Posts in Reviews

Review of Facebook Comments

Well this isn’t a rant just about facebook comments as to the facebook API in general, I’ve learned this the hard way, you should never ever, EVER EVER put any part of your site under someone elses control, that means that hosted software or software as a service, regarding websites is a big NONO, only completely internet illiterates should go that route, cause its a very tricky one.

Lets say that my hosting provider goes down, or bankrupts, or decides my site is ugly, well that sucks, but i can move my site elsewhere, even if they shut me down in the middle of the night without any warning, i have my offsite backups, i can move on, it could take some hours or days, but its not the endgame, same goes for any of my domains, even if someone steals them or the government decides that a site about anime panties could burn children’s eyes, i would lose traffic, but i can always move to another domain, see no single point of failure, there is a fail-safe for all my work.

Now with facebook you are relinquishing control of your comments, login, data, for the sake of easiness and more widespread promotion, so what happens when facebook bans your site, or decides to change/end the API and you are left with nothing or at least a big headache, cause your users are not your users, your comments are not your comments, they are facebook’s, and they decides what is best for them, not for your site.

Also facebook as a kinda personal social effect on people, by basically forcing you to be yourself and not a nickname or handle, and transmitting to your friends pretty much everything you say, it breeds a different kind of internet user, one that instead of honest or idiotic commenting, you have a bland audience, that says stuff as much about the subject as about what they think their friends would want them to say, its vanity commenting, and for that shit, you can just stay inside facebook’s walls.

I don’t think what you get from facebook is all that great, the conversations are bland and it detracts most of the time, you get a bland looking comment box and bland people talking on it about bland things, were is the awesome juice?, trolling most of the times is comedy genius, like when techcrunch put facebook comments and said it was the best thing evah!, well i guess not, cause they went back to their old comment system, ill say it again, when you put your data in someone elses pocket you lose value and in the case of facebook comments you lose value and gain boring banal conversations instead, winwin? not really.

Anyways don’t get me wrong, its not just facebook, the disqus, intensedebates and cocomment of the world, with the rare exception, like if its a temporary page or comments are not the focus, just a add-on for help or faq, yeah then its a somewhat good idea to outsource, but for all other cases, naaa the shinny extras you get, don’t pay for the fact that what you create from their own is out of your hands.

Well there is an exception, the “like button”, but i view that as any other “share me” button, maybe it has better hits than most, but nothing completely awesome or mandatory, you can as easily turn it off, with no impact to your site ^_^ .o( may

Domain Registrar Reviews and Comparison

Well domains are an essential part of what makes the internet useful and easy to use, we really don’t need them, but our minds are generally not made to memorize big numbers like (this is a ipv4 internet address, in the future with the introduction of ipv6 the numbers will be stranger and larger hehehe) so something like is way more simple to use and memorize (well secretly i wished icann would have made them even more simple, like just typing hostcult on the browser or hostcult.c).

Also brands wouldn’t be able to use the internet so well if, like if microsoft was 6427-7-38 (american phone keypad combination) instead of, so it makes sense to use domains, as the years gone by, i have used a series of different domain registrars to register all my domains, so here is a small resume of the domains registrars i use today and some of the ones i used (no point talking about registars that no longer exist, or that are not relevant today):

When: couple of years ago, about 10 domains.
Pros: pretty cheap at the time, still cheap today with coupons, pretty good feature set.
Cons: renewal fees are expensive, icann fees are billed separately (they always bill that as an extra while most domain hosts bill it as part of the overall price), confusing control panel, they keep offering/pushing their other services, they will cancel/suspend your domain at the slightest problem or dmca.

When: couple of years ago, about 5 domains.
Pros: cheap reseller, awesome control panel, pretty good pricing, reliable registrar, awesome support.
Cons: at the time, it was complicated to buy and put money inside of the account (you had to have money on your enom account so you could buy domains), also they weren’t the cheapest (even though now, they are one of the cheapest).

When: couple of years ago, about 30 domains.
Pros: cheap reseller, average feature set.
Cons: convoluted payment system, lots of downtime, unreliable, horrible support, horrible control panel.

When: couple of years ago, about 5 domains.
Pros: large feature set, good control panel, good support, probably my recommendation if you have/want just a couple of domains, they are/were a enom reseller, so its a good platform anyways.
Cons: a bit pricey, still renewals are normally the same price as registration, so no hidden fees.

When: couple of years ago, about 5 domains.
Pros: simple and quick control panel, average pricing (even though i bought at the time with discount), interesting feature set, with unusual services, horrible support service.
Cons: renewals are way more expensive.

When: couple of years ago, about 10 domains there.
Pros: cheap reseller, the best bulk registration i have ever seen, average feature set and control panel.
Cons: at the time it was being sold off or not, kinda weird things going on, so i moved on as a precaution, also because pricing is kinda average.

When: today, around 150 domains there.
Pros: cheap reseller (the more you pay, the cheaper the price, because i pay a lot i have a pretty good pricing), reliable, average feature set and control panel, still they have been adding new stuff with time.
Cons: no automatic renewal system, every other month there are problems with they credit card processing company “transecute” (that i think they own or at least are very buddy with), support is average but normally takes a lot of time to get back to you

When: today, around 5 domains there.
Pros: cheap registrar, average feature set, average control panel, i tend to buy domains here if they are cheaper than on resellerclub and then transfer them over or not to resellercub.
Cons: none so far.


  1. I buy a lot of domains, so my main concern is the price, features are not that important, since most of these can be had with a server to run the domains, so these registrars might be good for you or not.
  2. Also i have a couple of free domains from webhosts i still use, but i don’t recommend that, you want to keep your domains separate from your host for all the good reasons.
  3. I do have domains on other registrars, mostly domains that aren’t offered worldwide or that involve a lot of bureaucracy that some local registrars can deal better, like .pt/.de/ domains.
  4. Like i said some of these registrars i haven’t deal with in years, so they might have gotten better or not, take my “reviews” with a grain of salt.
  5. Cant believe i put Godday first!!!! seems their insane promotion and publicity is starting to work on me… well… NAAAAA heheheh

Apthost Hosting Review

Well im doing reviews of host i’ve used, in this case it was Apthost Shared Hosting in mid 2009, sometimes when i finish a new site i decide to make a new account on a new host (cause they look good, or have a awesome promotion, and yes i know hosting promotions are more hype than substance, but you never know unless you try, thats why i continue to be a Dreamhost customer), so in this case i choose apthost, mostly because of their tag of being the best host for “FFmpeg”.

So lets get into the review, the setup and payment was quick and easy as expected, my account was activated, and like normal quick upload and everything is looking good, i also requested a transfer of another one of my sites but that was a fail apparently apthost staff hasn’t mastered transfer from cpanel to cpanel so i never did anyways, speed isnt awesome, but its all good, about a week later i noticed there were several error_log type files (some growing to multiple mb sizes) in a lot of the folders on the site, but the site seemed fine, when opening those, it was just standard log files with lots of weird errors (like page loads fine, but log reports errors from my ip anyways… weird), talked with support that dismissed it.

So like 3 weeks into it, the real problems started with multiple downtime’s and overall pretty lousy performance (strange how this tends to happen to this kind of hosts, probably when they finish filling up the server to the brim…), since the site was new i decided to put a “maintenance page” while i try and workout the issues, so then it starts a week of trouble tickets with support and it kinda gets silly, most of the replies are “Your site is coming up fine.Please check it from your end.” while the site is still down, also “It is being taken care of. I noticed that one of the techs did not show up, and left the monitoring of the server unattended, which caused to go into overload mode. It is coming back online in few minutes.” or the “the account has been suspended for 30 minutes in our node due your account is responsible for overloading the server, which is impacting overall performance in the node.”, so my site that wasnt even online is overloading the server… awesomeeee i kinda couldn’t believe it, i know it was probably and automated system of some-kind and because the server was in the shitter that probably went to everyone on the server, still funny though

So after a week of practical downtime, they announce that they are moving me to a new server, ok… ohhh but there was a problem and the new server is built from backups that are from Friday and not Monday, what? well at this time since i was still on my 40th day (45 day money back guarantee) i asked for a refund and that was awarded after about a week,

So a recap of my review of Apthost:

  • They aren’t a very good host overall, at least they don’t seem to have their shit together
  • Support is not very supportive, there is a lot of one liner copy+paste replies from support
  • I also don’t appreciate the 30min suspension for “overloading” (i would suspect a lot of people would hit that, in a more professional webhost they contact you ALWAYS before turning off your site)
  • Apparently their backup system sucks
  • They did follow trought with their moneyback guarantee
  • Setup was quick and easy

Review of Virpus VPS Hosting

So this is my review of Virpus VPS Hosting, as a principle i only review hosting companies AFTER i’ve been with them, as well as i try and be to the point with my review and it shouldn’t be taken as a literal performance of the hosting company as a whole, just of my particular experience.

I was with Virpus for 5 months, and i signed with their unmanaged Advance package (so a mid to high end hosting package) with Directadmin, since the initial payment it took around 9 days to setup my account but after a contact with support they did apologised, they said that they had a huge surge of new customers and were a bit late on the setup as well as i was discounted for those days, so thats cool.

After the initial setup there were a couple of things that weren’t setup right, especially since there were extra notes fields when you first signed up to put that kind of added or just needed information for a correct setup, but those seemed to be ignored (not a huge deal, since a lot of vps companies do this, probably cause the people that make the setup don’t do any tinkering), so a few back and forth with support and everything is on track.

So the hosting comes with Directadmin hosting control panel, well its kinda a subpar hosting panel, but at least it has a low overhead (doesn’t consume a lot of resources), that and probably a new server (although with not so new hardware) meant performance wise, the vps was quick and the first site i transferred over was indeed almost 2 seconds faster than on the other vps it was on.

After about a month later i transferred another site over, still the performance of both sites was pretty good, this lasted for 2 and a half months, since then i started having some downtime, for some apparently unknown reasons, others were to DDOS or Server Problems, so i had about 5 fairly large periods of downtime in the first 4 months, however in the last month i started having daily mini periods of downtime, i know i know, it can be a problem on my vps, but the vps was stable and apache has like 20 days of uptime i was using barely half the resources on the vps as well as the downtime was at random times, but still the sites started to drop off the internet for 5 or 10 minutes at a time (i use 3 different site monitoring services), i contacted support and nothing but excuses but nothing is done, so i moved one of my sites back to another vps, but the downtime continued for 2 more weeks, then again i contacted support and i was said they were going to scale this to management, i waited one more week and since i wasn’t contacted by support or management and the trouble ticket in question was closed, i moved the last site to another new vps.

So like i always do, i go and read the terms of service (to see their cancellation policy and if i had to pay anything extra, but no, i was within my time to cancel and not have to pay anything) and so i asked for a cancellation, after that i didn’t heard anything from support, not a “we have canceled your account” or anything (if my e-mail account or virpus account was hacked it seems it would be quick and easy to burn my vps), but what comes next wasn’t that nice, although my due date for payment was more than a week from that time, after i canceled they immediately tried to make a payment to my credit card, as well as tried several more times the following week (i was lucky that the reason i didn’t wait 1 or 2 more months with virpus, to see if the service would get better, was that i had to renew my credit card and i didn’t feel like adding my new one to virpus…), so to sum it up my review of virpus:

Good Points:

  • Pretty Cheap VPS Hosting
  • Good Enough Support for Technical Questions
  • Average Performance (was good at first but then it kinda when to normal+downtime)

Bad Points:

  • Cheap Hardware
  • Downtime (my threshold for downtime is about 2 per month, that is to be expected from upgrades to random problems, more than that, its totally unacceptable)
  • Bad Support Followup (they told me at least 3 times that they would check and get back to me, of course they never did)
  • Unethical Cancellation Procedure (tried to charge my credit card without reason after cancellation)

So i would say that i would recommend virpus to anyone that wanted a cheap vps for hosting anything that wasn’t priority (hosting files, cache, image galleries, backups), it was quick and overall the downtime wasn’t that bad (a month with about 20 downtime windows of about 5 to 15minutes each is bad for a active site, but not that terrible for file hosting or something like that, its still about 90% uptime), but i can’t recommend them cause they did try and charge my credit card when they didn’t have any reason to do it (for some companies you do have to pay something before you leave), so if you read this, there are way better and cheaper hosting companies on the web, so stay away from virpus.

Update: So a week as gone by and im still getting the “Invoice is Due” and that i should log in to my account and pay, nice ^_^ but since they closed my server and then closed my account, so even if i wanted to pay i was out, a little more of this and ill just consider it spam/phishing and start flagging them all as such.

Why Does Google Buzz Suck?

Txaaa i normally don’t use this blog for rants about products, heheh anyways, google just launched buzz, its a gmail addon for small talk and sharing of media with your friends, i just don’t understand the point, gmail is awesome because it is simple and to the point, it makes managing your e-mail a breeze, now we have chat and buzz and all kinds of random stuff in there.

We have flickr for photo sharing and photo communities and we have facebook for small talk and basic sharing, nowadays we have all this crossover sharing like posting on twitter also posts on facebook and gmail has chat and i see less and less value in it, why would i use buzz? it just adds more clutter to my e-mail its just a time waster, if you go photo sharing you will still want to post it on flickr as well, if you go talk small or just random sharing you will still want to go to facebook or twitter, so whats the point?

Google should clean up their job with orkut or jaiku, or finally launch a quality skype/pidgin gtalk software that can connect to all the major IM networks as well as provide affordable voice services (connecting with google voice) and quit this idiotic social experiments, its like all the shit with google reader, its too much bloat, after a while it stops being a feed reader, one thing is adding value (gmail labs is a awesome idea), another is adding random stuff that has no obvious purpose and just duplicates functions other sites do better, kinda like google friend connect (com)

Alternative to All in One SEO Pack

Well we do have a lot of wordpress installs (not only for blogging, wordpress has come a long way and its almost at the point of becoming a full fledged cms like drupal or joomla), so having a good SEO pack to take care of the little tidbits of SEO is almost mandatory, so using the 2nd most popular wordpress plugin “All in One SEO Pack”, seems like a no-brainer, that is… it used to be, now more than ever its a nuisance, and moved from a very simple helpful plugin to a major bloated beast filled with plenty of idiotic choices, and i’ll gladly name a few:

1. Constant Updates, ohhh i’m all for updates, but come on, put it all in a bigger update, instead of pushing the equivalent of nightly builds, unless its a security risk (that i have my doubts, with this kind of plugin), it should be pushed with big updates, i guess they do this because of my second gripe…

2. When Updating they Deactivate the Script, yep, you activate on the plugins page, but you have to always go to the plugin itself to activate, thats just moronic and abusive, pushing ads/promotion/donations, jeez

3. Bloated or Useless Functions, stuff like pushing added keywords on single posts/pages, its not only pretty much useless these days, but its kinda promoting keyword stuffing, using excerpts as descriptions, talk about added bloat…

4. Adding Idiotic Stuff, to the code in the head like…

<– All in One SEO Pack 1.6.7 by Michael Torbert of Semper Fi Web Design –>

e in the head like… not only is it bloat to the code, but it also announces the freaking version, so if there is a security problem… yayyy

So as of now we are moving all of our wordpress installs from using the “All in One SEO Pack” to HeadSpace 2 and Platinum SEO Pack ^_^.oO( to see who performs better)

UPDATE: After a year i’ve done a more through Comparison of WordPress SEO Plugins heheheh and yes we do have a winner ^_^

Social Network Software Elgg Review

Yep, i’ve used Elgg social network software on 2 experiments, one live, another offline, both times, with versions 1.1, 1.2 and the new version 1.5, both times the software was lacking for my own needs as well as my users (i’ll explain the good things and bad things bellow), most of all it seems to be a software directed to a specific view of what a social network software should be, more than being an all round software… more times than none, it mimics in some way the features found in facebook and/or myspace, instead of giving what i would think that small to midsize social networks need. Also i don’t think most of the things Elgg lacks are core features, no but they are plugins that should have been developed by the creators and not users, since i totally agree with they’r notion of a platform core + plugins for functions, one of the things i was most impressed with Elgg.

This is a combined List from 1.1 to 1.5 (i know some things were improved and are now much better on 1.5, but in my view are still not ideal):

Awesome Features

  • True Plug and Play System (The core can always be updated, cause both themes and plugins are totally unrelated with the core), similar to wordpress and in my view the only way to create software that is meant to be augmented.
  • Basic Essential Social Network Features (User Profiles,Friends,Activity…).
  • Security and Protection of users Privacy in mind.
  • Even with more than 1000+ users, it seems to not be such a burden on the system and flows pretty well (i’ve seen SMF or Phpbb start crawling with the same load).

Not so Awesome Features

  • Serious lack of communication from the developers (reason for me to not use the software anymore in any live site)
  • No Central Forum System / Advanced Message Board.
  • No Picture / Video Gallery System (the file system is just a very basic form of picture/video gallery).
  • Authentication and OpenId still don’t work perfectly, several users constantly reporting problems and logouts, on a system were you should login once and never again.
  • Several features are a little barebone (like blogging, files, pages, messageboards)

The results of using Elgg even with 1.5 is very little user engagement, even with high traffic flowing to the site, most users would register and then leave and never come back, mostly cause they dont have a central place (forum, video or picture galleries….) to find friends on the site (unlike facebook where you bring friends from the outside), while the same site now with SMF with very little extra functions (embeding and picture posting enabled) has in a very short time become a very active main forum with 4 times more page views and several times more engagement and time on site.

Also their upcoming Elgg hosted solution doesn’t give me much confidence, more on their communication with the community than on the platform, we will see, if they do improve, i’m sure i’ll change my mind, still awesome platform, poor functions ^_^

S2R is Over with Feedburner

This was the last drop, the only reason for using feedburner in more than 20 of our sites was that it provided a good and reliable storage of the feeds, the ability to manage the feeds and possibly monetise it and above all else because of the feed stats, but in a week time since we moved the feeds from feedburner to google feedburner, the bad service is even worse, its a case of google doing again a shit poor job of a service they bought and in our case its the final drop, and we are dropping the service all together, we prefer the clean workable and always available feed that our sites provide than the broken down mess from google’s feedburner, we are done and we recommend most users to drop them as well… really no point, you lose more than what you win…