Liquid Web

This website, and all my blogs, are hosted by Liquid Web, a US web hosting company. They were recommended on an industry mailing list about six years ago, and so when I decided to switch to a host independent of my connection ISP, I signed up with them. They aren’t the cheapest option available (with the discounts, the basic package works out to about $12.50/month), but they’re also not ridiculously expensive. One reason I’ve stuck with them for about five and a half years is inertia, of course.

The other reason is that, most of the time, everything just works. I get very little downtime (in fact, I don’t think I’ve noticed any), and I can install the latest version of WordPress, run dozens of low-volume mailing lists, and do just about anything else I might want to do.

More important, when something does go wrong, the email support system is extremely effective. The technicians the emails go to actually fix the problems. Most recently, I needed a newer version of MySQL to keep WordPress up to date, so they migrated my account to a newer server, which had a sufficiently new version. When there was a problem with one of the blogs (Tamao), they worked out how to fix it with no intervention on my part. It took less than 36 hours to go from my reporting the initial problem to everything being fixed. Bear in mind that 24 of those 36 were New Year’s Day, and that there was quite a lot of them waiting for me to confirm things or spot problems. If I ever had a problem that needed to be fixed now, I’m confident that they would manage it, although I’d probably have to phone. I suppose I could also hover over the keyboard.

So, if you’re looking for a reliable web hosting provider, my experience of them has been entirely positive, even though Japan is a very long way from their location.

Server Change

All my blogs have just been moved to a new server, to get access to newer underlying software. This should have made no visible difference, but people may have noticed the gibberish characters replacing quotation marks in Tamao. I’m working on getting that fixed as soon as possible, but if you spot any more problems, please let me know.

This blog and my Japanese blog seem to be fine, so I’m not sure what the problem with Tamao was.

Oops

I upgraded my blog software yesterday, and accidentally deleted the .htaccess file for this blog. That meant that, although the front page was working fine, the archive pages and RSS feed were broken. Thanks to Sheila for pointing it out to me.

Anyway, it looks to me as if everything is working again now. Please let me know if it isn’t. (Yes, I know that wouldn’t be any use if the whole blog were broken. But I think most of it works, so you might be able to read this but still find something broken.)

No Longer Broken Blog

My blog has been broken for the last few days, in that I haven’t been able to connect to add entries. It now appears to be fixed again (whether due to something my webhosting company did, or due to the vagaries of Shub-Internet, I know not), so normal service will be resumed as of today.

Amazon Advertising

If you scroll down a bit, you will see that I have added some Amazon advertising to the sidebar. There are a couple of reasons for this.

One is that these are called “Omakase” links, which is a Japanese word. It means that Amazon’s computers decide what to display. Right now, they seem to be deciding to display links to my books, which I approve of. Of course, that might well change over time, and it is also supposed to depend on the content of the particular page, and possibly even on the identity of the visitor. (If you have an Amazon cookie in your browser, Amazon knows it’s you.)

Another is that I’m a professional writer, so I might as well see whether I can generate an income stream from the blog too. I’ve been registered as an Amazon affiliate for ages, so setting it up was very easy. It shouldn’t be too obtrusive, tucked away in the sidebar, and I’ve put it below the links that are definitely and always to my books.

Since it doesn’t cost me anything to have the links (oddly, Amazon have elected not to charge people for putting adverts for Amazon on their websites) there’s a good chance that they’ll stay there. I’ll also be curious to see what turns up in the automatic selections. Amazon’s algorithms for that tend to be pretty good, but occasionally they do produce rather peculiar results.

Welcome to the Blog

This is my English-language blog, as threatened in my most recent diary entry. As noted there, the aim is for it to supplement, rather than replace, my Japan Diary. The blog should be a quick way to note events and thoughts, while leaving the Diary for accounts of visits and the like; essentially, things with pictures.

Now that it’s set up, it should be easy to update and such, but, unlike my Japanese blog, I don’t plan to update this one every day. I do hope to do it more often than once a month, which is what has tended to happen to my Japan Diary recently.