Can you recommend a good Web Hosting Company?
Actually, yes. I recently found a really great web hosting service. It used to be
the case that I would recommend all my clients use the same web hosting service as
I have been using since 1998: FutureQuest.
Now, Future Quest is a very good web hosting company, and as of the time of writing
you could obtain an FQ site account with 1 MySQL database (all you really need) for
less than $10/month. But the fact is they *are* a little tight-fisted with their
disk space and bandwidth allocation. That's why I now recommend my clients go with
the following alternative web hosting solution.
Wow. Talk about excellence in web hosting. The guys at
BlueHost have done a fantastic job setting
up their system. BlueHost offers everything you need for less than $7/month,
including Perl, PHP, MySQL, and SSH access (always get a site with SSH access
if you are serious about running a decent website, as no access to the
command line on your server can really restrict your options). BlueHost
also offers unlimited domain hosting, 1,500 GB of disk space, and 15,000 GB
of monthly data transfer, which is excellent. But my recommendation is that
you go with the $10/month package. Page load times are fantastic, even
when Review Foundry is operated in dynamic mode. BlueHost also does NOT restrict
the total file size of any one of your MySQL databases the way some hosts do.
So if you need to build large tables (a requirement of Canadian proximity
searches, for example), this is one way to get the job done.
Hands down my top web hosting recommendation! For more information on
why BlueHost makes a great platform, see this Squidoo lens on
affordable web hosting
Just in case you think you got the hard sell on BlueHost, I checked around for
alternate web hosting solutions and came up with another excellent platform at
LunarPages. Like BlueHost, these guys use
CPanel for their web site control panel. Cpanel is a fantastic tool that enables
you to manage lots of server tasks, including MySQL database management,
e-mail accounts, forums, password protected directories, cron jobs, sub-domains,
and so on. File management is made especially easy with Cpanel. Lunarpages will
host your domain for $6.95 per month, and also gives you a phenomenal 1500 GB of disk space,
and 15,000 GB/month bandwidth. The one drawback to Lunarpages is that SSH
access is only available for the Virtual Private Server and Dedicated Server packages,
which are a lot more expensive than their Basic Hosting package.
Satisfaction 100% Guaranteed? What does that mean?
It means you are never going to wish you had not purchased from Random Mouse
Software because you (a) figured out the software cannot do what it suggests
it can, or (b) got frustrated because you found a bug and could not get it fixed
promptly, or (c) could not find adequate documentation on the application.
How can Random Mouse Software guarantee this? Well, mostly it's just a matter
of integrity. I like to be able to sleep well at night, and that's just not
going to happen if I have customers who think they have misspent their money. So I do
everything in my power to ensure that this does not happen. First up, I
really try hard to deliver a quality product. I invest an unbelievable
amount of time trying to get it right (for example, something north of
5000 hours development time was invested before version 1.0 of Review Foundry ever
saw the light of day). That's not to say I don't screw up on occasion. It happens.
Fortunately, not too often. But when it does, I jump on it--which is what I expect
from any business of which I am a customer.
The second thing I do is listen to my customers, because in a very real
sense, every customer is all customers. If someone says they found a bug
I investigate it right away. Usually I can offer a solution, or patch,
within a day, if not a matter of hours. As a side note, I used to think that
with extreme care, bugs could be virtually eliminated from my applications.
But experience has taught me that this is just simple-minded. Without going into
the Zen of Software bugs, let me just say that the only bug-free application is
the one that is no longer being developed. Dealing with bugs promptly is
the most essential thing. There is no living with them for any extended duration.
The final thing I do to increase customer satisfaction is write lots of detailed
documentation. This, of course, is much harder than writing code, and agonizingly
unrewarding--which is why most developers really suck at it. My tip to you: If you
want a good idea about the quality of software before you download or purchase
it, then check out the user manual it comes with first. A-Grade documentation
generally reflects the nature of the software itself. Sparse documentation? Then
So the gist of what I am saying is, I care. I care to get it right, and
I care to make you a satisfied customer. This I can guarantee 100 percent.
What software is required to run scripts from Random Mouse?
In addition to any supplied Software Package,
you will need access to the Perl5 interpreter. That is, you will need
to be able to run Perl programs using version 5.004 or higher. A good web
hosting company will not only provide Perl5 for their clients, but also
allow the installation of custom CGI scripts written in Perl.
The flagship product of Random Mouse Software, Review Foundry, makes
use of two essential Perl5 modules: the CGI module, used for
processing the hyperlinks and form inputs on which the component scripts act,
and the DBI database module (plus the corresponding DBD module
for MySQL couplings). Note: Review Foundry currently requires MySQL
Random Mouse programs are developed on a WINDOWS machine running ActiveState Perl.
Scripts are then tested again within a LINUX environment, so they should be
compatible with UNIX and NT systems (for the most part). If any other Perl
CGI script runs on your site, so should any downloaded from this site.
Is a trial version of your software available?
Most likely. The Random Mouse philosophy is that you ought to be able to try
out software before committing to a purchase. It may not always be possible,
but in general, providing a trial version of a program is the model followed
by Random Mouse. By registering as a Random Mouse Member you become
eligible to receive such trial period software.
What are these "Keys" mentioned elsewhere?
Key on this site refers to a product key. This is a single encrypted
string (supplied in ascii) which each Random Mouse program needs to run correctly.
Instead of requiring you to purchase software outright, Random Mouse will
provide you with a "trial period key" that allows you to test
the software first (generally for a month).
If, after that time,
you are satisfied that the software is compatible with your web-hosting
environment and you wish to use the software beyond the trial period,
you can purchase
a key with no expiration date.
What is your refund policy?
Fortunately, a refund policy isn't really required, as there is no need to purchase
software from Random Mouse Software until you have downloaded it, tried it out,
and convinced yourself that it is something you definitely want to continue using.
You are certainly not obligated to purchase a new key after the trial keys expire.
You may even request a second trial key if 30 days is not long enough to sufficiently
evaluate the software. If for some strange reason you do purchase a key and have
a good reason for requesting a refund within 30 days of the purchase, Random Mouse
Software will issue a full refund.
What is your policy regarding using a script on multiple sites?
With the exception of hosting companies (see below) Random Mouse policy currently
is to grant licenses on a per domain basis. This means that a licensee,
be it an individual or an entity, has the right to implement a Random Mouse
Software program as many times as desired on a single web site. This means
that if you have two sites, each with its own domain name, you must license the second
copy of the program (generally by purchasing a key) to run it on both sites.
Web hosting companies may not provide multiple users with access to any Random Mouse
program unless a site license has been arranged beforehand. For questions
about site licenses, please e-mail
Is your code Open Source?
The source code is accessible (i.e. open for inspection) but you cannot
modify and redistribute any part of it. It should also be noted that Random
Mouse Software is only able to provide trial period software because it deliberately
"obfuscates" the Perl source code which manages the product key.
Only by doing this can an expiry date be programmed into the software in such
a way that it becomes a relatively difficult task to disengage the expiry mechanism.
Any attempt to disengage the expiry mechanism is, of course, expressly forbidden
under the terms of the program license.
You can upgrade your software to the latest version at any time, and at no
extra cost. If a significant upgrade is released you will be alerted by e-mail.
You can then return here at your leisure and grab the new version.
The place to look for information about recent product upgrades (or any
newly-discovered bugs/problems) is in the associated Change Log found
in the Products area.
Can I remove the "Powered By" attribution from
No and Yes. Each Random Mouse license generally requires you to maintain any
Powered By or Copyright notices that appear on publicly displayed pages
generated by an RM program. These notices help generate new customers, who
in turn support development of the software. In other words, the powered by
notices make upgrades possible for you, at no extra cost. If you feel you
MUST have the notices removed, you may purchase a special key that automatically
removes them for you.
Can I distribute your scripts?
No. Each Random Mouse program represents proprietary software owned by Random
granted the right to use RM products (in conjunction with any associated
product keys) on your web site only. Only you are authorized to
use the software/keys you receive from Random Mouse Software. Other interested
parties should request the software/keys directly from this site.
Can you install my script?
If you really need to have the software installed for you it can be done.
Usually I charge US $60 (payable via PayPal or a private payment page that
I will direct you to). Note, however, that you can probably install the software yourself.
Just follow the directions
in the README and INSTALL files that come with the distribution. Even the
most complex RM program can usually be installed by someone with no prior
experience handling CGI scripts.
Does Random Mouse Software do custom work?
If you require a non labor-intensive feature to be added to a program
(a feature not presently on the todo list), and provided you do not mind
that it will be built into all future versions of the software, you may
enquire about contracting Random Mouse Software to add this feature.
Billing will be at the custom programming rate (currently US $60/hr).
Random Mouse reserves the right to decide whether or not a requested
feature would make a suitable addition to any available product.
Random Mouse - The Company
Launched in July of 2000, Random Mouse Software is located in Pasadena, California
and run by Stephen Carter, the owner. The flagship product, known as Review Foundry,
is a combined Link Manager, Review Studio, and Social Networking application.
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