Saturday, October 22, 2005

Insert long rambling post about website direction here

I'm looking at doing some work on the server this weekend. I may be adding hard drive capacity. But I've been doing a bunch of work on and as well. is getting close to where I want it to be. is still going to take a while. But I've been working on general design thoughts for for some time. It's been through a number of revisions over the years and since adding DotNetNuke as the core framework I'm able to do more things faster than I ever thought possible.

But I have some infrastructure issues that I'm not willing to shell out money to fix just yet. The sites run on a cable modem at home. I don't spend the money for fixed IP. It's not worth it, so once in a while (roughly 2-3x a year) I lose my IP address and I'm down for a couple of days while the new one filters through the internet. Also the new box running the site is now hard wired to the router (the old box was wireless, nothing like one more point of failure), and its in a good spot, but its still an old box with a small HD and in an area with poor ventilation. I'm looking at maybe adding some HD space this weekend (its a long story) but it still won't be enough for what I ultimately want to do.

But that's hardware. Software wise, I've split up parts of the site to retain some redunancy. Blogger hosts the blog and with Feedburner supplying the RSS. The feed then rolls into the website via RSS. I did this so that I could continue to post if something took the box down. (Like the 3 hurricanes we went through last year). It works pretty well but I probably splits some of my eyeball traffic. (Feedburner should have all the RSS traffic since everything is pointed there.)

DotNetNuke has been rock solid and the whole site has benefitted tremendously from it. My sticking point is pictures. You may have noticed that when I moved servers, the pictures broke. The module seems broken and I can't figure out what went wrong. I've deleted and reinstalled but no luck. It's really weird. It's made me reconsider if I want to host the pictures locally or move them to hosted site like Flickr or MSN Spaces. Right now, I'm thinking hosted. The photos are very valuable to use personally and having them hosted means I have a copy outside the house.

Why don't I have somebody host the whole site you ask? Control. Reliability has been acceptable and improving for what I do. I don't want to give up control. I've been burned before. Tripod deleted and entire site of mine without warning. Apparently I wasn't building it fast enough and they decided I was simply storing files. Everything was gone. This way if I screw it up like I did last year, I broke it, my responsibility. It also means that I can do some things that I couldn't do if I had it hosted, like setup small portals for friends, test a mobile site, etc.

I have one more idea for getting the gallery working again. I'm going to try that and look at offsite hosting simultaneously. Offsite is not a no-brainer. There are size, space and traffic limits. It drives eyeballs away from the site. A simple change in the terms of service may mean you are starting over. I'm trying to build a site that I won't have to keep rebuilding. That's the criteria I have to weigh the options against.

Yes it's long and rambling. It's a thought process, it's supposed to be long and rambling, but at least I warned you at the top.

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