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.

Thoughts on the California Killing Rampage by a Liberal Son of a Liberal Moviemaker…

Three people killed by a nutjob via stabbing, followed afterwards by three people killed by same nutjob via shooting.

The remaining are injuries caused by a nutjob in a car.

And somehow….the NRA is to blame for all these deaths and injuries? Has the Left/Prog/Lib portion of the citizenry really detached itself from reality to such point that they place the blame for all these deaths on those people who support what is Constitutionally protected?

I find it telling that an avid anti-gun family (the Rodgers’) did nothing more than call the police when they discovered a video on You Tube a scant 13 hours before the rampage. Its as if they thought the Police could do anything BEFORE a crime took place.

Is this what we’ve become? Where the majority of people don’t even know what the purpose of Police is?

Police are the folk who uphold the Law, and who bring those people who break the law before a Court, so as to be tried by a jury of their peers. The Police could NOT HAVE DONE A DAMN THING to stop this kid. The police acted appropriately…they were made aware of the kids mental problem, they were made aware of a disturbing You Tube vid, they went to his place WITHOUT a warrant (there wasn’t, at that moment, enough probable cause for even a Liberal California Judge to bend the rules enough to issue a warrant), the kid let  them in and sweet-talked his way through  the intervention, and the cops left. And they left, citing the fact that the boy was extremely polite, seemed very shy, and was fully co-operative.

In other words, the police felt that there was no threat.

Also, the Rodgers family are so anti-gun that it never occurred to them that their little darling would EVER get a gun for himself? I mean, they set the perfect example, didn’t they? They are loudly-and-proudly anti-gun, they NEVER EVER had a gun in their house, NEVER EVER let their kids handle guns, etc.

I guess the NRA is to blame for their failed parenting too?

This rampage by a mentally disturbed individual took place in the State that is given an “A” rating for *gunsense* by Moms Demand Action, Michael Bloombergs Mayors Against Guns, and the Brady Campaign. Aside from NY and NJ, California has the most restrictive gun laws in place of any other state.

So how did a mentally disturbed kid get a car with which he injured eight pedestrians….how did he get a knife and use the knife to kill three people in cold blood…and how did he get a gun?

And let this sink in…the Police responded. Since there was NO CRIME at that point in time, the Police could do NOTHING but ask the kid a few questions. The cops did everything right.

Now, I understand the grief of the father of one of the shooting victims. He lost a young man to the actions of a mentally disturbed individual.

But I find it abhorrent and offensive that this parent is blaming the NRA, Congress, and citizens who believe in guarantees of the Constitution, blaming law abiding people and the NRA for the stabbings that left three dead, and for the hit-and-runs that left eight injured. Why isn’t he blaming a fellow Liberal filmmaker who obviously didn’t take more stringent steps to make sure his mentally deranged son was placed under observation? Why isn’t he blaming the company that made the knife that killed three people in cold blood? Why isn’t he blaming BMW for manufacturing the car that left eight people hospitalized, and to the lobbyists in Washington that get tax breaks and subsidies for the companies that make these 4,000 pound death machines that mow down people in large groups?

Stop and think about that…three people killed by stabbing, three killed by shooting, and eight injured via hit-and-run in one 10 minute rampage by one disturbed individual.

Yet the NRA and guns is to blame, and the NRA and guns are the problem?

Live from the NRAAM

Wow…excellent event! Very well organized, great floor layout, and very polite crowds. Loads of people walking the floor, a bit of bumping, but still manageable.

More later, but for now there’s more walking to do.

The Eagle has landed…

At the NRAAM in Indianapolis. Already, this looks to be a very good event, very large convention floor, lots of vendors.

I’ll be meeting up with Gay Cinic, JayG, Ambulance Driver, and a host of other bloggers for a bite to eat tonight. Already had someone on the convention floor notice the Dragon Leatherworks t-shirt, and ask Linoge if I was the actual guy that built the NCIS holster.

Heh…talk about a great feeling when someone  recognizes you for work you’ve done. I’m still grinning.

Coming soon…review of Gunnies Rules!

Hey Folks,

It was requested by the publisher, after having reviewed Emily get her Gun, to read and review Gunnies Rules. The book arrived during my convalescence in heaing from open heart surgery, and I’m finally getting around to finishing the book, and will be posting a review in the next week or so.

So far, the book is an easy read, and is entertaining form an anecdotal point of view, and an enlightening behind the curtain of the man who is Gunnie,

So keep an eye out and stay tuned for the next review!

Guns are just like cars….

I’ve come to the conclusion that yes, I would like us to start treating guns like cars…

You can buy a car and have it delivered TO YOUR HOME, and placed on your property, with NO PAPERWORK NEEDED. (Thats right, my more Liberal/Progressive friends…you DO NOT need to register nor insure a car unless you wish to drive it on a public roadway.)

We should treat guns the same way…you can buy a gun anywhere at any time with no background check needed, and have the guy at the gun store simply drive it to your house, knock on your door, and hand it to you. No paperwork, no questions. A mentally incompetent person can buy a car and have it delivered to his property, same should go for guns.

You can legally own as many cars as you wish, and store an *arsenal* of cars on your property, WITH NO PAPERWORK.

Same should go for guns. No paperwork, and no talk about *arsenals*. Thats a bullshit term made up by the media.

You can drive your unregistered, no paperwork car on your own property all day long, and use it as you wish ON YOUR PROPERTY 24/7. You just can’t cross your property line into *public spaces* without a license to drive , license plates, and insurance. Doesn’t matter is you live on a thousand-acre farm, or a 1/4 acre lot in a subdivision…you can drive that car as long as its in your own yard.

We should allow the same with guns…you can use them in your own yard, day or night, no problems, no paperwork, no registration, no licensing, etc. Doesn’t matter if your yard is a thousand acre farm, or a rancher in a subdivision.

You can modify your no-paperwork, on-your-own-property car as much as you wish, with no nanny-state restrictions. Want to make it an 8′ tall monster truck?  Have at it…no-one currently has the right to tell you that you can’t, as long as its on your own property and DOES NOT cross the line into a *public space*.

Same for guns…you can modify them and stick a thousand-round magazine on it if you think you can, and if you wish. As long as it stays on your own property, you’re golden.

You’re free to sell your car to the nutjob down the street. Simply sell it, call the tow service, they tow it to HIS yard, no paperwork except for a bill of sale, and no-one is any the wiser. As long as that car stays on the property and IS NOT driven on public roadways, its no-ones business. You can tow it around all day long…just can’t drive it on the street.

Same for guns. Sell to whomever you wish, whenever you wish.

Yup…lets go ahead and treat guns JUST LIKE CARS…

And I thought New York was bad…

Folks who know me, and who have followed Dragon Leatherworks from its infancy, know that I tend to not mince words, and at times I can be rather…blunt.

I started as a holster maker in upstate NY with a total investment of $500, some leather-working tools, and a converted 10′ x 12′ outdoor shed. Un-insulated outdoor shed. Winters in upstate NY can get mighty cold. But I was on a mission…after getting my carry permit in NY, and finding no comfortable, easy way to carry my handgun, I decided to make holsters not only for myself, but for those folks who wanted an alternative to the mass-produced stuff.

I also thought, when I lived there, that getting a carry permit in NY was a pain in the ass, and bordered on un-Constitutional.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

I just finished Emily Millers book, “Emily Gets Her Gun” (Regnery Publishing). To quote a line from a very popular short-lived TV show “There’s all sort of twists and cul-de-sacs. It’s wild.” Emily, much like myself in upstate NY, was on a mission.

That was what I took away from this book. How can ANYONE exercise their Second Amendment RIGHTS when a city like D.C. erects so many barriers in order to thwart gun-ownership? And that was Emily’s same reaction when she started the process to be able to get a handgun as a D.C. resident, to simply have it in her home as a method of self-defense. I applaud her for her tenacity because she was on a mission, and refused to be kow-towed into just giving up and slinking away like a good little peasant when her “betters” that occupied positions of self-inflated authority did everything in their power to make it as difficult, costly, and time-consuming as possible to get a gun in the district. They erected said barriers in the hopes that by making sure that if just one more law-abiding citizen was disarmed, that would be the tipping point where the D.C. Utopia would finally emerge, and “gun violence” would simply go away.

Emily wrote her book after documenting her rather convoluted journey through the muck and mire that is the D.C. regulations and codes, finding herself reading one procedure that references another, then another, then circling back to the first one, where there was no seemingly clear step-by-step procedure laid out for what you need to do, when to do it, how to do it, and how much it would cost. After her wildly popular multi-weekly editorial gained interest from the gun-rights community, she compiled her articles into various chapters, interspersed with other chapters of opinion, commentary, and stories of folks who were caught up in D.C’s Draconian and Byzantine amalgamation of laws that were put into place to “keep the District safe” but did nothing more (and to this day STILL do nothing more) than punish the unwary, and the law abiding.

Being a recent escapee from the “utopia” that is New York State (never regretting it for one moment), and having experienced poorly written laws that do nothing but disarm the law-abiding, I was immediately drawn in by her story and her experiences. And I know that had I been a D.C. resident trying to get a gun and having to deal with the people she had to deal with, I would have been MUCH more snarky, MUCH more of a wiseass, and downright condescending and belittling.

I would have definitely NOT been a good ambassador for pro-gunnies. That is why I’m not a journalist either. I don’t have the temperament for it.

Which is why I cannot stress enough the wonderful job that Emily did in her book, the level-headedness and calm she exhibited whilst navigating the nightmare that is the D.C. Firearm Licensing adventure, and also why I cannot thank her enough, with humbleness and humility, for being exactly the kind of public-facing ambassador we need in our fight to protect our Second Amendment rights, so as to win converts to the cause.

Folks…do yourselves a favor, get the book. You won’t be disappointed. Give it as a Christmas gift. Or Chanukah gift, or Kwanza, or whatever your particular flavor of diety-worship might be.

And to drive home the fact that I’m not blowing smoke out my ass here, I’ve gone and given her book a place of VERY high honor in my store, so that folk who come in to sit, have coffee, and just relax, can peruse the pages of her book while hanging out in my gun store.

You see…in my store, I have what I call the Patriots Corner.

View from the door into the store

View from the door into the store

That corner where the Army flag, POW flag, and Old Glory hang, is a special place. That American Flag was loaned/donated to the store by a friend who is a retired Army Captain. He started his military career as an enlisted man, then went to OCS. Served in Iraq, then retired with 20+ years. When I opened my store this past summer (August 2013) he felt that it needed something…and he had just the thing.

That flag flew for fallen men in Iraq, who were all local to East Tennessee (generally, the greater Knoxville Metro area). Next to the flag, on the wall, is a plaque with the names of the men for whom this very flag flew at half-mast, in Iraq.

Emily’s book has a place of honor in the store, because that is how highly I think of her tenacity, and her patriotism. It rests on a shelf just below the plaque of names of the fallen, next to the flag that flew in Iraq for these men.

She earned that place.

Emily's book, below plaque of names of fallen soldiers.

Emily’s book, below plaque of names of fallen soldiers.

Been a while…

Things have been busy. Still at the day job, still making holsters and gunbelts. Also got into doing custom leather props for TV Shows and Movies (another post will follow with the particulars of what we’ve done in the past, with hints of what we’ve done for future movie releases…) along with having a brick-and-mortar store up and going.

But the thing I want to write about today, is that I’ve had the honor of being contacted by the publishing company for Emily Miller, who wrote “Emily Gets Her Gun”, and being asked to do a book review.

I’m about 3/4 of the way through it (my schedule leaves precious little time for reading, but I gave my word and made a commitment, and will keep it) and should be posting a review of the book over the Thanksgiving holiday.

I’ve also been contacted by a publisher asking to review the latest book by none other than “Gunnie” himself, R. Lee Ermey. That review will post in December.

Also, with a bit of luck, I’ll be able to get back to posting at least weekly, if not daily, here on the blog with things that are of interest to me, and what I feel would also be of interest to my customers and readers.

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