Covid-19 is shaping up to be really bad, and it’s near impossible to quantify just how horrible it’s going to be. While I’ve been in quarantine, there’s a worry that keeps coming to me. Hauntingly.

I’m remembering historical accounts of past historical events when entire generations and villages were lost to war and plague. More recently though, we faced a pandemic where similar inaction was the course of action. The loss of generations has happened to me, and it’s not out of the ordinary I’ll find myself mourning those I never got to meet.

The first HIV related death that affected me was Isaac Asimov. One of the world’s most imaginative thinkers, and someone whose literature feels like an optimistic gift to millions of readers like me. He became my favorite author years ago, and I feel connected to him, his ideals, his beliefs that society and civilizations would turn out alright through the careful use of technology. The ideals that not only would science reduce any necessity for selfishness and greed, but the ideal that we as humans would come together to transcend all hungers. It was a glaring beacon of hope amidst some of my darker years. …

Let’s talk about who has a need for cryptography in their life (hint and thesis statement: you and everyone).

For the uninitiated, cryptography is the practice of making data or a message absolutely meaningless to anyone who shouldn’t be able to. This is slightly different than a secure architecture which is preventing access to the message, cryptography is making sure that no matter who reads your message only the people who should be able to read it can. Usually by making the data meaningless with a pre-specified key or keys to lock and unlock the data.

Cryptography used to be a huge hot button topic, and as a technology only used to be used by governments and guarded under second amendment (restricted as a weapon of war)since it was considered a weapon. Just kidding, it’s still a huge issue. But it wasn’t until one of my favorite court cases where source code and to an extent software gained first amendment protections. …

Towards the beginning of the year, I learned about a really fascinating open source project that’s come to find a special place in my heart: Nextcloud.

For the uninitiated: Nextcloud is an open source self-hosted alternative to Dropbox, Google Drive, and to an extent Office 365. As an open source enthusiast who hadn’t really self hosted anything beyond the occasional Blender rendering node and doesn’t love most cloud based offerings: I was intrigued to say the least. Here’s my story of me setting out into the world of cloud storage hosting for my family spread across the country.

Part 1, the Installation.

So I set to work looking at a few installation options. I had an older desktop with four gigs of RAM, and a three terabyte hard drive. Looking at what I knew then, I opted to go with a Snap installation rather than do an individual component installation (Nextcloud is built primarily from Apache, Redis, MySQL, and PHP). Since then I’ve somewhat regretted my decision, mainly because of what I’ve become used to in editing config files in the command line. …

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