Lost-Whisper

Yet another whisper lost.

Nothing to See Here…

Long time no update…

Nothing to see here yet, but I do plan on getting back into blogging. Trying to figure out how to make an awesome Octopress theme, then I’ll update some more.

I’m now a Grad Student at Florida Tech. I’m also a teaching assistent (yup, they actually trust me with students).

I hope to provide more updates soon.

If you want to get in touch with me, message me on twitter (@twirp).

Brilliance in Fundraising

I was pleasantly confused today when I was checking my facebook invites.  I was invited to an event called “The Black Plague”.  I decided to look at it since it was about a raffle to win some money (which I lack).

When I read the description, I thought the idea was brilliant.  It played on current events, targeted the proper audience, and had already raised some money.  Sadly, I didn’t come up with the idea.

Here’s what “The Black Plague” is (not the disease, but the fundraiser). One of the groups at our school is doing fundraising for Relay For Life.  Many organizations have tried raffles before, but most of them were unsuccessful. Even though this one hasn’t officially started yet, it’s already half-way towards the goal.

The key to a good fundraiser is know your audience.  The first item up for grab is a $50 BestBuy gift card.  We go to a tech school, that’s a plus.  The second way it targets the audience properly is what the fundraiser actually is: “Give us money, or listen to Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ all of this Friday.” It’s a catchy title because the singer’s last name is Black, and the Black Plague is a widely known historical event (yes, I have to point out the obvious).  There’s a lot of people who hate the song, and this is a tech school, so a large majority of the students hate the song, and those that don’t are pressured into pretending they hate it.

The second good point about this fundraiser is a call to action, which there are two.  The first is donating to Relay for Life.  The second is Buy a Raffle Ticket or listen to “Friday” all day long (which is part of the first, but is the killer part in this).

The fundraising goal was to make $300 in a day for Relay for Life.  From what I’ve heard, the fundraiser has already made $100, and it’s not even close to Friday yet.  So I think it’s doing pretty well.

So how’s life on your guys’ end?

Playing With a VPS

I’ve been trying out VPS hosting recently, and I must say it’s pretty awesome. I’ve tried a few providers like WebbyNode, ChunkHost, and 6sync.

I think 6sync is the best at the moment.  WebbyNode felt sluggish in comparison, but some of there development tools are awesome.  ChunkHost went down several times while I was testing them out.

If you need a VPS with an API, Development tools, and what not, go with WebbyNode.  ChunkHost, not so much…  just avoid them for now.  WebbyNode is good if you use their services like rapp, or need access to an API.  6sync is currently working on their API, so it should hopefully be available soon.  My only issue with WebbyNode, as stated earlier, was that it was sluggish.  The connection speed wasn’t as fast as 6sync, and the server was slightly slower (I’ll try finding out the hardware information here soon). They are relatively quick at replying to support questions.

ChunkHost… let’s just say my short lived experience with them had a reason. Within the first week, the VPS went down for 6 hours.  Their twitter says ”An inbound DoS attack”, and then they had some ”DNS updating delays”.  It was just a few too many issues in a short period of time to be a warm welcome. They’ve probably fixed most of the issues by now, but I’m content at 6sync. In terms of responsiveness, their machines were more snappy than WebbyNode. The connection speed (from where I was) was slower than 6sync, but faster than WebbyNode.  ChunkHost currently doesn’t have an API or any development tools. It took a while for them to respond to questions I had.

6sync is where I’m at in terms of VPS hosting (shared hosting is still at webFaction).  Their servers are quite snappy, and I’ve had awesome connection speeds with them.  They’re currently working on an API, but don’t have any development tools.  What they win me over with is their support and control panel (Biscuit).  They’re almost always active on twitter or on irc (#6sync on freenode).  Their friendly and responsive, and you can tell that they’re trying to create a good community.  They have most of the same features of Linode or Slicehost, but are slightly more affordable.  They are relatively quick at replying to support questions.  As for what I’ve been hosting there, it’s mostly been some small proof of concepts, and private group chats (something like murderBear, but private and less buggy).

Currently, if you need VPS hosting, 6sync is doing a giving away of a free month of hosting (until supplies run out, which they say is $32,000 worth of servers).  So go ahead and sign- up.

Yeah, the 6sync links are affiliate links, but I do use them for real, and I’ve been with them for 6 months and all’s been well.  If you don’t want to use an affiliate link, just use this one.

Nikon FG

So, someone gave me a Nikon FG. It’s a pretty cool camera; I’m liking it a lot so far.

I’m running into a, well not an issue, but a hurtle or something like that.  I really want to learn how to use it and take good photos, but I’m hearing and reading the strangest things.  People compare film brands.  I understand comparing them for which one’s better, but I’ve been told that Kodak is good for pictures of people, while Fujifilm is good for landscapes and other things.  Off brand films might be Fujifilm, or some random brand.

I’ve also looked at filters.  There’s far too many.  I understand the ones for different lighting, and some people say to use them in unintended environments for cool effects.  Somewhat easy for me to understand.

The main thing I have issues grasping is how people know what settings to use on the camera.  I’m guessing it comes with experience.  I love film cameras, but when I don’t have the experience, sometimes I wish I could see the results instantly instead of taking a number of shots and waiting for a surprise from the photo lab.  But it’s all fun none-the-less.  The main confusing part is the f-stop or aperture setting.  I understand it changes how much light the lens lets in, but it still bewilders me.

Anyways, I bought some film to play around with, and hopefully I can get a hang of it and take the camera off of automagic mode.  There’s supposed to be a photo center that offers lessons, but they specialize in digital cameras, and I’ve been told they aren’t cheap…  So I’m hoping to go the experience route ;)

Anyways, I’ve started a new photo blog which will hopefully be kept alive. You can see it at photos.km-w.net

DVCS Hosting

So I’ve been looking at different hosts for version control whatnot.  I would host it myself, but I prefer to put it in the hands of another, that way if things go wrong, I can blame someone else.

I’m all for learning something new like Git, Hg, or Bzr.  When looking, I sortof eliminated Bzr from the list.  There’s only one main host for it, and I’ve just heard bad things about it (yup, I listen to the rumors).

So here’s basically what I was looking for.

  • Public and Private Repositories
  • Have collaborators on projects
  • Reasonable priced
  • Eye candy (sadly)… So I’ve been looking around and saw GitHub, BitBucket, Codaset, and Codebase.  I won’t really go into a feature by feature comparison, just point out what I like and don’t like.

GitHub

This is probably the most popular at the moment.  It’s known for it’s awesome Git hosting, being fast, reliable, and feature rich.

My favorite part of GitHub is the interface.  It’s nice on the eyes, easy to navigate, and makes it fun.  The downside is the features of the plans. Public repo’s allow you to have as many collaborators as you want.  For Private Repositories, it’s based on your plan.

I usually only have 2-3 private repositories at a time, but the number of people I work with fluctuate.  The smallest plan (which provides much more space than I need), only provides 1 private collaborator.  Normally, it’s me and 2-3 other people (per project).  I don’t really want to pay that much more just to have more people collaborating on a project.

So GitHub is great, but needs to be more flexible in the number of collaborators.

BitBucket

BitBucket is pretty awesome.  It does Hg hosting.

It’s not as pretty as GitHub, in my opinion, but it does provide a great set of features.  What I really wish for is that the Source tab would display the readme file.  Other than that, it’s okay.  Could use a few minor changes to make it friendly and lovable, but good as it is.

My main nit-to-pick is how the project pages look.  Not that big of a nit-to- pick, but I like my eye candy :P .  Other than that, it has a lot of the features I want.  I can have my private repositories, and have as many collaborators as I want.

I’ve heard rumors about uptime issues they previously had, but nothing recent. I do wish the blog were updated more because (like I said earlier) it needs a more welcoming feel to it.

Codebase

Codebase supposedly hosts Git, Hg, and Svn.

I like what features it has listed.  My main issue is that the site isn’t well documented.  It has good instructions for using Git and setting stuff up, but there’s nothing much about the other features.  In terms of cost, it’s reasonably priced.  Good number of people you can have collaborating and everything, but it’s too costly for what I’ll be doing.

Codebase seems more like something for a small group or company.  So it’s really cool, but it aims to be in an area that’s not aligned with mine…

Codaset

Codaset is another Git host.  I think it’s kindof new…

It’s kindof like GitHub, but I think Codaset is more social.  Codaset provides a lot of what I want, but right now it doesn’t have a price setup.  The developer is still debating and setting up how to pay for it.

I love the features of Codaset, but my main nit-to-pick is how they’re setting up pricing.  It’s a great idea (don’t get me wrong), but I prefer a flat fee. They haven’t implemented it yet, so I’ll see if I like it later on, but it’s sortof leaving me with my current setup of host personal stuff on GitHub and group projects on BitBucket.

Pay as you go is good, but I’m concerned about the implementation.

In Conclusion…

What do you currently use for your projects and why?  Do you work with people?

As I stated, I currently use both GitHub and BitBucket.  I might move it all to Codaset once I see it up and running with payments and all.  So yeah… Thoughts, comments, suggestions?