Blog moved and other news

I changed my hosting from Dreamhost to Google Compute Engine.
Now it runs on a g1-small instance (https://cloud.google.com/compute/pricing), costs are lower, and the site works quite the same, if not better in terms of speed.
There are a few downsides tho, I don’t have live tech support so whenever something happens to my website I have to go and debug it myself.

At Dreamhost I payed about 20$/month, and here the cost of a g1-small instance running for one month non-stop are at about 13-14$ ( from their estimates, right now I’m still in the trial period ).
Installing wordpress on compute engine is super easy because it is included in their Deployments, so you just have to click 2-3 times, choose the machine type, wait for a few minutes then enjoy a new VM with wordpress pre-installed.

All in all I am happy with the move, there were a couple of hiccups along the way that caused an outage of about one day. I miss-configured the DNS records at first, there were some issues in terms of permissions with some folders due to some mistakes I made, but I ironed out all the issues in the end.

I learned a bit about SSH-ing into a linux machine and doing things from the command line.
Another thing that I really like is the fact that I can upgrade the machine quite easy in case this vm doesn’t handle the load anymore, you can keep the disk and create a new, more powerful instance using the old boot disk. This also means that backups are almost free, you just create a snapshot of the whole 10 GB disk and that’s it. The whole process takes about 3 minutes.
So, if you don’t mind debugging stuff yourself when things go wrong, compute engine, or any other VM service for that matter, is something that can work really well for you and your wordpress site.

In other news I took this online course and really loved it. It’s called Design of computer programs, the teacher is none other than Peter Norvig. He’s an excellent teacher, you should check out all of his courses/presentations. Needless to say I am a huge fan.
Since we are still in course-land the next one that I’m thinking of taking is Functional programming principles.

Moving on, there are a few project ideas that I’m working on at the moment. Some are in the idea stage, for others I did a bit of research and wrote stuff down, in any case, the list is like this:

– A youtube series of fun projects to teach programming in a fun way. I still can’t decide what the target audience for this one, at first I thought that I could do a programming series for absolute beginners, but most projects that I have in mind are more intermediate level oriented. Some involve web scraping, bots that send notifications to your phone when something of interest happens (eg. your team scores, stocks go up, etc.), a twitter bot.

– A twitch series where we build a simple, async MMO :). I think we live in a time where if you choose your scope correctly you can build a simple fun MMO with small costs – think of travian/tribes type games but with all players in a single, huge realm. I would host the backend on compute engine, but this is not really free, so people would have to do it in their free trial period if they want to follow along and that would mean that I have to finish this in two months and I doubt it’s possible. This would be a learning experience for me too since I did not really build things like this in the past so it won’t always be smooth sailing. In any case I believe that seeing people struggle with problems and in the end solve them could be a really nice learning experience. Might be a bit boring at times, where 80% of the time it would be me googling stuff and trying to overcome problems that I did not encounter before.

– I also have a Beaglebone lying around. There are some fun projects that could be done using it.

If anyone has any other project ideas that they would like to see get made on twitch/youtube feel free to leave them in the comments bellow.

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