Moving the second

I currently host twenty-three domains in my partner hosting account, based in Arizona.

In the last six months there have been a couple of periodic capacity issues on the shared server. These have manifested themselves in – at best, occasionally slow page loads and – at worst, unreachable websites fronted by server-generated error messages.

A reverse lookup of the IP address shows that there are currently 7,279 websites hosted on that one shared server.

Even though most of them are probably low-volume traffic websites, 7,279 websites on one server is a pretty big number.

Because of this big number, and prompted by the periodic performance issues of the shared server, I’m thinking of moving the twenty-three domains to a new home.

An analysis of traffic shows that none of the 23 domains are particularly high-volume.

The top three get in the region of 250-550 page-views a day, each. Then there are a few specialised websites that have peaks and troughs in visitors, but probably hit an average of around 100-200 page-views a day. The rest are esoteric, highly niche websites that receive very low traffic – around 25-50 page-views a day.

In terms of internet traffic, those figures add up to barely nothing. Any reasonable webserver should be capable of dealing with that kind of demand.

I like the idea of having everything hosted on a shared – but dedicated – server.

So I have been looking in to leasing a dedicated server with a commercial hosting provider. It’s an expensive option. It would give me a naked server, installed with just an operating system.

The geek in me is quite excited by the thoughts of what I’d have to do to that server, in order to turn it in to the host of multiple websites.

A challenge, too.

But fun.

And rewarding, once completed.

So that’s an option, but it’s the second option under consideration.

The first option that I’m going to pursue is to look at hosting a couple of these websites on my Synology Diskstation NAS, just to see how that goes (the NAS already has a static IP address, so all I would need to do is create a zone file with some nameserver details).

In a way this brings the same challenges (and the same opportunities to geek myself to a happy place) as leasing a naked server.

There are a lot of practical things to be learned like, for example, do I mount one instance of MySQL for each website database, or mount a single instance of MySQL and label each website with its own tables.

But yes, hosting my own websites on my own hardware could be a fun thing to do.

My NAS is capable of hosting up to 30 websites, according to the manufacturer’s blurb.

There are many security packages in the NAS software library.

The house I’m moving to is being served with a broadband connection that’s currently delivering 80Mb/s download and 12Mb/s upload, so that’s more than enough bandwidth to host websites through.

So once I’ve moved house, I’m going to give it a go.

I’ll host one or two of my most expendable, least high-traffic websites on the NAS. I’ll take some metrics, and we’ll see how it all goes.

I can’t help noticing there’s a PowerEdge server (2x Quad Core, 2.33Ghz 16GB RAM)  on eBay for £200.

Blogathon 3/13 NewTech!

I have a new toy!

Yes indeedy, the Tablet generation has a new member.

I have finally managed to beg, borrow and/or steal the 32gb version of one of these:





A Nexus 10.




It’s very early days in this fledgling, but hi-tech relationship, but so far things are pretty comfortable.

I’ve installed the same applications on the Nexus 10 that I run on my phone (this blogpost is being typed via the very nifty WordPress application, using the SwiftKey virtual keyboard).

My two laptops have become exclusive to video and audio editing/production, whilst the Nexus 10 has become the primary Internet workhorse.

Because I migrated all of my audio, video, and text-based files and projects on to my NAS, just over a year ago, the Nexus 10 has access, via WiFi, to 1.5tb of multimedia data from anywhere.

One new development is that I’m also using the Nexus 10 as a Kindle.

So I have all this highly portable tech.

Shame I’m mostly using it for Twitter.


Not getting the internet in Ireland and Germany

Irish Newspapers want to make it illegal to link to their articles, or charge people who do (link to article) (via @rodti)

Absolutely scandalous!

And then news came in from @syzygy that the same information battle is being fought in Germany (link to article)

Jesus, are these people not getting it?

Here’s an idea for the German and Irish newspapers; if you don’t want people to link to your articles, instead of trying to control the internet use of the population of the entire planet, why don’t you just stop putting your articles on the internet?

How about that?

Because it seems like the perfect solution to me.

Gagz a plenty

Twitter (no matter how you feel about it) is a medium for good and bad.

Yes, utter morons like Piers Morgan spout their meaningless gibberish to an incomprehensibly large readership.

And yes, there are mentally challenged people like that guy who said evil things to the diver (I’m a little tired, just nod and say ‘yes, I know who you mean’).

But, idiots like these aside (and there are many idiots like these out there), there are many good people.

Sensible, wise, educated, erudite…

I am, obviously, none of these.

I am, occasionally, funny.

More on this in a moment.

But the thing that makes Twitter really work (instead of being a pale parody of itself, as Piers Moron uses it), is to follow back all of the people you follow.

It is, after all, a *social* network.

And when you follow all of your followers, you build up a rapport with them.

And occasionally you meet them.

So this Saturday I’m going to Aston le Walls for Pimm’s, pasties and ponies.

All organised via Twitter; through people I follow/who follow me.

It’s nice.

Anyway, back to the funnies.

Here’s just a selection of my funniest Tweets during the last 48 hours:

  • I have to spend all day in Swindon tomorrow. It’s a bit like community service.
  • My neighbour has just gone to Brecon Jazz Festival. Didn’t have the heart to tell him it’s about music.
  • I’ve sat on this couch and watched so much of the Olympics that I’ve got athletes bum.
  • If lady boxing is the official title of boxing sport for ladies, I can’t wait for the introduction of gardening sport for ladies.
  • Just imagine how riotously funny the Dressage TV commentary would be if it was hosted by Ant and Dec.
  • The dressage will now have a 10-minute break for a course walk. (Eventers joke)
  • Just bought a lottery ticket. Because it’s £148m and that would buy a lot of chocolate and ponies and unicorns and stuff.
  • Sorry, I’ve been out of the loop on this and I’m just catching up. So Fern Britton is pregnant and Jessie J is the father?
  • This is my 42,000th Tweet. It’s a significant milestone in David Cameron’s shining political career. Oh. Wait.
  • Hahaha! London Southend airport. You may as well rename Kidlington airport as London Oxford airport. Oh. Wait…
  • Only just realised that Fence One of the Olympic SJ is not a rustic obstacle (another Eventers joke)
  • I did not just spend an entire meeting considering driving into town to hit Greggs for three vegetable pasties.

See what you’re missing?

Or maybe not.

Rooting for the router (pt 2)

I decided to follow a variation of Daniel’s excellent suggestion.

I ran ping -t for 24 continuous hours and the router behaved itself perfectly.

I started to suspect that running ping -t was forcing the router to keep the connection ‘live’, so yesterday evening I terminated ping -t and went to bed.

This evening I came home, booted up my laptop as usual and pootled about on the internet…

For two hours.

Two hours is the amount of time it took for the Netgear N150 WNR1000v3 Wireless Router to lock up and freeze all internet access.


This time, with internet access locked out, I tried to ping my default gateway. Unsurprisingly I got a big fat Request Timed Out.

So, leaving the router running (but locked out), I connected my laptop to the Netgear N150 WNR1000v3 Wireless Router with a cable.

Guess what!

I got instant internet.


So despite my laptop ‘seeing’ an ‘Excellent’ WiFi signal strength, and despite my laptop saying the status of that WiFi is ‘Connected’, the only way I will be able to connect to the internet is by rebooting the router.

Or using a cable.

Which is, obviously, actionable under the trade description act – for a WiFi router.

In fact, the only reason I can publish this blog post is because I’m still using the cable, directly connecting me to the Netgear N150 WNR1000v3 Wireless Router.

As a final check, I disconnected the cable and attempted to attach – via WiFi – to the router’s admin control panel.

Yep, that worked. I was able to go in, change WiFi channels and update all other router features, via WiFi.

But couldn’t get to the internet, via WiFi.

So this experiment also established that my laptop’s WiFi wasn’t to blame. The problem appears to be the WiFi function of the Netgear N150 WNR1000v3 Wireless Router, that locks out.

On both of the routers.


How come no-one else has experienced/found this problem?

Rooting for the router

When my broadband was upgraded, the BT Openreach engineer installed a BT Openreach Modem which he coupled to a (new) Netgear N150 WNR1000v3 Wireless Router.



One of these





And for a while – a couple of days – everything was fine.

Then I started to get locked out by, what I suspected to be, the wireless router.

I’d be pootling through internet activity (and that could mean downloading audio or video via direct links, or via iTunes, or via media secure portal; or browsing websites, or uploading files of any description) when suddenly I’d get a browser-generated ‘I can’t find the website you’re looking for’ error message.

All download/upload activity would cease, as my internet connection was, effectively, lost. Yet my laptop still maintained a solid WiFi connection with the router.

I would also lose connection to my NAS, which is directly attached to the router, via cable.



My NAS unit






I restarted the router and, when it had completed the reboot, everything was back on line; Internet was back, upload/download continued and my NAS began talking to me again.

Until the next time; a couple of hours later the same thing happened again. I restarted the router again, and was back up and running in a few minutes.

A couple of hours later (there’s no ‘passage of time’ connection to this event – and, also, there is no ‘I was doing this thing’ connection either), my internet connection froze again.

Over the next three days my internet connection froze ten times. That’s ten ‘switch the router off and switch it back on again’ events in 72 hours.

I rang Plusnet – my ISP – and explained the problem. The nice chap on the other end of the phone suggested two things. Firstly, I should do a factory reset on the router. Secondly, I should change the channel that the router broadcast on.

I did these things.

Less than three hours later my internet connection froze again. A couple of hours later it happened again. And even later, it happened again.

I rang Plusnet, we talked about the recurring fault and they said they’d send me a new router.



Good old Plusnet!




Three days later I installed the new router, connected my WiFi and non-WiFi devices to it and off we went.

For five hours.

Then my internet connection froze.

Wanting to be analytical about this, I rebooted the router and then accessed my NAS control panel.



In here I checked for operating system updates (there were none), then I took a deep breath and shut down the NAS unit.




That left me with the N150 WNR1000v3 Wireless Router and two WiFi-enabled devices. I switched the other device off, which left me with the router and my primary laptop.  Not exactly going to tax the router too much, I thought.

A couple of hours later my internet connection froze again.

I rebooted the router.

The internet froze again some time later.

I called Plusnet and explained the problem. The nice guy on the other end of the phone suggested I do a factory reset and change the channel the router broadcast on. I explained I’d done that with the previous router, but I would do it with the replacement one as well. He also suggested that the next time it happened, instead of rebooting the Netgear WiFi router, I left that switched on but that I should reboot the BT Openreach Modem.

So I did these things.

I did a factory reset on the Netgear router, I changed the channel of the router and, when my internet connection inevitably failed a few hours later, I reset the BT Openreach Modem.






Which had no effect at all.

The only way to get my internet connection back was to reset the Netgear Wifi router.

I called Plusnet (who I have absolutely no issues with at all) and asked them to search their records to  see how many instances of the N150 WNR1000v3 Wireless Router locking up, have been reported to them.

None, was their reply.

So what is it that I’m doing, what is it in my setup, that has continually forced two N150 WNR1000v3 Wireless Routers to lock up and freeze my internet connection?

Answers, please, on a used £5-note.

Two year changeover

It’s been two years since I adopted the Nexus One as my mobile phone handset.

It has been a happy two years.

Apart from when I dropped it.

And broke it.

And had to live without it for six whole days.

It has seldom left my side and rarely been switched off (apart from when I’ve been onboard flights).

But with the passing of two years comes the opportunity of a free upgrade.

I’ll roll my tongue around my favourite words once more…

‘free upgrade’.

Mmmm, that feels nice; that’s my favourite kind of upgrade – the free kind.

Well, after a lot of prevaricating about the bush (three minutes) I decided to change manufacturer and choose, as my free upgrade, the Samsung S3.





This little baby.





Except it isn’t little; the surface area dwarfs that of most other handsets.

No complaint from me on that, though it does still fit nicely in to my shirt pockets.

And it is thinner than most other handsets on the market.

But the big improvement seems to be battery life.

Well, the big improvement *after* speed, because the dual-quad processors make the phone eye-wateringly fast.

Yes, the battery life is a significant improvement on the Nexus One. I’ve had my S3 switched on for 25 continuous hours and the phone has only used 15% of its battery.

And that’s 25 hours which includes significantly large amounts of time which have been engaged in heavy email, internet, and Twitter activity.

So yeah.

So far so very excellent.

Well done Samsung for giving me a nice new phone that continues to offer me all of the usual Android goodness.

This is nice.

Cruisin’ down the internet superhighway

My home broadband connection has been upgraded. In an improvement from the previous 5Mb download and 250Kb upload, I’m now getting 29.75Mb download and 2Mb upload.

I recognise that for some people in other parts of the country/world, even these new figures might be seen as being pretty pathetic, but for here, in the primary town of our Prime Minister’s very own constituency, these are strong numbers.

I had a nice chat with the Openreach engineer as he was doing his stuff.

He looked at the guitars, the music stand, the music, the writing-in-progress, the photographs of me and the horses and said ‘Is there anything you don’t do?’

‘Loads!’, was my reply. ‘Absolutely loads’.

And now, as I have the day booked off as leave, to celebrate the stupendous broadband upgrade I shall…

Go to work.

No, me neither.

Searching for inspiration

I’m looking for a domain name.

I get flashes of inspiration that occasionally produces solid gold possibilities, but when I check them out I find someone has got there before me.

The domain name is for the new media website that I have finally finished designing.

All I need is a name.

I thought I had the perfect one and nearly spent money buying it.

Just in time, before I pressed the ‘buy’ button, I noticed the typo.

Yeah, that could have been embarrassing.

So I’m still looking.

I can’t go in to details here, but if you’re feeling creative, leave a comment/drop me a line and I’ll email you the basic details.

When adverts go weird

You know that advert? The one with the girl? On the platform? Smiling?

This one…

I don’t know about you but I’m suffering from overload. Or maybe I’m just suffering from *advert* overload.

Because there are questions, serious questions about the dialogue. And the characters. And their motivation.

I mean, let’s examine this for a moment…

Girl on the platform smile. Even though your collar and cuffs don’t match. That’s not at all weird, right?

Or how about…

Girl on the platform smile. Because you’ve got a ukelele-playing stalker who wants to know the colour of your pubic hair.

Or maybe it’s a more day-to-day message…

Girl on the platform smile. The ticket inspector’s on the next train.

And also, is it just me who thinks that both the marketing department at and their advertising agency are seriously deranged?

Because, let’s be honest, this advert isn’t about an internet dating website, it’s about two people meeting each other at a train station.

How does two people meeting each other at a train station translate to an internet dating site?