Niall’s virtual diary archives – Monday 22nd June 2009

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Monday 22nd June 2009: 12pm exactly. It is strange to think that three weeks or so have passed since the last entry yet it feels like I have still accomplished nothing. We ended up winning the Export Capability Award of that Student Enterprise Award which earned me €1500 and therefore the means to keep myself and Megan alive above near-destitution levels until welfare hopefully finally pays out in October/November - speaking of which, I have heard nothing from them in a month now so I must remember to ring them up and ask what the hell is going on?!?

The paid PhD programme also rejected me though the guy said I made it to the final final listing and that of those he had to give it to someone he knew (i.e. someone from within the department). Such is academia and indeed life - he implied that I was the insurance choice were the main fellow to choose something else, so had a recession not been on I'd have got it - which was probably the same for my application to the University of Limerick. I get this - in times of economic uncertainty one heads for state employment in jobs which are fairly hard to eliminate no matter how bad things may become, and every second fucker nowadays is pulling every favour they can to get their foot in the door. I simply can't compete.

Seeing as I am now fairly properly unemployed, a fair chunk of the last three weeks has been spent drafting the Memoranda of Association for a "ned Productions" profit making company (so the title of this website kinda becomes tax registered) and a "Freeing Growth Foundation" non-profit charity. I had to draft these legal documents on my own because there's no way I can afford the legal fees and I managed to successfully find a kind solicitor who will notarise them. They should be submitted by the end of this week, so I can hopefully begin trading by the end of August. In order to save anyone in a similar position from the equivalent amount of hassle, I have placed my Memoranda online for anyone else to use.

The other big time consuming event of the last three weeks was the outage of VAServ who are one of the larger provider of Virtual Private Servers in the world and who provided the VPS which handled my email and and Some 100,000 sites were felled by this hacker attack - amazingly my own VPS actually survived completely intact and it was only when I rebooted it in order to test some changes to my mail server that it died. It was resurrected by VAServ staff, but it hasn't remained up for any length of time since then which has played havoc with my email delivery - so much so that I had to switch email back onto despite the mountains of spam that I now receive again.

Now much as this is annoying, inconvenient and wastes my time, I'm not that bothered - my 256Mb VPS only cost me £60 for the year and there's only four months to go, and the VPS very much served its purpose by letting me teach myself server admin. I was going to be switching away anyway at the end of contract as I got that Xen based VPS for half price, and besides the poor thing really needs a minimum of 512Mb of RAM and better would be 1Gb. Looking around what options are open to me, I'm obviously not wanting anything HyperVM based given what happened to VAServ but any non-HyperVM 1Gb Xen based VPS is costing like €30/month (I see very little point in using an OpenVZ VPS because of the almost guaranteed likelihood of them being oversold).

So what to do? Researching this has cost a LOT of time last few weeks because I'm also trying to factor in expandability with regard to my business - I may need to upscale my server hardware rapidly and VPSs let you do that, yet I currently can't afford €30/month. Probably I'm going to give the French-based OVH's "Real Private Server III" platform a go - these are dedicated boxes so you get exactly what the box has with no surges in CPU load caused by other users (though equally you don't get the burst of a ~3Ghz Intel Xeon CPU either), however their disk space is provided by a network SAN i.e. the hard drives live in a network attached box so the dedicated boxes are disc drive less. For €20/month you can get a dual core 1.9Ghz AMD Athlon 64, 2Gb of RAM, a 100Mbit network port (mostly unmetered) and 20Gb of iSCSI networked storage. One can upgrade or downgrade as easily as a VPS as you simply reboot the the iSCSI based disc image from new hardware - however one is also sharing that SAN with everyone else, so disc i/o is appallingly slow with just 1Mb/sec guaranteed though with 2Gb of RAM there is a LOT I can do to avoid ever touching disc storage (especially by employing compcache which does on-the-fly memory page compression - see explanatory article here). OVH also do cheap fully dedicated servers under their Kimsufi brand - however something with equivalent specs to the RPS is about €40/month (which is still ridiculously cheap for dedicated server, most of which cost hundreds of euro a month as a minimum).

So that's where I'm currently at - hopefully I'll get onto my usual summer release of TnFOX soon, and my Masters results come out on Wednesday, so if they attempt to give me a 2.2 you'll almost certainly be hearing a rant about it here! Till next time be happy!

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