What I Did
More NotaGenius essays, gleaned from my weird trajectory I’ve taken in life up to this point:
- Engineering Summarized
- How to Own Automobiles
- How to Own a House
- How to Homestead
- How to Raise Livestock
- How to Homeschool
- Flowers Summarized
- Kitchen Utensils Summarized
I also have a few other essays that depict whatever we’d call a “political” angle:
I became privy to a significant development for myself.
Effective November 1st, the shared hosting plan at Bluehost will be downgraded to 3 sites per plan at my current tier. This news has led me to much learning, as well as much to do.
What I Learned
If you’ve lived in the USA for any length of time, unrestrained marketing has a tendency to over-promise.
For example, in my job, 5% of the Same Things I Must Say Every Day To Customers includes indicating that all insurance does it accumulate premiums and cut out large checks when qualified unlikely events happen, meaning they care about you as much as a bank does. Not what you see in the ads.
In the case of web hosting, you’re basically renting someone else’s computer. It might be a network of computers that share the same information (e.g., GoDaddy, HostGator, Bluehost), or it might be some guy’s computer in his basement somewhere.
I’m tinfoiley enough to attempt self-hosting, but not deranged enough to ignore the reality that the entire domain of computers requires tremendous domains of wide-sweeping trust:
- You trust your computer’s manufacturer isn’t using a hardware tracker.
- You trust your software and hardware are reliable-enough that it’ll save your work when you select “save”.
- You trust the website you’re going to is legitimate-enough that it won’t install malware.
- You trust the operating system isn’t gathering your personal information for sale later.
- And many, many, many more aspects…
I’m not too worried about renting someone else’s computer:
- I’m backing up the content semi-consistently in separate cloud storage, so site reliability can be circumvented (though would still suck).
- To the typical observer, everything I’m making is a labor of summation for the under-educated, so no risk of political attacks (at least, as long as people like Alex Jones and Cory Doctorow exist).
- I avoid dropping names most of the time, so little risk of a defamation lawsuit (and I stick to what’s true anyway).
- I’m legitimately not that important, which makes me somewhat anonymous (meaning my geekiness makes me a poor example to signal what happens to people who question Big Tech).
My problem is that I hadn’t thought of a significant risk from the service provider that comes through the word “unlimited”:
- If a website provides unlimited storage+domains+sites+bandwidth, they can’t fulfill that promise in any literal sense.
- To offset that promise, they sell the product at a premium to the 80% Pareto distribution who won’t use the promised service to the fullest of its ability (e.g., what insurance companies do).
- reductionist e.g., if 20% of the users burn up $100/month in hosting needs, and the other 80% burn up $1/month, they break even at $20.80, meaning they’ll sell it at $30/month and come out ahead.
- As long as many people use the product without taking full advantage of the “unlimited” service, things are fine.
- However, if for whatever reason more people use that unlimited service, the pricing will have to change.
- But, it’s not always easy to compete with pricing, since other hosting providers are promising the same thing, and migrating a hosted system isn’t anywhere near as much trouble as building it.
- None of the solutions are great, and someone will be unhappy. Prices go up, covered services goes down, they go out of business, or some horrifying combination of the three.
There are 2 good workarounds to this Bad Marketing Promise:
- Put a general hard limit, which allows their risk assessment to factor the cost and never worry about changing promises later (e.g., Cloudways). You can basically do what everyone else does, but it keeps you honest and you won’t ruin the customers’ lives later.
- Charge per-item, per-piece, at a very low profit margin (e.g., NearlyFreeSpeech.NET). This requires your customers to be abnormally tech-savvy.
In my own situation, I’d love to do the second, but my skill grade caps out too much and there’s too little time to do anything but the first. I’ve settled on Accu Web Hosting from their storage/bandwidth constraints, but anyone works fine.
MORAL OF THE STORY: always distrust the word “unlimited”. (updated here)
What I’m Doing
WHAT I MUST DO:
- Working in an insurance office right now.
- Keeping a home together with a woman at the maximum capacity I can withstand of the Crazy/Hot Matrix.
- Slowly succumbing to the madness symptomatic of trying to maintain two schoolchildren before they’re old enough to vote.
MY CURRENT HABITS:
- Productivity – tracking my time with TMetric to hold myself accountable to all my goal-based hobbies and to get some managerial data on myself.
- Physical – cutting out all calories after 19:30 every day.
Migrating my web hosting, then plodding through the last of my NotaGenius essays in a haphazard way:
- The Management pages have several independent-but-related mechanisms:
- Management summarized, in general
- Specific management necessary for working with tech.
- Specific management necessary for running a church, which may diverge into quite a bit of Christian history.
- The Entrepreneurship pages are less elaborate:
- Entrepreneurship summarized, in general.
- Specific entrepreneurship for the tech industry.
- Possibly what it takes to plant a church or start a ministry.
- Beyond that, trying to learn math in a way my formal education has failed me:
- I’m aiming for breadth, not depth. I don’t need to perform combinatorics in my head, but I do need to explain in plain English what the heck each math “thing” is.
- The trek is along a pseudo-path through the route of standard formalized education, starting with basic arithmetic, then upward into algebra and geometry/trigonometry, then into statistics and calculus alongside number theory, with a likely divergence into applied maths and game theory. Along the way, I’ll keep a jargon-resistant dictionary of the big math words.