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Category: Miscellaneous

I Left Dreamhost

I Left Dreamhost

I was a Dreamhost customer for twelve years (2006-2018).

I have never needed a webserver for anything life critical or even for anything all that important.  I use a webserver for rather pedestrian reasons, primarily very small web hosting.  I suspect that after culling out web crawlers, 90% or more of the traffic to my websites is me.  I also like to have control over my email server.  I don’t have great reasons for doing it, but I like having complete control over my email.

In 2006, Dreamhost was the best webhost you could find.  A lot has changed since then, not all of it is necessarily the fault of Dreamhost.  I have lived through numerous outages, including some that lasted days.  I have lived through Dreamhost all but banning email servers.  I have migrated from shared hosting to virtual private servers to cloud compute.

Back in the day Dreamhost offered technical solutions and features that were hard to come by.  Today, webhosting has become a commoditized process.  Containerized and virtualized servers mean you as the user are now in control of everything.  Gone are the days where a webhost adds much value, instead today a webhost provides little more than bandwidth and hardware.  The less cruft and abstraction between me and my machine the better.  As always the more uptime the better.

In my experience, and I suspect the data bears this out, AWS uptime is better than Dreamhost’s.  While DreamCompute is a good step, Dreamhost’s implementation of OpenStack still puts too much between me and my server.

This year I finally decided that it was time to move everything to an AWS instance.  It was the right decision, since moving everything has been much easier with little to no downtime.

So long Dreamhost, it has been real.

 

Dreamhost Triples the Memory on VPS

Dreamhost Triples the Memory on VPS

So I missed the announcement somewhere, but somewhere in the past few days, Dreamhost significantly upgraded their VPS offering.  Previously you got 300 MB of RAM and unlimited disk space for $15/month.

A few Trade-offs

Now Dreamhost is advertising 1GB of RAM but only 30GB of storage.  It looks like they are continuing to move away from their “unlimited everything” from their younger days. Personally, I am will to sacrifice the unlimited storage as I am currently using about 3GB of storage.  The new machines also use Ubuntu 12, but that was a change almost a year ago.  This is a bigupgrade from my Debian 5 VPS.

You will lose your usernames

A bigger downside is that it looks like you will need to create a new VPS instance and move all of your stuff over and then delete your old instance.  The real bummer of this, is that Dreamhost doesn’t allow usernames to be reused again, EVER.    So you can’t move your username and you can’t delete and recreate them on the new machine.  (I do have a hack to get around this, but more on that another day)

A Long History

The other sad part is that I will be losing my comparatively low VPS number.  My original VPS had a 10,000 number, the new one is in the 380,000 range.

http://www.dreamhost.com/dreamscape/2014/11/13/managed-vps-now-all-ssd-and-more-awesome/

Automatically Clear/Sync Hangouts Notifications Between Android and GChat

Automatically Clear/Sync Hangouts Notifications Between Android and GChat

I have been plagued by this problems for months.  I frequently searched for a solution but found nothing until today.

The Problem

I am signed into hangouts on my Android phone and use Gchat (the chat client inside the web version of Gmail).  Throughout the day I use Gchat.  At the end of the day, when I look at my phone, there is a hangouts notification for the first message of each separate Gchat communication.  I have to manually clear the hangouts notifications on my phone, even though I have both seen and responded to the messages in Gchat.

The Solution

I can’t claim credit, but buried on this Google Groups page, I found the answer.  I have no idea why such an important solution is buried so deeply inside a groups post.

The solution in that post is hard to follow, what you want to do is “enable hangouts in gmail.”  Google does provide a nice instruction set for enabling hangouts in gmail.

The Results

It works!  When I get a new hangouts message, I get a notification on my phone and in Gmail.  If I click on or respond to that message in Gmail, the notification is cleared from my phone.

The only downside, is that the new interface for hangouts in Gmail is significantly different than the old Gchat interface.  It is too soon to say whether I think this is a good or bad thing.