Whiteoaks.com is the online home of Jane Houston Jones and me, Morris Jones. I first acquired the domain name in 1995 shortly after purchasing a home on White Oaks Rd. in Campbell, California, near San Jose in the heart of Silicon Valley. I decided I wanted to be the "first on my block." That home has been sold, but the domain lives on. (Jane and I live in San Rafael, California.)
Whiteoaks.com was first hosted at Best Internet, in the good old days of quality internet service providers. Domain hosting at Best was one of the great bargains to be found on the net in those days, and the flexibility and access offered by their FreeBSD shell servers was fantastic.
Eventually Best got "borged" like all the other great small ISPs, and I longed to be able to set up my own servers — a prospect that sounds like masochism to many, no doubt.
DSL finally made it economical to be my own ISP, and eliminate such hassles as limits on web server space and mail spools. Being my own ISP at home also means that I can run my own domain name server, and host web sites and email lists for some of the many groups that Jane and I are involved with.
On what many might consider to be the down side, I have no one to deal with but myself when there is a software or hardware failure on my servers. Of course, my ISP is still responsible for getting bits to and from my network.
InternetConnect of Marina Del Rey had been my ISP until February 2002. Like so many others, they bit the dust in late 2001, but continued service while in bankruptcy proceedings. Covad bought the assets and customers of InternetConnect and converted me in February 2002.
Prior to going with Internet Connect, I had service in Campbell from a now-defunct ISP called PSN Net. DSL service was from Northpoint. R.I.P.
My early review on Covad service is B+. The IP address conversion wasn't quite completed by the time they promised, but it was done smoothly and with a minimum of disruption. They set up reverse DNS delegation with no fuss.
How much does it cost? I pay about $140/month for a business account with Covad. So far they've provided good service, and are willing to do little things that I consider important — like delegating the “reverse DNS” lookups to my name server. When I compare this with what I used to spend throughout the 1980's for my monthly CompuServe bill, it comes out as quite a bargain!
Make no mistake — it's a serious undertaking to build and maintain your own internet servers. But it's a great hobby, and great fun to have total control over your web servers, CGI programs, email, and all the other things one might want to experiment with on the net. And it's great to be able to offer name service or secondary name service to friends who want to do the same thing.
Feel free to write with questions!
— Morris Jones