flwyd: (daemon tux hexley)
Shadow Boxing Day is February 3rd; the day after Groundhog Day. It's a holiday dedicated to getting shit done that you've been putting off for a while.

Although Shadow Boxing Day was also Super Bowl Sunday this year, I don't have TV reception at my house, so I had the whole day to spend setting up a virtual private server with not one but two hosting companies.

For the non-sysadmins out there, a virtual private server is a way to run an operating system so that it looks like you're the only one using the computer, but actually there are several other OSes on that particular piece of hardware. When you're running a data center and selling access, this is both cheaper and simpler for maintenance than maintaining a 1:1 OS to machine correspondence.

My personal domain and several for members of my family have been hosted on a server owned by a friend of mine for several years. It's been nice and reliable (1636 days uptime), but it's old enough that the software upgrade repository has gone away. /proc/cpuinfo also informs me that it's a Pentium III, the name of which brings back memories of gamers and IRC and AIM and other things from my late college years.

So I did some research on VPS packages. It looked like DreamHost had the best deal for what I needed because they included "unlimited" disk space while other offerings scale disk with other resources I don't need as much of. After reading lots of FAQ material, I created an account and started setting up the server when I discovered that DreamHost's account management is kind of painful. First, for FTP reasons I think, every account on your server must have a globally (within DreamHost) unique user ID. tstone was, of course, taken, and while I was able to get flwyd, I wasn't relishing the thought of having to remember to type a username every time I sshed in. More annoying, though, was that their account creation tool seems to require that users with sudo access and users with a website must be disjoint sets. While this makes sense if you're playing sysadmin for fun, it turns out to be really painful if you need to switch accounts every time you need to install a Ruby gem or edit an HTTP config file.

Since I was being über productive on Shadow Boxing Day, I went through the whole signup and VPS setup process again, this time with Linode. This time, I got what I was expecting: a default Linux install where I have to apt-get install and configure everything myself. And to maximize the velocity, though not with optimal direction, I did it all a third time after getting things into a weird state on initial try.

Conclusion: If you want to host a whole bunch of WordPress and phpBB sites on your own server and give your friends and family self-service options for their sites (and they can remember whatever strange user ID they end up with), DreamHost is a great VPS choice. It's also a good choice if you don't need a private server for your small site. However, if you want a Linux blank slate, DreamHost is likely to prove frustrating. They've got a 14-day free trial, so I think I'll poke around a bit more and see if I can come up with a less maddening sysadmin scheme.
flwyd: (Trevor shadow self portrait)
Reminder: Today is Shadow Boxing Day, the day after Groundhog Day. Now go do what you've been putting off. When you're done, share it with the world. Brag about winning the fight with your shadow. It will give you confidence for the next round.
flwyd: (Trevor shadow self portrait)
Since today is Groundhog Day, tomorrow (February 3rd) is shadow boxing day. Shadowboxing day is an opportunity to get crap done that's been lingering, that you've been putting off, or that you always forget about.

What will you do? Preemptive spring cleaning? Your taxes? Edit a chapter of your NaNoWriMonster? Call your mom?

I know what I'll be doing: working on my dad's website.
flwyd: (Trevor shadow self portrait)
My accomplishments on this Shadow Boxing Day:
  1. Write about Shadow Boxing Day.
  2. Start a load of laundry.
  3. Drop off car to get headlight fixed.
  4. Get exercise by walking back home.
  5. Start another load of laundry.
  6. Upload and organize photographs.
  7. Shower.
  8. Get more exercise by walking back to mechanic's.
  9. Start another load of laundry.
  10. Carry funky uncomfortable couch from living room to dumpster.
  11. Clean mud in entry way.
  12. Vacuum.
  13. Rearrange living room to account for lack of couch.
  14. Finish Egil's Saga.

I've had a bit of a headache for a few hours, so I've been ending my day as I began it: reading e-mail and posting to LiveJournal. I didn't do any side project programming today, but I'll let that slide on the grounds that I did a bunch of programming this week while not twiddling my thumbs waiting for my laptop to stop swapping. Overall, I declare victory.


Saturday, February 3rd, 2007 12:19 pm
flwyd: (Default)
Procrastination end #1: Dropped my car off for repairs.

[i2Tones]Procrastination end #2: Uploaded and arranged photographs from December and January. This image is from the My Morning Jacket show on 1/13. One secret of producing good photographs is to take a lot of photographs and ignore the bad ones. I sent my best five (out of 159) to the band's website; one of my pictures is the thumbnail for the Denver shows.

Shadow Boxing Day

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007 10:20 am
flwyd: (Trevor shadow self portrait)
Punxsatawney Phil didn't see his shadow yesterday, but that doesn't mean you can't.

If the day after Christmas is Boxing Day, the day after Groundhog Day must be Shadow Boxing Day. It's a day devoted to self-examination and intention setting.

It's been a month since many people set new year's resolutions. To those who have followed through, you have my admiration. For the rest of us, this is a day to sit down and have a frank look at why we don't do the things we plan. We'll get inside our enemy's head and psych him out. The shadow's had the upper hand and dealt us some blows, but this is the day for some fancy footwork and a surprise strike.

Today is the day we'll shine a light on what holds us back, knocking the shadow out of the way and taking charge of the situation. Not only will we do this, but I will do this and you will do this. Only I can knock out my own shadows; only you can knock out your own shadows.

Now go do what you've been putting off. When you're done, share it with the world. Brag about winning the fight with your shadow. It will give you confidence for the next round.
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