June 13th, 2013

Today marks a new feature for us: interviews with Weblogs.us bloggers!

Without further ado, here is our Q&A with Kate from KateReads.com :-)

  • How did you start blogging and how has your blog evolved over the years? I started “blogging” with LiveJournal back in middle school! Then I moved to Blogger, because I was spending the year abroad in Argentina and wanted a place my family could follow my adventures. After a while, I wanted to use a platform where I could have more freedom than Blogger, and at the time, to use WordPress or TypePad (the two options at the time) you had to pay for hosting…..something a broke high school student couldn’t do. So I applied for a Weblogs.us blog and got one, way back in 2005! I was an angsty teenager who clearly had a lot to say. (I have since taken that down….the world doesn’t need to know what a whiner I was). Now I have a blog where I document my crafty adventures (though it hasn’t been updated in forever) kateminasian.com, and my weblogs.us blog, which I’m trying to get off the ground as a book review blog, katereads.com. My blogging is so much more focused now, obviously, with specific topics. I don’t feel the teenage need to broadcast everything that I’m doing in my life. That’s what Facebook is for, anyway! ;)
  • What is your favorite book and what sets it apart from all the rest? I don’t have one favorite book, per se, but one current favorite is Sunshine, by Robin McKinley. It’s kind of a vampire book, but about as far away from a vampire book as you’d imagine. Robin McKinley has a very distinct descriptive tone when she writes and I really enjoy that. Also, another perennial re-read is Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones- a great read aloud to kids, but fun for adults as well.
  • When did you first start using the internet? I can’t even remember when I first started using the internet. My dad has always been really big on having the latest technology, and we had a computer for as long as I can remember with the first one being a Mac. (Spelunx, anyone??) But we first got connected to the internet with dialup, on a giant Compaq desktop- we used NetZero for the longest time. I remember taking a class on building websites one summer when I was in middle school- my first introduction to HTML!
  • Favorite websites that you read daily/hourly? ;-) I’m always on my email, but also The Old Reader (an RSS reader), Goodreads, and Facebook and sometimes Twitter. In The Old Reader, I most frequently read lots of book blogs and I like Slate and Cnet. (Find me on Goodreads: goodreads.com/katereadsblog)
  • Computer(s) your currently use? (phones/tablets included!) Oh man…..Well, I have a MacBook Pro at work, a Lenovo laptop, Chromebook and iPad Mini at home, plus I have an iPhone for personal and an Android phone for work. Plus a basic Kindle… Gosh I have a lot of technology!!
  • Any suggestions for improvements to Weblogs.us? Nope! Everything is great. :) I couldn’t ask for better. And because my blog has about two readers (me, and J.D.) I’m not worried about anything anytime soon.
June 7th, 2013

Weblogs.us is getting some additional server hardware :-) Here are specs:

Model
Dell PowerEdge 1950 Server III

Processor
2x Intel Quad Core 3.0GHz 12M 1333M E5450

Memory Installed
32GB Fully Buffered Memory
Eight Slots Available: 8 x 4 GB Memory Sticks

Hard Drives
4x 146GB SAS 15K Hard Drives 2.5″

Riser Board PCI(e) Riser Board with 2 PCI ports and one PCIe port

External Media 1 DVD-ROM

Power Supply 2 Hot Plug Power Supply

Backplane 4 4x 2.5″ SAS/SATA Drive Bays

Ethernet 2 Onboard Dual Gigabit Intel 1000 Pro – 2 Ports Total

Video 16MB Embedded ATI ES1000 with 16MB SDRAM

Form Factor 1U 1U Rack Height

RAID Controller Perc 6i Dell Perc6i Hardware RAID

DRAC Included Dell DRAC Remote Access Card

:-)

May 25th, 2013

NOTE: Thank you to Kate at KateReads.com for submitting this updated domain name setup FAQ entry to us :-) She has been blogging with us since 2005!

Setting up a custom domain name for your Weblogs.us blog


Option 1. Setting up GoDaddy using GoDaddy’s DNS manager

  1. Follow the instructions here: http://support.godaddy.com/help/article/7920/adding-or-editing-arecords?locale=en
  2. For your A record, use 65.38.6.40 as the IP address.
  3. DNS records can take some time to propagate. Wait a few hours and check your address. If you see the weblogs.us status page, you set it up correctly.
  4. Once you see the weblogs.us status page, contact support@weblogs.us with the details of your A record. They will make changes on their end, and you’ll be all set!

**If you would like to use another DNS provider, CloudFlare provides a free service. The following are instructions to set that up:


Option 2. Setting up Cloudflare for DNS

  1. Sign up for a CloudFlare account.
  2. Add your URL. CloudFlare will scan your current DNS set up. Once that’s finished, click on “Continue Setup.”
  3. CloudFlare will show a page of all your DNS records. Click on “I’ve added all missing records, continue” at the bottom of the page. On the next page, click “Continue.” CloudFlare will give you two nameservers.
  4. Follow the steps to set up the nameservers on GoDaddy.

Setting up GoDaddy to use Cloudflare

  1. Login and click on My Account in the upper left corner.
  2. Click on “Domains” to see a list of your domain names. Click on the green “Launch” button next to the domain name you would like to edit.
  3. You will see more details for your domain name. Make sure you’ve selected the “Settings” tab, and scroll down to the Nameservers section. Click “Manage.”
  4. Select the “Custom” button then “Enter Custom Nameservers.”
  5. In the two boxes you see, put in the nameserver addresses that you got from CloudFlare. Click Add, then Save. This deletes GoDaddy’s nameservers and replaces them with CloudFlare’s. From now on, you will edit your DNS records in your CloudFlare account.
  6. Wait for up to 24 hours for the records to propagate. CloudFlare will email you when it is complete.

Setting up A records on CloudFlare

  1. After logging in to CloudFlare, click on the gear icon next to the domain name you would like to edit. Select “DNS Settings.” Next to the A record for your domain name, select the gear icon again, select “Edit Record” and enter the following IP address: 65.38.6.40.
  2. DNS records can take some time to propagate. Wait a few hours and check your address. If you see the weblogs.us status page, you set it up correctly.
  3. Once you see the weblogs.us status page when you go to your URL, contact support@weblogs.us with the details of your A record. They will make changes on their end, and you’ll be all set
December 31st, 2012

We have a couple Samsung 840 Pro 512GB SSDs in house for stress testing! Assuming they pass muster, and by all accounts they should, we’ll be getting some more for use on our primary Weblogs.us web server virtual machine.

So far things are looking good, the drives are FAST and there have been no issues with them. :-)

NOTE: A special thanks to Kevin Knasel for the funds to purchase these nice SSDs!

October 17th, 2012

A big ‘thank you’ to Kevin Knasel! Kevin kindly donated funds for new SSD drives that will be used for upgrading our virtual machine datastores. We already use SSDs for our MySQL database servers but with this kind new donation we will eventually be able to run EVERYTHING off of SSDs. Woot! :-)

As any of your at home using SSD drives already know, it makes a huge difference in responsiveness. I am very excited to be able to bring faster speeds to all of our bloggers and I greatly appreciate Kevin’s donation.

Kevin runs a supermarket supply chain as well as the Branson’s Nantucket resort. While I am doing doing some technical consulting work for Kevin, this donation is a no strings attached perk for all Weblogs.us users (no ads, no spam, no nothing). That has been my experience with Kevin: he is a businessman but he’s also a cool guy that likes to help out causes he believes in.

Hopefully we can get Kevin to start a blog here at Weblogs.us so he can experience first hand the real-world benefits of his donation! So thank you again for your kind donation Kevin :-)

-JD, the founder of Weblogs.us

UPDATE: Kevin Knasel has been added to the hall of fame :-)

October 17th, 2012

Good news at the datacenter that the Weblogs.us servers call home :-) JD made a trip down to Tulsa and :
+replaced a failed firewall with a brand new one (roughly 6x more powerful!)
+upgraded one of our Ethernet switches to the latest and greatest
+installed the replacement KVM setup so we have better remote diagnostic capabilities
+generally cleaned up our rack space

The end result is a much more manageable rackspace and the capability for much faster throughput. Specifically, under heavy loads our old firewall and switch setup might get a bit congested and slow things down… with the new setup so far speeds seem to stay rock solidly super fast ;-) I realize those aren’t very objective measurements, but when you are downloading or uploading via FTP, or installing the latest WordPress upgrades, you should notice a significant difference!

More hardware upgrades to come, so stay tuned!