Archive for September 2nd, 2006

Webhostingtalk.com and Inet Interactive

For me, at least, webhostingtalk had been down all day, about ten hours in all, probably longer. I thought maybe it was a routing problem, but couldn’t get to them from any of several locations. Then I used my geek skills to see what was going on…

The answer is pretty embarassing.

It seems both of their nameservers – those belonging to the site’s owners, Inet Interactive – were up and pingable, but not responding to DNS queries. Now, it could be because of the RedHat BIND problem that’s causing a lot of problems. I really couldn’t say. That would be bad enough, in and of itself. The “official” explanation on WHT is that it was a load-balancer that failed, causing the “entire cluster” to be down. This, I have to say, is most likely untruth. What I can say is that they have exactly two nameservers, one IP apart on the same netblock, both of which were up and running during this time, just not responding. There’s a very good chance they’re really just one machine with two IPs.

And that, if you know anything about DNS, is just plain embarassing. It’s also just plain cheap. Given the quantity of servers behind Inet’s various online properties – which includes things like HotScripts.com – and the absurdly high advertising revenues they get, having just a single nameserver is ridiculous. I mean, they’ve made the same identical amateur mistake hundreds if not thousands of moronic high-school and college students make. All of Inet’s sites, including their own – sites that earn thousands of dollars a day in revenue – are down, because they didn’t want to spend another thousand bucks a year to do their DNS the right way. At their size – really, for any online business – frugality is one thing; incompetence is quite another.

Redundant DNS, folks. It doesn’t exist because it’s sexy or easy to do – it exists because it works.

Update: I really believe the “load-balancer failure” explanation is disingenious. After giving it some thought, my belief is that their nameserver or nameservers may have failed as much as a week ago. In the seven days before today, there were significantly fewer posts than usual, something I’d attributed to school starting. Is it possible, though, that regular visitors were still living on cached DNS results, lookups were failing for new visitors, and nobody noticed the DNS server wasn’t responding until traffic completely cut off when the TTL and retry times expired? Whichever way you look at it, I still maintain that any company running it’s own servers – especially ones big enough to claim to have a load-balancing cluster – should have a RFC-compliant, geographically-diverse, redundant DNS setup… to say nothing of a fault-tolerant network setup without points of failure… but what do I know?

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness | on September 2nd, 2006 | Comments Off on Webhostingtalk.com and Inet Interactive

If You Like Pina Coladas

Corey Greenberg’s unique brand of hyperbolic infotainment can be a bit much at times, and needs be read with salt and reality-checkbook firmly in hand. That said, for some reason, his review of Cremo Cream seemed somehow more trustworthy. I don’t know why; perhaps the elusive Mrs. Greenberg just has more credibility than her husband – or can reasonably be expected to be a little more realistic where toiletry supplies are concerned.

Either way, I felt compelled to try Cremo. After all, if it wasn’t as good as Proraso, my current favorite, my partner can always use it to shave her legs, right?

The good thing is, Cremo lubricates well; very, very well, even. And the shaves I’ve gotten over the last couple days have been absolutely top-notch. It’s not terribly impressive in the lather department, but I’m coming to discover that voluminous lather is rather more of a marketing gimmick than a quality metric, where shaving soap and cream is concerned. Truth be told, the coconut aroma really isn’t that strong, nor objectionable.

The tube – which I’m ashamed to admit I like a lot better than Proraso’s seriously-retro oversized-metal-toothpaste-tube, proclaims “dramatically reduces cuts, nicks, scrapes, and razor irritation”; I’m not sure about dramatically, in comparison to other quality shave creams, but it definately seems to be true. This morning, my face is perfectly whisker-free, the proverbial “baby’s butt smooth” shave, without irritation anywhere at all, or that distinctive feeling of an almost-too-close shave.

The tube also promises it “leaves your skin astonishingly soft and smooth”, and here I must grudgingly concede a point – it really does, even more so than Proraso. It doesn’t leave you with that fresh, medicinal tingle, but the impression that your now-hairless skin has been, I dunno, moisturized and enriched, or something.

Is it better than Proraso? I don’t really know. It’s a touch more expensive, and – when Proraso is now widely available at Target stores – I’m not sure the “last 5%” it provides compared to Proraso is worth the cost, or the hassle, or the almost two-week wait.

In an ideal, shave geekery world, Cremo would be available at Target, as well, or perhaps supermarkets, and advertised, and market forces could decide which is superior. In our world, though, only time will tell whether Cremo Cream can compete against the Big Green Giant.

It might be an excellent gift, though, to try and introduce friends and relatives to the wide world of wet shaving. That’s because it’s very modern, in it’s plastic lotion-style squeeze tube, and it makes no pretensions at being anything but new and modern. That, I think, might make it attractive to people who can more easily believe in a small, niche product that’s “new and improved”, but who would be otherwise skeptical of the performance of something with an old-school feel to it, like Proraso. Too, it has all the convenience of a modern shaving gel – just slather on and shave, without messing about with brushes and bowls and things. I’m not saying any of these qualities make it better – just more attractive to people who still believe in the sweet, sweet illusion of progress.

Even if you don’t like pina coladas, you should try Cremo, at least once. Your face will thank you, and, who knows, you might even come to love it. 🙂

Published in: Geekiness, Wetshaving | on September 2nd, 2006 | Comments Off on If You Like Pina Coladas