December 20, 2015
We are getting very frustrated with our web hosting company. It used to be Yahoo, but then Marissa Mayer thought it would be a good idea to buy some Alibaba stock, which made the Yahoo lawyers nervous that the IRS might reclassify Yahoo as an Investment Banking firm or something, so they spun off the stock-buying part of the company into something called Aabaco, which made the lawyers nervous that the IRS would classify Aabaco as a holding company or something, so they had to push another part of the Yahoo business over to Aabaco, and they picked web-hosting.
We think they picked web-hosting because they don't like us and didn't make enough money off of us. And if Yahoo didn't like us, imagine how the investment bankers at Aabaco feel, having to deal with our website problems when all they really want to do is find new companies to invest in. And we definitely have website problems, relegated as we no doubt are to some outmoded, outdated, and probably rusty old server in an unknown data center in Bumcrap, Idaho, where the only Internet connection in town is two tin cans tied together with a string.
So we have outages, a couple of times a week, lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. We'll be trying to access the site and it'll either be incredibly slow, or the whole Internet crashes to a screeching halt and the screen lights up with discouraging and vaguely threatening messages like "Unknown Host" or "Server Connection Closed". The messages all sound to us like, "Go away, don't bother us," with maybe "we're busy investing" in a smaller font below. Emails to Aabaco are an exercise in futility, and no other contact method seems to be allowed.
Of course we have options. We could change web-hosting companies. But that's a major project for our fledgling I.T. staff, consisting as it does of one part-time developer who can only work two hours in the evening on Wednesdays and Saturdays except when there's a game on. So we're stuck for now, and while our loyal long-time visitors are no doubt patient enough when it comes to these outages, we have to consider our new visitors, who could easily think we're some kind of sleazy, deadbeat, unprofessional car builders, which we probably are but we don't need Aabaco's help to prove it.
Luckily, whenever Aabaco is busy investing and we can't access our website, we can always go for a spirited drive in our Locost. You could, too, but you'd need your own Locost. Otherwise, you have the option of waiting for our website to return, or else deleting it from your bookmarks altogether. We can't advise you either way, but there has to be something better to do than sitting at your computer punching the refresh button every five seconds. Not that you would do that. We do, however. Someone has to keep posting these blog pages.
Meanwhile, we continue to be pleasantly surprised that our Locost hasn't suffered the same fate as our website, and continues to run flawlessy. Or not flawlessly, but well enough after we fix it. It hasn't left us stranded on the side of the road for over a year now, and it actually still looks new, so long as we avoid looking at pictures of the car from two years ago, when it actually was new. Of course the drivetrain was never new, and hasn't gotten any better over the last 20K miles, but the drivetrain parts are way over-engineered and probably too big to fail.
All of our other limited-lifetime parts still appear to be working. We're actually shocked at how well our electrical system has functioned all these years. We haven't replaced a single light bulb, and we're not sure we even remember where the fuse box is. The car starts on the first twist of the key, and the various alternators we've used over the years have kept our NAPA Legend battery fully charged since its donor days, four years ago. The front brake pads still look new, and the tires may never wear out. Even our poorly-repaired clutch is still working, a month after we tried and failed to fix it.
So everything seems fine for now, although that doesn't mean we've stopped working on the car altogether. We have our list, which we discussed a few weeks ago without giving out too many details. As promised, first on the list was the seat belts. After a misguided attempt to quiet them down with some cheap neoprene washers, we're happy to report that installing new chromoly spacers and genuine nylon washers has not only eliminated the rattling at speed, but also allows the seat belts to rotate smoothly about the mounts.
Next on the list is the grille, or actually the screen behind the grille. We originally painted it gray, despite the fact that everyone at the time was telling us to paint it black. After two years of enjoying our gray grille, it finally occurred to us that everyone was right. Also, the screen is starting to rust. So, first chance we get, we're pulling the nose, removing the grille, carefully wire-brushing the screen, and taking the additional step of applying primer before actually painting the thing. As always, the biggest effort by far in this task will be waiting for the paint to dry.
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