Server Migration Fun

I’ve been with my current web hosting company for quite a few years… I can’t recall precisely how many, but it’s safe to say just short of a decade.

Over the years, they’ve been a great hosting company, and they’ve worked with me through a couple different upgrades as my hosting needs increased.

However, over the last year or so, I’ve been working toward the goal of removing myself from being a web hosting provider for others as I just haven’t had the time to keep up with the demands of PCI security (For one of my customers who hosted her own storefront and shopping cart/checkout system which I helped design), and just general business of hosting headaches.

So, this weekend is the penultimate pay-off of that slow transition – I’ve officially moved myself and my last hosting customer to new virtual servers and am shutting down my dedicated physical server.

This change allows me to keep all the features and hosting my remaining hosting customer Andi had working just the same, yet significantly cut the monthly cost. (I was paying more per month for my dedicated server hosting than I pay for heating or electricity in my home.. seriously.

I will just say that Netsonic has been a seriously good web hosting provider and that Adam and Bleau in particular have been super helpful and awesome over the years. I look forward to continuing to host with them for a long time – but only being responsible for my own web sites and leaving the support and maintenance to someone else.

PaleMoon, Please do not Disappoint!

I’ve been a long-time FireFox user – the tabbed browsing features and certain vital add-ons like NoScript and FlashBlock make it a good “default web browser” that makes web use fairly safe (almost all web-delivered malware requires JavaScript and/or Flash or other vulnerable plugins… so by not having flash and turning off scripts by default, it’s a lot less risky)

Anyway, several versions back, FireFox completely changed their UI … making it look and work a lot more like Chrome. If I’d have wanted Chrome, I’d have used Chrome dammit!

So, I held back updates on FireFox for a bit until I found PaleMoon (www.palemoon.org) – it’s a “fork” of Mozilla FireFox which keeps the old UI / tabs… but keeps up with security updates.

I’ve been a happy user ever since… until I started noticing a HUGE slowdown on web sites … bad enough that I was double checking my system for malware and badly behaving programs …out of desperation, I tested in Chrome and FireFox and everything was “snappy”

/endRant

So long, Apple, Hello Samsung!

After 6 years with iPhones (a 3GS followed by a 4S) I’ve finally made the switch to an Android device… a Samsung Galaxy s6 to be precise. My switch over is nearly complete, and I thought I’d share a few observations and tips with anyone else making the switch.

For those switching from iPhone … pay attention: the iPhone and iOS are delightfully free of most shovelware/trialware/crapware. OK, yeah, they have that annoying Nike tie-in thing (at least my iPhone 4S did) and there are a few other apps that were pretty ~meh~ but Apple apparently used quite a bit of muscle to keep the cellular providers from loading up your phone with the usual pile of trialware.

On my brand new Galaxy, most of the trialware / crapware was easy to spot and remove. However, there was one glaring exception. The built-in Voicemail app comes with this “Voice to text” feature and other “premium” services enabled and in “free trial mode” for 30 days after which (if you fail to notice it) you’ll be charged an additional $7.99 a month for…

Seriously? I would have just installed it and found a highly rated replacement app and paid for it… except you can’t actually uninstall it because it’s part of the phone. You have to be really careful to go in and disable the Voice to text and text to email features and tell it you want to unsubscribe, then click that you want to opt out of all future free trials and click Yes I really Mean it another couple times.

I just really hate things that give me a free trial after which I will be billed monthly unless I cancel. This form of trialware marketing is NOT the same thing as shareware (software that is free for N days and then stops working or has reduced functionality unless you buy the full version… that is at least honest. It’s the things that are hooked directly to your phone bill/account and are set up to AUTOMATICALLY agree and bill you monthly after your trial.

I think they’re getting a large percentage of their sales from people who just failed to notice rather than from people who used it and really liked the features and consciously decided to buy it.

Just kinda shady in my book.

Some Missing Stuff Isn’t Missing…

I almost missed the built in calendar and calculator apps … the Samsung Galaxy has this two-tier system – there’s an Apps app that shows you ALL the apps on the device, but the main home screen(s) are essentially your chosen pages/layout where you can put your most used apps.

It’s hella convenient for hiding stuff you can’t uninstall but don’t care about, but it also makes it easy to forget to look to see if there’s a built in high-quality fully free version of the app you’re looking for.

… and Some Stuff Really ~is~ Missing

I’m an avid listener to several podcasts, and I was aware of the fact that there’s no “default” Android podcast app (I did my research on the phone and OS so I knew to expect this). I just up and paid for PocketCasts. It’s got really good reviews, and it’s simple and works enough like the iPhone Podcasts app that I’m right at home.

Sounds. I miss the sounds from my iPhone.

Yeah, what a silly thing to miss, but man did I miss them – this is likely my mild Aspberger brain… I just got hardwired to the particular bleedeep, bleedeep of my calendar, and the mild bonng of a new email and the RIIINGGGGGG RIIINGGGG of the classic phone. I really found the default sounds lacking.

However, Android being so open – I could just connect to a PC and drop sound files into the Ringtones and the Alerts and Notifications folders… and I found this article which covered the topic in more detail that I needed.. what I needed was the link to a ZIP file containing all the extracted .ogg files used by the iPhone: [here]. VICTORY!

However, Android being so open – I could just connect to a PC and drop sound files into the Ringtones and the Alerts and Notifications folders… and I found this article which covered the topic in more detail that I needed.. what I needed was the link to a ZIP file containing all the extracted .ogg files used by the iPhone: [here]. VICTORY!

Porting Data To the New Phone

Samsung really nailed this one… They’ve got an app called SmartSwitch and so long as you have a USB-A female to MicroUSB Male adapter and your iPhone charging / syncing cable, it’s quite painless.

You just connect the devices together and run the app and it discovers all that’s on your iPhone, and then asks what things you wanted. Since I already copied my music (MP3s) over to the new phone from my network, and since I already backed up my photos to my main network storage, I got to skip the majority of my iPhone contents, but the big thing was I got my entire text message history, my entire phone call history (important to me) and most importantly – all the contacts that were up to date in my iPhone but that I had not kept synced with my Google account.

The Verdict

This new phone is one nice piece of tech – it’s got a hell of a nice camera and I’m LOVING the Phone calls over WiFi (basically, using VOIP when you’re at home and have a better Wi-Fi connection than cellular signal).

Once I got a handle on all the trialware, found equivalent Android apps to the iPhone apps I used most, got my classic iPhone sounds back, the Samsung Galaxy s6 us really a great device.