Too Successful For Their Own Good?

I’ve been building websites since the mid-90s. I’m not sure exactly when I started but I do know it was before 1995. My first experience was using edit in DOS to create HTML files and then viewing them in Netscape 3 on Windows 3.1.

I still remember having problems the first time I uploaded my files to a real web server. I called support and they told me that my file extensions had to be html instead of htm. So after uploading the files to their Unix (Linux?) server with FTP, I had to rename them so they would have the correct extension. Those were the days.

Things have changed a lot since then. I’ve been through 2-3 other web hosts. At one point I was using Modwest. The service was good, but I wasn’t pleased with their support. One day I tried to bring up my site and instead got their default “Parked Domain” page. It turns out the credit card information they had on file had expired. Instead of sending my an e-mail to explain this, they just turned off my hosting. Nice.

About that same time, I heard lots of people talking about DreamHost. They offered lots more storage and bandwidth than Modwest for a comparable price. They had all of the features I needed. For $19.95 a month I could have unlimited domains with PHP, Perl, MySQL, SSH, etc. It wasn’t long before I moved my domains over to DreamHost.

At first, everything was great. It seemed like everybody was talking about DreamHost, and everybody was happy. As time went on, I started noticing things slowing down. It wasn’t every day, but sometimes things just didn’t respond as fast as they once did. More time passed, and I started noticing that my site occasionally timed out completely.

A few months ago, DreamHost announced that they were now the 16th largest web host in the world. They are currently hosting over 600,000 domains. That probably explains why my little personal web site is so slow sometimes. DreamHost offers shared hosting which means all of my web sites are on the same server as lots of other web sites. There’s no way (that I know of) to tell how many other sites are on the server I’m on, but I’ll bet it’s a lot more today than it was a few years ago.

Even with the slowdowns it hasn’t really been worth it for me to move to another host, until this morning. A little before eight I received an e-mail from DreamHost billing. This is normal, I get one of these every month for $19.95 plus $9.95 for any domain names that need to be renewed that month.

Unfortunately, today’s bill was for $438.90 and it has already been charged to my credit card. Instead of charging me for February, they charged me for the rest of the year. Not only that, they charged me twice for each of the 11 months. Needless to say, they got a prompt reply. I didn’t panic like some people, but I was not happy.

DreamHost has updated their status blog with a post about the billing issues. So far their are 608 comments on that post. I obviously haven’t read them all, but here’s one of my favorites:

LOL! nice going DH

its cheap for a reason!

My thoughts exactly.

It’s funny, I was thinking about moving the automatic billing from a credit card to our debit card just the other day, but I hesitated for some reason. Scrolling though the other comments on that blog post, I see several people complaining about checks bouncing and not having access to cash. I guess there’s a reason I didn’t make that switch. Gut feelings are almost always right.

Fitness Goals

I try to work out at least three days a week. We’ve been going on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings so Matthew can stay at the “Kid’s Club” at RACE.

Something really nice happened Tuesday evening. First, I beat my personal best time for jogging a mile. My best is now 10 minutes and 51 seconds. After I stepped off the treadmill I weighed myself and found I had lost 6 pounds since the week before.

I only changed one thing to make this happen. I stopped eating meat. You might remember I gave up beef about a year and a half ago. At the time I said I would probably never become a vegetarian, but things have changed.

So far this year I haven’t had any chicken or pork. I’ve only had seafood twice, and I’ll probably never eat it again. It seems like what we eat is just what we’re used to eating. I wouldn’t think of eating a steak now.

I honestly feel better than I’ve felt in a long time. I feel healthier and like I have more energy. Ten days is not enough time to see how this will affect me long term, but so far I wouldn’t change a thing.

With this in mind, here are my fitness goals for 2008: I will jog a mile in 10 minutes or less and get my weight down to 200 pounds or less. These are both things that I can easily accomplish if I just keep doing what I’m already doing.

I Can’t Do It All

That title is one of the hardest things I’ve ever typed. I don’t think I’ve ever said it out loud, but it’s true. I can’t do everything. No one can.

It seems like I spend most of my days either worrying about all the things I have to do the next day, or feeling guilty about the things that I didn’t get done the day before. That’s no way to live.

I tend to take on more than I can accomplish. I also sometimes procrastinate which means it’s too late to ask for help when I finally realize that there’s no way I can get something done. Since getting promoted to Technology Director, I’ve had to get really good at delegating tasks. This is not an ability that comes naturally for me. I’ve always been one to just do things myself.

With this in mind, I think another one of my goals for this year should be to make fewer promises and get more done. I think it’s better to tell someone “Sorry, I can’t do that” up front than to agree to something that I’ll never get around to finishing. I’ve actually been working on this for a while now. I stopped working on people’s computers a long time ago unless they were friends or family.

The hardest part is telling myself no. I’m constantly coming up with ideas for new projects I want to try, but I never have the time to finish any of them. From now on, I’ll focus on whatever project seems the most interesting at the time and push everything else back to my Someday / Maybe list.

Hopefully by this time next year I’ll feel a lot less overwhelmed and maybe even have fewer gray hairs (or at least still have some hair to worry about). If anyone knows a good way to squeeze more hours into a day, I’m all ears.

Happy New Year

I’m back at work after a wonderful two-week vacation. That’s got to be the best part about working for a school district. Believe it or not, I rarely even touched a computer during those two weeks.

Now that 2008 is here, what should I do? Seth Godin says the first thing to do this year is Google yourself. Sounds good to me. This blog is now the 8th result for “Anthony Lewis”. The New York Times columnist and author will probably always outrank me. He’s now 80 years old, so I don’t think anyone will confuse the two of us.


I’m still working on formulating my goals for this year. It’s easy to spout off a few resolutions like “lose weight” and “get rich”, but I want to really focus on what I’m going to do this year. I’ve been reading some great posts on Zen Habits and Get Rich Slowly about setting goals for 2008. I’m trying to keep their lessons in mind as I plan out the next year.

One thing I’m not going to do is make a promise about posting to any of my blogs. I’ve done that several times in the past and it never works. NoBloPoMo was a complete failure for me.


I’ve been blogging off-and-on since 1999. I used to write all the time. I was generating so much content that I felt the need to split it up into multiple blogs. A funny thing happened after I did that. It seems like by defining what I was going to write about I took all of the freedom and fun out of the process. Within a few months I wasn’t writing anything.

Almost a year passed before I finally created this site to try to get back into writing. I didn’t tell anyone about it. I wanted this site to mainly be just for me. It wasn’t long before I fell into the same trap as before. I decided that the main focus of this site should be on web development.

By attempting to define what I was doing, I effectively shut down my creativity. Not only did I stop writing, I also stopped working on the projects that I was writing about. Not good.

Two weeks off was exactly what I needed to clear my head and prioritize things again. From now on, I’ll write whenever I feel like writing and post it wherever I want. If I happen to write something relevant to one of my other blogs I’ll post it there. Otherwise, it will end up here.

I have a feeling 2008 is going to be a great year.