Thinking Online Backup Might Be a Good Idea

As many of you have read on this blog over the past year or so, in an attempt to reduce my financial overhead as well adopting a generally minimalist lifestyle, I opted to relinquish the monthly costs associated with having my own web server. One of the aspects I’d not considered replicating, however was online backup.
Probably the biggest reason this didn’t occur to me was the fact that my Slicehost server never had more than a few moments of down time in the 4 plus years I used them. And I’m not overly concerned with or its services either, however, being prudent with ones online content is definitely a smart move.
In addition to checking out those reviews for online backup services, I want to see if might offer similar. On the Upgrades page I see that I can purchase additional storage space for very reasonable pricing, however, I’m not immediately finding any sort of backup pricing.
Whether I opt to keep online backup in-house with WP, if you will, or decide that another company might better serve my needs, I know it is something I don’t want to not do. This is a sort of insurance that from past experiences, I know I’d rather pay and never have to use (but have it there) than not pay and need to replace lost data at some point.
Will keep all updated on the progress of this task.

Hello, Again, Goodbye

Yay Me!
I’ll repeat that, Yay Me!!!
Why the self-congrats you may ask?
Well, finally, FINALLY, I have made the complete switch of all my sites (and several freeloaders that I felt sorry for and set up sites on my server because I’m such a nice guy 😐 , really, I am) from my Slicehost slice over here to
I hear you whining already, “But James. I thought you were like Mr. I thought you and your friend Joseph Cizek were among some of the first dudes to manipulate a single WP install to power many individual sites, even before WPMU had been released? I thought you had been tinkering around with self-installs since the 1.2 release? WTF dude?”
LOL! Quiet down. A friend of mine recently asked me if I was “out” of WordPress now that I was shutting down my server. I told him about transferring everything to this behemoth know as and that I’d still be following the community. His response, “Oh, okay. You’re still into WordPress, just on the other side of the fence.”
His observation actually seemed acutely interesting to me. Short of a few of the heaviest duty stuff when it comes to WP dev work, there’s probably not a lot I couldn’t do (as long as it didn’t have to happen for a paying client. Shit, any client for that matter 😐 )
Now, however, I’ve taken the reckless abandon that I used to devote to edition, and have dived off the deep end with my new sites (ugh, and those few stragglers whom I felt too sorry for to just set up accounts for themselves and send them packing off into the night. I could always reconsider…)
One of my first discoveries was that somehow, some way (Joseph will tell you he is responsible, though he has no way of proving it) I actually set up a blog & user account back in August of 2006. Yikes! Even more astonishing was the fact that I remembered the password I had been using back then. Hint: it’s not the same as the ones I use today.
So, now I had “JamesDKirk” and a second, newer account, “AreYouBG”. It was the second one which I’d been planning on adding blogs for all the sites I would eventually transfer from my server. In fact, I didn’t remember the JDK account until I tried to add that blog to my AreYouBG account and it told me what I loser I was, someone else already owned that site/account.
So, now 2 accounts and 4 blogs. Great, more places to sign in, check up, maintain writing, etc. Surely there must be a way to merge multiple accounts, yes? Where is the codex?
See how I threw in that reference to the knowledge base? Yeah, I’m in the know πŸ˜‰ (I know what you’re thinking!)
Well, WordPress Support rocks and in case you don’t know, is NOT the place to ask questions about its cousin (but that last link is, in case you just have to leave and check it out. If so, go. Go now!)
Took a bit of searching, but not much. Once I wrapped my head around the concept of making my desired main user account (JamesDKirk) an administrator on the blogs of my second account, I easily had them all lined up under the “My Blogs” dropdown you see at the top of the browser window.
Well, now I was also able to make myself still in charge of those other freeloaders, but instead of me being responsible for paying the OUTRAGEOUS(ly low price) of $1 (yeah, look at that again, $12 for a year of domain name mapping) those cheapskate friends of mine would have to pony up and pay their own way (for a change!)
But, softy that I am, they’ll still be able to depend upon good old (quasi) expert, James to hold their hands and take care of things should (when) they get in trouble.
Just so you know, there are some differences in this field versus self-hosting. You can’t insert certain things into a page or post. No flash. no tags (i.e. all those damned Picasa slideshows were out πŸ™ ) But for just about most things, there’s a way you can use a built in solution to replace (mostly) the lost functionality.
Uploading media to the blogs is just as easy as it was with the self-hosted sites. And there are slideshow and gallery insert options. And they work. And they are free. Quit whining (this is what I told myself after realizing I had to download the individual pics from the Picasa account and upload them to the new site, but whatever. I got over it.)
Sure there are no plugins that can be activated on a whim to get extra functionality. But there is a lot functionality those Automatticians are constantly stuffing into under the hood (where do they find the room?) and if you can’t get it done with what’s here right now, do you really need to do it at all?
I think there were about 15 sites on my slice and while I just deleted some of them, those I want/need made the transfer with absolutely no challenges whatsoever. I would recommend that when you do an Export of your data that you DO NOT choose the “all dates” option, but instead manually choose the earliest to start and the latest for end date. For some reason that seemed to consistently get me all the data when I’d do the export.
The only thing I wish I hadn’t started doing a couple of years ago was placing certain post images into another domain I own ( for parallel serving. I have all those images, but they are showing up 404 on my sites right now. If I decide I cannot live without them being back in their original posts, I’ll have to manually upload them to each post. We’ll see about that.
To sum up, you might be wondering why I’ve posted this under the “Minimalism” category. Well, I’ve successfully done away with several more things in my life as a result of finally finishing this transfer project. And they are:

  • No more server to maintain, update, upgrade, worry about, spend hours and hours learning how to do stuff (though to be fair, I spent the bulk of that time a few years ago when I wiped Apache and installed NginX & FastCGI. That was tough, but fun.
  • No more paying $38 a month for the server that was not bringing in anywhere near that amount of revenues. But I will wholeheartedly, and completely recommend the folks at Slicehost. I think I had about 20 minutes of downtime (very early on in my account’s and their existence) in nearly 4 years of service with them. Uhm, that’s good.
  • More waste cut this week because I was so giddy about getting rid of the server? Cut back on my cell minutes. Much as I despise the coverage Verizon Wireless “provides” me at my house’s location, I did an analysis of usage for the past 3 months and decided I just didn’t need the unlimited talk option. $30 dollars saved (so don’t rush to start talking to me on the phone. You know who you are!)
  • Finally, and you’ll probably think this one weird, but do I really care what you think? :p I discontinued the luxury of trash and recycling pick up. WTF? No, I’m not letting it build up in the back yard. They just installed a drive through recycle place a couple of miles from me.
    You know the type where they have the various dumpsters with “clear glass, colored glass, flattened cardboard (apparently unflattened is not recyclable), plastic, aluminum, and something else I always forget. Well, by separating ourselves, and making the trip over there every few months, we are stuck with only true garbage. Even that’s not as stinky and gross as you might imagine since I have been composting for a couple of years now.
    All that’s left is the true garbage (i.e., a lot of litter box refuse. Damned cats!) Of course, I’m able to fit most of the true garbage into the left over cat food bags, so I kind of get my revenge in a way. And when I go on a home & pet sitting gig for my Mom, I make sure to take any garbage to place in their cans. Why? Because we provide the extra service of making sure their cans are put out for pick up while the home/pet owner is away. Pretty smart, eh?
    Savings? Another $25 per month. Yeah, baby!

The coolest thing is after a while most of these things are not missed. But the money saved is very much realized and appreciated. Even more than the money is the time savings. And the worry and responsibility of not having to be yakked at every time the server hiccups and someone’s precious website isn’t showing to the 4 people a year that might come and look at it (wait, those are my sites. Never mind on that last one 😐 )
In true Zen Habits fashion I continue to forge forward getting rid of more and more, and somehow getting more and more in return (time, money, peace of mind!)
Wishing the same for you my friend.

Product Marketing and WordPress

My good friend Joseph Cizek and I have decided we are going to do it. No, we’re not going to do that, we’ve decided that we are indeed savvy WordPress developers and possibly authors. The focus of our book and the support community we plan to develop is based upon Product Marketing with WordPress.
Product Marketing With WordPress
We know a heck of a lot about WordPress; how to build hearty, heavy duty sites as well as how to make them look nice and pretty. We belief that our combined experiences within our professional careers (and those very close to us) will allow us to bring Product Managers, Marketers, and similar professionals high quality resource materials.
I invite you to click through to the site we’ve set up at to read more about our upcoming venture. If you’re a member of WP or would simply like to stay in touch about our new venture, be sure to sign up for the email subscription or RSS feed so you can get notified as we make progress towards our goals.
As always, looking forward to your thoughts and insight!