Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cheap is as cheap does

The way that the economy is today and how it is driving the price of everything up, its no wonder that people are looking for cheaper and cheaper ways to do things. 

One area that people are always looking for a free way to get what they want is with regards to creating a website.  To have a website, you typically need a domain name and a place in which to have that domain hosted.  Domain names are typically about $8 to $10 per year to register (depending on where you go) and if you are a teenager or don't have a credit card at the present time, then you need some way to get one. 

*Note:  If you are starting a small business then it is highly advised that you buy your own domain and get a good hosting provider.  A free host and free domain are not really the way to go as it may effect your reputation depending on your business and its model.  This is especially true for those in any geek related profession. 

For this example, I will use Geocities by Yahoo.  They provide you with free web space, all you have to do is have an account with them.  Granted, you won't have available all of the services of a real hosting provider, but believe me, when you are just needing to have a web presence and don't have a lot of $$$, you cannot just look free in the mouth. 

Once you have setup your free site at Geocities, you will now have a domain name that looks like "", where username is your account name on Yahoo's system(s).  Again, this does not really that descriptive of you, I know.  So, how can we get a domain name that we would like, while maintaining the free nature of this article?  Why not turn to  The provide you with URL re-direction.  You simply create the domain name that you would like and tell them where it should point to.  That way, you can give out your easier to remember .tk address and it will re-direct the incoming traffic to your Geocities site. 

Note:  Please know that I am not associated in any way with Geocities or  After browsing around and seeing mention of the website, I figured I would write this so others would know about it.  Please don't read anything into this article as its for informational purposes only.

There is always a catch, isn't there

I came across a link today that said "Free Domain Name for 1 Year to Small Businesses".  So, I clicked it and it brought me to  At that link is the offer that was in the advertisement. 

So, I typed in a domain that I was thinking about and hit "Go".  Voila, the domain was available and all I had to do was select that I just wanted the Free Domain, without any extra services, which I did.  Next, I was asked to either log in(for existing / returning customers) or create an account.  Ok...

Being the anal person that I am, I decided to read through the fine (light grey) print at the bottom of the page, you know, the stuff they hope you won't notice and read.  In there it said that even though the first year was free, you are required to supply them with a credit card number anyway as part of their "standard registration policy". 

This is something I did not want to comply with at this time.  Why do I have to enter a credit card number if there is no charge to me?  I know that a lot of businesses require this, but its ridiculous if you ask me.  Why get a card number on file if its not needed?  Wait until after checkout, and if there is a balance, obtain it at that time.  Is that so hard?  Sheesh!!

Needless to say I closed the site and left as I wasn't about to divulge the digits from any plastic I may have.  I just wanted to post this so everyone else was aware of this fact before clicking on said advertisement should you happen across it. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A little catch up

I must say that when you get up at 6:30ish in the morning, spend the entire day working on coding issues, writing code or some kind of sys admin issues (usually all within the same day), come home to two little ones in the evening, by the time bedtime for them comes, you just don't find much energy to blog.  Lately, in the evenings, I find myself either "stumbling" around the internet or just playing a mindless game to relax.  That is pretty much what I have been doing (and not blogging) as of late. 

Every once in a while, like now, it hits me that I haven't blogged for some time and I should really get back to it.  Now, this isn't to say that I haven't been learning anything.  My, oh my, have I been learning stuff.  As of late, I have Ubuntu 8.04 on my laptop and have been learning the best, right way to configure it. 

I started by downloading MySQL, PHP, and Apache2 and compiled them all by hand, getting them installed the way that I want them, configured with the options I want/need.  From there, I have been setting each up.  I have learned a ton about the Apache2 config and how it works.  Not only that, I have created my own Certificate Authority, created and signed my own key pair and have secured my internal website (on that machine) to have an "https://" alternative.  There are things that I am investigating right now, like how to make it so a site or a page is required to be loaded with https vice http. (for security reasons of course) 

On the flip side, MySQL has been another bit of knowledge that I have been actively acquiring.  Of course it certainly  helps that at work they use MySQL for what we do, so interacting with and learning the database is crucial to doing my job.  I have wanted to learn it for long enough that I am glad to have this opportunity. 

Also, because there are some new sites at work (internally) that use PHP for the pages, I am learning that as well as I am sure I will have to support them or create new pages in the future. 

So, to all of you out there who are saying, "Wow, I would love to learn about that technology!", there is no time like the present.  Install it, play with it, learn it. If you don't play with it, you won't learn it.  You could read the books and absorb what you could, but unless you have a photographic memory and a memory search engine equivelant to Google's algorithm, then you will need to play with everything you can to learn its intricacies. 
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