VoIP blogger and VUC contributor Dave Michels has launched a new online venture in the form of a web site that he’s calling TalkingPointz. Dave and I discussed this new venture while it was still in the just-thinking-about-it phase. The project bears some explanation as it offers something new and possibly quite valuable to the SMB telecom market.
To understand TalkingPointz it helps to know something about Dave’s background. Starting with a Master’s degree in telecommunication Dave has a long history in the area of telecom. When I first encountered Dave he was still at the helm of Buffalo Communications, a VAR based in Boulder CO. Prior to that he held various positions at some significant enterprises, including; Coors, IBM & GE.
Not all progress is obvious without careful examination. Much of my time working on this site has, for the past week, revolved around getting the entire thing moved to a new virtual server…not that you would likely notice.
After some well documented effort (part 1, part 2 & part 3) to move from a shared host to a VPS, it ran well, essentially untouched, for over a year. UnmeteredVPS.net has proven a responsive and reliable hosting provider.
However, over that time there were a great many patches to the software (LAMP) that are the foundation of a WordPress installation. In July I found that something I wanted to do required updating PHP to a much newer version.
As I am a WordPress user, and I started this blog at WordPress.com, it’s interesting to note that WordPress.com was the second best host, with 99.99% blog uptime and no single outage lasting more than four minutes. That seems impressive to me.
There’s nothing like your site going down routinely to lend a sense of urgency to the search for an alternative hosting solution. While my circumstance was not quite as dire as that pictured right, it certainly felt similar.
The newly live server at VPS.NET was crashing at least once every day or two, but it remained live while I poked around the TKL web site investigating the other hosting providers that had partnered with the project. The biggest was Amazon’s EC2, but recent events lead me to shy away from Amazon for my own purposes.
In some regards the growth of a blog such as this, and the related hosting issues, is a little like being a teenager. Living at your parents home is very cheap, but you’re limited in what you can do, and the sort of traffic that they will allow. Ultimately your desire for freedom will force you to find your own place to live, where you have greater control of what goes on, even if that means you always have to clean up after yourself.
The decision to seek a more private host is only one step in this migratory process. The next question that arises is, “what kind of host?” Windows? Linux? If Linux, what distribution? Which supporting applications? How much CPU, memory, storage, etc?
In the three years since it began this blog has been through a number of transitions. The most recent being just a few weeks ago. This is a little tale of that experience, offered to help anyone else who might be following a similar path. This little drama comes in the form of three acts. In this first act we examine the history of the site that lead up to recent events.
My efforts at blogging began in fall of 2007 on the free hosting at WordPress.com. While a fine place to get started I eventually wanted to tweak WordPress beyond the scope that was allowed on that service. In particular, the desire to include more multimedia content provided the motivation to move the site to a paid host.