Working with crowdSpring

Just curious, but has anyone out there use crowdSpring for something recently ? I’m using it for the first time and I’m having an unbelievably difficult time with their workflow. On the plus side, their support has been top notch. Just wish I didn’t have to use them so often for seemingly mundane things.

Exchange 2007 & Snow Leopard

I’ve been having issues trying to integrate one of my clients Exchange 2007 server and Snow Leopard. Sometimes iCal and Address Book would work fine and sometimes they would go days without connecting. It was really frustrating. I assumed it was a Exchange problem.

I assumed wrong. Turns out it was a DNS issue. I had been using OpenDNS as my primary and secondary server. However, on the recommendation of nameBench, I switched to UltraDNS. Now everything works like a charm and it’s actually pretty sweet.

Where is the disgust for Facebook & Google?

Updated 01/26/10: More from shadiness from Google
Given what’s been going on in the past few years, I’m a little shocked at the lack of outrage or disgust people have not been showing for Google and Facebook. In the recent months, both have made what I consider gross violations of users privacy and freedom. Google has shut down a innocent users email account, doctored ads for particular search results and their CEO doesn’t think decent people need privacy. Facebook has had to put up with social gaming scams and the recent appalling change to their default privacy settings.

Part of me wonders what the reaction would have been if Microsoft did any of the above.

Business & Social Facebook Accounts

I’ve always maintained a strict separation between business contacts and social contacts. I’ve kept LinkedIn as a place for maintaining business connections and Facebook as a place for social interactions. The reason being is that I like to maintain a formal distinction between the two worlds.

Recently, I began to mull over creating a separate Facebook profile for business contacts. I was thinking it might be valuable on some level. Now, I do realize that Facebook gives you some control over who can see what, but it’s not complete control. Plus, who knows what could slip through the cracks.

Unfortunately, it looks like maintaining multiple profiles under Facebook is a violation of their terms, so I think that plan is out of the window.

Anyone have any experience balancing the two worlds between social networks?

Migrating off of the cloud

In the past few years, one of the things that has made it easier and easier for entrepreneurs to start a company is the cost of decreasing cost of infrastructure. With cloud based computing, it’s become cheaper to host your services online with SaaS providers. By outsourcing email, website hosting, application hosting and other services, you can reduce the up-front cost of getting your company and products off the ground.

In the past year and a half, this is exactly what I’ve been doing. For example:

Quite a list eh?

As that list has grown, I’ve noticed that, frankly, this is getting expensive and complex. Take BitBucket for example. While we loved the service, using it for private repositories quickly bumped us up to the Large Plan for $50 / month. That’s $600 / year just for source control. There’s 4-7 other services that we’re paying for too. Not only is that getting expensive, but there’s the complexity of having at least a half dozen different servers. All this and we didn’t even have control of our most critical infrastructure. Kind of a pain.

That’s why, for some services that we can manage internally, we’re moving off the cloud and onto a hosted server that we manage. For $1000, we snagged a good mac mini server complete with snow leopard server. All it costs us is the a monthly static ip charge.

Besides a ton different servers and bills to manage, another wrinkle w/ the cloud is portability in your data. While sometimes it’s easy to jump on and off, sometimes it’s incredibly difficult. For example, this blog was started several years ago after moving off of a self hosted dasBlog instance. At the time I chose Typepad, probably because I didn’t know any better. Fast forward to present day and, well, Typepad sucks. It’s expensive and extremely limited, functionality wise. However, migrating to another blog system is incredibly difficult. There’s custom CSS to port over, comments to move, permalinks to maintain for google juice and data to massage. Just a giant PITA.

Lastly, as users of the Palm Pre & T-Mobile Sidekick will tell you, the cloud is not always the best case scenario for your data. Plus, I’m getting increasingly leery of Google and the control they can wield.

Overall we like the flexibility and low cost of running out internal infrastructure ourselves vs. outsourcing to the cloud. It just makes things simpler for us in the long run.