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Scott Hanselman demos .NET Core cross-platform capabilities – OR – shows how hard it is to run .NET Core on linux shared hosting

Scott Hanselman recently blogged about getting ASP.NET Core to run on a cheap shared Linux hosting account at GoDaddy. The point of the article was to demonstrate that .NET Core is cross-platform and can even run with all the constraints of a shared hosting plan.

The post was impressive, but Scott repeated several times and even put it in the title of his post – “Don’t try this at home” – because of all the hacky hoops you had to jump through to get .NET Core to work.

I found the post an interesting read, but while I was reading through the article, I couldn’t stop thinking – why go through all that trouble to run .NET Core on a “cheap” ($3/mo plan that turns into $8/mo) linux plan, when you can run .NET Core out-of-the-box on Windows hosting providers – like Winhost. Even with our Basic Windows hosting plan (that starts at $3.95/mo), .NET Core is supported.

At Winhost you can deploy .NET Core apps straight from Visual Studio or, if the specific Core framework version is not on the server, you can use Self-Contained Deployment.

I totally understand that Hanselman’s blog was a “theoretical” exercise to demonstrate the versatility of .NET Core. But when you actually want to do something real with .NET Core, you are going to want to be on a hosting environment that makes it easier for you, not harder.



The Winhost Affiliate Program and Why You Should Be Using It

How many sites do you manage? Guessing it might be a few, but let me ask you this: how many of those sites did you get paid for signing up at Winhost? Not quite as many, I’m guessing. So maybe it’s time to take a look at the Winhost Affiliate Program.

The Winhost affiliate program isn’t anything new, but I understand if it isn’t the first thing you think about when you come to Winhost. I mean you have to think about your current sites, databases and domains you may have with us. An affiliate program is probably the last thing on your mind. But let me tell you why you might want to move it up on your list, at least when setting up that new site with us in the future.

With the Winhost affiliate program, we will pay you a commission of 60% of the hosting fees paid at the time of purchase. I know, giving you just a percentage probably isn’t helpful so let me break it down for you. Say you sign up a new Max plan hosting account on the 1 year billing plan. The hosting fees paid at the time of purchase would be $119.40. As an affiliate you would receive a commission back to you of $71.64 (60% of the fees paid).

That commission can then be paid back out to you, or put towards your hosting account as credit, it’s up to you. We also offer special incentives for those who sign up 15 or more sites a month using the affiliate program, including higher commission rates and flat rate commissions.

You can get started with the Winhost Affiliate Program here. When you scroll down to the bottom of the page we have a quick form to fill out where we ask for the standard information (name, contact info) and have you create your affiliate ID and password. All affiliate payments are paid either via PayPal or as hosting credit, so we also require a PayPal address when signing up.

After you sign up you will have access to our Affiliate Control Panel where you can view reports on sales made with your affiliate ID as well as request payments and view marketing creative that you can use on your site if you wish to.

If you have questions about our affiliate program, we are always happy to answer them. Just drop us a line at affiliate@winhost.com.



Who needs a website?

It may be an odd thing for a website host to ask, but “Who needs a website?” is a valid question. Many of us here at Winhost have been in the hosting business since it started, more than 20 years ago. The business – and maybe more importantly, what you expect from it – has changed more than a few times over the past two decades.

In the early days you built your own website. Period. So you needed a website host. There weren’t any other options, and there certainly weren’t any social networking or social media sites where you could establish an online presence without a website.

The first generation of point-and-click website builders sprouted up in the 1990s, but for the most part they were clunky sledgehammer approaches to site building, so they never really caught on with most website owners.
In the early 2000s social networking sites came in to our lives, starting with Friendster, which was quickly eclipsed by MySpace, the dominant platform for a few years. That is until Facebook came along to make all of the other social networking sites obsolete. I’m not sure that world domination was Facebook’s plan, initially, but that’s how things played out.

But regardless of which platform you used, suddenly if you couldn’t build a website, or had no interest in building a website, you could establish an online presence. And when that particular revolution happened, the perceived necessity of a traditional, build-it-yourself website (and someone like us to host it) briefly waned. But only briefly.

Rapid advances in web technology and the increasing spread of broadband Internet connections paved the way for a new generation of website building platforms like SquareSpace and Wix. With the new platforms you could build a site without bothering with any of the behind-the-scenes nuts and bolts. A lot of small businesses flocked to the new site building and hosting platforms, and away from traditional website hosting. But over time the drawbacks of those systems became apparent.

Now we’re seeing an increasing number of people moving away from social networking sites as their primary business presence, as well as making the sometimes tough decision to leave the point-and-click site builders/hosts. They’re moving back to traditional hosting because they are realizing that those point-and-click platforms lack some fundamental and essential ingredients for a successful business site (or any site, really), mainly: flexibility, SEO (visibility), and portability.
A business site needs flexibility. The ability to scale out with different kinds of pages or applications that a platform like SquareSpace or Wix don’t necessarily offer or support, the ability to choose or change how you accept payments, and the ability to change the look and feel of the site. On some of the site building platforms you are stuck with the style or template that you chose when setting up the site. In order to change the appearance of the site you have to re-build it from scratch. Ouch. And while e-commerce is baked in to most of the platforms, you’re limited to the methods and providers that they offer. Social networking sites are even more inflexible and limited.

Every website owner eventually becomes concerned with search engine optimization, or SEO. You may not give it a lot of thought when you are building or launching your site, but when you want to expand your audience or customer base, you will have to dive in to the deep, murky waters of SEO. Much of what’s necessary to maximize a site’s SEO is done on a page level or a configuration level, and if your site lives on one of the walled-in platforms, you simply won’t have the access necessary to make many beneficial changes. So you’re limited in what you can do to make your site grow.

As far as portability is concerned, they’ve made it purposely difficult (and in some cases, impossible) to move a site from a platform like SquareSpace or Wix to another platform or to a traditional host like Winhost. Understandably, I suppose, as it’s in their interest to keep you inside their walls so you will continue to pay them every month. Making it easy to move a site would mean making it easy for their customers to leave, so they have every incentive to make it as painful as possible. And of course you can’t take your Facebook page away from Facebook.

For those and other reasons, we’re seeing a move back to traditional custom-built websites hosted on open platforms where you decide how things are going to work, rather than being at the mercy of a large company’s development and support teams. Building and maintaining your own site comes along with its own costs, of course, both in development and maintenance. But the freedom and ability to steer your own ship that are gained by creating your own site will outweigh those costs for most of us.

And if you don’t want to start from scratch, there are now a lot of platforms and frameworks that you can install in your own hosting space to give you a head start. The most popular of those, WordPress, is running on more than 26% of the world’s active websites (that’s more than 77 million WordPress sites if you’re doing the math). In fact, in 2016 Microsoft moved thousands (yes, thousands) of its sites and blogs off of their own proprietary platform and over to open source platforms like WordPress, and you can be pretty sure that wasn’t a decision that was made lightly.

The bottom line is it’s easier than it’s ever been to build a flexible and portable site that you can easily change and update to suit your needs.

So the answer to the question, “Who needs a website?” is: you do. Whether you build your own site from the ground up or base it on a solid foundation like WordPress, what it all comes down to in the end is control, control, control. Take it! Keep it! It’s your website, you should be the one who decides how it works, what it looks like and where it lives.

Of course, if you want it to live here at Winhost (and really, why wouldn’t you?), I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we have a fully managed WordPress service that removes a lot of the maintenance and security concerns from your plate, freeing you up to focus on the most important thing in all of this: making your site the best it can be. You’re still in control, we’re just at your service. It doesn’t get any better than that!



Don’t forget to vote

As if you could. 🙂

votedIt’s been what you might call a contentious election cycle here in the united states, but if there’s a positive spin to be put on the whole thing, it’s that we’ll likely see a large turnout at the polls. Maybe even record-breaking.

If group dynamics have taught us anything, it’s that a large enough group of people will usually make the right decision. Whatever “right” happens to be for the group at any given moment in time.

Whoever you’re voting for, it’s always an honor and a privilege to participate in a peaceful transfer of power. It isn’t something that everyone in the world gets to enjoy, so be sure to take advantage of it.

Even if a two party system leaves a little something to be desired…



Let’s (not) Encrypt. But let’s not ignore https either.

There is a lot of talk around using https “everywhere” these days, even on websites that do not do any financial transactions or accept user data input. Google already uses https as a factor in search results (though it’s a small factor, and not universally used in results everywhere in the world). But they have made it clear that their intention is to expand the use of https as a search results ranking factor next year.

All of which has a lot of people who may have never considered using an SSL certificate before looking in to making the move to SSL/https. The main barrier for a lot of people isn’t the technical issues around implementing an SSL certificate, but rather the price. SSL certificates cost money. Some of them (like those with “Extended Validation”) cost a considerable amount of money.

A group of security-minded people thought there should be a free alternative, so they got together and the open source Let’s Encrypt project was started (by the Internet Security Research Group, with support from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation, Akamai, and Cisco Systems). Let’s Encrypt is now up and running, issuing free SSL certificates to anyone who wants one.

Pretty great, right? Well, yes and no.

vault

For instance, if you want one of those Extended Validation certificates, you can’t get it from Let’s Encrypt. Organization Validation, Extended Validation and wildcard certificates are not available. Let’s Encrypt does not verify sites, so if you want a security “seal” to put on your site or order form, you can’t get it from Let’s Encrypt.

That’s right, Let’s Encrypt does not verify sites, which means hackers are building malicious sites using Let’s Encrypt certificates because they’re free and the bad guys can remain anonymous. Wait a minute, though – isn’t validation the whole reason for a security certificate in the first place? And what will become of the Let’s Encrypt certificates if their system becomes overrun with malware and phishing sites?

Even if you don’t care about any of those things, the Let’s Encrypt certificates have a major convenience drawback, because the certificates are only valid for 90 days. That means that every three months you have to request a new Let’s Encrypt certificate and install it on the server, and that process is no fun. Especially on Windows servers (like those at Winhost), since there is not any server-side automation available.

But increasing security is never a bad thing. And don’t forget, Google is going to look more favorably on https sites very soon, so an SSL certificate should be on your to-do list, no matter what kind of site you run. If you want to use Let’s Encrypt on your Winhost site, you certainly can. We support it. We don’t recommend  it – for the reasons we just mentioned – but if you’re up for going through the process every 90 days, you can.

But if you’re more of a set-it-and-forget it type, we offer a full range of SSL certificates, starting at as little as $39 a year. You can register a certificate for two years as well, meaning it’s not something you have to think about every 90 days, or even every year. If you want to secure your site (and don’t want to see your Google ranking drop) you may want to get yourself an SSL certificate soon.



Happy Thanksgiving to our North American friends



War Thunder: Flying the Bell P-39 Aircobra

War Thunder is a free to play online WWII Air Combat Simulator, developed by Gaijin Entertainment and release for Open Beta in 1 November 2012, this game has quickly consumed my free time. WWII era aviation being one of my personal interests and free-to-play always being a plus, I quickly feel in love with the game.

It has several different game types to choose from, all of them team based, with differing levels of historical accuracy and realism.

You can find out a lot more general information on the game as well as the free download at warthunder.com.

This article focuses on my current favorite plane to fly, the Bell P-39 Aircobra.

P-39N

In Real Life:

Introduced the P-39Q was a solidly constructed craft with an innovative feature of placing the engine mid-ship, under the pilot. This was done in order to make space for the massive 37 MM cannon that sits in front of the pilot and fires through the propeller hub. This was backed up by two nose mounted .50 caliber machine guns and four .30 caliber machine guns in the wings.

While moving the engine back did favorably change the center of gravity for the plane and offer the pilot increased forward visibility it unfortunately placed the engine in a cramped part of the fuselage.

Bell P-39 Airacobra

With little room left the design choice was made to forgo a turbo-supercharger for the engine. This one design choice kept the Aircobra from achieving great success and prestige.

Without the turbo-supercharger the plane was restricted to low altitude work less than 5100 meters. This being unfortunate because the slow firing 37 MM cannon was best suited for large and slow targets, like the high altitude bombers of the 3rd Reich.

Unable to engage in high altitude air combat or perform bomber escort duties and only capable of carrying a meager 500 Kg bomb-load the P-39 was not suitable for the war in Europe. Without an arresting hook and with only moderate range and endurance the plane was also not suitable for combat in the Pacific.

It was through the lend-lease program that the Aircobra was able to find its niche.

In the Eastern Front combat took place at much lower altitudes, the lack of a turbo-supercharger was not an issue, Russian pilots had no problems bringing the 37 MM cannon to bear on German ground targets as well as dog fighting with the Fw 190 and Me 109’s of the Luftwaffe.

In War Thunder:

shot 2013.08.12 00.49.00

Being a level 6 plane the Aircobra is the go-to choice for arcade and some historical battle missions for mid-level players. I have access to level 9 planes now and I still include the P-39Q and P-39N in my arcade line-ups and regularly use them in historical battles. The machine gun armament is sufficient to take down other interceptors or single engine attack craft with ease and the 37 MM cannon is absolutely devastating against all aircraft, from smaller planes all the way up to 4 engine heavy bombers. The lack of turbo-super charger is much less of an issue in game than it was in real life, especially in arcade mode. This is because most air combat takes place much lower than 5100 meters, usually below even 2000 meters.

In game the plane is a stable weapons platform, at speeds exceeding 600 KM there is minimal turbulence or jutter, so once you are on-target you will stay there, lining up and putting down targets is a breeze.

The 37 MM gun IS hard to aim correctly against maneuverable opponents, it has a slow rate of fire and the projectiles themselves seem to move a lot slower than standard machine gun bullets, but with a lot of practice and some luck you will find yourself “one-shotting” (one shot fired, one plane downed) in almost every match.
The downside to such a heavy armament is that the P-39 is very fragile.

shot 2013.07.12 19.58.53

It does not have an armored cockpit, and the engine being placed in the center of the fuselage means that more shots are likely to hit it.

I often find my control surfaces being completely shot out after just one pass by an enemy fighter.

The lack of armor means that gunners on the bombers you are hunting can disable you in just a burst or two, so care must be taken to always present yourself as a hard-target.

Thankfully due to the responsiveness of the planes controls this is not hard at all.

The Aircobra is by no means or dog fighter or an energy fighter, in any kind of turning match you will find yourself with a bogie on your tail 9 times out of 10.

The plane does not retain speed or energy in a turn, after a 1000 meter dive one turn is all that it takes to reduce your speed from 600 Km to just 300 Km, and this is a death sentence if any of the enemy are around to take advantage of it.

Coupling this with the planes generally weak armor most new pilots will not last long unless proper tactics are employed.

Proper Tactics:

I fly very conservatively.

I like to imagine the pilot in the plane is really me, and dying is the last thing I personally want to do, so I try to do everything in my power to ensure I will come out on top of a fight before committing. In the beginning of a match I will generally take 5 to 10 minutes to gain altitude while flying perpendicular to the enemy.

shot 2013.08.12 00.59.12

The advantage of this is 2-fold.

1. The enemy does not get within striking distance of me, and I gain the altitude advantage.
2. My team mates generally rush in and occupy the enemy, allowing me the ability to attack from the side or above.

I generally stop gaining altitude around 5000 meters and then scan the horizon for bombers.

If I see a lone bomber trying to make a pass on our airfield or a remote column of tanks I will pursue it and try to bring it down with my heavy cannon. Bombers with escorts are not a viable target unless I know for sure the escort has high-altitude difficulties as well. Bombers themselves are hard targets to hit, they are fast and will be shooting at you with their gunners, and anything else to worry about, like a Bf 109 escort, will make getting the kill shot with your cannon much harder, if not impossible.

Also, you cannot even dream of dog fighting at this altitude, your plane will take almost half a minute to turn in a circle and your engine will be so choked for air you will be struggling to keep speed.

So let’s say that there are no viable high-altitude bomber targets, what do you do then?

The key to playing as the Aircobra is to realize that you are not in an “honorable” plane, you do not fight the capable members of the enemy team, you look for those in a bad situation, wounded, alone, or a severe positional disadvantage.

Ideally all 3.

shot 2013.07.13 05.10.40

While the Aircobra cannot keep energy in a turn it can dive at incredible speed without fear of breaking apart, in arcade i personally have dove as fast 850 Km and in historical battles 700 Km before my plane started to experience any noticeable turbulence. Using this to your advantage you will stay on the edges of a fight, several kilometers above and wait for someone to wander off or try to escape. Then you pounce on them and unleash a massive barrage at high speeds, then after you pass you use as much of your gained speed to gain altitude back up to your vantage point, rinse and repeat.

Some will recognize this tactic and the boom and zoom, this is how you fly an Aircobra.

In Summation:

shot 2013.08.12 00.49.11

The P-39 is a ideal fighter for those who don’t mind taking some time to plan a route of attack, its high maximum speed in a dive and fierce armament mean that if deployed carefully no target is out of reach, but it’s lack of armor and poor turning characteristics mean that it cannot be flown without thought.

It is one of my favorite planes for its potential to kill quickly, but it is also one of my frustrating to fly because of its potential to die just as fast.



Free Android Apps from Amazon

howto

Free App Of The Day For Android Users

Do you have an Android mobile device? If so, have you installed the Amazon App Store? Why not?!

Every day you can get a free app, which normally sells for $0.99 to $9.99. Each day the app changes, so it is best to check back often.

First, you need to allow your device to install application from unknown sources (not the normal Play Store).

Open up your settings and go to either applications or security (this depends on what software version you are running, I am showing this to you in version 4.2), in my case it was security.

Screenshot_2013-03-14-04-48-23

Next, you want to check the box for Unknown Sources.

Screenshot_2013-03-14-04-48-31

Once you have done this, you can proceed to the next step which is downloading and installing the application!

To install this awesome application, in your mobile device’s browser go to http://www.amazon.com/getappstore or use your favorite search engine and search, “Amazon app store.”

Click on the link to Download the Amazon Appstore.

Screenshot_2013-03-14-04-55-46

Once the download is complete, click on the AmazonApps-release.apk and click install.

Screenshot_2013-03-14-04-57-57

Now you can check this app every day and see what is available for free! At the time I wrote this article, Osmos HD was the free application, a very fun game!

Screenshot_2013-03-14-02-10-29

Enjoy!