Help out a Veteran in need….

Help a friend!

Nutshell version: a friend (who is a Veteran) has squatters in a home she is trying to sell. The legal bills are mounting. She has a GoFundMe page where donations can be made directly.

Folks that know me know that I’m the type to poke a hornets nest and giggle like a maniac, and yeah, I’m doing it again, this time using the whole Hugo Awards / Sad Puppy kerfuffle to try to do something nice.

Up on FleaBay there are a pair of hand-crafted holsters, one right-handed and one left-handed, embossed with a Sad Puppy holding a rocket in its mouth. No, its not a Hugo rocket….more like a V-2. 😉

The links are here:

Right-Hand holster

Left Hand Holster

All proceeds (after FleaBay takes its cut, naturally) will be placed into Nicki’s GoFundMe. She has stated that any unused funds from the crowdfunding will be donated to a charity that benefits Homeless Veterans.

So go…do something nice, and bid on a holster.

Thank You!

Sad Puppies!

Because I can…a pair of Sad Puppies holsters. For one of the more popular guns in American History, the 1911 Government in .45 ACP.

My work here is done. :-)

sad_puppy_pair_03 sad_puppy_pair_04

And we have liftoff…

Tennessee has just moved forward with gun rights! Carry in Parks!

Gov. Haslam signed the bill into law just moments ago. Not having read the minutiae of the language, I’m not sure if it is effective immediately upon signing, or if it has a future effective date.

But its definitely good news for law-abiding gun owners.

Link to the Guns in Parks bill

Good on Downey Jr. for walking out…

Robert Downey Jr., he of Iron Man fame, was doing his contractual obligation and sitting for QA sessions with reporters to promote the upcoming Avengers movie.

Hack “journalist” goes off-script, and starts asking personal questions which have nothing to do with the movie. Actually, the questions were posed as *gotcha!* questions to try to paint a very successful actor (who revived his career and cleaned up his act) as some sort of right-wing bigot.

And Downey simply gave him one warning and one chance to do the interview right. When the journalist refused, he just stood up, said its over, and walked out.

Good on him.

 

And a Good Guy with a Gun….

A good Guy with a Gun caps a Bad Guy with a Gun.

In Chicago, of all places…

Abide their wishes…

Well, just found out about a Knoxville burger joint that doesn’t want legal gun owners to frequent their establishment.

So I’m boosting the signal, so that legal gun owners shun their place of business, as they requested.

The location is Bad Burgers (their FB page is https://www.facebook.com/baddaddysburgerbar.knoxville?fref=ts )

They don’t want the money of legal gun owners. So lets make sure to avoid going there, and giving them our dirty gun money, shall we?

NRA Annual Meetings 2015

Well…here and walking the floor. Some very interesting products, not anything new and innovative in mass-produced handguns, save for Taurus showing off the Curve handgun. Gave it a try, not overly impressed enough to actually bother getting it into the store.

Stopped and chatted with a few small hand crafted gun makers, and showed them some samples of our Valkyrie model. They were impressed enough to want to talk further and see if we could meet some smaller production quotas.

Then, we stumbled upon the Charter Arms booth…it was empty.

The freight company (Yellow Freight) lost the ENTIRE TRUCK. All their guns just disappeared. The only thing at the Charter Arms booth was a hand-written sign…

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GoDaddy Sucks

Wow…so now that I’ve totally dumped LunarPages and tried the 800 pound room-dwelling-gorilla called GoDaddy, I can say without a doubt that GoDaddy sucks just as bad as LunarPages.

The problem with GoDaddy (and I’m beginning to think that its the way all these resellers work) is that for their “business level” shared hosting, you can’t really run a business.

Here’s what happened with GoDaddy:

My site worked fine for about three days. No problems, humming along just fine. Then suddenly, product updates started failing.

Now, for those who don’t know my site or my products, I’m an FFL. That is a Federally Licensed Firearms  Dealer. In other words, I sell guns, and shooting supplies, along with my custom holsters. To help me sell online, my supplier has what is called an XML feed, which is a fancy way of saying that they have their inventory data available for their dealers to put up on their website, do their own markups, and sell online without needing to stock the actual inventory.

But after three days, the updates into my site started failing, right about the same time that all the e-mail addresses started failing. So I called GoDaddy, tried to get to the bottom of it, and it took them over 19 hours to get JUST THE EMAIL going again. The product updates magically started working again when they fixed the email problem.

That lasted about four days, and email started failing again, along with the behind-the-scenes product updates.

Coincidence? I think not.

Called GoDaddy again. Four times actually, on January 5th. Total this time spent on the phone was over 6 hours. Bottom line was that they set their server plug-in (an Apache module called MODSEC, which is the Security layer) at the most restrictive level, so that anything that repeats, such as the 15-minute updates to keep my inventory data synchronized with my supplier, is tagged as malicious, and the IP gets choked.

When I asked them if they could whitelist my website to allow my business to keep working, they said no. Their solution was that they wanted to sell me into their Dedicated Server level at over $115 PER MONTH. This after advertising on their website that their shared servers are perfect for “startups and mid-size” businesses. Well, my business qualifies as a mid-sized business no matter which way you slice it.

Seems that all these resellers (LunarPages, GoDaddy, HostGator, etc.) have the same modus operandi…sell crappy entry-level services on the claim that its perfect for small businesses, then when things stop working they upsell into an expensive tier. Now, knowing that most folks don’t have the patience to do a move to another host (it takes a few days to completely do a move when the site is semi-complex) nor pay a webmaster the amount needed to do the move to another host (it can cost a couple thousand dollars to pay a webmaster to do it), these hosting resellers are betting that folks just throw their hands in the air and start paying the demanded ransom to keep their website operational.

These low-cost-of-entry hosting companies are nothing but con men looking for easy marks. Screw them. I’m moving yet again, this time to a completely open do-it-all-yourself host. Sure, it means that there is no plug-n-play, but sometimes you need to go that route to get things done.

Best part? It costs LESS over a year than it does at the cheap resellers to be able to do more.

Lunarpages Sucks

The following is rating MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE with a web hosting company called LunarPages. YMMV and your experience may be completely different.

Back on Dec 17th, a full eight days before Christmas, the webhost company Lunarpages Internet Solutions (https://www.facebook.com/lunarpages ) sent an email stating that they were disabling my website because of “high resource usage”, specifically CPU usage in the neighborhood of 17% – 26% measured on a daily average.

No prior notification. No communication. Simply disabling my online sales portal and sending one email.

Naturally, I called to get the particulars, and had to press them quite hard to get any sort of concrete answer to what the ceiling was for CPU usage on a shared hosting box.

Their answer…no more than 2% DAILY AVERAGE of CPU use was allowed. Well hell, it doesn’t take much in the way of data processing to hit 2% CPU use.

So I asked them for their solution to get the CPU use down to what they consider an acceptable level. I implemented their changes and was still only able to get it down to 8% – 12%. Mind you, during this debacle I had already grabbed a new domain and set up my complete website with another host as a fail-safe to cut over to in case this happened again (my webmaster had been pushing me to leave them for quite some time now.) Literally, within 24 hours (late evening of Dec 18th) my webmaster and I had another copy of the site up and running, fully secured with 256 bit encryption, and the old domain re-directed to the new domain name.

When I did a little research via Google, I stumbled upon many similar stories concerning LunarPages, and they all revolved around folks having their websites disabled due to “high resource usage”, with the fix (according to their techs and sales people) of moving to a hosting plan that costs almost $190 a month. That wasn’t an option I was going to entertain, for sure. Further, all the history about Lunarpages was that they aren’t clear about how they set up their Shared Hosting. Seems that their idea of Shared Hosting is something called Cloud Linux. The $190 per month deals get you onto a real bladed server rack, not a cloud service.

Now, to test my theory that the problem was NOT with my website or web code, I’ve been monitoring my site usage every day on the new host, which is GoDaddy.

On GoDaddy, I have yet to break through 1% CPU use measured on a daily average, and have yet to top 35% MEM use on a daily average. The Lunarpages folk were telling me that I was sucking up 26% CPU resources on a 16-core system but utilizing only 0.14% (less than a fifth of one percent) of Memory. As far as I’m concerned, thats a configuration problem on THEIR end, if their boxes can’t properly utilize Memory instead of CPU.

On GoDaddy, on a real honest-to-goodness bladed rack server, I’m on a quad-core shared box with 2 GB of memory allocated just for my use.

Using the exact same codebase from a backup of my website taken THE SAME DAY that LunarPages shut me down, the server is humming along with my website accounting for less than 1% CPU use, and 35% Memory of the 2GB total memory assigned to my site.

I’ve never been a fan of “cloud” anything, and this just solidifies my resistance to anything “cloud” based.

And here’s the kicker…Lunarpages refuses to prorate a refund for the remaining five months of unused time. Which is what lead to this post with their FB page embedded above. I want them to see it. I also want them to read this: for less than HALF of what I was paying LunarPages, I’m on a more-stable platform, with a 256 bit SSL Certificate (the Lunarpages SSL was only 128 bit encryption) with a site that is far more responsive (loads WAY faster than it did through LunaprPages).

To all of my customers who had a hard time getting to the website during the transition (there were a few hiccups on Dec 18th and 19th while the new site was being brought online and de-bugging a newer PHP version) you have my apologies, and my thanks for your patience.

Flying with Firearms

Well…now that I’m fully self-employed, I’m travelling more. And since I don’t want the TSA goons going through my luggage, I’m using Federal Law to my benefit, and flying with a firearm.

“But wait” you’re thinking…”you can’t take guns onto an airplane!”  No, you can’t physically carry one onto the seating cabin. Yes, you can take a firearm on your flight. (Whether or not your final destination allows you to have possession of a firearm in their state is a separate issue, not one that I’m going to address here….that’s a topic for another post.)

So, now that we have that out of the way, here’s the short of it. Travelling with a firearm is covered by Federal Law. Not airline policy or rules, not TSA interpretations by some goober with a GED…Federal Law. Its very specific, and quite clear, but most of all IS NOT subject to *interpretation*.

The process is quite simple, really…you go with your luggage to the bag check, politely let the clerk know that you are transporting a firearm, fill out the firearm form. Said form gets dropped into your luggage, you close up your luggage, lock it, and at that point the luggage gets a hand-inspection by TSA who will ask you to unlock your luggage again, they will inspect the luggage and firearm, tell you to lock it up again, and they will at that point send your luggage on its way.

Well…that’s the way its *supposed to* work. Seems that different airports do things differently, and TSA doesn’t have a procedure that is applied with consistency. That’s where you need to know the law fully, be polite but firm, and not do anything stupid.

In the next post, we’ll deal with the minutae of how to fly with firearms.

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