Dear Companies of the World:
You want our money. We want your products and services. In most cases, there are numerous firms competing for the same consumers. How do we, the consumers, decide which to do business with? Price is only part of the equation. Quality is only part of it as well. Service (especially these days) is yet another KEY part of it. That's right, service. In these days of near-perfect flow of information, prices and quality are fairly uniform. If you want to get us as a customer, and more importantly keep us (costs way less to keep one than find a new one) offer decent service. Most of us do not complain and are not out to cheat you, but that's the way you treat us. When we call or ask questions, answer them. Give us the benefit of the doubt. We are all not liars. In fact, most of us are honest to a fault. If you treat us better, we have a tendency to do the same to you. If you would just watch out for our best interests a bit more, we might not write letters like this one, and might just be inclined to spend more of our money with you. It's a win-win. Think about it, will ya?
When you maintain several servers each running several virtual machines and have anything else at all to do, it is impossible to keep your eyes on them 100% of the time. There are a handful of software packages out there that can do this for you, but most are either too bulky, too complicated, or lack the features that you want. Scott Pinkston referred me to one the other day called Monit, which is the first one of these programs that I actually liked. Most of the others just have too much. This one is short, and to the point. Monit installs very quickly, and runs in the background as a daemon. One very simple config file holds the configuration data for the services you want to monitor, and if you so choose, you can have a secure webpage display stats on your services. It can also be configured to email you (or call the beeper, etc...) if certain events occur, and best of all, is super lightweight.
I just finished upgrading my 13.3" MacBook (Intel Core Duo 2.0, 2gb - its 3 yrs old) to Mac OS X Snow Leopard. The installation was absoutely painless - I think that I clicked 1 button and typed in a password and waited....and waited....and waited. It took about an hour to upgrade, but it seems to work perfectly. YMMV.