wow…stupid patriot act

Encrypt everything?

I need some advice


Currently, I’m on a shared hosting plan with my hosting provider.  I’ve farmed out email to Google with Google Apps.  I use Amazon’s Cloud Drive for their cloud music player (+20GB online space).  I use flickr to host my pictures.  I’d like to combine everything into one provider.  However, my experiments in self-hosted pictures haven’t turned out so good (and I’d need about 300GB space).  And I’d need another 200 GB or so for music.  Any ideas on how I could do this on my own?

I’ve thought about using AWS with their EC2 compute cloud and S3 for storage, but there’s no easy way to talk between the two (Why not, Amazon??).

I’ve looked into VPS solutions, because most of the time, everything will sit idle.  But I can’t get the disk space I want.

I’ve thought about buying a QNAP NAS device, but I’d prefer to NOT have it at home.

That leaves getting a physical server somewhere.  But the price is about $100/month.  For $1,200/year, it seems like I should be able to buy my own server and put it in a data center somewhere.  Has anyone else out there tackled this sort of problem?  How have you overcome it?

[Update 2013-06-23 07:19:22] I’ve been thinking about this, and I think co-location of a server is the only way to go.  That is the ONLY way to guarente that my data isn’t shared with anyone.  Sure, the police could come in and take the server…but I could set it up so the disks are encrypted and can’t be read without a password.  Going this route would also let me get rid of:

  • Hosting:  $13/month
  • VPN:  $55/year
  • Flickr:  $25/year
  • Amazon Music:  $20/year (+20 GB Storage)

It would let me get (with no known men-in-the-middle):

  • email done on my own server
  • cloud storage
  • Contact/Calendar synching across devices without Google
  • Secure telephony (asterisk with zrtp) 
  • Off-site backup (with loads of space)

I think my plan is going to be to set this stuff up at home, see if I can do it, then decide from there what to do.

Image from amy nievera via flickr

Today, I made it through…

security screening at denver airport

…more security theater.  For another point, look at this article.  You can see past things I’ve written here and here.

As I write this, I’m sitting air-side at Heathrow Airport.  I’m drinking my coffee and waiting for them to announce what gate I leave from.  And I didn’t have to take off my shoes or belt.  Why am I all gripey about this?  Well, it is the inconsistencies that get me.

I never take my shoes off, unless I get asked.  Why?  First off, I wear just about the same thing every time I fly.  I certainly wear the same shoes 100% of the time:  lace-up short hiking boots.  About 1/2 the time, I make it through the metal detectors without getting beeped.  The other half, I make the machine beep, have to take off my shoes.  The same with the belt….about 1/2 the time, I’m asked to take it off…the other half no one seems to mind.  

Are there standards or not?  Why does something make it through once but not another.  Come on people….

Image from danjo fing via flickr

Good Job Advice

Another day in my cubicle at work #newsfromthecube

One of the blogs I read regularly is The Art of Manliness.  I forget where I first found it, but it is a great blog.  Great advice for men, teen boys, and anyone else looking to become a well-rounded person.  And it avoids the sexual angle that is so prevalent on so many other “lad-blogs.”

Anyway, this week, I finally got around to reading their article on your first day and week at a new job:  Hit the Ground Running: How to Ace Your First Day and First Week at a New Job.  Here’s a summary of the main points (and my thoughts on one of them)

1. Before your first day
     Do your research
     Set out what you need the night before
     Brush up on your business etiquette
     Dress for success
     Aim to arrive ten minutes early
     Carry yourself with confidence
     Take the initiative in introducing yourself
     Take notes

2. How to Ace the First Week
     Ask lots of questions
     Listen, observe, and research
     Decorate your space
     Set up a calendar
     Create a to-do list notebook
     Don’t talk about how things used to be done at your old job
     Send your first Friday Update

That last one is one I really like.  A Friday Update.  The article says

The Friday Update is a short email that “functions to communicate your progress and the status of your current projects and tasks.” Here’s what they [Bennington and Lineberg] recommend including in the update:

Accomplishments this week
Challenges or stumbling blocks (areas where you need direction or input)
Noteworthy opportunities, suggestions, and insights
Issues that need your boss’s input or approval
Your schedule and goals for the coming week

I work on a 5 person team spread out geographically (and in different timezones).  My supervisor/boss isn’t in the same country as me.  I really like this idea to summarize what I did and what I plan to do.  I think I’m going to start doing that.

Image from slworking2 via flickr

Asus WL-330N (3g) Review


In my job, I travel to lots of places where people are having meetings to work on their computers.  We do this because we get the most “bang for the buck” so to speak by going where people are then working on their computers.  But, that means we don’t have control over the environment we find ourselves in.  Or what resources are available.  We can get around this by taking hard drives with software and updates for our use.  However, there are cases where wifi is spotty (that’s being nice).  An example would be a meeting I recently went to in Morocco:  wifi was available in the lobby but not the meeting room.  But, in one corner of the meeting room we could, occasionally, leech wifi off another hotel.  That corner was really popular.

Enter my quest for a router I could take with me places.  A colleague suggested an Apple Airport Express (he has one).  The size was right but it didn’t do everything I wanted.  I then thought about getting a stock router and installing DD-Wrt.  Well, after looking, I didn’t think DD-Wrt did everything I wanted.  So, I kept looking.  But, before I go farther, I suppose I should tell you my requirements:

  1. work as a traditional access point (give it an ethernet internet connection and have it broadcast it)
  2. work as a bridge (connect to the internet via wifi then give that signal over wired connection)
  3. #2 except rebroadcast on a SSID of my choice
  4. be small

#3 turned out to be the hardest.  After looking, I didn’t even think that ddwrt would do what I wanted.  I kept looking.  And looking.  And looking.  Finally, I stumbled on the Asus WL-330n3G.  This thing does everything:

  1. I can plug it into an ethernet port and broadcast my own SSID (complete with DHCP, firewall, etc… services)
  2. I can connect it to a wireless network and give any wired devices access to that wired network
  3. I can reshare that wireless on a SSID of my choice
  4. I can simply repeat a SSID, if I want
  5. I can even connect a USB 3G modem and share that internet amongst devices
  6. Best of all, this thing is small.  About the size of a credit card and perhaps 1/2 inch thick!
  7. And even better, it is powered by USB.  AND they included an AC->USB power adapter
  8. Even more better, the price was only £31 (about $50)!

I haven’t taken it any place with me yet, but I think this little guy will come in very handy!