Phil Hassey - game dev blog
Phil Hassey as Rambo
".. I've been there,
I know what it's like,
and I'll do it again if I have to."

Archive for the 'biz' Category

Good server hosting? rackspace? other?

Friday, April 11th, 2008

A client of mine hosted with cihost recently had an outage.  (Which hasn’t ended.)  They want to move their dedicated server elsewhere.  Any suggestions?  I’ve done plenty of googling for stuff, but really, personal rec’s carry way more weight for me.  We want a host that:

  • linux (LAMP stuff)
  • e-mail server
  • has excellent uptime
  • can manage backups
  • has excellent support
  • can manage security
  • is able to deal with a crisis (say, a backhoe digs up their fiber, they are able to get your server running somehow within half a day)

Which I suppose aren’t really extravagant demands, but anyway .. I’d appreciate any recommendations you can offer.  The hosting is for a U.S. based company, so we’ll want a host with data centers here.

Please don’t bother responding with a rec if you haven’t personally been with said host for at least 3 years.


Monday, February 4th, 2008

Needless to say, the Hairy Chestival is probably one of the most influential video games of all time.  Which is why, of course, BRAWNDO’s new commercial includes it!


Not to mention, it includes the world’s most bzawesome goat, CUZCO!!


So if you’re still sitting here NOT watching the video, maybe you should start WATCHING IT!!


Thursday, December 6th, 2007



Yeah, it’s arrived.  Check it out at!!!  In the meantime, maybe you should SHAVE YOUR CHEST WITH A LAWNMOWER!

Customizing WordPress

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

As far as code goes, I’ve usually been a do-it-yourself kind of guy. However, I’ve been so impressed with WordPress I’ve actually used it to implement four of my sites in the last couple months. WordPress is an easy to use, smart piece of blogging software. It really seems to have just the right set of features in its default installation to be useful for most cases out of the box.

However, there comes a time when what’s given just isn’t enough. Thankfully, its got an extensive collection of plugins! Everything from blog aggregation to voting to forms to photo galleries. Not all plugins are great, but usually if you check out a few you can find one that will do what you want.

That is .. until you want something different! I might be hosting the 10th Ludum Dare compo. For that I needed some special features for collecting ratings of contestants entries, showing screenshot grids, and giving trophies to entrants.

Ludum Dare Screenshot Grid

WordPress comes with a fairly nice themes and plugins system which made it possible to add all those features to my blog without modifying the core-code of WordPress. Frequently I would implement a feature, and after learning more about WP internals, I was able to refactor it to be simpler by using more of the existing WP framework.

It wasn’t all fun and games, though, the learning curve was a bit painful for some features. A couple WordPress features (like table deltas) seemed a bit too clever (not to mention broken) for their own good. Fortunately, I was able to get away with not using those features.

The other challenge I had was when I came across a bug in WordPress. I did my best to figure out the bug, but it appears to be some strange javascripty thing which was beyond me. So I’ve reported the bug, and according to their schedule, it probably won’t be fixed for about six months. Ah well, at least it’s pretty minor.

All that said, it has been a fairly enjoyable process. I’ve been able to develop more site in less time by working with the WordPress plugin system. I have *considerably* less code to maintain, since I’m only responsible for the plugins I’ve made. Had I created this from scratch, I wouldn’t have gotten even half as far given the amount of time I invested.

This just in, the WordPress spell checker chokes on the word “with” .. weirdness!

Summer Sausage Festival 2007

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

The time has come for us to begin living our lives! Check out for the MOST EXCITING thing that is going to happen in 2007!!!


“The next version should be more AJAXie.”

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

My business partner and I were recently discussing the next edition of our healthcare web platform. Instinctively, Akash said that, “The next version should be more AJAXie.” I replied with a, “Sure we can do that… what exactly do you mean?”

We jumped into LiveMeeting where Akash showed me the web based CRM software he was using.

“See how when I mouse over these items, a menu pops up,” said Akash, “Can we do that?”

“Sure,” I said, “though that isn’t AJAX.”

“Ah. Well, see how this form has a tabbed interface. Is that AJAX?”

“Nope,” I said, “but we can do that too.”

“Well,” said Akash, “how about this, when someone requests a report and it displays a ‘Please Wait’ note on the screen while the report is being generated. Is that AJAX?”

“Maybe,” I said, “though again you could do that without AJAX as well.”

“Ahh,” said Akash.

I first used AJAX-like techniques in 1998 in a web based version of Galcon. Since then I haven’t. Haven’t had the need for it. And as this conversation realizes, even the term AJAX is unclear to fairly technical people – it has become a synonym for “nifty”.