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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Tue, 13 Mar 2012

My Debian Squeeze box DOESN'T spring forward

I'm always wondering about people who forget to spring forward or fall back when daylight saving time begins or ends.

Now I'm one of them.

I have a 10 a.m. conference call today, and looking at the clock on my GNOME desktop in Debian Squeeze, my operating system on this laptop since late 2010, I dial into the call.

There's nobody there.

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Fri, 09 Mar 2012

Huge OwnCloud breakthrough -- I figure out how to get a secure connection

The missing piece from my OwnCloud installation has been a secure connection over SSL, which means an encrypted session over the Web.

I finally figured out how to use the shared SSL certificate from my hosting provide, Hostgator. Here are the instructions for all Hostgator shared-hosting users who want an https:// connection to their site(s).

I set up the secure https:// connection in my browser bookmarks and in my WebDAV configuration. (Here's how to set up WebDAV for OwnCloud from the project's how-to pages.)

Now I'm a lot more confident in using OwnCloud as my own personal document/file access/sharing service knowing that my data isn't being sent in the clear.

Tue, 06 Mar 2012

I love Markdown

To know Markdown is to love it.

Markdown is baked into Ode and makes writing things tour need to end up as HTML faster, easier, less broken and nicer to read on the back end, too.

When HTML was created in the early 1990s, it was envisioned (in my hazy opinion) as something that would be applied to text by a computer program, not laboriously typed out (and inevitably messed up).

But type it out we do. Or at least I do. All (the live-long) day.

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Hostgator is a solid shared-hosting performer -- and why you need a shared-hosting account of your very own

I've been with Hostgator for a few years now. I have a shared-hosting account that I use to run a few small web sites and experiment with anything for which I need access to an Apache web server.

The experience has been a good one. The service is extremely solid, the Cpanel interface helpful, and overall it's been easier to deploy services on Hostgator than on the other servers and shared-hosting services I've used.

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How to use the shared SSL certificate on Hostgator even if you are using an .htaccess redirect

In order to figure out exactly how to use the shared SSL certificate that Hostgator provides to non-static-IP users of its shared-hosting service to get an https:// connection, begin here to figure out the right URL (it's different than your usual one).

I've been trying to make this work on the Ode site in my account for months without success. My problem was that I could only get the SSL to "stick" in the "root" portions of the file hierarchy where my Ode site lives, not deeper in the directories where I access Ode -- both normally and with EditEdit.

I finally figured out what I was doing wrong: Hostgator's shared SSL doesn't work with .htaccess redirects (which I use on this Ode site).

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Mon, 05 Mar 2012

DragonFly BSD 3.0.1 desktop test -- first steps

I haven't distro-hopped in quite awhile. I lost my taste for it.

Once I started really using Linux and BSD to do my work, I needed a stable system that had all the applications I needed with all the data in the right places and formats. Everything needs to work. All the time.

That has generally meant, for me anyway, running Debian Stable. I've used Debian Squeeze on my main "production" laptop since late 2010.

About a year before that, I spent six months running OpenBSD 4.4 as my main OS when I couldn't figure out how to get the CD drive to work in an old laptop. OpenBSD was the only system I could install from a floppy disk. I learned a whole lot in those six months and was very productive.

Since then I've pretty much stuck with Linux. Almost exclusively with Debian.

I did some FreeBSD tests. I check in on OpenBSD via live images every once in a while. But I haven't actually installed anything other than Debian over the past year and an half.

Until now.

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