Time to cash in

Big time.

I’ve just discovered the following e-mail in my Junk folder. How could I have missed it!? Such a stellar opportunity!

Hi, We've seen your website at http://www.rusiczki.net/blog/... and we love it! We see that your traffic rank is 2070406 and your link popularity is 35. Also, you have been online since 11/9/2003. With that kind of traffic, we will pay you up to $4,800/month to advertise our links on your website. If you're interested, read our terms from this page: --== OBVIOUSLY REMOVED ==-- Sincerely, Nikolaos Koufakis The --== REMOVED ==-- Network</p>

Of course the e-mail comes from a weird looking Yahoo address but this means nothing. Serious companies always send their mails from Yahoo addresses. So truly hyped, I click the link in a hurry. A friendly female voice greets me enticing me to add those links to my site and I can win 4800 in a month. 9600 the second month. And then it get into the sci-fi territory speaking about monthly earnings that are twice the price of my car. And all this for just a few links listed on my site. Sounds too good to be true? Maybe a little.

OK. After listening to the message and being all full of quick cash adrenaline I start reading the site:

After millions of dollars invested and over 2 years in development, we've just launched the fastest growing program since Google Adwords and as viral as Hotmail.</p>

Hm. Quite weird there was nothing about them on TechCrunch

Over 300,000 people have visited this page in the first week and thousands are joining every day! Growing faster and faster every minute, this program propagates extremely fast.</p>

Of course, spam e-mail is a highly effective way to attract potential victims partners.

And even if you only show our links for one month, we'll keep on paying you that $4,800 EVERY MONTH! *</p>

Holy crap! I’ve almost entered an uncontrollable money frenzy at this point. But waaait a minute. There’s a footnote. I see the little asterisk. Let’s scroll down:

* These figures of earnings are examples to help you understand the earning potential - You can make more or less. There are no guarantees of income.</p>

Aha. So getting past the bullshit most likely I’ll get nada. Zilch. Nothing. And for this nada I give them (or their customers) valuable inbound links for 1 month. Or for however long it takes for me to realize I’ve been scammed. Well, thank you. I think I’ll pass.

Anyway, from now on I’ll sleep much sounder knowing that someone out there “loves” my website. Yey!

Boom!

Just my luck. One month after I get a dedicated server the data center that’s hosting it goes boom. To be more precise:

Sunday evening at 4:55 in our H1 data center, electrical gear shorted, creating an explosion and fire that knocked down three walls surrounding our electrical equipment room Thankfully, no one was injured. In addition, no customer servers were damaged or lost.</p>

Unfortunately my server was on the first floor, where the explosion was. They got the second floor back online quite fast and then started working on the first floor (Phase 1). And so, yesterday morning my server came back online, I cheered a little, but shortly after it went down again. Boo. Cause:

This morning at approximately 2:45 a.m. CST, the temporary generator supplying power to the servers and environmental control systems located in Phase 1 of our H1 facility shut down. This was caused by some faulty current sensors in the output breaker. The sensors detected an out of balance current condition that did not exist.</p>

Shortly after an e-mail came in saying that I could request my server to be moved to their other Houston data center. Which I did. So the computer that’s serving you this very page was loaded in truck along with many others (in an update they mentioned that they had to move around 500 servers). The support ticket was updated a few short hours ago, saying that it has arrived and it’s powered on. I logged in, fixed the IP address issues in Plesk, set up the DNS and here we are! ON-freakin’-LINE.

I’m just thankful that there wasn’t anything mission critical on this server and I hope it wasn’t too close to the explosion and the hardware isn’t phisically affected. I’ll back up everything in a moment but I’ll still be keeping my fingers crossed for a while…

Oh, and to top everything, the following communication from them just rolled in (via a ticket):

Dear Ioan Gavril Rusiczki, On behalf of our team at The Planet, we want to thank you for choosing our company as your hosting provider. It has been thirty days since you have joined us, and we sincerely hope that you have had a fantastic experience thus far. We have earned an excellent industry reputation for our world-class support, state-of-the art data centers, and our fast, reliable network.</p>

Can’t say it wasn’t good as their support is excellent but the last few days of these 30 days were a little “bumpy”. However, I think they’ve dealt with the situation really promptly and professionally and I can only praise the open attitude and the fact that they’ve kept everyone posted by frequent public updates. The worst that can happen is when a company leaves you in the dark, guessing what the Hell happened. Well, The Planet is not one of those companies.

As a conclusion I can only say: great work guys and I hope this whole incident haven’t dented the business too badly.

Short URL of the year

Snipurl just spit out a funny shortened URL: http://snurl.com/2bleh. To bleh… Short URL-s are kind of like CAPTCHA-s, you stumble upon them frequently and once in a while an amusing one comes along. Or to be technically correct: an amusing one gets randomly generated.

Baia Sprie from satellite

Baia Sprie - Satellite view - High Resolution

What you see above is the result of two and a half hours of precise and tiring work. Check it out in original size. But be warned it’s 18.5 megabytes and 5000 x 3526 pixels in resolution.

The story goes something like this: a few weeks ago we were talking at the office about Google Maps and it’s lack of high resolution satellite images of Romania, when a colleague mentioned that there is a Romanian site which has them. I was very skeptical at first but after taking a peek and seeing my hometown and my parent’s house from way above I was hooked. I checked out all the surroundings (streets, friend’s houses, lakes, places we hiked to, etc) and even some places around the country. I spent almost a day on it scrolling like crazy because one can call that site everything except usable. And then I thought I’ll try modifying the HTML frame a bit maybe I can make that map window a bit bigger. At first I failed because I couldn’t really concentrate as I was at work…

But yesterday night after seeing a really beautiful image of Baia Sprie on Flickr I thought I’ll give the whole thing another try. And this time my “hacking” skills payed off. After a few short minutes of tinkering I had a full screen map viewer which I used today to snap various screenshots of the map which I then used as prime material for the “epic” image that’s headlining this post. And I can say that I’m really pleased with the result because basically I can scroll around freely and practically relive the 25 years I stayed there. Hehe.

An annotated version is probably coming really soon… :)

Winter favorite

Parking skyline

Probably one of my favorite photos from the past winter. I remember arriving there late in the afternoon (around 8 PM) and then having a great nightly run on the Icoana slopes.