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A New Blog

So, I guess it's time I started to write a blog. I've always read that it's recommended in IT to write a blog, or maybe in any industry these days, in order to have some sort of recognisable professional presence. Or, at the very least, to keep your rants off Facebook.

At any rate, there are plenty of things I could talk about, and I will. I tend mostly to have strong opinions on Politics, Information Technology, Economics, the Environment, and any intersection between the bunch, though not necessarily in that order. I think I'll start off properly with a politics post next.

Anyway, I figure I might as well write about the tools I used to set this blog up. Starting from the bottom of the stack, my server is a VPS hosted by Linode. I like that I have full control over my machine, without having to worry about the hardware. Even the lowest tier plan gets me more than enough machine for my needs, and the documentation and tools they have are really good. Definitely recommended.

The server OS is Debian, because for me it was either that or Ubuntu Server for the easy and familiar option. Fanboys can feel free to flame away at whatever choice is made, but I like something stable.

For the HTTP server itself, I'm using nginx. Apache is just to mainstream, and from everything I've read it doesn't scale as well. Not that scaling should be a problem for me for a long time, if ever, but you never know. I've found nginx to be just as easy, if not easier, to understand and configure compared to Apache anyway.

Finally, I use Nikola to generate this blog. Nikola is a static blog generator, so all the files on this site are just plain HTML, no CMS needed. The site design is basically just an unmodified Foundation theme, which for now looks good enough. Besides, if you're not using an RSS reader to read this blog (once you've first visited and decided to keep reading of course), then you damned well should be. Why on earth would you manually visit blogs to read?

On the non-essential side of things, analytics on the blog are handled by Piwik, so that I don't have to send all my data to Google Analytics. The thing I use this server for the most though, is Tiny Tiny RSS. I find that using an RSS reader is essential for keeping up with the world. Like most everyone else, I used to use Google Reader, but of course anyone who hasn't been living under a rock this year knows the story of how they shut it down, and the gnashing and wailing of teeth that ensued. I contributed my part of that, on my tiny corner of Google Plus and Facebook.

Just like many others, I decided that if I couldn't trust even Google with my stuff, then it might be better to go self-hosted. Tiny Tiny RSS was the self hosted solution with the most recommendations, and I've been pretty happy with it so far. It's nice to know that you've got a service that no-one is going to arbitrarily remove, just so long as you have a good backup policy in place.

Someday soon, I might get round to routing my mail through my server as well, though I might like to have it on a different one. A single point of failure for everything I rely on makes me nervous.

In conclusion, Welcome to my Blog, and don't be afraid to look into self hosting if you're at all technically inclined. It's the 21st century, and all the information you need is out there.