Free Server Upgrade!

When I logged onto my Linode control panel today I noticed a “Free Upgrade Pending” notice. Much to my surprise I found that Linode has been doing a bunch of upgrades. This one was to double my RAM size, from 512 MB to 1 GB of RAM. Although it wasn’t exactly free, they got rid of that habit of ending prices in .95’s. So the monthly price got bumped a nickel to the even dollar amount.

The estimate was that my upgrade would take 19 minutes. Linode provides this estimate prior to the request to enter the upgrade queue so I can decide if I have the time. The reality was it took about 11 minutes from when I clicked upgrade to when it was back online. There wasn’t anyone in the queue ahead of me, if there was my server would have stayed up until it was my turn.

I’m also on hardware that now has 8 cores. Nice! If only I didn’t have to share them.

Screenshot of CPUs on host

 

I still haven’t gone in and modified my app settings to take advantage of the memory. I’ll have to think about how I want to use it since my server really doesn’t get stressed. I may be better off increasing my PHP cache so more PHP code can be cached in memory rather than simply increasing Apache or MYSQL capability. Back when I was first learning and tuning the Opcode cache I found that eventually the available memory would file up and it would start swapping stuff out so I cut back on what got cached. I may have enough memory now.

I’ve been busy recently, unable to tend to my sites, and I’ve been considering if I should look for a managed alternative for this site (or something like Squarespace) but I really like to have hands on. It just annoying when I don’t have time to go hands on. Plus, problems always occur at the most inopportune time And then something like this comes along and I get excited. Yea, I know. It’s just more RAM that this site doesn’t really need. But hey, I still get excited.

There’s been some pockets of site downtime recently. Don’t blame the server, it’s been me. I’ve been tinkering and some changes have required server reboots or full restarts of Apache. I’ve done it when traffic is low, but apologizes if you got caught in a reboot.

Linode has been writing about the upgrades on their blog (which I didn’t notice until today, bad me). If you want to try Linode I’ll get a small kickback if you sign up through this link or use the referral code: a6b0ae3bcb8e5d87840c56fac5965e763d4363d4 on the signup form. A bare server OS isn’t suitable for everyone, but I’ve been a happy customer since December 2009. If your already a Linode customer be sure to go in upgrade when you get a chance, it’s only a nickel.

Dropping Feedburner on July 1st

Feedburner has been suffering from neglect for what seems like years.  I’ve decided that July 1, 2013 will be a good time to cut the Feedburner connection for my RSS feed. That’s when Google shutters Google Reader which will no doubt cause a decrease in subscribers and some chaos all by itself. I’m going with the native WordPress RSS feed, rather than be at the mercy of another service again.

I already updated the RSS subscription link on the top of this blog so you can update your subscription if you’re already a subscriber (Thanks!). Or just click this link http://www.osquest.com/feed which is the new RSS link. I haven’t picked a new email subscription service yet so that link is unchanged. Sorry for the annoyance of having to re-subscribe, but I figure a Feedburner death is inevitable and it adds no value to this website since it’s frequently broken.

Alternately you can follow me on Twitter, also linked at the top of this page.

Thanks,

Ray

Surface Geeks Podcast Episode 4

Episode 4 of the Surface Geeks Podcasts has been released. I was a co-host again this week  as we discussed the roller coaster that is Microsoft Surface RT.

Subscribe and rate in iTunes. Personally I’d love to see a Microsoft Surface podcast top a iTunes popular tech podcast list. But then again, I fire up IE to go to Apple.com and Safari to go to Microsoft.com.

Surface Geeks Podcast Episode 3

Episode 3 of the Surface Geeks podcast, with yours truly as one of the co-hosts, is available in both audio and video. This is the first SG podcast since Surface was released so there’s some hands on discussion. Dave also shares his line experience. Almost makes me wish I joined a line. Almost. Hit this link for the various audio and video options, or the subscribe to future episodes.

iPad/iOS 6 Wireless Sync

Screenshot of my main iPad screen

Screenshot of my main iPad screenEver since upgrading my iPad 3 to iOS 6 I haven’t been able to do a wireless sync with iTunes. My iPhone 4S does a wireless sync just fine. I tried the usual troubleshooting things such as restarts and re-entering settings. I was pretty sure it was my iPad or iTunes that was the problem. The iPad also had a problem where the wireless network would drop every couple of days and I’d have to toggle wireless off then on (on the iPad) to get it to see the network so the iPad was my first choice as the problem source. I don’t use iTunes very much with my iPad so I wasn’t aggressively looking for a fix (my opinion of iTunes is that it’s a big ball of bugs and frustration).

I was listening to the McCast podcast (Oct 5th episode) when Adam mentioned a step I hadn’t tried. While he described a different wireless issue it was close enough. And sure enough, his suggestion to reset the network settings worked.

To reset the settings: Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset Network Settings

The iPad will restart after confirmation. I did not have to re-enter my wireless network security settings so I expected to still have the problem. But sure enough, I was able to initiate the sync and it completed without a problem. It’s too soon to tell if the problem dropping the wireless network every couple of days is also fixed, but I’m hopeful.

For the record, I run iTunes on a Mac and OS X, iTunes and my iPad are all  on the latest versions.

Makes me glad that the MacCast is the one Apple specific podcast I still listen to on a regular basis.

 

Password Stealing Via Phone?

Had a strange voicemail message today. The beginning was cut off but the end of of said Verizon cares about me so I assume they claimed to be from Verizon at the beginning. All I had to do was logon “with my account” to a domain I never heard of. Nothing about it sounded right but I decided to do a little research. The domain was registered today to a registrar in Australia, unlike the legit Verizon Wireless domain registered with MarkMonitor which is used by a lot of large companies since they do brand protection. Why don’t I think Verizon would both use a different registrar and wait until the start the robocalls (it was a recorded, somewhat mechanical voice)?

I guess phone calls are so cheap these days that they can be used to steal IDs, which is what I assume the website would do. Or are Verizon accounts all that valuable? I assume they could get email, names & addresses and credit card or other payment account info. On the positive side maybe it means that email scams have become less effective.

Whispersync for Audio

I was happy to learn Audible books could now be synced across devices. That is, the “read to” location can be synced. I’ve been waiting for this. Coinciding with that new feature is Whispersync for Audio. Since Amazon owns Audible they’ve enabled syncing the “read to” location between Kindle ebooks and Audible audiobooks.

This has to be enabled for the title in order to work. Amazon claims over 15,000 titles are enabled. While not specifically called out, I did expect there to be an incremental cost, if not a requirement to pay full retail for both.

So I went looking for a book to buy. I found one Audiobook I already owned was enabled and in that case it was full retail for the Kindle edition. The purchase is supposed to start on the Kindle book side, but it was easier to find the enabled books at Audible.com since they were being promoted. Then I searched for it on Amazon. There is an incremental cost for “professional narration”. It varies by title but is significantly less than the full audiobook price. I found a book that was only 3 cents more for both the audiobook and ebook than it would be for the audiobook alone. (“Swarm” by B.V. Larson)

After buying the Kindle edition I was given the option to add “professional narration” for $1.99. The audiobook was currently selling at a sale price of $5 and has a regular member price of $13.96. I clicked through to buy the audiobook. I was brought to the Audible shopping cart where the book was listed to be purchased with an available Audible credit. The cash price was $13.96, no mention of the $1.99 price. So I unchecked the “use credit” box and sure enought, the price to be paid became $1.99 and I completed the purchase.

Using the sync was a bit wonky, but sync often is. I used the Audible app on my iPhone and the Kindle app on my iPad. I started off reading the ebook then fired up the Audible app. (I made sure I had the recent update first) It started at the beginning. I went back to my library and hit the “Refresh” button and things synced up. I’ve had to manually refresh the library in all my testing. The Kindle ebook seems to sync OK but does prompt me to approve the sync each time. I wouldn’t call it seamless, but it wasn’t burdensome either.

I’m not sure how much I’ll use this feature. I mostly listen to Audiobooks these days, while driving. The sync may make me use the Kindle more but I’m not sure I’ll be buying both editions up front. Nice feature. I’ll probably never use it.

Anyone looking forward to syncing audiobooks and ebooks?

Linode Celebrates 9 Years with Discounts

Screenshot of Linode Uptime

Screenshot of Linode UptimeLinode is celebrating it’s 19th birthday with discounts for new and existing clients. Starting Tuesday June 9th at Noon EDT they’ll be giving discounts until they $250,000 in discounts/credits. See their blog for complete details. If you use this Linode link to sign up I’ll get a small kickback to help with my own hosting costs.

I’ve been on Linode for nearly tree years and highly recommend them for a unmanaged VPS server.

MicroServer Sale At Amazon

Picture of Amazon listing

Picture of Amazon listingAmazon has the HP MicroServer N40L on sale for $199.99 + shipping. It’s not direct from Amazon but through onSale so there’s not free shipping. At this price I was really trying to find an excuse to buy another. The best I could come up with is that my current HP MicroServers are the older N36L model. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that wasn’t enough since my current servers work just fine and logic beat emotion.