My Balticon 45 Schedule

I can’t wait to get to Balticon this Memorial Day weekend (May 27-30, 2011) and honored to once again participate as a panelist, performer, and moderator. What’s that? Why no, I didn’t just paste this over from last years post! And I’m insulted that you would suggest such a thing 🙂

Here is a list of the events I will be participating in. Come on by and say hello- I’d love to meet you! The schedule is pretty stable, but there is always a possibility that some of the times or rooms may change – so please check back before heading out to make sure you’ve got current info.

Sound Design & Extreme Audio Effects
When: Friday 10:00pm – 11:00pm
Where: Derby

Our expert panel of professional sound designers and audio engineers will explore various topics and techniques surrounding sound design and the art and science of extreme audio effects. They will share insider tips and tricks to help you squeeze strange and unworldly tones and textures out of the equipment you already own, inspire you to build and record uncommon noise makers, and to turn ordinary sounds into sonic landscapes designed to enhance your next multi-media project. They will cover both basic and advanced recording, tweaking and extreme manipulation techniques to provide you with the take-away know-how to shake awake audiences and transport them to strange new worlds.

Master’s Session: Audio Excellence in Podcasting
When: Saturday 9:00am – Noon
Where: Derby

Our panel of expert audio enthusiasts will discuss various topics surrounding audio engineering for spoken word, music, and everything in between. They will help you get the best sound out of the equipment you have, help you pick the next piece of important equipment within your budget, and help you avoid burnout by streamlining your workflow to shorten the time you spend editing audio. The audience is encouraged to bring questions and even samples of problems they are having with their own work.

Concert: Ditched by Kate
When: Saturday 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Where: Garden Room

New Media participants Phil Rossi and Chooch Schubert bring us alternative rock with their band “Ditched by Kate“.

Unlikely Disasters to Plan For
When: Saturday 10:00pm – 11:00pm
Where: Chesapeake

Because more things may uprise than just zombies and robots!
So much attention is paid to how one might survive the zombie apocalypse or robot uprising. But aren’t there a whole lot of other things we should be planning for? How about mole men? Insect sentience? Or grey goo? Join our panel of possible-apocalypses scholars enumerate the conceivable threats. We might even have time to figure out how to survive one or two! Audience participation encouraged!

Into The Blender: Live!
When: Sunday 9:00pm – 10:00pm
Where: Chesapeake

Geek Media: One size does not fit all
The podcast is back for another live show. This time we’re taking on a touchy subject: There are countless arenas of geek affection, but some seem near universal: movies, television, and books. Whether it be Star Wars or Firefly; Lord of the Rings, or Buffy; Gaiman or Pratchet – there are things you are SUPPOSED to love as a geek. Well, we don’t love them all and I bet you don’t either! Come compare your likes and dislikes with an assorted panel of lovers and haters of every genre. Take My Geek Card (I Dare You!)

Open Source Software for Everyday Use
When: Sunday 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Where: Derby

What we use at home and at work to free us from software giants
Do you feel that your creativity is held back because you can’t afford programs like Photoshop, Final Cut, or Microsoft Office? Our panel of experts have freed themselves from the bonds of expensive closed software ecosystems and you can too. Whether you’re just fed up, want to try new things, or can’t afford to pick up the software you want, there is an open source alternative available to you. Find out what packages our panelist use, how to find software that fits your need, and how to join the amazing communities that spring up around open source software.
Chances are you probably use some OSS, and you don’t even know it. Our panel of open source developers and evangelists discuss the facts and help you find the OSS packages that can free you from outrageously high costs, bizarre licensing practices, and poor interface design. Come and learn ways to save yourself money, improve your productivity, and secure your computer. You don’t have time or money to ignore OSS anymore. Set yourself free.

May 27-30, 2011

Who’s Your GoDaddy?

Certainly not mine any more!

A few months ago our websites underwent some significant down time. The dust has settled and my schedule has finally allowed a little time to write about it.

Here’s what went down: GoDaddy decided that something was wrong with one of my sites one day and initiated a move of my hosting account to the server ghetto. This is the place where misbehaving children are sent for a time out.

My dozen or so sites were reasonably up to date, but I immediately went to log in and update their code (several WordPress blogs that were in the middle of being consolidated under a single instance as well as some forums, photo gallery sites, etc.). I had never had any problems, so I wanted to check to make sure I wasn’t hacked or anything.

My sites were taken offline during the move to the ghetto, so I couldn’t check anything and people who tried to go to any of my sites got a big blank page. I called GoDaddy support to ask how long it would take, and they said the transfers usually take about 48 hours. I was only hosting around 8 gigabytes of data, so two days to transfer it in what should be a state-of-the-art gigabit per second data center baffled me, but I decided to wait it out and not argue the point.

I asked how long my account would stay on the ghetto server and they said a minimum of 30 days, then it would be reevaluated and moved back to the regular hosting server if everything was OK. I found this terribly insulting. Those ghetto servers are where hacked and infested accounts reside. They are given the least provisioned bandwidth since they are doing “naughty things”, but there is no way for me, a human person, to request my sites be checked and moved back in a timely manner. I get a 30-day “time out”, even though I installed from their tools, and stayed on top of patches. They wouldn’t even tell me WHAT my sites were doing that supposedly violated their terms of service and got me moved to the ghetto, just a generic “using too many resources” message. Did one of my sites just suddenly get too popular for them??

After waiting the 48 hours for transfer, my sites were still down. I called and they said that “something has gone wrong, we’ll look into it. Give us another 48 hours”. I gave it 24 and called back. Still no go. I called back every day. FOR.SEVEN.DAYS. A technician finally looked at their transfer script, fixed the hang up, and the sites finished the move to the ghetto.

Now that my sites were accessible, I checked them over, and nothing was amiss. A couple plugin updates, but nothing was tampered with, and there was no sign of anything going haywire. Things were slloooooooooooow though. I called support and got the runaround about having to wait the 30 days before they’d look at the site to clear it and then initiate the move out of the ghetto.

Screw that, I found another hosting company and had all of my sites moved away in a matter of hours and closed the GoDaddy hosting account.

Things go wrong sometimes, and the people on the phones are friendly and all, but 7 days to copy 8 gigabytes of data is insane. Moving you for no provable reason of wrong-doing is insulting. Leaving your sites on a festering hunk of silicon and steel with a bunch of degenerates for an arbitrary period of time for no reason other than “policy” is ridiculous.

On the recommendation of a friend I signed up for an account on and have been quite satisfied. There have been a couple minor down-time glitches, but all seems to be smoothed out now. I am getting to the point of seriously considering moving away from shared host plans to a dedicated VPS, so that will be the next bit of research to undertake.

GoDaddy’s marketing tactics have always left a bad taste in my mouth, but the prices were good, the bandwidth fast, and service prompt. A seven day outage and uncertain future stuck in the slow lane was enough to make me re-evaluate their value proposition and I am happy to say that the healthy amount of competition in the hosting space means I don’t need to take their guff!