Many congratulations to my friends in the Fedora community for your 10th anniversary!
Fedora is such an important part of the wider Open Source and Free Software community and filled with many, many good people doing great work. I hope you all take at least a little time away from the coalface to celebrate today!
Many warm and happy congratulations!
So I recently mentioned that I stopped myself from registering all the domains, but I did aquire rsync.io.
Today I'll be moving my last few backups over to using it.
In terms of backups I'm pretty well covered; I have dumps of databases and I have filesystem dumps too. The only niggles are the "random" directories I want to backup from my home desktop.
My home desktop is too large to backup completely, but I do want to archive some of it:
In short I have a random assortment of directories I want to backup, with pretty much no rhyme or reason to it.
I've scripted the backup right now, using SSH keys + rsync. But it feels like a mess.
PS. Proving my inability to concentrate I couldn't even keep up with a daily blog for more than two days. Oops.
We live in a disconnected & battery powered world.
Build apps which assume that any server they need might not be there. Mobile apps which don’t start being unreliable when you’ve got dodgy connectivity. Save everything locally and then sync it.
The key word here is “sync”. To build a proper modern app, which not only copes with inconsistent connectivity but doesn’t bother the user about it, you have to save your data locally and then sync it up to the backing store, wherever that is (whether it’s a server provided by the app maker, or your Google account, or remoteStorage, or some personal thing like a PogoPlug). This means that the backing store, and your app, has to be able to cope with inconsistent and conflicting data. This is a hard problem to deal with; when I was working on Ubuntu One, we spent a lot of time with it. So… don’t try and roll your own solution. Really. Use something that’s already out there to handle data with syncing. Hood.ie can do this for web apps you build, or use Pouch; Parse or Firebase are similar public commercial services. The Ubuntu SDK has U1DB. Apple stuff has iCloud. Android has the backup API. Building an app for offline first means dealing with inconsistent data, but there’s no reason to not have an existing framework take on some of that load for you.
The offlinefirst people are starting a conversation about the user experience here. After a few years of working on this, the technology is mostly worked out (as you’ll see above), but we’ve hardly brushed the surface of how to present this to the people using your apps. In my heart I believe that there should be no presentation of it: that your app should just look and work exactly the same as it does in a world with infinite always-on bandwidth. That the “user experience” of offline first is that people like your app more not because it’s better, but because it’s not worse: because it never breaks even when you’re in a train tunnel. It’s not something you’d notice, unless you sat down and thought about it, in exactly the same way that no-one gives out credit because your app doesn’t crash much, unless all its competitors crash more. And I fear that exposing this stuff to the user interface is a way of saying “look, we had to do tons of really hard technical work to make things this smooth; we deserve a little bit of the UI which shows that this really hard technical stuff is working away in the background”, which is not a good argument.
But that’s a naïve thought. Ideally that’d be the case but clearly it isn’t. There is a difference between “this is offline” and “this is online”, even if only in the edge cases: if I’m typing my shopping list on my laptop before I pick up my phone and run out the door to the supermarket, I need to know if that shopping list has actually made it to my phone before I turn the laptop off. If the synced status of your data is entirely invisible — that is, we pretend that it’s all synced, all the time — then you get bitten on the one time when it wasn’t synced but you needed it to be. This sort of thing is what I think the offlinefirst.org conversation will be about, and it’s going to be fascinating to be a part of it.
“You know, it seems very hard here. Harsh. All the time, work, work, work, money, money, money.” She turned to Andreno. “You are retired, no? You have this pension. Yet, you travel hundreds of kilometers to work on a job with no future. Why is this?”
“Better than sitting on my ass,” Andreno said.
She nodded. “This is the thing. In the rest of the world — maybe not Japan, I have not been there — people enjoy sitting on their asses and talking, dancing, playing games. Here, there is no time. You are all too busy making signs.”
— John Sandford, Hidden Prey
A few weeks ago, I went to a business “networking” meeting. One of these things where you spend time talking to other people who run their own business, in the hope of making “connections” and getting more work.
A breakfast meeting, I should note.
Anyway, we’d had something to eat, and were in the middle of a very earnest discussion about how you can increase your client base by networking or something similar, and… my phone alarm went off.
Oops. I’d put the phone on silent — important breakfast meeting, after all — but alarms ignore silence, as they should.
Anyway, I got an exceedingly fishy look from half of the room. I thought at first that this was because I was gauche enough to disturb the power networking flow with a mobile phone noise, but then I took a question from the meeting leader.
“Is that your alarm?”, she asked.
I nodded, mildly embarrassed.
She checked her watch. “At twenty past eight in the morning?”
And I nodded, again. “Yep.”
There was disgruntlement evident in the room. As if the whole audience were suddenly the word “harrumph!” made flesh. I waved my hand dismissively, and the outpouring of business networking tips continued as if no interruption had ever occurred. But this conversation came up again, and again, and a third time once the gathering of minds was over.
This got me to thinking. There was a distinct odour of displeasure. Of my getting up at half eight being clear evidence of my lack of moral fibre, of some upstanding characteristic that I lack by not forcing myself out of bed early on, of how being unprepared to work from before the sun rises demonstrates some missing yet vital backbone.
Now, let’s be clear here. I run my own business. Most people reading this aren’t in so lucky a position: you have bosses, and HR departments, and core hours, and so on. But those of you who work for yourselves… why would you not take time to enjoy your life? I don’t think anybody lay on their deathbed and ended their lives with a gasp that they wish they’d spent more time at the office. Spend time with your kids. Read books. Poke around the local market. Buy dates. Go on dates. Get up late. Stay up late when you have a project that interests you, or that you can’t get out of your mind. And when you don’t, go to the library. To the pub. To the museum. Take your kids. Your boyfriend. Your parents. Eat things you haven’t eaten. Or don’t: eat things you like, and be happy doing it. Watch films. Pick flowers. Cook steak. Whatever.
You only get one life.
You really, really don’t need to have it be occupied by stress and hassle and drama if you don’t want it to be.
Stop reading /r/linux, or the comments on YouTube videos, or Ayn Rand books. Stop worrying about whether someone might read your tweets and dislike you because of them. Stop stressing about the advance of jQuery, or the lack of advance of jQuery, or the inevitable triumph of corporatism. You don’t get to do this again. Dividing up your life so that not all of it is work or thoughts about work is not evidence of lack of moral fibre, it really isn’t. Do fun things. Enjoy sitting on your ass, talking, dancing, playing games.
But trust me on the sunscreen.
(Speedtest over ethernet)
(Speedtest over wifi).
Now how do I go about getting Sky to giving me a wifi router box thing that does 802.11n or whatever?
I am running a fund-raising campaign for WaterAid to provide clean and sanitary water for poorer parts of the world. Dirty water is the source of so many health problems in the world, and I hope I can help a little in the wider cause.
To this end I have written and recorded three acoustic rock songs (and a bonus fourth) that I am making available under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike Licence. I have made the songs available as MP3, Ogg Vorbis, and FLAC, and I would like to encourage you to download them and if you like them to please donate to the fund-raiser.
For those of you familiar with my metal music, these are really very different songs; they are acoustic, up-beat songs with clean vocals. I actually wrote these songs five years ago for my wife, so I re-recorded them ready for our five year anniversary and creating a fund-raiser seemed a great way to share the music with others and do some good.
You can download .zip packages of all the music:
* Download ‘Trilogy’ in MP3 format (25MB)
* Download ‘Trilogy’ in Ogg Vorbis format (29MB)
* Download ‘Trilogy’ in FLAC format (275MB)
You can also listen to four songs as MP3s in your browser here:
* Wait For Me
* One More Day
* Endless Days
If you like the music please go and donate whatever you can afford!
I’ve been thinking about how to raise money for my Malawi Mission in aid of AMECA. Just tweeting and Facebooking the relevant links has done a pretty good job so far (I’m already at 40% of my target thanks to the wonderful people who have donated already) but I figure I’ll need to put in some extra effort to raise the rest. If you’ve any creative suggestions about how I can help raise more money for AMECA please leave a comment.
One idea I had was to inflict my culinary skills on people in exchange for money. I enjoy cooking and, although not sophisticated about it, I think I’m OK. But I’m not really a baker. This evening I set about trying to change that, and make some rather nice chocolate orange biscuits. These were a trial run, but on this evidence it might be worth pursuing!
Last week I wrote about how I’m giving away tickets to the official Doctor Who convention this month. Well, absolutely no-one has donated yet, so it’s basically an open goal if anyone wants to go for it! This week the BBC announced some extra guests for Sunday 24th, the day of these tickets:
That’s in addition to the various Doctors and companions already announced, including Matt Smith and Sylvester McCoy. Go enter!Donate here to enter the draw. Pin It
Yesterday I spotted a link to Mosh. I think I've seen it before but for some reason I bothered to read the whole article this time. Mosh is a whole new remote shell tool specially designed to work over mobile and intermittent networks. It's in Debian stable so I installed it and gave it ago. At the moment it's not a replacement for SSH, so you will still need SSH but only to bootstrap the tool.
You start a Mosh session by typing:$ mosh user@server
Just like you would on SSH, in fact that's how is starts, you login to the remote server and start a mosh-server in your name (no root code). Back on the client you then connect to the most-server using the mosh-client. The two ends exchange data using UDP not TCP, and the connection is encrypted by AES-128 in OCB mode.
Each end maintains what it thinks the "screen" should look like, so the client mostly does local echo reducing lag - though there is smart stuff in there to decide when not to. As long as the client and server are still running, being UDP they will re-connect after outage and client IP change as if nothing had happened. Should you become disconnected then when you reconnect the two ends resynchronise the current state the state of the server during the outage is irrelevant and thrown away, works even after the client is suspended and wakes up on a different network.
The developers claim that they offer better UTF terminal support than most other tools, and the modular design of the whole tool makes it easier to extend than SSH and should make security auditing easier.
Anyhow it's interesting, have a look if you have time. mosh.mit.edu. It's not yet a complete SSH replacement but for lots of things it's still very useful, faster than SSH and more robust in real world use. I can't comment on how secure it is, and the authors say they are confident but they are open that it's not had the same review that OpenSSH has.
Arbitrary tweets made by TheGingerDog (i.e. David Goodwin) up to 01 November 2013
He said, “No fatty, don’t eat…(2013/10/01)
Today I'm recuperating, and almost back to full health.
Unfortunately I made the mistake of online-shopping, oops.
Good job I stopped myself from registaring all the domains, but I did get two that I liked: spare.io & edinburgh.io.
I've updated my database to record them, but I wonder what do other people use to remind them about expiration dates of domains, SSL-certificates, & etc?
I googled and didn't find a definitive free/paid service, but it seems like something lots of people need to be reminded about..
Maybe people just rely on registrars sending strident emails. (Of course the redemption period for domains make it reasonably safe to forget for a day or two, until your customers complain and your emails start to bounce..)