10 Years

March 2, 2013 ~ 09:56pm

I registered this domain name mjmwired.net 10 years ago to this date. My younger brother helped me pick out the name. This was after spending several months asking people who owned various domains with 'mjm' (which were unused) if they would agree to sell them to me. Nothing worked out. I ended up using a registrar that my older brother used, and used first paid hosting service I could find that allowed shell access. It only cost me $40/year.

Back then, blogs I read mostly existed on Blogger (which Google had acquired only a month earlier) and other cheasy sites (like Xanga). I remember most self hosted blogs/sites I read used MovableType, but I found the software a little difficult and I wasn't much for Perl. I was too cheap to purchase Radio Userland. I remember looking at WordPress which had not even reached a 1.0 yet (which happened 3 months later) and found it missed a few critical features.

So, I downloaded some tutorials and started hacking away at some code. It would take me 2 months before I could say "I'm Done". Those were 2 fun months. I miss the enthusiasm I had back then even though some of the self inflicted torture makes me wince. I ended up installing Apache/MySQL on Windows 2000 just to do web development! My Linux (RedHat 7.3 at the time) would have been much more suitable but the web was dominated by Internet Explorer (Netscape 7 was struggling).

Lots has happened since those few months in 2003. I don't think my site ever made a significant impact (though I'm somewhat proud my resources pages have had several million views in the past 10 years) but I'm happy with what I've done. The last few years haven't been as productive as they could have been, but its never too late to start again.

I hope to be writing more, I really do.

Server Upgrade, Technology and Bandwidth

April 15, 2011 ~ 07:21pm

My previous post was my first new entry after recently upgrading servers (I ran out of space on the old one and the software was getting too old). This switch compared to past occurrences was significantly more work and more costly. I say more work because I had over 5 years of different sites, tools, configurations and accounts scattered all over and I had to ensure that each piece migrated without disruption. I say more costly because for all the time I have not completely migrated, I need to pay to run 2 servers.

The cost issue is important because I chose a server from the same company at approximately the same price as I did in 2006. The only difference is that I now get 2x CPU, 2x Memory, 4x Disk Space and 10x Bandwidth. Someone might say: "good deal", but that would be incorrect, they should say: "good technology". As technology evolves in a free market, products and services should become less expensive over time.

My site went on-line in 2003, and I can recall when I first used 100MB bandwidth in a month. A few years later I was exceeding 1GB in a single day. While that order of magnitude may not be common, the observation is simple: "needs change". Demand can grow or users can grow.

Read the analysis from any ISP or TelCo about the bandwidth needs of their customers. They give so many (questionable) reasons about costs while intentionally ignoring a basic tendency: needs change. The bandwidth caps which meet the current customer usage will most likely last for years and are becoming more restrictive. New brilliant technologies (for example Netflix) will never flourish (some won't get off the ground), or advanced features like HD Streaming just won't work for more and more consumers.

I understand web-hosting and ISP bandwidth are not technically identical, but the illustration on usage change is the same. I cannot imagine setting myself limits for the next 5 years. I for one have a great deal of new ideas and different uses of my server. Hopefully a new reader won't hit their bandwidth limit before they make it to my site or the countless wonderful services that have come on-line recently.

My New Site Design

May 6, 2010 ~ 09:08am

I had not put any real work in over 3 years. I knew a lot of things needed some cleanup, but it wasn't until I bought a new monitor that I realized how ugly everything looked. I started the styling from scratch. I know the "blue" has got to go, but I didn't have time to pick a new color scheme.

I was going to cave in and switch to WordPress for blogging but I had been working on a new back-end for over a year now and I didn't want to throw that away. I'm now running on CodeIgniter which I am incredibly happy with. I'm finding adding functionality much easier now. And I personally find my site incredibly faster than before (or maybe that's me). I gave up way too much sleep over the last few weeks for this!

I know there is a big push for web standards now, so you'll notice a much nicer experience in Google Chrome 4, Firefox 3.6 or Internet Explorer 8 ... or anything newer than those. I used some cool CSS3 effects.

There is a significant amount of quirks yet to be resolved but I really wanted to go live so I can really test things out. Right now my contact still accepts spam :( ... and my landing home page is incredibly bland. The category and archive views either are broken or don't exist yet.

Majority of my URL's have been remapped which should re-direct but I am guessing there will still be plenty of 404 page not found errors. So if you see some please let me know. Also my primary blog feed now exists at the following url:
http://www.mjmwired.net/feed/blog
If you are using a Reader it should automatically redirect, but resubscribing is recommended.

It will be 7 years at the end of this month, I still suck major at blogging, but that's the fun of it.

Thanks for reading.

Don't Give In To Cybersquatters

January 12, 2009 ~ 01:22pm

Almost everyone familiar with the world wide web knows about cybersquatters. These are annoying opportunists who purchase domain names for website that they do not intend to use, but sell for a profit. Considering it costs less than $10 to purchase a domain and host a blank web page for a year, squatters will sell for much more, sometimes in the $100's or $1000's price range. Typically on these sites there are links which are basically ads. From the ads, squatters only need to recover the $10 cost per year to be profitable.

I registered this domain (mjmwired.net) in 2003, but over 2 years passed before I bought another domain name for a new site. It was incredibly difficult to find a good name both times. It occurred to me that if I ever had an idea and wanted to create a site around it, I would keep running into the same problem. Since then, anytime I think of something (however vague), I register a domain name. I'm fighting the squatters on their own turf.

Well, I thought I was. I picked a ".net" domain instead of a ".com", thinking it would be more personal and less commercial. I was shocked in Sept 2007 to see that some squatter had registered mjmwired.com. I only noticed when a google search for "mjmwired" put it on the first page, sometimes as the 3rd or 4rth result. Upon visiting the site it showed the standard list of ad links. The automated ad system these sites use place links that are relevant to the domain. For any normal domain that would make sense, but in this case it was showing all sorts of links that would be typical on my site. Now anyone who was looking for my site and ended up there would be confused. As annoyed as I was, I decided to sit still. If it did not show up on google, I really would not care, but I get majority of all my traffic from google searches.

Over the course of the year, I was tempted many times to email asking how much they wanted for the domain. However by doing that, I feared they would just raise the price. So I ignored it for a year hoping that it would not be renewed. Unfortunately at the end of Sept 2008, it auto-renewed. I was disappointed until I started receiving emails like this (emphasis added):

Our company specializes in acquiring expired domain names to help individuals and businesses protect their brand online.
The domain name MJMWIRED.COM is expiring and will be available to the public very soon.
We noticed that you own MJMWIRED.NET and felt that you may be interested.
We can assist in trying to acquire the domain name, as there are likely many interested parties competing for it.
We do not charge upfront, and the fee if we are successful is only $199 USD.
If you are interested, please let us know by December 16 at the latest.

It is not even clear if that price includes the actual cost of the domain, which most likely would be inflated through bidding and who are these "interested parties"? I ignored these emails and waited till the end of December hoping no one would purchase it. Unfortunately, sometime after Christmas another squatting domain service bought the domain. By this time I had totally given up.

About a week ago, as I was drafting this post, I looked up mjmwired.com again. To my shock it said it was available! I was uneasy for a few hours since it took a great deal of time to get approved after I purchased it, but it only cost $10! So that ends 16 months of minor irritation. Now I guess I can protect my brand online. ... There's only one thing that bugs me though: should I be worried about this problem for my other domains?

(FYI: I use 1and1 for all my new domain purchases.)

India 2007 Pictures Online

March 25, 2008 ~ 10:12pm

I know I am about 2 months late, but I finally put all (well almost all) of my pictures from my recent India trip pictures online. It took almost 2 full weeks to upload them, sort them, arrange them and get everything up and running. It ... was ... soo ... slow. The total amount taken were about 2GB of 5 Megapixel photos (sorry I don't own an SLR). Of those I have over 650 online! Unfortunately I didn't have time to put commentary like I did for 2004, but this time they came out really nice!

Anyways, since I don't trust sites like Yahoo or Flickr, I have them on some secret webpage/location. I will be sending out login information over the next few days. So if you think I missed you, send me an email.