01 May 2012

KC/DC Highway To Hell

Hello citizens of ROCKHOST.COM,

Last week I had the chance to roadtrip, server in tow, up to an undisclosed Kansas City datacenter which shall remain unnamed as I got myself into a minor social media conspiracy via a Foursquare check-in. The military like cold war secrecy of technology does exist. I can tell you that much first hand from the tour. Hell, I had to bring a passport just to get in the front door and separate premade key card for full access to the racks. The drama wasn’t exclusive to location, but rather that I identified myself in a picture against a node of mysterious hardware otherwise known as the cloud.

Now what kind’a rock n’ roll outlaw would I be if I didn’t rebel a little? ;^)

Pretty interesting field trip for a guy who works from home. Thanks to Tom L for the handshake and warm welcome.

\m/,

Seth

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01 Jul 2011

The WHIR Interview

NOTE: Below is an interview outtake from the summer 2011 WHIR issue. Justin Lee questions myself, Seth Cole, on the history of ROCKHOST.COM.

Hey Justin, I had myself all psyched up for the phone interview, ha ha, but this will probably be better for me in the long run. All these years of playing loud rock music has made my hearing rather shoddy. I probably would have been saying “what?” a lot whether your phone was cutting out or not. :^)

So let’s see here…I guess I’ll repost the questions and answer below them. Sound good? Hope so. Oh, one thing I do want to mention before I get started is the timing of this whole interview. You said the next WHIR comes out in August, right? Well, it just so happens that ROCKHOST.COM was founded in August 2001. I plan on making a big deal of our ten-year anniversary. That’s a lifetime in the hosting industry if you ask me. Anyway, without further ado, here goes nothing….

How did you get into the niche market of providing hosting services for rock bands and online radio stations?

By accident really, back in 1999 my band at the time was touring the country. Booking shows was a really tedious task because long ago you had to snail mail press kits. Nobody had their music available online. I swear I was at the post office every other day. Before long I was searching for a better way to distribute our freebies and impress the right people. Luckily, for my sake, I did because then things began to snowball. Other bands and venues were soon coming to me for help. Long story short, that’s how ROCKHOST.COM was born.

How do you find your clients, or alternatively, how do they find you?

I think word of mouth is specifically important for my business, or any business really. Bands can’t help but network when drinking beer, loading gear, and playing shows. Hell, that’s how I met many of my most loyal clients–in person at a show. I think they like the fact that they can relate to me and I’m not a suit (sorry big wigs).

Do you advertise your services on music websites?

Of course, that would be pretty hard to overlook. I think places like streamfinder.com, stonerrock.com, and radiotoolbox.com have a pretty high conversion ratio for my business. I tried MySpace but that didn’t work out so well. Plus I’m a little jaded because when MySpace first blew up, I took a pretty serious hit to my bottom line.

What services do you provide your clients?

Well, we offer the standard domain name registration and web hosting type stuff, but the thing that put us over the top is streaming media. If somebody comes to me and wants to find an audio or video solution, I can usually pull something out of my bag of tricks. Between Shoutcast, Icecast, Flash, Quicktime, and Windows we can cover almost any event or broadcast. ROCKHOST.COM has hosted live Beastie Boys dj shows, Sub Pop listen parties, medical marijuana security cams, Sunday morning church services, high school football games, you name it.

Are these services all built into a one-stop package, or is it a la carte?

Neither really, for the most part, we try to stay away from anything that is too cookie cutter. You can get the basics from us just like you can any other provider, but the real story, the real grit, goes on behind the scenes here at ROCKHOST.COM. I try to view every situation as unique. So there are a lot of special work-arounds, hacks, and custom-coding jobs. Oh, and a lot of satisfied customers. :^)

Is there anything particularly unique that goes into offering hosting services specifically for bands that you wouldn’t normally find with other clients, such as an online retail store?

To some degree all bands need the same things. Most commonly they want people hear their music online. I mean that’s the whole point, right? That is key. But yes, selling music is also a big deal which is why we offer add-on products like Payment Gateways, SSL Certificates, SEO–yada yada–blah blah.

And just out of my own curiousity, who are some of your favourite bands and artists?

Wow, that’s a loaded question, for sure. You may regret that one, Justin. Ha ha. I guess I discovered my love of music through skateboarding in junior high. So my roots go back to punk rock (Sex Pistols, Misfits, Descendents, Black Flag, etc.), but that was only able to satisfy the thirst of a hormonal teenager for so long. My tastes blossomed into the Seattle grunge genre when I was a freshman in high school: The Melvins, Seaweed, Earth, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Nirvana, L7, to name a few. Then that took me deep into metal: Slayer, Motorhead, Metallica, Megadeth, and Danzig etc., which finally opened the door to all forms, types, kinds, genres, whatevers of music. I guess lastly I’ll just go into Oscar speech mode and do some name dropping of my faves: Jesus Lizard, Social Distortion, Urge Overkill, Sonic Youth, Bottom, Willie Nelson, Blondie, Motley Crue, Dinosaur Jr., Patsy Cline, Fleetwood Mac, Foo Fighters, Man or Astro-man?, Fu Manchu, Guns N’ Roses, Joan Jett, The Stray Cats, The Cars, Tom Petty, The Hellacopters, Sleep, Reverand Horton Heat, Oasis, Speedealer, Zeke, and Filthy Jim…cue the music…

You don’t get to spout off at the mouth like that very often, thanks WHIR!

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06 Apr 2011

Blue Collar Web Hosting

Hey Kids, sorry for not blogging in so long. The winter blues finally got me and I found myself with no fire, no pep, no machismo! BUT, I’m back, full throttle, spring is in bloom. You may have been wondering where I have been so I thought I would show you.

On a cold January morning, where the temperature was a paralyzing negative seven degrees (that ain’t wind chill folks), the heater on my truck hit the skids. As I was driving my teenager to school with my head out the window, no heat – no defrost, I thought to myself there had to be a better way.

The next thing I know the shop is quoting me a staggering $1409 for a blown head gasket on a vehicle that isn’t worth half that much. I quickly came to the realization that I, and only I, could save this heaping mass of American steel from extinction. So, just as I have done with everything else in life, I rolled up my sleeves and turned to my callus bare hands to wort off this demon task.

Soon I was troubleshooting an engine the same way I would an operating system or support ticket and found that if I was smart enough to be technical, I was smart enough to be mechanical. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time or help to pull off a “vlog” because this would of been one fun grease covered mess. Below is a pic of my four banger 2.2L. The combustion chambers are full of coolant. Not exactly the best environment for air and gas to explode.

The point here, to tie this altogether, is that the troubleshooting and support skills at ROCKHOST.COM are unparalleled. If you have an issue, question, or concern please submit a ticket through the proper channel by visiting our Client Portal.

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18 Aug 2009

After all these years…

After all these years of customizing WordPress themes, upgrading versions for security vulnerabilities, and tons of famous five minute installs for ROCKHOST.COM, Inc. clients I have actually decided to blog for myself. I guess most people would consider that approaching WordPress in reverse, but hey, that’s just how it happened. Now I get to appreciate and enjoy this blogging tool free and easy, just like I like it. :} In fact I am doing so without the leg work by taking full advantage of the Word Press url. This time, for once, somebody is monitoring my website/blog.

In the near future I will giving my insight and opinions towards my past, present, and future experiences in the hosting industry.

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