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January 2012 Newsletter

Introduction

If you're reading this it means the worst has finally happened.

"The worst" is probably one of the following:

• I've died in a horrible accident.
• I've died in a happy accident.
• I didn't actually die but couldn't write this month's newsletter in time to prevent this automatically-sent message from going out.
• I'm stuck in the bathroom - please somebody come help me.

Regardless of the reason, the show must go on! And I'm going to use the power of technology to customize this message just for you! I'm pretty sure I know how to do it right, so let's get to it, FIRST_NAME!

I hope you're enjoying your CURRENT_MONTH_NAME and that you're getting along well with your family, friends, and acquaintances. I don't know about you, but I sure am happy to put PREVIOUS_MONTH_NAME behind me and move on to greater and better things. MOTIVATIONAL_MESSAGE, as they say!

I know we only met on CUSTOMER_START_DATE, but in the time that we've known each other I feel like you and DreamHost have really clicked! In fact I've never seen a CUSTOMER_GENDER and an Internet company hit it off so swimmingly. It's a little creepy.

Remember that time when you set up CUSTOMER_FIRST_DOMAIN? That was really something - you made it look so easy and effortless! You only contacted tech support NEW_CUSTOMER_GRIPE_METRIC times in that first magical week, and we were so proud!

I've actually been meaning to ask you... Do you still live at CUSTOMER_ADDRESS_LINE1? I thought I might stop by for a while. Just to hang out...ya' know, nothing fancy. Maybe tomorrow?

I think we have a lot to talk about, you and I! I have a strong feeling that we could even be best friends. In fact I've been doing some research on my own time to get to know you better, FIRST_NAME!

"CUSTOMER_SECURITY_QUESTION?" Oh, that's an easy one! CUSTOMER_SECURITY_ANSWER! I love that about you.

And who could forget *these* shenanigans: FIRST_GOOGLE_RESULT_FOR_CUSTOMER_NAME

You're such a crack-up, FIRST_NAME!

So yeah, if you could just have some fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies ready when I get there around 2pm, I'll even let you try on the sweater I made out of things I found in your trash...Ha ha! Did I say found in your trash? I meant bought with cash! Talk about your crazy typos! That was a doozy, eh? Eh heh...eh...

Anyway, see you tomorrow!

Just kidding! I'm probably dead, remember?

-Brett

Simon Says... (Written by CEO Simon Anderson!)

So I guess/hope we all made it safely through the holidays and into the new year, and a Leap Year no less! A year when extraordinary individuals will perform spectacular feats of skill and endurance at the Summer Olympics (held every leap year). And a year when some very talented software engineers and developers at DreamHost will show off the results of some intense research and development we've been doing over the last year to launch new massively scalable and flexible web storage and compute services for you, the world's best and brightest web entrepreneurs.

I'm pretty excited. It's going to be a great year for the Internet and anyone wanting to quickly and inexpensively launch a blog or website, mobile or web app, or video streaming service. C'mon entrepreneurs, let's get this world economy thriving again!

That's why we're committed to investing in new powerful servers and switches in 2012 to power your web and cloud hosting. And why we're continuing to ramp our hyper-smart team of engineers developing Ceph software, the future of storage on the web.

It's also why, as explained in the newsletter below, we're opposed to any regulation that impedes on the economic potential and freedom of the Internet, like SOPA. Because it's the Internet and your use of it - whether to broadcast your views or opinions, deliver a useful and time- saving service, or make people aware of your business and sell stuff - that will be a powerful engine for prosperity and growth in the next 10 years.

So Happy New Leap Year. It only comes around every four, so let's all make our plans and resolutions, think and dream big, and Go For It!

Best,
Simon
@DreamHostSimon

(Now back to Brett!)

What's up with SOPA?

SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, is what happens when people who don't use the Internet attempt to regulate it.

It's a well-intentioned piece of legislation that has been written so poorly that, should the bill pass, nearly anything online could be considered 'piracy' in some form or another.

SOPA would place ANY website that houses any form of user-generated content at immediate risk of shutdown and would effectively stifle innovation among web entrepreneurs.

If someone posted a link to copyrighted material in, say, the comments of your WordPress blog about cats and their sweater choices, we would have to shut down your ENTIRE domain as soon as we received a complaint about it - whether that complaint was valid or not! There would be no pre-shutdown courtesy letter, no friendly 'please remove this from your site'. Just BOOM! The end. Obliterated. Everything gone.

What has two thumbs, 1.2 million domains, and would ultimately get stuck enforcing SOPA? You guessed it. This guy. (Imagine DreamHost pointing its thumbs to its chest here and the joke works.)

We were not fans of SOPA from the very beginning. We opposed it in November:

DreamHost Blog: Don't Drop The Soap: Drop SOPA!

We also press-released about it in late December. (It was the trendy thing to do at the time... and reporters tend not to read blogs, strangely enough!)

Press Release: DreamHost Denounces SOPA and Sticks To It

SOPA could fundamentally change the way that American citizens would be permitted to use the Internet and the way that web hosts and registrars would need to operate to accommodate these changes.

SOPA comes up for a vote on Tuesday, January 24th. If you're in the United States and want to feel like you've done everything you can to help add your voice to the rising chorus of SOPA opposition, please make contact with your senator (not the physical kind) and let them know your thoughts!

AmericanCensorship.org is a great resource for doing just that!

http://americancensorship.org/

WordPress 3.3.1 Comin' Atcha!

During the holiday season of 2011 we intentionally dialed things back on any major code pushes that might have had any impact on the customer experience. We know that for a lot of you that's the most important time of year for your business and from what we've heard you liked the idea!

So now that that's all behind us we're really going to hunker down and focus on what's important - breaking as much stuff as possible to make up for lost time!

I kid, I kid! Sheesh.

If you've used our one-click installer to install WordPress on your account at some point in the past AND you've enabled automatic upgrades for it, we will shortly be automatically upgrading your WordPress install to the latest and greatest: Version 3.3.1.

There is a small risk with *any* software upgrade in that your software install may be negatively impacted by the change. In normal words: "Things could break."

In the case of WordPress, any old or out-of-date plugins or themes you may be using that were not designed to be forward-thinking or simply created outside of WordPress' own developer guidelines may cease to function properly when they encounter a newer version of WordPress.

If you're cool with that, great! Sit tight and enjoy the ride. It starts with a 3. Then things get really good in the middle with another 3. At the end there's this huge 1 that'll really blow your mind.

If you're risk-averse, you may want to change your auto-upgrade preferences from the web panel. Just visit...

DreamHost Web Panel: One-Click Installer

...and click "Manage Installed Applications" to enable or disable automatic upgrades. You can even use the same tool to simply notify you via email when a new version becomes available.

You can ALSO schedule upgrades to happen on-demand from our one-click installer! All it takes is - you guessed it - one click.

It'll take us a few days to get through the many hundreds of thousands of WordPress installations that we host, so if you don't see the newer version just yet don't panic - it's a' comin'.

DreamHost and Ceph at SCALE 10x

SCALE 10x is the 10th annual Southern California Linux Expo. It's actually quite huge and awesome!

SCALE is three full days jam-packed with presentations spanning a variety of different topics. From the neckbearded parental-basement- dwelling Linux enthusiasts to the polo-shirted khaki-sporting enterprise-computing types, SCALE has something for everyone.

DreamHost is proud to sponsor SCALE this year and will be in attendance along with our Ceph team! Ceph is also sponsoring SCALE this year and will even be exhibiting on the expo floor!

Ceph's chief architect, Sage Weil, will be speaking at SCALE Sunday, January 22nd, at 4:30pm in the "Los Angeles A" room.

SCALE 10x: "Ceph Distributed Storage System"

Sage will talk about how Ceph works and give an update on where the project is at at today and where it's headed in 2012 and beyond!

You can always check in on Ceph's current status, or even get involved with the project yourself at http://www.ceph.com/

Ceph.com

If you plan to attend SCALE this year make sure you stop by the Ceph booth (booth #6!) to meet some of our team!

Bring a resume too, because you never know what might happen...

DreamHost WTF: phpMyAdmin

What's That Feature? It's phpMyAdmin!

MySQL databases are the stuff of nerd dreams. They are truly the glue that holds web apps together. Most apps need some type of database running on the back-end to store your data, and the MySQL database is the flavor we've chosen to run with.

While you can certainly interact with a database and its contents in many ways, most non-developers never need to. It's much easier to let your web apps do the talking in the only language that databases understand. I'm talking select statements, updates, alters, joins... Most humans could live and die without ever being exposed to the exciting world of database syntax.

If you did ever find yourself needing to make changes "on the metal", you would need to get down and dirty on the command line. That would involve a black screen, a white cursor, and a giant red question mark floating above your head.

It's not exactly the romantic image you may have had where you just bang stuff out in your bedroom all night long in front of a computer. Some of us did that in college, but some of us were just not interested.

Enter phpMyAdmin. phpMyAdmin takes away the daunting command line and provides a web interface that helps you to visualize the structure of your databases - and lets you interact with them along the way.

Making simple edits to your database content with phpMyAdmin is an easy process that requires literally no previous database experience at all!

You can also use it to execute more complicated queries if you happen to know all that jazz, but clicking pretty buttons has always been my preference. How about you?

You can find links to phpMyAdmin - which we preinstall for any of your databases to which you've created hostnames - from the "Goodies/MySQL Databases" section of your account control panel.

DreamHost Web Panel: MySQL

Don't be fooled by its pretty looks - you can do as much damage to a database with phpMyAdmin as you can with a command line - tread lightly!

DHSOTMs

The DreamHost Site Of The Month is a coveted title reserved for a select few DreamHost customers. Past winners have seen increases in both web traffic and senses of self-importance.

As voted by you, the winners from DECEMBER are as follows...

The winner in the OVERALL, DESIGN, STRUCTURE, and ORIGINALITY categories is:
Keebs | Web, Illustration & Design
"Keebs is the portfolio of Los Angeles-based designer/illustrator John Lee. Specializing in complete web solutions in the Los Angeles area."

http://keebs.com/

Excellent work there, John! Four out of five awards! Yowzer!

The winner in the CONTENT category is:
Lunar Lounge
"A media heavy website done for a Downtown Cincinnati night club."

http://lunar-cincy.com/

Remember, you can always click through to the DreamHost Site Of The Month section of your account control panel at any time to submit your site, vote on candidates, and view all winners past and present. (Winners appear in bold.)

Nice work, everyone!

DreamHost Web Panel: DHSOTM

See ya next month!

See ya next month!
Brett D!

P.S. - I'm not dead.

P.P.S - If your heart is too dark to stomach its matching humor, you can unsubscribe here:

https://panel.dreamhost.com/id/?tab=contact