Star Trek cruise 2018: the pictures

A detailed post will follow with some of my thoughts about the cruise, an adventure just concluded with my brother starting in Miami, a ship full of Star Trek celebrities and fans, ports of call in Honduras, Belize, and Mexico, and stuff that happened in a comiccon setting during days at sea. Also, my brother and I met a new friend, Tracy — a fellow fan and person with whom we shared our table in the dining room on the ship.

For now, I offer a link to a gallery of trip photos:

Note the controls at the bottom for navigation and slide show, and that you can touch left and right on the image to move, well, left and right.


Self-sufficiency in web hosting: over the years

Although my experience with web hosting servers goes back two decades, I have recently stopped hosting content for others, and no longer maintain DNS or email server infrastructure.

Given the trends of consolidation and cloud, what are the best practices to manage a digital footprint at the beginning of 2018? There are 4 fundamentals: domain registrar, dns server, email server, and web server. For bonus points, a test server.

Here is what I did, which is a strategy that would be suitable for a small business or personal presence on the Internet, or for a startup up to 10 or 20 people.

Domain registrar

I purchased the domain on which this is hosted from

DNS server

GoDaddy offers a terrific DNS control panel built-in — I encourage people to use it rather than giving up control of their DNS to a hosting ISP.

email server

A colleague continues to maintain an email server, and has been gracious enough to host my email. I would suggest outsourcing your email to a boutique ISP like, or a service like Gmail for Business.

web server

What works for me:

I leased a small Virtual Private Server (VPS) from Digital Ocean running Fedora Linux, and have configured it to host a few websites, including my personal blog using WordPress, and some vacation photos. Some people might want a server with cPanel in order to manage the server.

What you should consider as a hosted option:

Get a WordPress blog from a boutique ISP like or, or if you need a builder and commerce capabilities, to host the and for your site. Do not give the ISP control of your DNS, just ask them for the IP address and point to the hosts using your DNS control panel.

Test server

I have a test server at home, a Vista-class 64 bit dual core with 4GB RAM and a small SSD for the operating system, and a few big usb external drives formatted with ext4 and ntfs partions, running Fedora 27. I can supplement the limited resources of a very small VPS package by mounting, over the WAN, the file system on my home test server. Some of this can of course be done as a network mount like xfs or smb (windows style) over a VPN link. However, an even cleaner yet still secure approach is sshfs remote file system mount, which I predict will make many VPN setups redundant or greatly simplified in the future.

We may live in the age of the cloud but there is still room for individual expression and self-sufficiency. It’s never too late to reformat a piece of junk as a home test server.


New domain, VPS, blog, and test server

This blog is my way of posting relatively uncontroversial information, like technical articles about Linux, or vacation photos. There have been times where a Google search helped me find a blog article written by somebody in 2012 that helped me fix a technical problem. I hope to pay it forward by creating similar articles myself.

Although I work as a system administrator, I have only recently renovated my personal digital presence, with a domain, a Virtual Private Server (VPS), and now this blog. I plan to follow my brother’s example in terms of blog posting, except that I plan to keep the blog hosted on the VPS rather than on bare metal running at home.

My test server at home can run of course run Linux/Apache/MySQL/MariaDB/PHP (LAMP) sites, but it is mostly a home media server and VPN server. In the next few days I will be posting about my test server and recent experiments with OpenVPN on my home network — making home resources available remotely via a VPN client, or acting as a network gateway to other computers on the network. There have been many howtos, some excellent but out of date. I will share my adaptation of another person’s suggested procedure, along with corrections and additions.

If you stick around for a few weeks, you might even see pictures of Star Trek stuff.