Monthly Archives: September 2007

Removed review voting

As the removal of filtering by review quality has become a permanent change, I’ve just disabled the ability to vote on the quality of reviews. The votes could no longer significantly affect the structure of the site, so facility has been removed for the foreseeable future. Apologies for not getting round to making this change sooner (I was preoccupied with the recent server move).

Voting in the members area, and to indicate whether comments are on-topic, are still available.

Details of the recent server move

Now the move is pretty much complete, I’ve got a few more details of the move for anyone who’s interested. has been hosted with the same company for about 4 years. They were originally known as Ev1Servers, but were acquired by The Planet, and in my experience, service proceeded to go downhill from that point.

Support used to be good, but a RAID problem and a recent server stability issue were both handled badly, and I decided it was time to move to pastures new.

After lots of research, I settled on SoftLayer, who seem to be picking up a lot of disgruntled The Planet customers.

Initial reasons for choosing SoftLayer:

  • Pretty good feedback on forums such as WebHostingTalk
  • Large choice of operating systems, including RedHat Enterprise Linux 5.0 (the old server was running version 4.0, and I wanted to move to the newer version, complete with PHP5 and MySQL 5
  • Huge flexibility in hardware configuration
  • Quad core Xenon processors – these are hugely powerful for the money. The new server has a single quad core Xeon at 2.4Ghz (Kentsfield, Core 2), compared to the old server, which had two single core 2.4Ghz Xeons (the old NetBurst type)
  • Almost any RAID configuration you could reasonably want
  • Very competitive pricing. For the new server, which has a quad core processor, 2Gb of RAM, and 3x 150Gb Raptor SATA disks in a hot-swappable RAID 5 array, it’s costing $279 a month (including various other sundry options). That compares very well to the $348 a month I was paying for the old server at The Planet, which only had two disks (in a mirror; not hot-swappable), and two single core processors
  • Support forums available. I’m always suspicious of companies that don’t dare have support forums

Observations following the move:

  • The Planet have been getting more and more aggressive with their marketing emails (they should do something about their support instead). Thankfully SoftLayer don’t seem to be bothering me in the same way
  • I had need of SoftLayer’s support when I first got the new server. It was OK. Quick response times (unlike The Planet), and reasonable responses, although they took a few attempts to fix an admittedly obscure hardware issue. There’s room for improvement, but SoftLayer were much better than my recent experiences with The Planet
  • The new SoftLayer server has far more sophisticated management facilities than my old The Planet server, including backend VPN access, and full control over an IPMI card, which allows for easy monitoring of the hardware, and KVM console access (useful if you make a mistake while securing your network connections). These new facilities took some time to learn, but the extra security and control were worth the effort
  • I do miss the live text chat with support that The Planet offered. The Planet’s solution was badly implemented, but it’s often easier to use text chat support, than explain things over the telephone. It would be good if SoftLayer could offer this facility

In conclusion, so far I’m pretty happy with SoftLayer. is running on a more powerful and configurable server, with reasonable support, for less money than I was paying at The Planet.

UK iPhone Launch

Quick thoughts on the UK iPhone launch:


  • The contract is 18 months, not 24 as some had suggested
  • Including the Cloud connectivity is very clever. It partially compensates for the lack of 3G
  • The included data plan fair usage limits of roughly 1400 web pages a day translates to about 0.5-2Gb a month (depended on the web page size they’re assuming). That’s competitive with T-Mobile and 3’s data tariffs


  • The tariffs (£35 to £55) are too expensive, given the phone costs £269 and it’s an 18 month contract. They should have offered £25 to £45, or at worst £29.99 to £49.99
  • No 3G. Despite the WiFi bundle, this is a big deal. Steve Jobs is wrong about the tradeoff they’re making of battery life vs data speed
  • The killer quote was from O2 regarding EDGE coverage: “By launch we’ll be north of 30% and build from there”. EDGE is slow enough. If that coverage is going to be patchy, it means relying on GPRS. Oh dear…

So a bit of a mixed bag, but not enough to tempt me away from my N95. I wait the iPhone 2 with interest

Moving to a New Server and related sites are currently in the process of being moved to a new and better web server.

While this move is in progress, some of the features of the site may not be available, such as adding new reviews and comments, and the members area. Once I’ve switched everything across, it may take up to 24 hours for your browser to start using the new server instead of the old one.

Apologies to everyone for the inconvenience. More details on move to come in a future post (once I’m happy  the move has been completed successfully).

Disappointed in the iPod touch

For me, Apple’s new iPod touch is like selling a Ferrari for $20,000, but only installing a fuel tank with a 2 mile range.

It’s such a great device, but the lack of Bluetooth kills it dead for me. I wouldn’t mind, but it’s such a silly omission.

Living in England (rather than San Francisco), the world outside my house isn’t blanketed by free WiFi. If the iPod touch had Bluetooth, I could connect it to the web via HSDPA through my N95. Without that feature, Safari on the iPod is only useful within my home.

I’m heartbroken that Apple have come so close to a must have device, but have blown it for the sake of a cheap Bluetooth chipset. And it’s not as if there’s a partner like AT&T to blame.

p.s. If you just want a media player, or you live in San Francisco, get your order in now and join the inevitable waiting list