t help but feel like this history omits some important details.


9:55 PM: The three horses of the Russian Hoe-pocalypse! I can feel it coming!

9:58 PM: I like how Russia is using technology to animate breaking ice flows and stuff. China would have used thousands of people to get the same effect.

9:59 PM: This is totally the Russian hoedown, yet it’s still nowhere near as traumatizing as our hoedown was.

10:03 PM: Who thought that air-flute and air-drums were a good thing to show off in front of the world?

10:07 PM: I assumed the Russian hoedown was done. I assumed wrong.

10:08 PM: The right line isn’t looking very straight. The camera cuts away to Putin jotting down names.

10:09 PM: This “ballroom dance” doesn’t have very much ballroom or very much dancing. Oh, wait, I see a couple in closed position!

10:11 PM: Holy crap something that approached actual dance!

10:12 PM: They actually are doing some really nifty stuff with contrasting light and shadow, black/white and color.

…And then they decide to give everyone an epileptic seizure.

10:20 PM: Why is everything suddenly red? Is this some sort of symbolism or something that I’m just missing?

10:30 PM: A bunch of people just got married (not to Macklemore), and then an army of milkmen delivered baby carriages. Hrm.

10:37 PM: Putin doesn’t look pleased with the guy giving a speech right now. The guy notices, and his hand tremors ever-so-slightly.

10:38 PM: “Dear Olympic athletes…” that’s why my back is to you for the remainder of this speech.

10:39 PM: I hope this speech ends with a reminder not to use the water on your face.

10:43 PM: The Russian “dove of peace” (?) appears to be a jellyfish.

10:44 PM: Spinning women! Now this is what I like to see!

10:46 PM: OOOOH! If you just pay attention to the lit spinning cords when they’re to the left and right of the dancers, they look like wings! (Being serious, this time: I totally missed that for the first half of the routine.)

11:14 PM: OK, that was actually pretty good, as far as Olympic opening ceremonies go. Russia has nothing to be ashamed about.


I am once again snowed in. We got somewhere between 8 and 12 inches yesterday, depending on who you ask, and the current National Weather Service warning says we can expect another 3 to 7 inches today, followed by up to a half-inch of freezing rain. Bets on whether or not I lose power? (I’m totally going to lose power.)

Unlike in December, everybody seems to be much more relaxed this time—staying home, taking it easy. Barely anyone is driving, and places like campus and my office aren’t even bothering to try and open. The snow is, once again, very dry; would-be sledders down my hill take a couple low-speed runs, and then get bored.

It really doesn’t snow often in the valley, so this sort of pause remains novel for me. The world outside is bitterly cold, and almost completely still. I’m pretty well mentally frayed at the moment, and the cold and silence, the numbness and tranquility, that I need are just on the other side of a door.

Like, literally.

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