Tag Archives: internet

This tag is redundant. This blog is on the internet. Tags in this blog are on the internet. Posts have tags in this blog that is on the internet. But where else would I write about the internet but on the internet?

Goodbye, Ghost…

Well, that was a fun little experiment.

I stuck with Ghost for nearly a month. But I just couldn’t stand it. The whole time, no spell check. And each time there was a new release, still no spell check. Since WordPress can do Markdown just as well as Ghost, it really didn’t make sense to stick with it. It was only lacking features, and the update process was a pain.

So here I am back with WordPress. Plus, I can again use the app on my phone. One of the perk of self-hosting like this was that all I had to do was change a few lines of my web server’s configuration, and the switch was instantaneous. Then I just copied over the couple of post I did through Ghost (manually, since there were only about five), and bam!–back to WordPress.

I think the Ghost project is going to turn out a cool alternative, but it’s just not going to catch up to WordPress. Plus, my blog can snow.

In need of a project…

I’ve been thinking over and over about joining some sort of open source project. But my problems (among many others) are:

  • I’m nervous about joining an existing project and not cutting it.
  • I don’t have a ton of time I can commit to a busy, fast-moving project.
  • I kind of like the idea of doing something completely from the ground up. (Ok, not completely‚ÄĒjust doing something my way.

I’ve gravitated toward WordPress before because I know PHP, HTML, JavaScript, and CSS pretty well. But I decided it wasn’t for me. The Ghost project seems neat, but I think they have different views about blogging than I do. I mean, I like most of the interface well enough, but I don’t really want a split screen. I want to type in just Markdown, preview on the fly, then maybe have split screen to do final edits if need be. But really, the whole point of Markdown is to just write and not worry about HTML. With Ghost, I’m constantly looking back and forth between the two views. Plus, I still don’t have spell check. ūüôĀ

So I think I might start building my own blogging platform. From the ground up. Just because. It’s not going to be better, it will just be mine.

Frustration just being secure…

Working at a company that makes a third of the world’s computer memory, you would think that I would be working with the latest technologies every day. Well, that’s not really the case. I deal mainly with software, developing and maintaining the stuff. And while the hardware under my desk might be top notch (i7 quad-core with 24 GB of RAM), the software running on it is probably 10 years old.

In order to get Python 2.7, I had to compile it myself. I also compiled Git. We have a NFS mounted home directory, so it’s available on all Linux boxes on the network. But that meant that I had to compile for both i686 and x64_86. Oh, and I can’t get root access on my box or get something better like Ubuntu 14.04.

Well, in this latest round, I’m trying to install some Ruby, Rails, and Node.js, along with the related packages. Well, everything was going great until I started the main install, and I got a weird error trying to download from Github over HTTPS. It wasn’t the proxy (I already had that setup correctly). I dug in and found two problems:

  1. The certificates on my machine were out of date, so I couldn’t download from some sites.
  2. The OpenSSL on my machine was so old, it didn’t support SHA-256 (which, funny enough, all new certificates will probably have, as most certificate authorities are phasing out SHA-1).
    So I tried to go down the road of compiling OpenSSL, Curl, and Git with support for the newer digest, as well as update the CA certificates. Oh, the nightmare this has been. Everything seems to go fine, but then Git just doesn’t work over HTTP/HTTPS. No error message — it just stops.

And all of this is to get OpenProject running on Linux because our sys admin gave me a old Windows box with a Core Duo processor to install OpenProject on, and now OpenProject doesn’t support Windows at all, and a Virtual Box Ubuntu server won’t run fast enough.

Anyway, that’s a long boring story. My point is: how can a technology company be so bad with software? Oh, the horror stories I could tell…

Welcome to Ghost…

Well, I did it. I successfully migrated my blog to Ghost. It was a bit of a wild ride. I’m going to jot down a few of the nerdier lessons learned, on the off-chance someone else runs into the same problems and happens upon this post.

Exporting from WordPress

Exporting the WordPress data was easy. I just used the Ghost export plugin for WordPress. I first exported all comments to Disqus, and I didn’t worry about images, since I don’t have that many and I didn’t really care if they were lost. I guess there are ways to save the images as well, but I didn’t bother. One caveat that you might also run into: tag descriptions cannot be more that 200 characters, so trim these first or you’ll be editing JSON by hand.

Installing Ghost

I chose to download from GitHub, in case I wanted to make any changes. I made my own fork as well. Anyway, that was the easy part. Just make sure you follow the right instructions (there are extra steps if you download from GitHub, in a “contributing” section). Once I did that it was a piece of cake.

The only tricky thing was that all off the post dates were way off, so I had to adjust the dates by +7 hours. Otherwise, all of my permalinks were broken. But now BYU students can still find the MRH.

Apache Reverse Proxy

I run Apache, including a few other blogs and other tools in PHP, so I needed to figure out a way to forward all https traffic to Ghost. I tried using a socket. That was a mistake. Apache’s Unix domain socket support is questionable, and documentation is nonexistant. Save yourself the pain and just use TCP/HTTP forwarding. I set Apache to redirect any HTTP traffic to mchasej.com, so I just had to worry about the SSL/HTTPS forwarding. But be sure to add the following line to your Apache conf file, or you’ll end up with endless redirect loops:

RequestHeader add X-Forwarded-Proto https

I’m sure that there’s a variable for the “https” but since this is a *:433 virtual host, it didn’t matter.

Ok, I guess that wasn’t as hard as it needed to be. Honestly, I probably spent a good 1-2 hours trying to get the socket thing to work. And before that, I spent 5-6 hours setting up SSL between my webhost and home server’s MySQL servers, as well as resyncing the slave. That was trickier than it needed to be, mostly because it left out the important detail that the CN for the requests had to be different between the CA, server, and client certificates. But now that’s finally secure. That wasn’t even something I thought of, then I stumbled upon the settings and realized that everything between my master and slave was plaintext. Oh, and tip: setup the slave certs through the CHANGE MASTER TO MASTER_SSL_CA=… command and not through the my.cnf file.

Well, I’m done with the nerdy stuff for now. I’m really excited to start using Ghost. The only thing I’m not happy with is the lack of browser spell-check support. Other than that, I’m tickled pink with this new blogging platform. My new little laptop handles it better as well.

Why can’t it be more simple…

So I looked into using Discourse for comments. Another project using Ruby (on Rails). So that’s not my favorite idea.

I’ve started to think what I would most want from a blogging platform. ¬†One thing I don’t really care about WordPress right now (any maybe it’s just this theme) is that my content seems to take a back seat to the sidebars and widgets. But this is the WordPress default theme of 2014. So…

So here’s my wishlist (in no particular order):

  1. Simple — I don’t need a lot of fluff. ¬†I don’t need Facebook integration or anything like that.
  2. Lightweight — I need something that runs a little better on my new laptop. WordPress is feeling bloated.
  3. Comments — While I don’t get a lot of comments, I think blogs need comments. Comments with moderation.
  4. Minimal — I want a minimal theme, nice crisp font. Nothing flashy.
  5. Easy — Something that I can drop on a server and not have to run 5 different languages to get it going. Apache and PHP are easy, so WordPress does have an up here.

So Ghost is most of these things. I’m not sure how easy it is. I’m working a lot with JavaScript lately, so I could probably add anything I really wanted. Plus, it might prove to become an open source project that I could actually contribute to. There are no comments, but this might just have to be the way it is for a while. I’m not even sure anyone reads my blog anymore.

So that’s what I might be doing tomorrow: taking care of a sick wife and installing Ghost.

I just want to watch Clue…

Come on Netflix! ¬†I know that when you say you’re stuck at 25% that it really means that you’re lying to me and that you’re at 0%.

Anyways, that’s not important. ¬†But it does mean that I can focus on blogging. ¬†I was hoping to do both, but this will have to do. ¬†I’m testing my new 11.6″ laptop out on WordPress. ¬†It’s not a very powerful machine, so I’ve already abandoned the visual editor. But it’s doing fine with the text editor. And I like Markdown anyway (actually, I prefer CommonMark–I’m not a fan of Gruber).

I’ve been using more and more open source tools at work. And it has peaked my interest in becoming involved in some open source communities and projects. I’ve thought about getting involved with WordPress, but it’s such a huge project. Plus, it feels like it’s getting bloated. And it’s probably overkill for my readership of one and the seldom that I write.

I started looking at Jekyll. It’s perfect, except it’s written in Ruby–I don’t like Ruby. Then I started looking at Octopress. Same problem, plus it doesn’t seem to be actively developed.

Then (just a few minutes ago), I stumbled upon Ghost…

And with just 5 minutes with their trial, I’m sold. I’ll be switching to Ghost in the near future. Ghost with Discourse for comments.

The cloud dilemma…

(I started this back a couple days.)

Ever since I set up my own server, I’ve been debating abandoning all cloud services that I can. ¬†I’ve already stopped using Facebook (because it’s Facebook more than because it’s a cloud service). ¬†But I’ve also considered switching from Gmail to a personal email server. ¬†It’s scary how important my email account is. ¬†But of course, I’m also nervous about the security of the server itself. ¬†(Of course, the recent heart bleed vulnerability affected almost everyone, and I probably patched my server faster than the majority of the internet.) ¬†(At least once I knew about it‚ÄĒthanks xkcd!)

Where do you draw the line? ¬†When does it become more important to own your data, to own your email address? ¬†Because whoever owns your email address also owns most of your other accounts across the internet. ¬†I mean, if Google said tomorrow, “The data center with our Gmail servers exploded yesterday. ¬†We don’t have any backups, and we’ve decided to simply drop the service and all support. ¬†It’s in the terms. ¬†Have a nice day,” what would we do? ¬†Ok, I know that this is unlikely, but who says it can’t happen? ¬†I mean, Google decides to stop supporting services all the time.

This is something I think about every once and a while.  And yet I keep using Gmail.

It’s been a couple days, and I thought of a very good reason for me to use Gmail, as well as anyone else who’s able to setup their own personal email server: credibility. ¬†My thought is that if I were to attempt to use an email message that is stored only on computers under my control (other than possibly the sender, who may have lost/destroyed any trace of sending the message, or may be simply withholding it) as evidence of some kind, it could be easily argued that I could have created a fake email on the server, since I have root access. ¬†The same cannot be said of Gmail, as I do not work for Google, nor do I know anyone personally who does. ¬†So a message sent to me from a bank or online payment system confirming payment (for example) must be authentic, and could be used as proof of payment.

That was a long thought, but that’s what it comes down to: the fact that I do not own the server storing my email gives the messages credibility. ¬†(At least I hope it does, since I am not a lawyer, and I don’t care enough to research this‚ÄĒI would rather go to bed.)

Websites, servers, and blogs, oh my!…

A funny thing happened over the past few months. ¬†When we moved, we had the pleasure of becoming members of an HOA. ¬†I’m not a fan of HOAs in general, but it seems to be how things are done here. ¬†Personally, I think it’s a way for the local city government to get out of installing and maintaining things like street lights. ¬†Nonetheless, it wasn’t like we had a choice.

Well, after we’d been here almost a year, the HOA got turned over from the developer to the members. ¬†At the first meeting we had as a new HOA with the board to discuss things like higher dues, I asked if they had thought of having a website for the HOA. ¬†I thought they would jump at the opportunity to have someone take on this project (for free!). ¬†What’s more, I had already registered the perfect domain name (a .org domain, because I do things right), and I offered to host it free of charge. ¬†So I had offered the HOA free site development, maintenance, and hosting. ¬†But they didn’t take me up on the offer.

So when it came time to renew the domain, I let it expire. ¬†Around that time, we got a new HOA board (and thus, new HOA president). ¬†Well, the secretary sends out and email asking if anyone would be willing to assist them in the creation of a new HOA website (and if anyone had the knowledge and ability). ¬†After banging my head against the table a couple times, I quickly emailed them back saying, “Funny you ask…”

I got in touch with the HOA president, which wasn’t easy for me because I’m very bad at remembering non-work stuff while at work (I guess I enter “work mode” or something.) ¬†The best part is by that time, the domain had passed the grace period and was now in “redemption status”. ¬†Meaning that I either had to pay $200+, or wait a month or so until it again became available to anyone. ¬†That has the risk of jerks like GoDaddy or NetSolutions buying your domain as soon as it’s available and asking a “premium” price. ¬†I was very careful not to visit the site, so that it wouldn’t look attractive, and only checked its availability at my original registrar (which is the best: NameCheap.com).

But fortunately it became available this week, and I snagged it again. ¬†Auto-renew this time (for all my domains–you know that’s right). ¬†Now begins the adventure of training a bunch of retired people and middle-aged housewives how to use WordPress. ¬†I figure WordPress is perfect — they want a couple of static pages with CC&Rs, forms, and stuff like irrigation information, plus the ability to post news or announce upcoming events. ¬†The design, look, and feel is going to fall on me, and that might be a pain, but I think I can make it work.

That’s one of most exciting things happening to me this week, outside of my confidential work stuff. ¬†It’s very hush-hush. ¬†Well, it’s way too late for this idiot to be blogging. ¬†Good night.

Currently listening to “Piano Sonata No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 45: Andante sostenuto” by¬†Artur Pizarro (performed by the¬†London Philharmonic Orchestra)

I need to create my own theme…

I have the PHP/HTML/CSS¬†know-how¬†already. ¬†I’d probably start from an existing theme, or be more¬†adventurous¬†and start from scratch. ¬†There are a few themes that are a couple years old that I like, but they either need to be updated to support widgets or have valid CSS/HTML to be a WordPress theme. ¬†It would probably be a better free time activity than video games. ¬†So if you visit the site one day and it’s¬†unbelievably¬†ugly, don’t worry, it’s just me having fun.

I might take a vote one which theme I should base use as a starting point, if that’s the route I take. ¬†Also, if my current theme looks weird, do a full refresh of the page. ¬†I updated it yesterday, and it changed a bunch of stuff, mostly for the worse. ¬†Thus the need to manage my own theme.

Currently listening to: “Love Me Dead” by Ludo

OpenID…the service nobody uses…

I just revisited all things OpenID. ¬†I have to present a paper in class tomorrow. ¬†A paper on a study of sorts on OpenID. ¬†(It was actually less on OpenID than I hoped.) ¬†Reading it prompted me to play around with OpenID on my blog and Google. ¬†You may not know this, because it’s not super clear¬†and¬†it’s not advertised anywhere on Google, but if you have a public Google profile, you can use the URL to your profile as an OpenID URL. ¬†And of course, WordPress sites can all be used with OpenID.

How much have I used this? ¬†I’d say none, but technically twice: both for blog related services. ¬†Not for anything useful. ¬†And I’m pretty sure that I also have a username to both of these other sites.

So what’s the point of me saying this? ¬†Two things. ¬†First, I don’t think anyone really uses OpenID. ¬†Second, I read a lot of papers that research dead ends or, more ironically, obvious questions (to which they find the obvious answer). Example: a bunch of people at some university in Canada did a study on OpenID, and it told us that most people didn’t understand it, that most people would use it if it was easier, but that most people won’t. ¬†The same thing we’ve known for years. ¬†Congrats.

And I get to present it tomorrow.  Yay.

Currently listening to: “Symphony No. 95 in C Minor, III a” by¬†Franz Joseph Haydn