Politics 101: Eating Your Own Dog Food

In this political season there is much on both sides of the aisle to be ashamed of. I’m not going to talk about them here though. Instead, I want to talk about ‘eating your own dog food.’ For us in the computer software business, this is a term we all know so well. We all use our own software as a proving point to demonstrate the quality and capabilities of our own products. That’s why you see WordPress developers (even theme and plugin developers) using WordPress for their websites and blogs. You see them using the themes and plugins they build and sell. But what about our politicians. Should they ‘eat their own dog food?’

In Michigan, we have several campaigns — as I’m sure other states do as well — about buying local. Mainly these are about giving up the big box stores and buying locally from your local farmers, community members, etc. After all, these people are our neighbors, we should help them out any way we can. But does our government do the same? Let’s take a look.

Pure Michigan

First off, the URL used to be http://puremichigan.org, but it’s seemed to redirect to http://michigan.org. They used to have a commercial that talked about buying local. Let’s watch that really quick.

While it doesn’t say “buy local” it actually says “buy Michigan” I think that still fits. So I decided to do a little digging. Are they hosting their website in Michigan? I fired up iTerm and ran a traceroute against michigan.org and the result was surprising.

So what this tells us (besides the fact that I’m not hosting in Michigan!) that our government isn’t hosting http://michigan.org in Michigan. Now, I’m sure you could say the same about me, but the fact is that I’m not the one saying to ‘buy local’ or to ‘buy Michigan.’ While it is true I try to ‘buy local’ as much as possible. I have not done the same with my hosting options. I love LiquidWeb, the only web host I know of in Michigan, but I’ve got a great host I just moved to, so I don’t see myself moving to them in the near future (unless I were to start working there as a WordPress guy for them! 😉 ).

I thought to myself, ‘OK, Michigan politicians can’t be that bad. I’m sure we are running our server in Michigan.’ So I decided to test the same again. The results were shockingly familiar. See the screenshot below.

You see what I see? Pretty much the same traceroute. So what can we deduce? Well it could be a number of things. I suppose it’s possible that there is a firewall preventing us from going inside of AT&T’s network, and the server is really in Michigan, we just don’t see that. Or, we can assume that wherever ATT-CORPORA.edge5.Denver1.Level3.net is, that both of these are sitting on the same server.

I’ll let the people decide. However, for me, I’m going to believe that something is a bit fishy here. What this has taught me is that as long as I recommend a product — publicly or in-person — I better be using it. So that is why you will find that I only recommend products I use. I’m sure later this month, I’ll be talking about them.