April 28, 2005

Pardon Our Dust

Those of you who are wont to check Schlock Mercenary at update time probably noticed that the update wasn't there last night. It wasn't there this morning, either. In fact, the whole SITE was gone. This was a matter of no small concern for me.

Here's the rundown: Canaca.com turned off our site because too many of you tried to look at web pages at the same time. We didn't run out of bandwidth, and we recieved no warning of their action -- they simply claimed that ours was one of five "problem" sites hosted on a particular server, and terminated services abruptly at 11pm Eastern Time.

This wouldn't have been so bad, except that calls to their emergency service line went unanswered for eleven hours. A gold account like mine is supposed to be guaranteed a response in fifteen MINUTES. Apparently they'd decided that turning off schlockmercenary.com was not just a step towards solving a hosting problem they were having, but also a PUNISHMENT. It wasn't until this morning, when Chalain at Shiny Systems (my tech guy, and the brains behind the current Schlock Mercenary auto-updating system) finally got through to them by announcing his intent to execute the "money back guarantee" part of their "30-day money back guarantee." They gave us a new IP address to point to, but by the time we had it, Chalain had already executed our emergency backup plan and redirected all traffic to a new host.

Where's Consumer Reports when you need them? I strongly recommend that those of you seeking webhosting NOT consider Canaca.com. We had three outtages during the month of April, and in only ONE of those cases did they fulfil their tech-support obligations.

Our new host has been apprised of our traffic and bandwidth demands, and assures us that serving up static HTML to thousands of people worldwide is, in fact, something that they can do without needing to cut anybody off. And if there are problems, rather than holding your site hostage and defecating in the open mouths of your customers, they'll email your technical contact and give him/her three days to solve those problems. This sounds much more reasonable, don't you think? They cost a little bit more (about 50% more over a three-year period), but I'll still be able to pay for three years of hosting in (mumble mumble count-on-fingers) 20 days or so.

Once our account there is active, we'll be doing a DNS round-robin, and Schlock Mercenary will be hosted simultaneously in two places. Redundancy is good, and redundancy is even better!

In other news, I still owe you a Penguicon report. Blame Canaca... I would have written it today had I not been wrestling with the negligence and inaptitude of my former webhost.

2005 Convention and Appearance Schedule

May 27-29: CONduit XV, Salt Lake City, UT
July 13-17: Comic-Con 2005, San Diego, CA. (tentative... this one's pricey)
August 5-7: Fandemonium 2005, Nampa, ID. (tentative)
September 30-Oct 2: Linucon 2.0, Austin, TX. (tentative)
October 8-9: Revoluticon, Asheville, NC

Are you interested in having me come to your city? Your convention? Your HOUSE? Pay my way and pay my stay, and we can make it happen. The BEST way is to convince the convention organizers that I'm worthy of "GoH" status, but there are alternatives. Email me if you've got an event in mind.