It’s Like Sleeping In A Webhosting Motel

Yesterday evening, I was having trouble getting my blog to autopost to Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t know if I’d misconfigured the plugins or if it was a problem with my webhost. Turns out it was the latter. Dreamhost has an absurdly low threshold for memory usage on shared accounts — and apparently, I had enough WordPress plugins installed to cause their autokill script to start autokilling, which basically brought the whole thing to a crawl and/or didn’t load pages. I really didn’t have that many plugins loaded. Just Akismet (anti-spam), a Google Analytics plugin, a cacher, and the autoposters. In another hosting environment, it probably would have been just fine. I eventually wound up getting a account, which will scan my blog’s RSS feeds periodically and post to various social networks. Doing the work to get them up and running was a good exercise, but I’m at a point in my life where I’m just happy to see it run. I have no desire to blow all my free time fixing something the hard way unless the payoff is really super rad.

I’ve had such a weird love/hate relationship with Dreamhost. On one hand, I got in during an insanely good deal and got to lock in a $10/mo price on unlimited space and bandwidth forever, and there’s lots of cool features. On the other, if I want to do anything even remotely out of a narrow scope of stuff they think is OK, it’s not gonna happen. I realize this is just a feature of shared hosting, but it just seems asinine.

When I was writing the @dndnext bot, I wanted to run a Perl module on a timed schedule to post updates. Their version of the Net::Twitter module was older than time, and they wouldn’t update it “because it might break other people’s code”. And I get that principle. I really do. Except Twitter had since switched to OAuth authentication over a year ago, and the version they had installed would never ever work in a million years. They had me trying to use CPAN to install some modules locally for myself, but some permissions issues came up, and eventually they told me I was on my own. So, anytime you saw an update, it was me running Strawberry Perl on my local machine. Laaaaaame.

But, as I said before, they are cheap and I do find their service useful. I just get what I pay for.

Oh well. It’s my morning to sleep in tomorrow, so I’m going to listen to some old Protracker modules and do something incredibly nonproductive now. Hell yeah.


If You Can Read This, I Will Already Be Doing Something Other Than Copypasting

I’ve been blogging since about 2003, but I’ve never had to set one up before. My old LiveJournal just asked me to pick a theme and pic and off I went. Stupid Ranger was on Blogger for awhile, and then switched to WordPress (which Josh set up, not me). Critical Hits existed for quite awhile before I came around, so I never had to worry about that either. Setting WordPress up on my own (and by that, I mean with a one-click install) hasn’t been very hard, but it’s had its quirks. Mostly, I’ve just been researching to make sure I had the right plugins to make sure I wasn’t comment-spammed off the face of the earth. I haven’t ever reskinned WordPress or written plugins for it before, which is something I’d like to know how to do if the need ever arises. Well, actually that’s not 100% true. I did write the code for the Gamma World Junkulator, which is a plugin in the sense that it’s PHP code that really doesn’t have anything to do with WordPress and just sort of doesn’t blow up when you run it. So that counts.

I spent a little time today setting up this blog to auto-post to Facebook and Twitter. I’d been debating whether I should only repost certain things from here. I’m not exactly sure what my rationale behind that fear was. It was if my feeds would get clogged up with my once-a-day blog posts and everyone would get annoyed and try to kill me. Thinking that through (and the laziness factor of not having to manually cut and paste a link twice every time I post here) pushed me over the edge. I still have to do that if I want to post to Google+, though. I really want Google+ to succeed. I like it better than Facebook, except for that part where only about 10% of the people I want to talk to on it even know it exists (much less want to use it).

Setting up the Facebook and Twitter plugins was a little weird, but it wasn’t too hard. The strangest part was that I had to “create an app” on both services, which wasn’t so much what (being a developer) I’d consider “creating an app”. It was more like defining a circumstance under which it was cool for WordPress to post on my behalf, and then handing WordPress the keys to do so.

In fact, once I realized what it was I was doing, I felt pretty silly. I’d just gone through a much more detailed process just a few months back, in which I actually did create an app to post to Twitter — the perl script that populated the @dndnext bot. Incidentally, if you’re wondering what happened to that, it wasn’t really anything spectacular. No legal notices or bad blood or anyone getting disappeared in the middle of the night. It just really didn’t do what we were looking for so we shelved it for awhile until we figure out a better use. Anyway, I had to set up that twitterbot using the same authentication procedures I had to follow for the WordPress plugins.

If you came here from Facebook or Twitter, that either means I did my job properly or I got sick of messing with it and posted it the old-fashioned way. That’s how we used to do things before the robots.

Well, I haven’t gotten it to work yet, and I’m not sure if it’s Dreamhost’s fault or not. The entire domain’s been running like crap all night (long response times varying from 30 seconds to timing out completely). Instead of bashing my head against it for another hour, I just filed a support ticket and will be going to bed. Nerd life, yo.