n i g h t i n g a l e s h i r a z / blog
courtesy of my LG cameraphone, the very fuzzy Christmas tree on the waterfront in Lisbon.

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warning: shameless plug.

so here's the deal.  i *like* my hosting company.  actually very much.  it takes a lot for a service provider to impress me enough for me to want to tell other people about it.  especially on my blog, which is supposed to be (first and foremost and hopefully) interesting to people (other than myself and my mother, let's say).  but maybe sometimes my blog can be useful as well as interesting (again, *hopefully*).  and, many years ago, i would definitely have found a hosting company recommendation useful.  in fact, it is now quite nice when i go about trying to canvas new freelance clients (website anyone?  anyone?) -- to be able to say why yes, i do indeed have a very good hosting company that i can set you up with, and i assure you that you will be quite happy with them, because i am, and because i have been for over two years now, and because (trust me) it is *not* a cakewalk to make me happy.

so, if you're wondering about a good provider that comes with a great user experience -- here's why this particular user very highly recommends the experience at WestHost:
+ really competitive pricing at several levels.
+ lots of flexibility between packages, even after you've signed up.
+ decent webmail (and more than one kind) and other great features (including search, stats and the lovely WordPress) -- even at the very lowest package level.
+ customer service that actually *writes you back* -- promptly, and with useful, intelligent answers (whoa!  useful!  intelligent!  promptly!!!) -- as well as a goodly repository of already-answered support issues to peruse while you wait a paltry two hours for your useful, intelligent answer.
+ a manager / "control-panel" interface that is powerful, but simple and intuitive.  (have *you* ever tried to activate Perl/CGI with Earthlink?)

quite simply, it's a service that does exactly what it's supposed to do without randomly breaking down, changing hands or suddenly deciding to switch options on you while you're not looking.

i like it.  and, if you do too -- tell them i sent you?
better yet, email me.  i might get your setup fee waived for you.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Giordano Bruno, Roma]
[giovedý 14 dicembre 2005 ore 07:20:40] []

Random Shiraz Selection #3.

1.  Castles in the Sand
-- from the New Yorker's ONLINE ONLY section (delicious-in-it's-own-right), posted October 2005:
This week in the magazine, Ian Parker writes about the architectural weirdness of Dubai.  Here, he discusses the boom in the desert, accompanied by photographs by Robert Polidori.

2.  treasuring the intangible
-- this one thanks to some unintentioned-surfing (what else do you do while compiling .NET for the sixteenth time in the day?) and a double take on a Yahoo! photo of some whirling dervishes:
The U.N. cultural body added 43 traditions Friday, Nov. 25, 2005 to its list of intangible heritage treasures, including Brazil's samba, Japan's Kabuki, Turkey's whirling dervishes and a "cultural space" in a 17th- century walled Colombian village.

3.  52 Writing Prompts - for the week of 9/20/2005
-- from the Writers Digest:
Your pet goat is missing.  There are eight likely, yet extremely different, suspects.  Describe each suspect in detail, his motive and how the "goatnapping"? occurred.
my additional advice for this one?  make the pet goat a *baby* goat, and that way it's not just a goat-napping, it's a kidnapping.  geddit?  geddit?!!

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Giordano Bruno, Roma]
[giovedý 08 dicembre 2005 ore 22:07:29] []

my first asymmetrical shirt ever...

...and other (material and mental) takeaways from last week in Lisbon:

+ 3 USB sticks, a laserpointer (that doubles as a stylus and -- whoa! -- a pen), and a very very tiny optical mouse.  can you *tell* i was at an IT conference?

+ the realization that the Portuguese language doesn't sound *anything* like i expected it to sound.

+ the suspicion that i was -- quite possibly -- the youngest attendee at this year's conference.

+ a firm belief in any hotel that does that turn-down-your-bed-in-the-evening thing -- you know the one where you come back to your room and the cover's pulled back and there are two Belgian chocolates waiting for you on your pillow (not one, but two!) -- you know that thing?  now *that* is worth it's weight in complimentary showercaps.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Giordano Bruno, Roma]
[martedý 06 dicembre 2005 ore 22:37:49] []

caution: questionable poetry in-progress.

what i've learned about Love

that it's never as good
as (the time before) the first time.

that your poems will suck
(because happiness, makes for crap rhyme).

that when it's over
there's always chocolate and cheese.

(and a very good Internet course on voodoo.)

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Giordano Bruno, Roma]
[lunedý 05 dicembre 2005 ore 23:02:52] []