Video Tour of Seattle’s Newest Colocation Facility

In my 16 years of working on the web, I had never once visited what I think of as the heart of Internet: the actual datacenter facilities that host the websites we love so dearly. Sure I had seen servers before and have interacted with a couple Network Operation Centers (NOCs) in the past (via email), but I had never actually been inside a full fledged facility before.

So I gave my friends at DF Colo a call and asked them to give me a tour of their seattle-area colocation facilities. After a tour of their Tukwila datacenter, I asked if I could bring a camera along and tour their newest location, a datacenter in downtown Seattle that opened in September 2012.

I was able get great footage of most of the colocation facility and learned quite a bit from the highly knowledgeable COO, Tim Doherty (sorry, no close ups of customer servers). If you’ve never visited a datacenter before, here’s your opportunity:

Beauty of Wireless Internet Access

Clearly I spend a lot of time online. Most of it occurs in my home office or around the house. Occasionally I connect in coffee shops (usually free) or at the airport (usually for a fee). As part of the Clear Heros program, I have been blessed with a 4G wifi hotspot that I can use myself, and share with others. Having high speed internet access wherever I go has benefited me in a lot of ways. Here are a few situations where it has come in handy, so far:

  • Conference Connectivity: Like many conferences, people are on a tweeting & email checking rampage. The complimentary wi-fi is inevitably overloaded and slow. By having my own access point while at a conference I gained a client, and saved another attendee from losing one (she couldn’t email them the dinner plans). More recently at Startup Weekend EDU, I was able to read tweets just after our presentation to judges like Michael Arrington in a conference room where there was no internet AT&T connectivity on my iPhone. During break, I was able to meet up with a well-connected attendee who complimented our pitch, which may lead to our first source of revenue.
  • Traveling Flexibility: Over the summer, my family made a trip to Florida for vacation. I was able to sit on the beach and conduct a meeting with one of my clients on a site redesign. Without being able to see their live site, I never would have been able to conduct this meeting. One thing we forgot was our camera charger. I quickly hopped online and had a charger sent to us before we ran out of juice, allowing us to take capture important moments, like our first trip out to the Florida keys and our children’s first experience with dolphins in the wild. Later in the trip I was able to save $75 on my hotel stay since I didn’t need to pay for the daily $25 internet access fee.
  • Helping Others: I was with a filmmaker who had a hard deadline to upload a client’s video before the press release hit. Trouble was the coffee shops internet access was sporadic and slow, causing his video upload to fail over and over. Within 5 seconds I got him online and he was able to meet his deadline. Another time I was riding on a bus destined for Seattle and a lady was literally in tears because the bus was running late & she wouldn’t be able to give her boss the fixed powerpoint presentation in time for his big meeting. I asked her if she would like to give it to him right now & she looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.
  • Information Anywhere: This has probably come in handy more times then I can remember, but one situation was a serious stress reliever for me. I bought an expensive new camera and was filming my child’s science presentation at a science fair. My camera’s LCD screen had several dull gray band floating across it and I thought for sure I had already broken my camera. Turns out the cheap florescent lighting in the building had a “cycle” that competed with the camera’s shutter rate. I would have stressed out until my next filming date if I didn’t have that information at my finger tips.

Clearly Seattle’s Hero

Cue the dramatic music as I slip on my mask, tie on my cape, and pull on my gloves in preparation of finally living out my boyhood dreams as a REAL hero… kind of.

For the next six months, I now no longer represent just myself. I will be living a double life as myself and the CLEAR Hero for the Seattle area. I won’t be battling street crime (we’ll leave that to my wife, the forensic scientist), but I will be “rescuing” people who need Internet access in some of the toughest neighborhoods for obtaining 4G Internet Access.

As part of the hero assignment, CLEAR will be lending me a Spot Device with free service, which will allow me to connect up to 8 distressed victims at once. I’ll be incognito, secretly armed with the full power of Internet access, looking for opportunities to help people out in various coffee shops, airports and web conferences, all in the name of good Karma for CLEAR.

It’s a very cool program and I’m excited to be a part of it! Down the road I’ll post a recap of a few of my hero-esque moments.

GoDaddy Twitter Relationship

Just over a month ago, I was shocked when I was force-fed a twitter screen takeover while looking at my domain names registered at GoDaddy. Immediately, I did some news searches to see if GoDaddy had purchased Twitter because it seemed very out of place. There were no such announcements. In fact, there was very little news about this development.

GoDaddy Twitter IntegrationEvery time I’m in my account tweaking my domains, I can’t help but notice the twitter promotion overload. I can’t help but wonder why GoDaddy would take such a keen interest in helping to fuel more twitter accounts. From a service perspective, it is pretty lame because it is already incredibly easy to check name availability and sign up for twitter. I could think of a hundred other features GoDaddy should build and promote instead. If it were a two-way arrangement, where Twitter promotes domain registration for Twitter user names, then I could see the benefit.

So why do you suppose GoDaddy is pimping Twitter so much? Is GoDaddy going to buy Twitter? Is Twitter paying GoDaddy for this treatment? Is GoDaddy’s product development team overly caught up with Twitter & group-think led them to believe this add on would separate them from other registrars? I have no idea, but it will be interesting to watch this over time.

Here are more screenshots showing how much GoDaddy is pimping out Twitter within their domain dashboards:

GoDaddy Twitter promo

Why is GoDaddy Pimping Twitter

GoDaddy Twitter name check feature

Goodbye GeoCities

As lame and as stale as many of their sites were, I still faintly remember the first GeoCities site I created in ’96 or ’97. I wish I could dig it up, but I have no idea what happened to it, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it were one of their better sites ;)

Yahoo announced they’ll be closing it with no buyer, just 10 years after they bought it for $3 billion. It’s really sad Yahoo didn’t improve the service and keep up with the times.

For those who still have Geocities sites they care about, check out the Free Geocities Migration services Wetpaint has offered up.