San Francisco Is Burning

Here's a profile of a landlord who went to jail for trying to hire someone to burn down his apartment building.

The numbers cited by Campos and others -- 45 fires in two years -- also weren't necessarily as suspicious as they seemed. It turns out that 25 fires a year is about average for the Mission. But there's a reason that arson is on everyone's mind: While the number of fires has stayed steady, the value of the real estate in question has not. The 27 fires that burned in the Mission in 2006 caused $2.6 million in damage; the 22 fires in 2015 caused almost $15.6 million in damage.

I later spoke with the former head of the San Francisco Fire Department's Arson Task Force, John Darmanin. He told me he didn't know of any cases of arson explicitly tied to landlords wanting to get rich from gentrification but that the arson department was so overloaded and under-resourced that cases "do not get the level of professionalism and investigation that they deserve." There were fires, he said, that "very well could have been arson, but we just didn't have the manpower to devote to those cases."

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Dear Lazyweb, tell me about colo

Or, "Old Man Yells at Cloud Hosting".

Currently I host all of my various web sites and services (business and personal) on a single physical Linux box leased from a small ISP. That's been working out fine for me for many years. However, of late my ISP has become so non-responsive to support requests that I can't interpret that any way other than, "We are no longer interested in being an ISP".

So, sadly, I think I need to find new hosting.

My initial instinct, because I am an unfrozen caveman, and your modern ways frighten and confuse me, is to find someone else to rent me a 1U server. But those appear to be nearly nonexistent these days, because in this modern world, That Is Simply Not Done.

(And though there are a few companies that do this, the fact that there are so few makes me suspect that they won't be in business at all a couple years from now.)

So I'm looking at virtualization options from Amazon and Digital Ocean and whatnot, and it's all very confusing. In particular, figuring out how much my performance, storage and bandwidth requirements are actually going to cost is absurdly complicated.

Here's what I have now, that I need to replace with equivalent-or-better:

  • 8 core 2GHz (faster would be nice)
  • 32 GB RAM
  • 2 TB disk
  • a backup of that disk
  • Outbound bandwidth: 2 TBytes / month

Right now I'm paying $300 / month for that.

So it looks to me like Digital Ocean and Amazon are the closest replacements for that, but it's hard to tell. I think that the closest options are:

  • Digital Ocean: Their $240 option (32 GB RAM, 4 core, 90 GB storage, 7TB transfer) looks close, but that's not nearly enough storage, and they charge $100/TB, so that brings it to $440/month. Also they don't specify how fast those cores are.

  • Amazon: The m4.2large option (32 GB RAM, 8 core, no storage) looks close, at $258 (paid a year in advance); plus 2TB storage at $200/month. So that puts us at $458/month already. They also don't specify core speed, and that's for 1Gbps, and if I'm doing my math right, 2TB/month is 6.1Mbps, and I can't even tell what they charge for that.

It blows my mind how much they want to charge for disk. I can buy a physical 2TB drive that will last 5+ years for $80, but these jokers want me to pay $200/month for that. That is a markup of 150x! What the hell!

Options I am not interested in:

  • Try to get 2TB of bandwidth into the DNA Lounge building and manage my own high availability data center, for a single server.

  • Rewrite 20+ years of code that is in a variety of languages into whatever toy-du-jour Google insists things be written in to take advantage of their hosting option.

  • "Virtual hosts are great because when you realize you need more, you can instantly upgrade them and start paying more!" I know this excites many of you, so much, but this feature is completely uninteresting to me because my requirements are static and because I prefer to know what I'm paying ahead of time.

  • Also, just to head this off too: I realize that many people are of the opinion, "You should run each web site, and each service, on its own virtual server", and while that sounds sensible to me in principle, it sounds less good when each of those virtual servers is an additional $250/month. At that price, I'll run all of my sites out of the same Apache instance, thanks.

So what should I do?

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Webshit Weekly on Uber


  • An asshole quits his job. Hackernews absolutely explodes, because Uber's business model ("fuck you and your laws") aligns perfectly with Hackernews' most firmly-held convictions. Many thousands of words are deployed to explain carefully to each other that a jitney-cab with a smartphone app is the most monumental societal development in the history of humanity, and that it is absolutely criminal that a man should be forced out of his cushy job for trivial transgressions like "building an entire corporation on the idea that women are not people" and "abusing your own employees." Most Hackernews hold the opinion that this one person leaving the company will destroy the company, never pausing to wonder how great the place must be if one asshole going home is all it takes to burn everything down.

Honorable mention:

  • An idiot gets robbed by a jitney driver. Hackernews, seeing that the idiot pursued legal remediation and succeeded, decides that everything the idiot did was totally wrong, and they have all the right answers. In addition, Hackernews concludes that Uber was unfairly treated by everyone involved and should have been allowed to lie to the police.

  • A cybersecurity company peddles its services. Hackernews opines that everything is fine because most of this data was public to start with. Some Hackernews spend a while playing fantasy football with the constitution of the United States. The rest spend all day explaining to each other why personal data must be protected at all cost, except when it interferes with internet advertising.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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2600 video

"As far as the Atari 2600's concerned, it's a cartridge - one that happens to have enough horsepower to read the audiovisual data off an SD card and feed it as a program to the 2600."

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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