File Storage Services?

I’ve got a ton of data sitting on my mostly unused dreamhost account, largely personal stuff like artwork and music and my favorite music videos, stuff like that. Maybe two or three gigs total. It seems silly to maintain a $20/mo Dreamhost account just for file storage. charges $0.01 per megabyte-month. I move all that stuff over and suddenly I’m paying, like, $20/month for my Dreamhost account, which otherwise would cost nickels a month. Not so cool. is not intended as a storage space for tons and tons of files.

So I’m wondering if anyone out there knows of a good storage/backup service with reasonable prices for this kind of giggage.

I could put it all as attachments on a Gmail account, but that seems lame. Maybe next month they’ll change their terms of service and delete all the people who treat them as a file storage service without warning, you know? Within their rights. It’s a free service.

I could make everything I’ve got up there Creative Commons licensed and upload it to…. if I held the copyright to all of it… which I largely don’t.

I figure there must be somebody out there who’s got a really solid, reasonably priced service, like for email and for web space…

It may just turn out that there’s nothing more reasonably priced for that kind of storage than my $20/month dreamhost account, in which case, cool, but it seems likely that some more specialized service will probably have better rates.

Does anybody out there use a dedicated file storage/backup service they could recommend?

Especially one with SFTP/scp/rsync access?

Danke sehr,


Thoughts Reading Practical Common Lisp

In my last post I mentioned reading Practical Common Lisp. I went on through several more chapters since I wrote that (quite a few more) and one practically made me stop. The first “practical” exercise is writing a library that makes it less horrifically painful to use Common Lisp to deal with reading directories.

It was a pretty quick little library and I’m sure effective, but at that time, I was kind of tired of hearing explanations of how “this has a meaningless name, for historical reasons,” or “this is completely contrary to how you’d expect it to be considering other parts of the language” or whatever. There’s a lot to just get used to in Common Lisp. Seeing an entire “practical” chapter devoted to creating a library to fix kludgy implementation problems stemming from Common Lisp’s advanced age was offputting.

But then I realized that a little ahead were the chapters on CLOS, the Common Lisp Object System, something I had always wanted to understand and never quite got. I didn’t really understand how Object-Oriented systems based on multi-method dispatch worked.

It was a really good explanation. I think I understand it now. One point that was made was that it is not a “message-passing” type of OO, the way Smalltalk and Ruby are. I realized that while CLOS is pretty cool, I really like the message-passing style of OO. It made me wistful for Ruby.

But CLOS is way powerful, and the book had a great explanation of it. Now if I take a look at other multi-method-dispatch systems I’ll have a better context from which to understand them.

The chapter on LOOP-fu was interesting. LOOP is a mini-language implemented with macros within common lisp that lets you write Python-like loop constructs (probably more powerful than Python’s loops) in a not-very-Lispy notation. It made me think Python might have been influenced by Common Lisp LOOPs.

I also wanted to check out the chapter on packages, because that was a big part of Common Lisp I didn’t previously understand. Turns out they’re a lot like Perl, but that it’s easier to shoot yourself in the foot using them than with Perl.

I still haven’t read most of the “practical” chapters yet. (I skipped forward to get to some of what I considered the good stuff.) But overall it didn’t make me want like crazy to program in Common Lisp. It made me feel like I could if I wanted to for some reason. It cleared up a lot of what was mysterious to me about Common Lisp. The only thing that Common Lisp has that I really desperately wish I had in other languages is its glorious macro system. I have a feeling that in terms of the “defining new syntax structures by being able to take unevaluated code chunks” aspect of macros, you can get a lot of mileage out of Ruby’s blocks for doing macro-like things. However, macros can do a lot more than that.

Overall it made me think fondly of Ruby, because Ruby uses a style of object orientation that seems more natural/intuitive to me, and can do a lot of (though by no means all) the spiff stuff Lisp can do.

It also made me think fondly of Scheme, because Scheme is a lot less ass-ugly than Common Lisp, and can do a lot of the same good stuff, though it doesn’t have even a tiny fraction of the built-in cool stuff in the standard.

It definitely made me open to using Common Lisp if I ever think of a project where it would come in really handy. And I do plan to finish the book when I get a chance.

Fun Fact about Common Lisp: standard Common Lisp has no networking libraries at all, but it does have a built in function to print integers as Roman numerals — using either the new style (14=XIV) or the old-style (14=XIIII) Roman numerals. Huh.

Thanksgiving, Computer Languages

I’m at the in-laws over thanksgiving; no high speed internet or anything like that (posting this over my FIL’s AOL account). I’ve got a lot of reading time, so I’ve been making my way through Practical Common Lisp, whose hardcover I bought back this summer.

My new hosts happen to support Common Lisp as a CGI language, of all things, so the potential to have some fun with it is there.

I’m up to chapter 9.

Some parts of it make me want to run back to my old friend Scheme. The whole “function namespace” thing, having to refer to functions in a non-function-call context #’like-this. Goofy. But it’s a great book, and I’m really enjoying it. Taking it in small enough doses that my attention stays focused.

Finally having considerable real-world programming experience (in Perl) has given me an idea of just how useful something like Lispy macros could be… You can achieve something kind of like Lisp macros using source filters, but it’s far more hassle in Perl and far less powerful.

I also brought my Ruby on Rails book, but it’s not quite as interesting to me right now. Honestly, I know Ruby reasonably well, having played with it in work and home contexts since about 2001. I have never used it for full-time programming work, which would give me a serious knowledge of it, but I’ve used it for a lot of goofy little scripting. But I find Rails kinda hard to understand. I’m gonna have to put some serious attention into that Rails book and play with it a lot to “get” it.

I’m also a little worried about all the megahype Ruby’s getting. Pride goeth before a fall. It makes me kinda queasy to see one of my favorite languages get quite that level of buzz.

But my buddy Jim is interested in acquiring some Ruby-Fu, and he’s schooled in Java, so I wanted to pass along for him this link I found — 10 Things Every Java Programmer Should Know About Ruby. Looks pretty cool.

Catch y’all later.