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The Web and I

lundi 16 décembre 2013 à 01:00

And so it Begins

I've always been fascinated by electronics and computers.

I remember spending countless hours messing around with one of those "Electronic Project Kits" similar to the one pictured above.

I followed every instruction in the book, went off-course and tried new things.

HTML

Sometime around 1996 (at approximately 11 years old), my school organized a few different summer camps. One of them was computer related and, of course, piqued my interest.

During the summer, we worked on a few different projects. The one I remember best was creating websites, and if I recall correctly, this was my first introduction to HTML.

My website definitely looked like the classic Geocities site with <blink> and <marquee> tags, tacky .gifs, non-semantic <font> and tiled background patterns, and I was damn proud of it!

Once the camp was over, I went back home, built websites with Notepad and saved them on my C:\ drive since we didn’t have home Internet at the time. I didn’t have an audience — and probably still don’t ;) — learned by trial and error, but I was learning and had fun doing it.

Online!

Once we got the Inter-tubes connected to our house, I started signing up for those “free hosting” sites that would give you a free subdomain.

More often than not, they would either announce that they’re shutting down or going “paid only” after a while, forcing me to hop from host to host.

Some of them would display banner ads on your site, which I took as a challenge to come up with some “clever CSS” to hide them — unknowingly, but undoubtedly against their ToS.

One of the more vivid memories I have is how excited I was when I discovered Server-Side Includes (SHTML / SSI). I was browsing HTML Source; one of the first websites I remember using as a reference. Every time I go back on that site I get a big hit of nostalgia :)

Third-party Services

LiveJournal, Blogger, Wordpress(.com), Xanga, Flickr, you-name-it… I signed-up for all of them.

I did so mostly out of curiosity to see how they worked and keep up with the new things appearing on the web.

Most of those allowed you to create custom themes with your own CSS stylesheets and sometimes even include your own JavaScript!

Open Source

This isn’t directly related to the web, but it plays an important role in what follows.

While I was in university, I was introduced to Linux and the whole concept of Free, Libre Open Source software (FLOSS).

I really liked the idea and soon thereafter all my machines were running some sort of Linux distro.

My experiments with Linux could be a little story on its own, and I might just write about it someday.

Legit Hosting

In 2009, I was 2 years out of university, had a job and a bit of money to invest into a host that was a bit more reliable than those free ones.

After thinking way too much about a domain name, I settled on “chromic” mostly because my online nickname, Chimo, is part of it (genius, I know, right?).

Since this was my first shot at paying for hosting, I looked for something inexpensive and chose Dreamhost Shared Hosting.

One of the first things I did was to setup a Wordpress instance on there to move off Wordpress.com, “customize ALL the things!” and dive into the source code.

Identicaaaargh!

Because of my obsession with Linux, I started listening to the Linux Outlaws podcast.

After hearing them talk about this “identi.ca” thing a couple of times, I decided to check it out. My limited understanding was that it was an open source version of Twitter. It sounded fun & intriguing and was eager to look through the source code as a learning exercise.

This is when I became aware of the “federated social network” concept which, coupled with (FL)OSS, I thought sounded like an awesome idea.

It’s one of the reasons why I got interested in Identi.ca and StatusNet.

Another reason was because the !fediverse community seemed like it matched my interests a lot closer than Twitter’s or other social networks. Or at least those people were a lot easier to find, and usually more “approachable” in a sense. Conversations also seemed more interesting and “deeper”, people more engaged.

Part of it is probably because Identi.ca’s user-base was smaller compared to the bigger networks. Maybe the culture actually is different as well. I don’t know. Either way, the !fediverse is where I felt the most “at home”.

(Un)fortunately, identi.ca sometimes had problems with its uptime and general reliability, and after a while it started to happen too often for my taste.

This led me to look into hosting my own StatusNet instance, and I believe that while it might have been a minor annoyance at the time, it really was a good thing in the end.

I got lucky and StatusNet was one of Dreamhost’s “one-click install” products. So I clicked. And it installed. And it was slow. And Realtime wasn’t reliable (or not there at all, I can’t quite remember now), but it was mine.

Graduating to a VPS

In 2011, I felt like being on a Shared Host was too limiting (I really wanted Realtime running on my SN instance, too!).

After a bit of research, I found that Linode had good reviews and within my budget, so I dove right in and got a shiny VPS.

Oh, the freedom! Suddenly I could do anything I wanted! Want to tinker with your Apache configurations and bring everything down? You can! And I did! Multiple times!

Want to run a persistent process and eat all of your RAM? Yep! Been there, done that!

Want to deal with MySQL logs and fine-tuning? No? Well you still have to!

Of course, these are all things I ultimately enjoy doing and really like learning from so I don’t mind.

As you can imagine, I then went ahead and setup a StatusNet instance, this time taking care of all the fun things related to web servers, databases, etc.

Administering a VPS — even a small, personal one — is something I highly recommend to anyone interested in learning sysadmin-type material. The amount of things I learned while tinkering with mine is astounding.

Today

I work full-time with HTML, SASS/CSS, jQuery/JavaScript, WAI-ARIA and WCAG.

I tinker with a bunch of other languages.

I’m a big fan of owning your data (to a certain degree, I suppose; I don’t own the hardware I’m hosted on… yet).

I’m continually working on my Project Autonomous which serves as both a way to own my data and also as a learning tool.

I’m still messing around with code and tech.

I’m still fascinated by electronics and computers (I <3 my RaspberryPi), still a (FL)OSS advocate, Linux-running (Arch FTW!), federation-supporting, rambling nerd.

The Future

Who knows!

I’m planning on tinkering with all this for a long time still.

Technology changes so often and so fast that I can’t imagine getting bored of it.

The Web and I

lundi 16 décembre 2013 à 01:00

And so it Begins

I've always been fascinated by electronics and computers.

I remember spending countless hours messing around with one of those "Electronic Project Kits" similar to the one pictured above.

I followed every instruction in the book, went off-course and tried new things.

HTML

Sometime around 1996 (at approximately 11 years old), my school organized a few different summer camps. One of them was computer related and, of course, piqued my interest.

During the summer, we worked on a few different projects. The one I remember best was creating websites, and if I recall correctly, this was my first introduction to HTML.

My website definitely looked like the classic Geocities site with <blink> and <marquee> tags, tacky .gifs, non-semantic <font> and tiled background patterns, and I was damn proud of it!

Once the camp was over, I went back home, built websites with Notepad and saved them on my C:\ drive since we didn't have home Internet at the time. I didn't have an audience — and probably still don't ;) — learned by trial and error, but I was learning and had fun doing it.

Online!

Once we got the Inter-tubes connected to our house, I started signing up for those "free hosting" sites that would give you a free subdomain.

More often than not, they would either announce that they're shutting down or going "paid only" after a while, forcing me to hop from host to host.

Some of them would display banner ads on your site, which I took as a challenge to come up with some "clever CSS" to hide them — unknowingly, but undoubtedly against their ToS.

One of the more vivid memories I have is how excited I was when I discovered Server-Side Includes (SHTML / SSI). I was browsing HTML Source; one of the first websites I remember using as a reference. Every time I go back on that site I get a big hit of nostalgia :)

Third-party Services

LiveJournal, Blogger, Wordpress(.com), Xanga, Flickr, you-name-it… I signed-up for all of them.

I did so mostly out of curiosity to see how they worked and keep up with the new things appearing on the web.

Most of those allowed you to create custom themes with your own CSS stylesheets and sometimes even include your own JavaScript!

Open Source

This isn't directly related to the web, but it plays an important role in what follows.

While I was in university, I was introduced to Linux and the whole concept of Free, Libre Open Source software (FLOSS).

I really liked the idea and soon thereafter all my machines were running some sort of Linux distro.

My experiments with Linux could be a little story on its own, and I might just write about it someday.

Legit Hosting

In 2009, I was 2 years out of university, had a job and a bit of money to invest into a host that was a bit more reliable than those free ones.

After thinking way too much about a domain name, I settled on "chromic" mostly because my online nickname, Chimo, is part of it (genius, I know, right?).

Since this was my first shot at paying for hosting, I looked for something inexpensive and chose Dreamhost Shared Hosting.

One of the first things I did was to setup a Wordpress instance on there to move off Wordpress.com, "customize ALL the things!" and dive into the source code.

Identicaaaargh!

Because of my obsession with Linux, I started listening to the Linux Outlaws podcast.

After hearing them talk about this "identi.ca" thing a couple of times, I decided to check it out. My limited understanding was that it was an open source version of Twitter. It sounded fun & intriguing and was eager to look through the source code as a learning exercise.

This is when I became aware of the "federated social network" concept which, coupled with (FL)OSS, I thought sounded like an awesome idea.

It's one of the reasons why I got interested in Identi.ca and StatusNet.

Another reason was because the !fediverse community seemed like it matched my interests a lot closer than Twitter's or other social networks. Or at least those people were a lot easier to find, and usually more "approachable" in a sense. Conversations also seemed more interesting and "deeper", people more engaged.

Part of it is probably because Identi.ca's user-base was smaller compared to the bigger networks. Maybe the culture actually is different as well. I don't know. Either way, the !fediverse is where I felt the most "at home".

(Un)fortunately, identi.ca sometimes had problems with its uptime and general reliability, and after a while it started to happen too often for my taste.

This led me to look into hosting my own StatusNet instance, and I believe that while it might have been a minor annoyance at the time, it really was a good thing in the end.

I got lucky and StatusNet was one of Dreamhost's "one-click install" products. So I clicked. And it installed. And it was slow. And Realtime wasn't reliable (or not there at all, I can't quite remember now), but it was mine.

Graduating to a VPS

In 2011, I felt like being on a Shared Host was too limiting (I really wanted Realtime running on my SN instance, too!).

After a bit of research, I found that Linode had good reviews and within my budget, so I dove right in and got a shiny VPS.

Oh, the freedom! Suddenly I could do anything I wanted! Want to tinker with your Apache configurations and bring everything down? You can! And I did! Multiple times!

Want to run a persistent process and eat all of your RAM? Yep! Been there, done that!

Want to deal with MySQL logs and fine-tuning? No? Well you still have to!

Of course, these are all things I ultimately enjoy doing and really like learning from so I don't mind.

As you can imagine, I then went ahead and setup a StatusNet instance, this time taking care of all the fun things related to web servers, databases, etc.

Administering a VPS — even a small, personal one — is something I highly recommend to anyone interested in learning sysadmin-type material. The amount of things I learned while tinkering with mine is astounding.

Today

I work full-time with HTML, SASS/CSS, jQuery/JavaScript, WAI-ARIA and WCAG.

I tinker with a bunch of other languages.

I'm a big fan of owning your data (to a certain degree, I suppose; I don't own the hardware I'm hosted on… yet).

I'm continually working on my Project Autonomous which serves as both a way to own my data and also as a learning tool.

I'm still messing around with code and tech.

I'm still fascinated by electronics and computers (I <3 my RaspberryPi), still a (FL)OSS advocate, Linux-running (Arch FTW!), federation-supporting, rambling nerd.

The Future

Who knows!

I'm planning on tinkering with all this for a long time still.

Technology changes so often and so fast that I can't imagine getting bored of it.

Project Autonomous

lundi 30 janvier 2012 à 06:00
In an effort to take control of my online presence/data and to become more autonomous, I started to migrate away from services hosted by 3rd-parties and setup my own instances where possible.

Here’s a quick list of what’s working at the moment:

auth.chromic.org
An IndieAuth.com instance (an IndieAuth provider).
It's also an OpenID delegate.
avatars.chromic.org
Surrogator: a Libravatar compatible avatar image server.
Gravatar replacement
My GNU social instance and Gogs instance use this.
chromic.org
A Jekyll-powered static site/blog
Publishing platform similar to Blogger.
ci.chromic.org
A Drone instance: continuous delivery platform.
It's hooked-up to my Gitea instance.
code.chromic.org
Gitea instance: self-hosted Git.
I'm using it for git repository, bug tracking and so on.
comments.chromic.org
Isso instance: a commenting server similar to Disqus
I use it on media.chromic.org (Mediagoblin) and chromic.org (Jekyll)
feeds.chromic.org
A woodwind instance.
A feed reader that supports mf2 h-feed and xml feeds.
files.chromic.org
An Nextcloud instance.
I use it as a Dropbox alternative, Google Calendar alternative, Contact Manager and Tasks synchronization for now, but it does more than that.
On Android, I use DAVdroid to sync calendar & contacts, and OpenTasks to sync tasks.
fm.chromic.org
A GNU fm instance.
Last.fm alternative.
irc.chromic.org
A Lounge (web-based IRC client) instance.
I use it to connect to my ZNC bouncer.
later.chromic.org
A wallabag instance.
Save webpages so you can read them later.
A pocket / read-it-later / instapaper alternative.
mail.chromic.org
Mail server powered by postfix, courier, maildrop, SpamAssassin, OpenDKIM, OpenDMARC, and roundcube + its enigma plugin for PGP support. I use K-9 Mail on Android.
A Gmail replacement.
media.chromic.org
A Mediagoblin instance.
Media sharing platform similar to Flickr, Picasa, etc.
podcasts.chromic.org
A gpodder.net (mygpo) instance.
Manage and synchronize podcast subscriptions and listening progress.
push.chromic.org
A Switchboard instance (a PuSH hub)
I use it to update my homepage in realtime (see the "Lifestream Architecture" post for more details on how it works).
A searx instance.
A privacy-respecting, hackable metasearch engine.
sn.chromic.org
A GNU social instance.
Social media platform similar to Twitter.
watching.chromic.org
A "Flox" instance.
A personal Trakt.tv replacement
webmention.chromic.org
A "webmention.io" instance.
I use it to handle webmentions on this blog.
xray.chromic.org
A XRay instance.
Parses and returns structured data from any URL. webmention.io (above) needs this.

Project Autonomous

lundi 30 janvier 2012 à 01:00
In an effort to take control of my online presence/data and to become more autonomous, I started to migrate away from services hosted by 3rd-parties and setup my own instances where possible.

Here’s a quick list of what’s working at the moment:

auth.chromic.org
An IndieAuth.com instance (an IndieAuth provider).
It's also an OpenID delegate.
avatars.chromic.org
Surrogator: a Libravatar compatible avatar image server.
Gravatar replacement
My GNU social instance and Gitea instance use this.
chromic.org
A Hugo-powered static site/blog
Publishing platform similar to Blogger.
ci.chromic.org (only accessible internally)
A Drone instance: continuous delivery platform.
It's hooked-up to my Gitea instance.
code.chromic.org
Gitea instance: self-hosted Git.
I'm using it for git repository, bug tracking and so on.
files.chromic.org
An Nextcloud instance.
I use it as a Dropbox alternative, Google Calendar alternative, Contact Manager and Tasks synchronization for now, but it does more than that.
On Android, I use DAVdroid to sync calendar & contacts, and OpenTasks to sync tasks.
fm.chromic.org
A GNU fm instance.
Last.fm alternative.
irc.chromic.org
A Lounge (web-based IRC client) instance.
I use it to connect to my ZNC bouncer.
later.chromic.org
A wallabag instance.
Save webpages so you can read them later.
A pocket / read-it-later / instapaper alternative.
mail.chromic.org
Mail server powered by postfix, courier, maildrop, SpamAssassin, OpenDKIM, OpenDMARC, and roundcube + its enigma plugin for PGP support. I use K-9 Mail on Android.
A Gmail replacement.
microsub.chromic.org
A Aperture instance.
A Microsub server.
podcasts.chromic.org
A gpodder.net (mygpo) instance.
Manage and synchronize podcast subscriptions and listening progress.
push.chromic.org
A Switchboard instance (a PuSH hub)
I use it to update my homepage in realtime (see the "Lifestream Architecture" post for more details on how it works).
reader.chromic.org
A Monocle instance.
A reader app that talks to a Microsub server
sn.chromic.org
A GNU social instance.
Social media platform similar to Twitter.
watching.chromic.org
A "Flox" instance.
A personal Trakt.tv replacement
webmention.chromic.org
A "webmention.io" instance.
I use it to handle webmentions on this blog.
xray.chromic.org
A XRay instance.
Parses and returns structured data from any URL. webmention.io (above) needs this.

Project Autonomous

lundi 30 janvier 2012 à 01:00
In an effort to take control of my online presence/data and to become more autonomous, I started to migrate away from services hosted by 3rd-parties and setup my own instances where possible.

Here’s a quick list of what’s working at the moment:

auth.chromic.org
An IndieAuth.com instance (an IndieAuth provider).
It's also an OpenID delegate.
avatars.chromic.org
Surrogator: a Libravatar compatible avatar image server.
Gravatar replacement
My GNU social instance and Gitea instance use this.
chromic.org
A Hugo-powered static site/blog
Publishing platform similar to Blogger.
ci.chromic.org (only accessible internally)
A Drone instance: continuous delivery platform.
It's hooked-up to my Gitea instance.
code.chromic.org
Gitea instance: self-hosted Git.
I'm using it for git repository, bug tracking and so on.
files.chromic.org
An Nextcloud instance.
I use it as a Dropbox alternative, Google Calendar alternative, Contact Manager and Tasks synchronization for now, but it does more than that.
On Android, I use DAVdroid to sync calendar & contacts, and OpenTasks to sync tasks.
fm.chromic.org
A GNU fm instance.
Last.fm alternative.
gtfs.chromic.org
A simple, private API to retrieve public transport information from imported GTFS data.
See The Road to GTFS for more information.
irc.chromic.org
A Lounge (web-based IRC client) instance.
I use it to connect to my ZNC bouncer.
later.chromic.org
A wallabag instance.
Save webpages so you can read them later.
A pocket / read-it-later / instapaper alternative.
mail.chromic.org
Mail server powered by postfix, courier, maildrop, SpamAssassin, OpenDKIM, OpenDMARC, and roundcube + its enigma plugin for PGP support. I use K-9 Mail on Android.
A Gmail replacement.
microsub.chromic.org
A Aperture instance.
A Microsub server.
podcasts.chromic.org
A gpodder.net (mygpo) instance.
Manage and synchronize podcast subscriptions and listening progress.
push.chromic.org
A Switchboard instance (a PuSH hub)
I use it to update my homepage in realtime (see the "Lifestream Architecture" post for more details on how it works).
reader.chromic.org
A Monocle instance.
A reader app that talks to a Microsub server
sn.chromic.org
A GNU social instance.
Social media platform similar to Twitter.
watching.chromic.org
A "Flox" instance.
A personal Trakt.tv replacement
webmention.chromic.org
A "webmention.io" instance.
I use it to handle webmentions on this blog.
xray.chromic.org
A XRay instance.
Parses and returns structured data from any URL. webmention.io (above) needs this.