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Web Hosting Companies Comparison

I’ve had moderate range of experience with various hosting companies so I thought I would share some of them here.  I am sure many have more negative or positive experiences with these companies so I recommend just going out there and doing research for yourself.

1and1

I used this service when I was based in the UK and still use it for a couple of domains as of today. When I hosted my website there I rarely had any downtime, I don’t have any downtime for the email accounts I have there now. The customer service experience has been pretty positive, only had to phone them once and my issue was expedited pretty quickly. The only issue I have with this company is their control panel and back end management appears to be something they have designed themselves. So, if you are used to the traditional cpanel then you might have an additional learning curve in getting used to their system.

GoDaddy

A few years ago this service, I would say, would be the kiss of death to your business but there have been recent improvements. My colleagues would complain once you have your domain with them its near impossible to transfer it out. Again they are a very large company and there will be little personal attention unless you are on a business level account.  I am personally no longer do business with them but have clients that do and have dealt with them on their behalf, that experience has been pretty positive especially with customer service or learning curve issues.  We went through a period of very bad downtime but in the past 6 months that has improved and the WordPress sites hosted with them are at their most stable.

Bluehost

This is probably the worst company for customer service where they have no desire to resolve your technical issues but to sell you something you don’t need, it is extremely annoying.  Eventually my client left them as they were becoming such a nuisance and not conducive to running a business. Having said that they had a more traditional cpanel and didn’t have much downtime.

Hostgator

This is where I have my websites.  On the whole they are good most of the time but go through spates of downtime with little feedback as to the reasons for the outages and eta for a fix.  I’ve also gone through a spate of issues with billing but it seems they have fixed their poor workflow now. From an infrastructure perspective, against a similar service that other hosts provides, they are much poorer especially around server resources. So, hosting larger WordPress sites can be an issue and if you plan to have a resource intensive site with many visitors then Hostgator may not be for you unless you have a more business level account.

Enom

I guess this company is best known for selling domain names but they do have hosting as well. Well, I had no end of problems with the hosting side of things with Enom. First, their customer support was totally chronic taking weeks if not months to respond to tickets.  When they did respond, a miracle in itself, 80% of the time they would give the wrong advice which happened to me a number of occasions which lead to hours and hours of trying to reverse it.  Then there were downtime issues with their MySQL database disconnecting from WordPress constantly. But, recently, as in the past 2 months, I have seen big improvements in downtime and customer service so hopefully they are back on track.

Summary

So I wouldn’t really want to recommend any of the above companies, not just because they are all awful but I would rather people make their own mind up.  It really is hit and miss sometimes.

Best Porridge in Canada

It has been known that I am a person of very discerning taste, some call me fussy, when it comes to certain food products.  The same goes with my taste in porridge.

PC Organics Quick OatsUpon returning to Canada I found that, much to my dismay, that no company has my favourite porridge on sale. Actually it was pretty difficult to obtain in the US as well.  So, I had to embark on a hunt, and taste test, various products.  Eventually I found Presidents Choice Quick Oats.

Why is this product good?

  • When they say quick they mean quick.  Little effort is involved in cooking this in the morning when I am not at my best.
  • I can cook it in the method I love to eat it.
  • It tastes good

Following is my recipe on how I use this product for breakfast.  Some other British friends also use this method, maybe to make it similar to Ready Brek (which is available here but too expensive).

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Presidents Choice Organics Quick Oats
  • 1/2 cup Milk, I normally use 2%
  • Honey, to taste

Method

  1. Grind down the quick oats to a near floury consistency and place in microwave safe bowl. This may sound a bit odd to Canadians and Americans.
  2. Mix Milk and Oats in the bowl.
  3. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute.
  4. Stir Milk and Oats again just to blend in properly.
  5. Add honey to taste. Obviously you can use many other types of toppings too, whatever is your favourite.

So, you see it is pretty easy to do especially for those who are fairly dysfunctional in the mornings.

In my local Real Canadian Store Quick Oats is less than $4 for 1Kg which is a bargain.

Trump vs NHS

This feels like a “here we go again” with Mr Trump who makes inflammatory comments without thinking things through or have any facts to back them up.

So, today started off like any day for Mr Trump and that is watching Fox News aka Trump TV.  On it was much hated British politician Nigel Farrage who said that the NHS is in crisis due to immigrants flooding in and not enough staff to back it up.  Then shortly after that came this:

NHS Trump Tweet

Trump supported Universal Health Care but since he ran as a President on the GOP ticket he has been against it. Its not the first time he has made anti-NHS statements when really he doesn’t know anything about it. He doesn’t form his opinion by normal methods, such as reading reports from advisors, but by snatching sound bytes through Fox News and this should not be a methodology that decides the future of the US.

The NHS isn’t perfect and there is no healthcare system that is. The NHS are going through a tough period through various reasons such as short staffed due to Brexit and mis-management by the Conservative Party.   The conservatives have always wanted to privatize parts of the NHS but so far hasn’t worked out very well, for example Virgin taking legal action against them for £2m for not winning a contract. However British people love the NHS and an attack by Mr Trump feels incredibly personal.

Many countries have different needs and will have a model that supports that. So in reality the NHS or Canadian model might not meet the needs they have in the US.  However, Americans tend to look at the UK to write off Universal Healthcare in the US even before discussions have taken place, and before any draft strategy documents are written up.

This decision process, or the lack thereof, is heavily influenced by private companies in the US, big bucks going to legislators from healthcare and pharmaceutical companies. So, its very difficult to fight for universal healthcare, or even bring it to the discussion table, when Americans are being influenced by huge propaganda campaigns by these companies. Also, the US is an extremely divisive country right now, and has been prior to Trump, from one end of the spectrum to the other, in other words no one talks to each other.  Its tough to get anything achieved in this environment.

So, I don’t really know what will happen in the long term, certainly under Trump life will get worse for those with healthcare needs in particular rising prices. People might have some minimal advantages under the new tax reform bill but any money made there will be a drop in the ocean to pay the different in healthcare costs. Blaming the NHS will get Trump nowhere except make the country more divisive which I assume must be on his agenda, the more chaos he creates the more he is on the news. I feel sorry for him and the American people.

Chinese Television

Since my husbands family watches a lot of Chinese Television I have just started exploring what the country has to offer and some of shows are pretty exciting.  I would recommend the following.

Tribes and Empires: Storm of Prophecy

This is one of the most elaborate television shows I have ever seen with amazing production quality, gorgeous sets, stunning backdrop and great acting.  It makes Game of Thrones look like a home made movie. The story line is fairly complex and in some episodes you have to pay close attention.

The 75 episode series is an adaptation of a book written by Jin Hezai, the series cost US$45m+ to make, filmed in both China and Japan, and filming the series started in August 2015 ending May 2016. It started broadcasting in China in November 2017 and DramaFever in the US which means they had spent quite a few months in post-production. English subtitles are provided over DramaFever.

Addicted

Due to the human rights situation in China the country is unknown to have any gay-related dramas, however they are not unknown.  One that has received international interested is called Addicted, and yes, people round the world are addicted to this show. I was extremely impressed with the show.

Addicted is an online based web serial based on the novel “Are You Addicted?” by Chai Jidan. Filming spanned from November to December 2015, airing between January to February 2016, with an extremely small budget of US$794k. The actors on the show were virtually unknown but have become quite famous now. The show lasted 15 episodes in its first season and there were plans for a second, however Chinese authorities, from what I understand, banned it. Viewers were mainly female who evidently have a keen interest on gay relationships.

In The Name of the People

Haven’t got too much into this drama so far but many are calling it China’s “House of Cards”. Well, that is not true but it is a pretty good show full of suspense and drama. Online the show is sometimes called “In The Name of People” dropping “the” for some reason, maybe this is a lost in translation moment.

Like the above shows its based on a novel, the author is Zhou Meisen. It is based around a prosecutor’s efforts to uncover corruption in a present-day fictional city in China. The show is very popular in China as there are some story lines which are very coincidental to real life. I think the show receives some government funding therefore it virtually untouched by censors so it can get away with more than other shows I suspect. The show has won numerous awards and nominated for many others. So far 55 episodes were broadcast over a month between March and April 2017, not sure if there are any more in the works.

The Lost Tomb

This is another show we have been watching, not as good as the above but it is quite amusing none the less. We are half way through season one and its quite watchable.

The show aired in 2015 and is a web series based on a novel by Daomu Biji. The first season had 10 epsiodes and a further 7 seasons will be made, as yet I haven’t seen them come to light. The show was the most watched online drama in 2015 with 2.8 billion views, that is quite amazing. I would say the show is a close approximation to Indiana Jones.

Summary

There are some really great Chinese drama’s out there absolutely worth looking up, many have subtitles if you can if you don’t know Mandarin or Cantonese. I have looked at other Asian drama’s too from countries like South Korea which also look amazing. Happy viewing.

Back to the Beginning

I have started my website and blog from scratch. There are numerous reasons for this but sometimes one just needs to make a fresh start.

What Happened?

I had been thinking about start from scratch for sometime but the main push at this time was my hosting company Hostgator.  I had numerous technical issues with them that was quite tormenting and it was easier to have a make over than address the problems with them. I wouldn’t recommend Hostgator but didn’t want to make a change to another hosting platform this year.  I have a backup of all my other posts and I might bring them in at some other stage but not quite yet.

The Story So Far

For those who aren’t familiar with me or my story this is a quick run through of my recent life:

  1. 20 year ago I met the love of my life Don. We met online, he then visited London and the rest is history.
  2. Don moved to London as it wasn’t possible for me to live in the US due to their stricter and less gay-friendly immigration rules.
  3. We decided that I should spend time in Denver so we moved there, I managed to get a student visa. While I was on that student visa I did a lot of voluntary work the main chunk of it with Immigration Equality.
  4. After I had done my degree there was no path to remain in the US, the conservatives were in power and no chance of immigration laws becoming any friendly towards me.
  5. We did a stint in London and I was lucky enough to work at London Metropolitan University, a great experience.
  6. Don didn’t like London at all so we decided to move to Vancouver, Canada.  That was also a fantastic experience and I particularly enjoyed working at HealthLinkBC.
  7. Since Obama was President a lot changed in the US including the ability for us to marry, which we did, and the ability for me to move there.  So we moved from Vancouver to Washington DC.  We didn’t like DC at all, so much racism and homophobia from federal government workers and staffers. We moved back to Denver but then the era of Trump hit us like a lead balloon.
  8. Health Care was really tough to access in the US and with Trump in power it was bound to get much worse, and as I write this the country has gone down the toilet.  We decided to move back to Vancouver, our last move, we are very grateful Canada has accepted us as it is a habour of gorgeousness away from the crazy Trump run United States.

Well, that’s pretty much it. Hope you will stick with me as I share other life experiences with you here.