New Web Host

I am still the webmaster for the employees’ association at work. Currently their website is hosted by hostway.com. They charge $13.95 per month for hosting the website and $19 per year for registering the domain name. In reading up on the subject some people say that you should not have the same company host the site and register the domain. I found an inexpensive and well regarded registrar called namecheap.com (GoDaddy is a more famous one; like most of these companies they also host websites) that charges $8.88 per year. I also found a well regarded web hosting company called A Small Orange that charges only $25 per year for their smallest web hosting package (75 MB of storage space 3 GB per month of traffic). It turns out that ASO’s servers are located in Atlanta, so that’s even better.

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Plasma

Recently I borrowed The Prestige from Netflix. While I wasn’t crazy about the movie (B), one of the side characters was Nikola Tesla. I knew he was an important guy in the history of electricity, but his story really is interesting (not as interesting as the movie would have you believe). He is famous for Tesla coils which create huge lightning bolts in science fiction movies. On a practical side he was a proponent of AC electricity for home use despite Thomas Edison having everyone convinced that DC was the way to go. There is a monument to Tesla at Niagara Falls since his work turned their otherwise useless waterfall into a money-making electricity machine (see a NOVA episode dedicated to him).

Anyway, there were some really neat Tesla coils in the movie and it reminded me that I was interested in getting one of those plasma lamps. Since I had recently won a $25 gift certificate for using transit to get to work, I thought that the time had come. So the lamp is pictured below:

plasma1.jpg

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Bridge Collapse

A couple of people on the bulletin board asked me what I thought about the Minneapolis bridge collapse and what caused it. I wrote the following, which provides very little insight, but I haven’t posted anything on the blog in a while. We were kidding on vacation that I would need to get back to help fix the bridge, but I was at least able to scan the documents I mentioned below which were requested by the investigators. Every bridge collapse causes engineers to change how we do our work, and this won’t be any different even though it isn’t known what caused the problem yet.

Here’s what I wrote about why the bridge fell:

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