Our Blog

Mmm blog...

Archive for the ‘New Member Requests’ Category

Open for new hosting requests

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

We are now accepting applications for new members. Applications are due by November 24th, at which time we will close to review the pool of applicants. You can expect a decision on your request by December 14th.

You may wish to review previous posts to this blog concerning tips on your application.

When are we going to reopen?

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Lately I have been getting a few dozen of these emails every day to this effect. The volume is high enough that I can’t respond to everyone so hopefully those of you who are interested will have subscribed to the rss feed, email list, or twitter feed.

We will be reopening in a couple weeks time.

The reason we have been closed so long is that we have been having trouble juggling the many frameworks we support. While adding Pylons support a few weeks ago we managed to break our Django install. Getting Django up and running again took quite a bit more time and effort (and the help of some of our Django users) than we had expected. Django has been working again for a few weeks, but Pylons is not installed anymore. We plan to take another swing at Pylons – perhaps before we reopen, but likely not.

I want to give things a bit more time to settle, to make sure we are running smoothly again, but should the server not implode or start only serving webpages about duck hats then we should reopen in a few weeks.

Currently reviewing hosting requests

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

AmbitiousLemon closed to new hosting requests a couple days ago while our committee reviews the pending requests. As of today we have completed the initial screening and are going to seriously consider the 22 (out of an original ~80). It will take about a week for all committee members to carefully review and comment on all the requests. If you completed a hosting request and have not heard back from us (and assuming spam filters haven’t prevented you from receiving our response) then we will be seriously considering your request.

The I wanted to learn x web framework requests…

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Here at AmbitiousLemon we support an unusual variety of web frameworks, and we are always adding more. Combinations of some of these frameworks and some of our other features like Trac, subversion, postgresql, etc are difficult to find in a web host (free or otherwise). We offer these features because we actually use these servers for our own websites and because we are just generally excited by web technologies. So we understand why so many people requesting hosting accounts would be similarly excited about getting an account and just sort of playing around with this unusual mix of technologies. One of our core constituencies named in our mission is the education community so we are further excited by how many people want to further their education by learning how to use these technologies.

Despite all of this we do not grant hosting requests to people just wanting to do some unstructured learning. The primary reason for this is the kind of web hosting we offer is called “shared hosting.” What this means is there are many other websites being hosted on the server. Simply put, your playing around can adversely effect other members. The best way to learn these new technologies is to install them on your local machine (your PC). This way every time you need to restart the server, tweak the apache configuration, or write a bad script that causes apache to crash you won’t disrupt anyone else’s website.

We don’t want to discourage people who are excited by our service from applying for membership, but what we ask of you is that:

  1. You understand that development should be performed on your local machine, not on our production server. Tools such as Trac, Subversion, Capistrano, etc can aid you in keeping the community informed of your progress and rolling out updates to your web app after its initial launch.
  2. You submit a request that involves a specific project proposal. Tell us what you want to create and how you plan to use our server to accomplish your goal.
  3. If your project involves doing something that has already been done (like a blog, social networking site, micro-blogging, etc) that you explain why this project needs to be hosted. Writing these sorts of apps can be helpful in learning a language, but what does the final result of this intellectual exercise offer that will be of interest and use to people other than yourself and your mom. What is novel about your project?

If you come to us with a specific project that will be useful to others and educational for you and that we can practically serve we won’t be able to turn down your request.

Open for requests

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

We have completed reviewing the past round of requests and are again open for new requests. This last round was a bit overwhelming and took us considerably longer to review. We admitted 25 new members out of roughly 100 requests submitted. As a result we will be keeping future openings shorter so that the resulting set of requests can be more quickly reviewed by our committee.

The current hosting request submission window is from today until 27 June.

Before submitting a request it would be a good idea to browse this blog to get a feel for what we are looking for since I often comment on requests.

There are a few categories of requests we get quite frequently:

  1. Social Networking site for a specific University – we get a handful of these every time. Those that we accept do a good job explaining why their school isn’t providing hosting and what their site will provide that the myriad of other social networking sites lack. They also must demonstrate that they have the skills to complete the site.
  2. Websites for scouting groups – We also tend to get a handful of these requests in every opening. While the Girl Scouts and other scouting groups are welcome, we no longer accept any hosting requests from The Boy Scouts of America. We have been made aware that the Boy Scouts of America have been sued on numerous occasions for discrimination and continue their discriminatory practices today. This unfortunately means the group is in violation of our rules. We also want to encourage all scouting groups to let their organizations know that website hosting is something important to you and might be something the organization should consider providing on its own. Until they do, we will help out when we can.
  3. Websites for artists – We host many artists, and encourage more to apply for hosting. While many of our artists are graphic artists we also host musicians, dancers, and other performing arts.
  4. Sites for school projects – We get many requests for hosting for student projects. We do grant hosting to some of these requests but you need to explain why your school isn’t hosting it, or in some cases why creating your own web server (in the case of large university level projects) isn’t part of the project.
  5. Non-profit Organizations – Like artists, NPOs are another group named specifically in our mission. We do occasionally deny requests from NPOs when they do not do an adequate job filling out responses to the questions section of our request form. Please make sure you respond to all our questions.

The number one reason requests are denied to that not enough information is provided in the questions section. If you want your request accepted please be thorough when answering our questions.

Open for new member requests

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

We have completed reviewing the requests from the last round of new member requests, and have admitted about 10 new members.

With the new members settled in, we are ready to begin another round of hosting requests. From now until 22 May we will be accepting hosting requests again. Beginning 23 May we will begin reviewing the requests and granting membership to those who make the cut.

A few notes that will help guide you as you consider submitting a request:
1) We are a production server, not a development server. So if you just want to play around its best to do that on your PC. If you are seriously developing a product though we offer support for developer tools such as Trac, Subversion, and many web frameworks.

2) Charities and other Non-profit organizations have priority for membership, but still need to do a good job explaining to us what they do. If you are a registered non-profit organization please provide evidence of your registration.

3) Artists of all sorts were one of the first communities we served and are looked upon favorably for new accounts.

4) The more information you provide to us in your hosting request, the more likely your chances of being approved. You will be asked a variety of questions when you apply for membership, use this opportunity to really try to sell us on your idea. If you seem excited about your idea there is a good chance we will be excited as well.

5) If you are a student please let us know why your school’s hosting options do not work for you.

Currently reviewing requests

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

We are currently reviewing the hosting requests from the last round of submissions. If you submitted a completed request and have not received a response from us yet, then your request made the initial cut and will be reviewed by the committee.

We have a soft goal of making a decision on all requests by Monday 16 April.

Membership Open

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

We have reopened membership. This request period will end on 14 April 2009. It will take us approximately a week after that to review the requests and begin sending out approval notices.

We found this shorter 2 week application period made reviewing requests much more manageable for our review board. During our last membership opening we admitted 9 of 64 applicants. As you apply (or reapply) please take your time to submit quality responses to all the questions asked and remain mindful that should you be approved you will be sharing space on the server with charitable groups.

New Member Requests Open

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

We have reopened for new member requests. We will be collecting responses for the next 2 weeks, closing again on 18 March.

If you started and did not complete a request during a previous opening you may complete and submit your request now. If you previously applied and were denied membership you may apply anew, but please consider any comments we made on your request as well as the messages I posted here regarding what makes a good request.

The single most important thing to consider when applying is that you should answer all the questions thoroughly. The system will allow you to save your progress and return later to complete it, so please feel free to use this ability to carefully consider and compose your responses.

New Members

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

As we come to the end of another successful admissions period, I thought it might be helpful to future applicants to discuss my thoughts on this latest admissions period. Before getting started on the nitty gritty of it all, I just wanted to say I am very happy with the quality and scope of our newest members. We admitted approximately the number we set out to admit (10-15). I look forward to helping these new members settle in to our community, and I am even more excited to see what they are able to accomplish with our services.

We have nearly completed reviewing all the hosting requests from this last new member admissions period. We received about 130 requests; more than I expected. Unfortunately nearly half of those were incomplete, and therefore not considered (though these people are free to log in in the future and complete their applications). Another 40 or so gave such short responses that they were denied without close review. Among both the incomplete and short applications there were several that looked interesting so it was disappointing that the applicants did not spend the time necessary to submit a quality request. Our new admissions system allowed users to save their progress and come back later, so I was surprised that so many people did not take advantage of this feature to give their responses deeper thought.

We were left with 27 requests that the admissions committee carefully read and discussed. We have admitted 11 new members, and we are waiting for responses to follow up questions by one applicant.

My thoughts from the previous post remain the same. Most of those who were admitted gave long, well-thought-out, complete responses to all the questions asked – principal among them, the question regarding site concept.  We are a charitable organization whose mission focuses on serving other charities, the arts, education, and the open source community. The applicants we admitted served one of these areas either directly, or in a clearly articulated indirect manner.

We will take a few weeks to give our new members time to settle in before reopening the admissions system. Those whose requests were denied are free to reapply in the future, but be sure to address the issues discussed in this and my previous blog post, as well as any notes we may have made in your denial email. Incomplete applications can be completed and submitted once we reopen.

We offer RSS feeds here as well as via twitter, but probably the best way to be informed of when we reopen would be to use the email subscription option here on our blog.

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).