Having finally had it up to here with Dreamhost, we've undertaken the process of finding a new host that will meet my needs. Those needs being:
prompt support replies
not costing an arm and a leg
not being a total pain in the ass to deal with
Having been with Dreamhost for a number of years, and now having tried out a series of other hosting providers, I can honestly say that save for my first bullet point, Dreamhost far exceeds every other hosting provider I've seen. They really "get it" over there.
If'n your hosting needs are limited to flat HTML without any reliance on databases (and you don't mind the occasional incommunicado outage) I very much recommend them.
If, however, your needs are a bit more technical, I heartily recommend GIVING UP ON YOUR NEEDS, because I went through four different incompetent hosting providers looking for one that can handle my crazy hodgepodge of web-fu.
Flat HTML was awesome in 1994, and it STILL IS. Your blood pressure will thank you.
After discovering that the G1 had a hidden proxy configuration that allowed all internet traffic to be routed through a proxy of your choosing, I decided to dust off the old Internet Junkbuster, an Adblock predecessor from 1996 or so.
Like Adblock, Junkbuster allows one to specify via regular expressions a list of URL conditions to treat as advertisements, replacing them with 1-pixel transparent gifs before they get to your browser, effectively blocking any sort of unwanted intrusion into your web experience.
I tracked it down, compiled it from source, and got it running on my Dreamhost account. After configuring the G1 to use it, I found that it worked amazingly well. I fed it the current snapshot of the community-maintained "filterset.G" blocking rules, and banished ads virtually entirely from my phone. Awesome.
Until, that is, Deamhost's Abuse Department dropped me a line asking if I was aware that copious amounts of spam were being sent by my account, and notifying me that they were able to track all of the spam messages to my running Junkbuster installation.
I haven't yet investigated to determine whether Junkbuster itself has been compromised by spammers or whether it's just badly coded so as to allow this sort of abuse, but the discovery of my active installation and subsequent spam messages that were resultant from it happened within hours of me turning it on. Startlingly fast, in fact. I'm not sure there's really any explanation other than Junkbuster itself now containing malicious code, but I'll be looking into that shortly.
Either way, finding that the tool you're using to remove the spam from your web surfing is, in fact, resulting in spam showing up in the email of strangers is delightfully ironic.
1) An interesting change here at Casa de Nyquil: a 12 year old boy is now turning our cozy little twosome (9-some, if'n you count the rodents and birds and feline) into a trio (Dectet?). So far this has only meant more Wii time, as only one day has passed. Today D and 12yo are off to the beach, meaning I've got the place to myself for the evening. Updates as to problems/benefits of a child to follow.
2) I'd just like to take this time to point out the value inherent in knowing your audience. As a Dreamhost Blog reader, I saw that Crazy Josh Jones was waiting in line to purchase an iPhone he didn't even want, and that he was giving it away in an amusing little contest: make an image showing the real reason behind the mysterious downtimes all Dreamhost customers fondly recognize. I saw an opportunity -- not to win, mind you -- to make Josh laugh, which is something he's caused me to do on any number of occasions. I entered the contest, making reference to something pretty much only he would find humor in, and did it in bad pun form -- which, after being a customer of Dreamhost for several years and constant reader of at least eight "monthly" newsletters, I know he has quite a proclivity for.
This, apparently, is the trick to winning prizes from him, cuz he's now mailing me his unwanted 8gig iPhone.
I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with this monstrosity, for after spending like an hour at a Cingular store trying to get all the deets from the peeps, I've learned that there is not a comparable plan to the one I currently enjoy thru T-Mobile (0 minutes, unlimited data for $29.99), and the best I can do is 200 minutes unlimited data for $59.99. That's a pretty steep monthly increase, but maybe the super-cool new features the iPhone provide are worth it. Steve would have me believe so. (When you pay $600 for a device, you get to be on first-name basis.)
The two demo models at the store were both borked already, so that's probably not a good sign, but before I did a hard reset on the semi-working one (requiring some Cingular employee to eventually re-enter the WiFi security key. Sorry, future iPhone demo-ers!) I did get to scroll and zoom around things. It is pretty neat.
Safari crashed after loading half of nyquil.org, so I'm not entirely sure how well that works. Most of the apps on the phone actually use Safari to operate (which Blackberry customers will be all-too familiar with) meaning that you can't switch back and forth betwixt a web page and and the cool GPS screen. Or any screen, for that matter. There doesn't appear to be any sort of multi-tasking, as the only button on the unit just takes you back to the menu, where clicking on the application again gives you a new, blank window. Perhaps I am just stupid and couldn't figure out how, though. (But aren't us retards the exact demo Apple's products are targeted to? That smarmy Mac guy on TV is constantly telling John Hodgman how much less-smart (inversely proportional to how much more cool you are) you need to be to use Apple products. Maybe I'm just not cool enough?)
Overall, after the 10 minutes I goofed around betwixt crashes, I was actually pretty danged impressed with the interface. The virtual keyboard is very nice. I've used a lot of portable device keypads, and really, the lack of tactile buttons is far less off-putting than I expected; I was pretty quickly two-thumbing out things like a pro. This will probably be more irritating as I try to compose longer, less "test test 1 2 3 4"-type things... we'll have to see when I actually get mine.
I also learned the crucial bit of info for which I trekked out to a store in the first place: I can activate the phone, try it for 30 days, and then cancel the mandatory two-year contract, enabling me to re-sell it on eBay should I not like it. Yes, even if you are not buying the phone at this time, you are still required to sign a multi-year contract just to activate it.
I'm not sure who is crazier: those loons at Apple or the nutjobs (like me) who can't wait to use their equal-parts shiny/shitty products. Updates to follow.
500GB storage, 5TB monthly bandwidth, $50 discount, and 5 free domain registrations <b>for life</b>. (Your domains won't cost you anything as long as you remain a customer.) Thatâ€™s $69.40 for the first year of hosting if you sign up for the yearly plan. Also, the storage and bandwidth increase every month for as long as you're a customer, meaning you'll be able to start your own YouTube in no time. Just enter the coupon code 555 when signing up. I'm led to believe this is a limited time offer.
If, on the other hand, you don't so much care about the sudden burst of disk space and monthly bandwidth and the 5 free domains, and would rather just save $97 instead of $50, you can use the coupon code ECLECTICISM, which I set up a while back to pass all of my "referral bonus" on to a friend of mine. (Dreamhost will give you either 10% of what a referred customer spends for as long as they're a customer, or a one-time $97 bonus. You can choose to pass some or all of that referrer bonus on to the person signing up, which is what I did.) I think this works out to $22.40 for the first year. This offer is not for a limited time.
I'm not shilling for dreamhost, and I don't get anything out of it if you sign up -- I just wanted to share some pretty great deals. I've been a dreamhost customer for quite a while, and I have very little negative to say about them. If anyone is curious, I'll happily explain the things I do or don't like. For everyone else, just know that those things have yet to make me even consider switching hosts.