📅 19 Jan 2021
Here it is, my brand new site
I recently joined the fediverse. More specifically the fosstodon instance, where kevq launched the #100DaysToOffload challenge. This was the final push needed for me to finally get my website online.
I had been thinking for quite a while about publishing technical howtos and instructables for things that I figured out or made over the last couple of years. I’m very much aware of the fact that putting effort into documentation is not one of my strengths, and I regularly get hit by that fact when I have to spend hours trying to figure out which “brilliant” things that past me concocted.
I’m not sure that hardcore technical howtos are the target of #100DaysToOffload, but whatever gets me off my lazy butt and start documenting things which might also be useful to others, is good. So let’s at least give it a shot.
There’s several categories of things I’d like to document:
(Arch)linux server configuration
After having started with linux more than 20 years ago by receiving a free Suse CDROM at university, I went through almost all distributions. I’ve had an extended period with Debian unstable for 7-8 years, but finally settled on Archlinux about 10 years ago. Not because it’s elitist (my god, I hate the meme), but simply because it puts you in control of everything. It also helps that it has a rolling release model so you get the latest packages to play with.
I’m selfhosting quite a lot of services and quite a few of those were non-trivial to set up or required subtle configuation changes to get them to do something useful. Selfhosted public services include: website, nextcloud, e-mail, webmail, matrix. On top of that I’m running a few services on the home network: Archlinux and ArchlinuxARM build servers, multi-room audio based on mpd and snapcast, samba document server.
A lot of times when something breaks I find myself re-learning everything just to understand the configuration that I wrote earlier myself. Luckily, most of that is based on the Archlinux wiki, so it’s not that difficult to retrieve.
linux on ARM / ArchlinuxARM package builds
I’ve found myself using ARM hardware as daily driver(s) for about a year now (I’ve been running ARM devices already for about 10 years). Lately, I’m using my Pinebook Pro as my main computer. Next to that, the house is filled with Raspberry Pis for a.o. the multi-room audio system mentioned above, and I’ve got two Pinephones to tinker with.
Using these devices as main drivers also exposes some obvious weaknesses which — in true FOSS tradition — I’ve been trying to solve myself. Some of this work ended up in AUR packages, e.g. the widevine-armv7h and box86-git packages that I’m the maintainer of. But in most cases, those PKGBUILDs don’t explain the background to why and how to do certain things on ARM.
Arduino (low-power) creations
A few years ago I started tinkering with Arduinos. Probably because I wanted to learn a bit more about electronic circuits and microcontrollers. I have a physics degree, but am currently working in the electronics industry, still doing somewhat related to physics. However, my background in electronics was limited to 1 or 2 basic courses during my degree. So I probably wanted to get a more hands-on experience.
I’ve finished about a dozen projects now. Most of them are related to making things for my kids. Most of them need to run on batteries since I don’t trust myself (nor my kids) running home-made creations on mains electricity; or at least not for an extended amount of time. I soon learned that that presents a lot of extra challenges: getting a project to run on batteries for weeks or months is not something which you can do with standard arduinos. I’ll try to document what’s needed to get an children’s alarm clock (no sound, only light) to run for several months on AA batteries. Or a toothbrush timer.
Let’s get started
Anyway, enough words spent on explaining what I want to do. Let’s just get it done.
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