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A Good Time

Definition of a great weekend in Vegas:

  • Golf at TPC Vegas (tough greens)
  • Dinner at Margaritaville
  • Fun poker session at Bellagio
  • 3+ hour hike at Red Rock National Park
  • Great burgers at Burger Brasserie (Paris)
    • 2 Mojitos
  • Seeing Anthony Cools
    • 2 vodka 7s
  • Really drunken poker at PH
    • Green apple shot
    • 2 tequila shots
    • Vodka 7
    • Many many spiced rum & ginger
  • Delayed flight
  • Dinner in the LINQ
  • 6 hour poker session at Aria
  • Direct to airport with no sleep

What I Bring

  • passion for wanting to make people better
  • enthusiasm and humour
  • selling snow to eskimos
  • merging of technical knowledge + understanding how to present value
  • lots of communication and collaboration (I prefer to work with consensus)
  • willingness to jump in where needed to Get Things Done.

Where to have my data?

My current hosting setup:

  • mail is hosted at FastMail
  • Calendars are iCloud
  • Contacts are self-hosted (Mac OS X Server)
  • Website is WordPress on Dreamhost

My costs are:

  • $4/month for static IP
  • $9/month for Dreamhost
  • $9/month for 4 users on FastMail

Ideally I’d bring all those services in one place where I control everything. My options:

  1. self-host
  2. Shared hosting
  3. Cheap VPS
  4. Colocation
  5. leave it all the same

Downsides

Self-hosting:

  • if my consumer grade internet goes down then I can’t access much of my info.
  • have to worry about maintaining offsite backups
  • no support if nothing goes wrong

Shared-hosting

  • privacy concerns
  • how are their backups
  • email service is usually not great
  • don’t normally have Contact/Calendar hosting

Cheap VPS

  • have to do everything myself
  • no real support if something goes wrong

Colo

  • kinda pricey for a little server ($30/month + cost of mac mini)

Leave it

  • data is everywhere, multiple places to admin
  • inconsistent support

I think my favourite choice is a self-hosted machine. I’d like to get a mac mini so I can remove my iMac from hosting duties. The Mac OS X Server software is really, really easy to use and there’s tons of information out there about what to do. Going self hosted removes $18/month from my costs and gains me a ton of control.

My ideal company

If I ever ran a company I would have the following policies:

  • Transparent salaries
  • Unlimited vacation, including a 6 month sabbatical every 4 years
  • Subsidized fitness
  • Personal trainer on call
  • Regular nutritional consulting
  • BYOD
  • Free standing/walking desk
  • Revenue sharing for everyone
  • Open books

Did I miss anything?

What I want in a blogging platform

Continuing in my quest to own all my data and systems, I want to figure out how to take back control of my blog.

Right now it is a WordPress site hosted at Dreamhost. Been working great for years. However, I don’t really like that all the posts are a WP database in a proprietary (though published) format.

My ideal blogging system:

  • all data stored in text files, preferably Markdown
  • allows multiple authors
  • single button/step publishing
  • can write blog on all devices
  • some templates to choose from so I don’t have to write them from scratch
  • self-hosted
  • easy to upload media to reference (pictures in posts, etc)

Jekyll seems too complicated, especially for Christine.

Suggestions?

Update

I’ve checked out:

  • Dropplets
    • no DB and markdown textiles
    • can be modified to support multiple authors
    • multiple step publishing (put file in specific directory then “publish” on admin panel)
    • can write on all platforms
    • a few, though nice, templates
    • self-hosted
    • not easy to upload media
    • can’t use MarsEdit to post

Next up, Ghost.

Update 2

Ghost seems hard to install. Moving on to Statamic. No DB, easy to install.

Enough Time Wasting

Only announcing this to keep myself accountable. I’m on Twitter/RSS too much so I’m taking the rest of the month off to reset. I have one important project that I am not focussing on, so drastic steps are needed.

Deleting Tweetbot, Reader, Facebook from all devices

Not dead, just not blogging

Great news, this blog now pushes via PubSubHubbub so you Feedbin folks should be set for all the real-time updates from this oft updated blog.

Private Data Sync

I was trying out BT Sync to replace Dropbox and then I saw FiloSync, so I checked that out as well.

The downside of BT Sync is that your main computer must be logged in for your devices to get the updated files. This is a problem for me as I am rarely logged into our desktop machine at the same time as my work machine so the files aren’t synced often. Also, getting the folders synced is a tad awkward.

FiloSync Pros:

  • Runs on a server so I don’t have to be logged in
  • Allows folders to be shared amongst several people
  • Can run it on my own server (current Mac OS X Server)
  • Data can be stored on AWS
  • Data encrypted on client side

Cons:

  • Java
  • Challenging to get running as a root, unattended service
  • If run on the same machine as your client (I am running on our desktop iMac), it duplicates the data. Not a huge deal but might be an issue if lots of data is shared.

I’m going to give a try for a while and see how I like it.

Doing What’s Important

It seems that my priorities are changing as my kids get older. Now they are:

  • Health
  • Education

Simply put, healthy people are smarter, and properly educated people will change the word. And as I am wont to do, I have been sucking in TEDTalks and articles around “proper” learning and the “right” way to health.

Healthwise, I wish more people:

  • ate less processed food
  • excercised regularly
  • spent their money locally
  • spent more time with friends and family

In terms of education, I have been thinking a lot about my kids and what is important for them. More and more I see schools not educating children properly, favouring rote testing instead of:

  • play
  • problem solving
  • critical thinking
  • actual debate
  • child-led learing

I would like my girls to grow up with healthy and well educated friends, sow do I help more people, especially the ones in my community, get healthier and smarter?

I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to accomplish this. Christine thinks I should get involved in politics, which is a very interesting thought. Civil elections are next November.

Other options are creating either a health- or education-based business that involves my community. I have a few ideas, but nothing concrete yet.

It’s a big discussion but I feel a change coming on.

Staying Private

Continuing my quest for privacy, I have decided to give BT Sync a try for my personal documents.

I have moved all of my personal documents off of Dropbox. The only things left there are apps that use it to sync data/settings. I will work on those as I go.

The iOS app is nice and it is fairly easy to use on my Mac so I am happy with that.

I found out the Fastmail would only respond to an Australian court order so that makes me feel a little better. Though the NY Times would seem to indicate that the NSA may have the data upstream from the providers. Grrrrrr.

I am going to try hosting my contacts & calendars myself with Mac OS X Server, so I am switching ISPs to one that cheap static IPs ($4/month) and does not block any ports. Ironically, they use Telus as their provider so I get the same service, for $5 more/month with no restrictions! Nice.

Once I get that set I will decide on the email part.

Getting there, getting there.