DreamHost DreamHost DreamHost

November 2011 Newsletter

Introduction

This month we're really going to break through the clutter with this newsletter and deliver some paradigm-shifting news that, at the end of the day, should capitalize both on our core competencies and on your hunger for change.

Things at DreamHost HQ lately have been all-business, all-the-time. So we've decided to spin-up a new communications initiative that I'm calling - and this is a real game-changer - Buzzwording.

Our messaging this month is all new and standards-based. It's a bit of a thought experiment right now, but we're going to run it up the flagpole and see who salutes it. If we can get buy-in from a majority of our 300,000 key stakeholders then we may just make Buzzwording a tentpole of our core messaging strategy and a key differentiator of our value proposition.

Make no mistake - this is some real blue-sky thinking here. We wanted to keep you in-the-loop so that, moving forward, we're all singing from the same sheet music.

We hope to leverage your interest in what's new at our organization and align that with our propensity to eat our own dog penis. FOOD! Dog food. Sorry, I'm still getting the hang of this.

See, that's an example of what we call "pushing the envelope". Also "bad business practice." It's really just a matter of us honing in on which levers we need to pull to enhance the end user experience, and which levers are really just avenues to fostering user detachment.

-Brett

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

Now that Brett has shown just how painful buzzwords can be, I have to be REALLY careful not to use any in my section of this cutesy monthly newslettery.

October has come and gone like a proton in a particle accelerator. And just like experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider, the crew at DreamHost have not been sitting still for a minute, or second, or nano second. We've been cranking on development of Ceph http://ceph.com, the open source distributed storage software that will power a lot of new DreamHost services in 2012, plus contributing to OpenStack http://openstack.org, the open source cloud hosting platform we've chosen to build our next gen cloud services on. We've also been making some significant upgrades to our core infrastructure including operating systems and network gear, all with the plan to be able to offer bigger, better and badder service levels going forward.

In the world of Internet infrastructure, upgrades often mean short periods of downtime to different servers and services, politely called maintenance. We typically do a lot of planning to make sure any maintenance is done during periods when you and your customers/visitors are least impacted. But in October we made a bit of a misstep by planning some network maintenance on a Thursday night in the US, and as those of you who are world travelers know, that's Friday morning in Europe. And the network maintenance turned into a longer process than we planned for, which meant that some of our customers' sites were down for longer than we wanted.

That sucks, and we know it. So we're making some changes here to minimize the risk of any maintenance going forward, plus communicate better with you ahead of time so you can plan around it. You won't see these changes in your Panel, because they are policies and process, but rest assured we're implementing them already to tighten up the hundreds of things we do each day to keep your websites and apps live, informing and selling.

The good news is that we are mostly done with the major upgrades we needed to do this year to keep your sites and apps secure, blazing fast, and powered by the best features with truly unlimited storage and bandwidth for web hosting. So that customers like http://takethislollipop.com/ can be SCARY fast and handle thousands of visitors a SECOND!

Best,
Simon
@DreamHostSimon

(Now back to Brett!)

WebFTP Improvements!

When the Internet was first spinning-up, dedicated software clients were used to do things like check email and transfer files via FTP.

But let me give you the 50,000 foot view. The reality is that over the past few years we've witnessed a sea-change in consumer tastes that has largely favored web-based services over proven, purpose-built solutions.

Aaand there it is. Part of my brain just died. I just can't do this anymore. I'm ashamed of that last paragraph. Buzzwording was a failed experiment and I'm just going to start things over.

Way back in the Before Time, in the Long Long Ago, Internetizens used dedicated software clients to do things like check their email and transfer files via FTP. Crazy, right? Not really - because those software clients were purpose-built to do one thing and do it excellently.

Nowadays it seems like everybody just wants to use a browser to do everything. In response to that demand we began offering access to a web-based FTP client, net2ftp, several years ago.

This month we discovered some pretty significant software vulnerabilities within net2ftp - and they were severe enough for us to take the whole thing offline entirely.

net2ftp hasn't been updated in over two YEARS. And, as it turns out, all of the other web-based FTP clients we looked at just didn't cut the mustard for one reason or another.

So this month we put some brainpower into the situation and ended up writing our own security patch for net2ftp. Just a few short days ago our development team was able to put net2ftp back in business, all patched up and ready to go for DreamHosters worldwide.

Incidentally, Filezilla is just one of many full-featured, cross-platform, completely free FTP clients that exist outside the confines of a browser window.

Get FileZilla

I'm just sayin'.

You have options.

Meet Peaches LaCour

This month we brought on Jonathan "Peaches" LaCour as our new VP of software development. Peaches fills an odd-shaped hole that has accepted a number of evenly-shaped pegs over the years, but his own odd shape appeared to be the best fit for the position.

Peaches began his tenure on October 3rd and is now the man in charge of any and all software development that goes on behind the scenes at DreamHost.

The guy prototyped a Python framework and led the development team that finished it off, for crying out loud! (PecanPy) I think he's qualified.

Press Release: Jonathan LaCour

I can't even begin to tell you all the cool things he's got our developers working on right now, but there's some good stuff in the hopper and the next few months will be exciting for everyone!

So why "Peaches"? So. Many. Reasons. But I've narrowed down the top 3:

1 - He's actually a really nice guy. A "peach"!

2 - He just moved here from Georgia - a region known for its peaches!

3 - He keeps dripping.

Peaches and I both ended up wearing the same costume for Halloween, so clearly he's a man of good taste and solid character.

Halloween Hijinks

Our annual Halloween party has come and gone, and we've got the photos to prove it!

Halloween 2011!

Each employee was asked to invite one guest for every year they'd been with DreamHost...and with as many old-timers as we have currently, that ended up making this the largest party we'd ever thrown.

We throw these crazy parties of ours a few times a year. *You* haven't been at any of them. I've noticed. And I'm not the only one.

We've all been thinking about you, wondering when you'd muster up the courage to dust off that resume, send it our way, maybe move to LA... Hey hey - whaddya say?

We're still looking for over a dozen qualified men, women, and "others" to fill some really technical roles.

DreamHost Careers

In particular I'd really like it if some of you "others" would apply because I just have SO MANY QUESTIONS!

DreamHost WTF: Invoice Generator

For over a year now the "DreamHost 101" section of our newsletter has been highlighting little-known account features that many customers didn't even know existed.

The problem is that the title "DreamHost 101" isn't particularly descriptive. It could mean anything, really! The 101 could refer to California's Hollywood Freeway, an animated movie about dogs, or to the number that comes after 100. You just don't know. It's confusing.

This month, to clear up all ambiguity, we're rechristening DreamHost 101. It's now "DreamHost WTF". The WTF stands for "What's That Feature?" Obviously. Now there will be no confusion whatsoever.

So let's get on with F-ing our invoice generator!

Accounts Payable people are interesting characters. They're usually the only thing standing between you and a reimbursement check...and they know it.

The rules they put in place for submitting expenses are designed to minimize their workload and maximize your aggravation levels.

Many of these folks won't accept a bill sent via email at all. No, they need a piece of paper in front of them that says "Invoice" in big letters, has the full contact info of a company on it, and a complete list of charges for a very specific period of time.

To both appease these financial types and to help you get a complete accounting of your entire DreamHost billing history you can generate a PDF invoice for any period of time from your control panel.

Web Panel: Invoice Generator

Just use our invoice generator to...generate an invoice! We could have called it the Sparkinator 8000 or the Hoosywhatsit Thinger, but we figured the direct approach to naming made the most sense.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what we'll be F-ing next month!

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 OCTOBER are as follows...

The winner in the DESIGN and STRUCTURE categories is:
The Modern Nomad
"A blog tracking my transformation from office worker to world-wandering nomad. I focus on text quality and design. The content is a mix between personal experiences and information useful to anyone interested in a nomadic lifestyle. The theme was re-written from scratch."

http://www.themodernnomad.com/

The winner in the CONTENT, ORIGINALITY, and OVERALL categories is:
splatterMUSIC
"There are enough sources that feature, cover, regurgitate and promote the very best of music. And so Iím here to promote the very WORST! splatterMUSIC is the first and only comedic music site and features only video content. I hope you enjoy... or at least laugh."

http://splattermusic.com/

This month we'd also like to recognize an incredible piece of Facebook appery from one of our customers. It went viral in the weeks leading up to Halloween and doesn't show any signs of stopping. I won't ruin the surprise for you, but be sure to check it out at...

http://www.takethislollipop.com/

Congratulations to the winners!

Don't forget to cast your votes (and enter your own site) for the next round of DHSOTMs at

https://panel.dreamhost.com/index.cgi?tree=home.dhsotm

See ya next month!

See ya next month!
Brett D!

P.S. - Pull the lever. Unsubscribe here:

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