Things at my college have been busy – we’re moving servers, bringing a new project management software package online and my spring and summer travel schedule has begun in earnest. Despite all the craziness, I’m taking time this weekend to participate in the March for Babies.

I’ll be Twittering from the walk, of course, so expect some fun updates on Sunday. Would you take a moment and donate a dollar or two or three to support me in my walk this weekend? Here’s a bit about why this is important to me.

This weekend is the March for Babies, an event held around the country to raise funds to support the March of Dimes and the research this great organization does.

I know first hand that the research and technology developed by the March of Dimes saves lives – they saved the life of my son.

In 2002, my son was born 9 weeks premature. He spent 5 weeks in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit where he received world class treatment, which I know helped him survive his early birth and other medical issues.

Before he was even born, he received a surfactant treatment to help his tiny lungs develop – technology that was developed thanks to funds from the March of Dimes.

As you can tell, this is a cause that is very important to me. For the last few years, I’ve been participating in their annual March for Babies event to help raise funds to ensure that future babies will be helped.

In 2007, I raised the most of any individual walker in Crawford County, PA and in 2008, my family was excited to be named the Ambassador Family for the walk. It was a great honor and we were very excited to be part of the event. Our team, the LolCatz, was also the top non-corporate team last year. How great was it to get a newsletter from the March of Dimes awarding honors to the LolCatz?

So, I’m asking for your help this year. I know as much as anyone that times are tight for everyone, and that many causes are asking for your help right now. I hope you’ll support me – if even a small amount of people who read this website every day gave $2 or $3, we’d raise a ton of money to help fund new and promising research.

So, please, I’m asking for your support. You can give securely and safely by clicking on the banner above or by clicking this link.

Thank you so much, and thank you to those of you who have given generously or who are participating in the walk this weekend.

Prematurity = stunned.

Nambu is a new Twitter client for Mac OS X that burst onto the scene this week and is quickly gaining many fans, myself included.

Let me start by saying I’m a big TweetDeck fan. It’s grouping features and columns make keeping up with the large number of people I follow much easier to do. However, TweetDeck has its limitations. The fact that it can only connect to one account is frustrating, especially for those of us who manage multiple accounts, but if you have just one account, TweetDeck serves its purpose very well.

Twitterific is also a very good app. Again, it’s perfect for a person with 1 account that wants an unobtrusive app to help them follow people. It’s annoying sometimes when it complains about characters in a password (which you’re supposed to do) and there’s no easy way to switch accounts other than quitting and logging back in.

Enter Nambu. It’s a native Mac app (no Adobe Air needed) and it looks and feels like a Mac app. You can have multiple accounts, and it very nicely organizes the accounts in a sidebar. You can quickly jump from account to account, and see replies (or mentions) and direct messages for each account.

You can add the people you follow to groups under each account. So you can create a friends group under your personal account as well as a different one under your college’s account. I can see that being very helpful.

I like the fact that Nambu shows you where people’s redirects point to. Instead of a tinyURL address, you see if its using Feedburner. That’s nice. So is the links sent and received area. I’ve added a screenshot below.

Like TweetDeck, Nambu lets you set up searches for keywords and terms. I like that it shows you at a glance the number of times your term is found. Want multiple columns, like TweetDeck? No problem. If you can think of it, chances are it’s there.

Even though I’ve only been using it a few hours, I’m very impressed with this app, especially for an early beta. This is an app I would gladly pay for, and I hope it continues to be developed and improved.

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A few weeks ago, I blogged about Rackspace and Mosso’s new Cloud Servers product. Cloud Servers will compete with Amazon’s EC2 product. Here’s a quick overview from their site:

Cloud Servers will be priced per instance hour and will start at $0.015 per hour ($10.95 for a full month of usage). Since you only pay by the hour, it will be really easy and affordable to spin up a new instance for testing or development—and then simply remove it when you’re done.

I’ve finally had a chance to log in and start up a few Cloud Servers and let me tell you, I was very impressed. The administrative control panel is easy and quick to navigate around, the servers started up quickly and accessing them via SSH was a breeze.

Here are a few other thoughts I had from spending an evening with Cloud Servers…

I like the fact you can make backups and they make automatic daily, weekly and monthly backups of your data. If you are worried about losing data, you may want to do automatic backups more often. If your Cloud Server instance happens to crash, they are able to migrate some data. They say:

One of the most significant differences between Cloud Servers and EC2 is the persistence of each virtual server. Cloud Servers has access to local, RAID10 disk storage—much like you’d expect in a physical server. This is important because it means your Cloud Server has inherent protection against drive failures. If for some reason the host does fail or become degraded, we will restart and/or migrate your cloud server for you. A failure doesn’t mean that your cloud server goes away.

Keep in mind – similar to EC2, if you shut off your instance, your data is lost.

I like the different varieties of OS available, including CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo and Red Hat. Because of licensing issues, if you use Red Hat, you will pay a little more for your server. Amazon does this with EC2 servers running Windows.

I found connecting via SSH much easier to do compared to Amazon’s system of keypairs and certificates. Cloud Servers give you a root password. I’m not saying Amazon’s way is bad or Cloud Servers are less secure, but it was easier to just grab the password and connect. This may be useful if you have multiple people working on a Cloud Server instance.

I very much like the fact you can run a server for $11 a month + bandwidth costs.

One thing I like about EC2 is the fact you can get machine images pre-configured for a multitude of uses – LAMP, ROR, video encoding and more. When you start a Cloud Server, you’re given a blank slate. When I started my first instance, I wasn’t sure how to even get Apache installed and running, though I eventually found their extensive help documents. BTW, I installed Apache on CentOS using this:

sudo yum install httpd mod_ssl

In the end, I’m sure this could all be automated but it would be great if Mosso would let you save a setup or suite of apps you’d like to have installed at startup. I’d wait a few more minutes for my server to be live if I didn’t have to manually install Apache, MySQL and PHP every time.

Overall, I’m very pleased with Cloud Servers. Ease-of-use coupled with Rackspace’s support makes this a strong player right out of the gate. I know I will definitely include them when planning new web apps in the future.

Here are a few screenshots I took while spinning up my server.

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