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View Diary: Starting a serious blog - a "how to?" diary (87 comments)

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  •  Just a quick comment... (0+ / 0-)

    ...this came up as "recent" on my hotlist, even though its not...and since I'm pretty much useless on the issues of the day, and useless at centrist politics, thought I might have a bit of info for you :}

    In the context of a cheap/free blog, putting wordpress on bob's hosted linux would be my preference -- and virtually all of the advice on this thread was good.

    In the context of the kind of activism I've seen you reference here in passing, the economics are different.  I'm very sure you are closer to the techinical consigneti here than I, but here's the scoop:

    -- bandwidth is not actually free.  All of the great hosting services you see with unlimited bandwidth for free or ten bucks a month are making a bet that nobody really cares about your site, or that it will even out.  As soon as you are genuinely popular, or running serious pipe space, you'll get a letter or your site will just go away.  If you are planning to get popular, you can either buy per gigabyte (ick) or by metered bandwidth.  If it's metered, it will either be billed "at 95 percent" (which means they check at n random intervals and you must be below the requirements 95 percent of the time), or else you can have them cap it (if there is a good router above your system at the hosting facility).  Capping is a good way to not go broke...

    -- corollary to the above, you can actually figure out your maximum readership -- very roughly -- at any given time, as a function of how long it takes to load your site, how big it is, and the bandwidth you can support.  There are other limiting factors, but this is a real number....figure it out :) (Note: if you are on bob's hosted 10 buck a month service, there is probably no way to get real numbers, because you are sharing a physical pipe -- one NIC -- metered and modulated as it might be -- with 10 to 200 other hamsters)

    -- if you want your own server -- as opposed to 1/100th of someone else's -- you can simply buy one for 800-1500 dollars, and put it into rack space for between 1000 and 2000 per year.  For the higher number, you can rent a quarter rack.  This is about a quarter of dkos, guesstimating by past architecture descriptions.  I run a single 2u server in a rack for 1200 per year with 1mbps guaranteed bandwidth, metered.  Having covered that initial hassle, I can go higher without too much expense (but I don't run a blog -- I run voip lines and several online database services for enterprise clients -- so my needs are pretty predictable)

    -- if you are just one person, it's worth buying redhat and subscribing (I'm commenting so late that no one will jump me lol).  For about 300 per year, you can get a server-capable OS with regular updates.  For another 100 per year, you can get server AVG to sit on your email and file transfers.  True linuxheads will scoff, but for that 400 bucks a year, it is essentially plug and play security.  Since your server is sitting with it's butt out, this is not a bad thing...

    -- again, if you are just one person, you might want to consider a cisco PIX, if your provider doesn't have stuff like this at the switch.  You can get a used 500 series very cheaply -- about 500 dollars.  That way when Bob the Rightwing Virus Writer decides yous suck, you have at least a fighting chance over the DOS attack.

    -- you should be able to find a human being to configure and load up the above for you for a few benjamins.  If you are willing to pay to have it configured, you can also have a standard x-windows desktop configured and made avaliable to you remotely.  While dyed in the wool server guys will scoff at you, this is a wonderful way to bridge the gap between command-line appliance gobbelty-gook and the idea of an actual computer, which works for you, and happens to sit in a rack...

    -- you can terminate 1 or more phone numbers on the computer as well, for 10 bucks per line or less.  The results can be emailed to you as wav files.  If you are setting up an activist organization, this might be an inexpensive way to fly... 3k to set up, about 1500 a year, to have a robust and predictable interent presence.  For, say, an organization dedicated to constitutional restoration :} Of course, the above applies just as much to selling camcorders as blogging...

    Heh...I got to feel useful for 10 minutes...prolly wasn't though...

    •  Actually, this was very helpful (1+ / 0-)
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      I'm nervous about running Linux (I do not have the makings of a sysop) and I'm not sure what "bob's hosted linux" means -- who's bob?  What I envision is starting a blog mostly to get my ideas down and public -- the old-fashioned approach, for the most part, but I also would want to bring in various friends not from the blogging world to contribute so that it's not just me.  If it catches on, great; if it's just a group diary and sandbox, that's OK too.  What I'd like to do is to be able to port it to new homes as it grows, like a hermit crab; this is why starting at WordPress (despite the problems noted above) and moving on to SoapBlox when it's time to have a real community where readers can have diaries sounds good to me.  I have no idea what to expect in terms of readership.

      There's another web-based project that I'd like to do, but it strikes me as potentially a real time- and money-sink.  But it's probably the most useful thing that could be done for the progressive blogs.  I plan on diarying about that project "eventually."

      Thanks for your taking the time to offer guidance!

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Fri Mar 09, 2007 at 01:23:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  heh... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Major Danby

        ...glad it was semi-useful.  Blogspot or google or even probably msn are "bob's hosted linux" (actually they might use bsd, or cheap windows servers -- but bob was intended to be a generic...)

        ...sounds from what you say that something managed might be the way to go, though, if you don't want to get dirty fingernails :)  Most everything is portable, it's just a question of whether to spend time keeping it consistently portable, or doing everything at the end :)  Managed solutions tend to mean everything at the end.

        ...the sysop stuff is fairly brainless once the drill is's kind of like painting your own house :) I mean, if you used to be a social psychologist then ANOVA is no mystery, and there's  nothing so complex in linux shy the kernel code :)

        Eventually I think there is a huge financial difference between being in a highly managed context and managing your own...but your solution sounds quite sensible.

        •  I'll talk to some more adept friends (1+ / 0-)
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          and see if they think I can learn enough to get by.  So this would mean buying my own linux box, right?  (ANOVA, yes; painting my own house, no.  A little acrophobic.)

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Fri Mar 09, 2007 at 02:16:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  well... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby

   can buy your own linux box, or you can rent one from someplace like serverbeach.  The latter is cheaper fixins at first.  Even if you go with hosted everything though, it's not a bad thing to have familiarity with...instead of a Big Mystery and Magic Commands, it's just like on your old linux machine, only on someone else's system :}  The easiest introduction is probably to just grab an old computer before it hits a landfill, get a commercial linux distribution at Fry's, and put it on.  

            But it's something other people can set up for you, too, and perhaps a waste of your brain...basically you're going to be running an out of the box (or download) package for everything -- your own copy of wordpress, basically -- anyway, and someone else can set up your firewalls, security, and so on (and walk you through it).  The main advantages of having that level of control are scalability and customization -- if it's your own box or virtual machine, the person you hire to put on tailfins will have a much better chance of making it work, and work well, and when demand goes up by an order of magnitude, there will probably be many more choices about how to proceed.  

            I wasn't trying to advocate entering the market at any one point btw, just trying to provide some perspective on entry points :}

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