Google Calendar

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

I’ve just discovered Google Calendar… maybe this will be the answer to all my calendaring dreams. Globally accessible, interoperable and seems to allow things like sharing events and inviting third parties to events. It is very new, but my “first 5 minutes” using it have been promising.

It would be good if Google put together a partner desktop app to go with it for local mirroring/synchronising of calendar data. Maybe one for the Mozilla calendar app?


Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

I find this story about an asynchronous ARM processor very interesting. It immediately reminded me of two things.

The first thing was one of my Elec Eng lectures back in 3rd year for a course taken by one of my favourite professors. Asynchronous circuits were covered as something of academic interest, a method of building digital circuits that has many interesting properties but is ultimately just a curiosity. The problem being that there are too many complexities to make it a practical way to design ICs, designing a large asynchronous circuit is simply too difficult for any team of engineers, even very good engineers. These are the facts as I was taught them, as recently as 2002.

No doubt the content of the course lagged a little behind reality, since there must have already been people working on exactly this task and already building significantly functional asynchronous ICs. And now they’ve implemented an entire asynchronous ARM9 core!

I find this news remarkably exciting. It shows how rapidly technology continues to change and advance, that we’re continually breaking barriers that were so recently considered to be pretty solid. All thanks to the advance of technology driving its self.

And that brings me to the second thing. The theory that there is a phenomenal turning point in history ahead of us. A point that we can’t predict and beyond which we cannot imagine what will happen, I’d say we can’t be certain it will ever happen – we might not last long enough. It may even happen within the span of our very own lifetimes, that would be something worth seeing.

This is the point where our technology can autonomously design the next generation of technology, triggering a world changing chain reaction that the homo sapiens sapiens species as we know it cannot survive. Either in some way or another it’s the end of the line, or (more optimistically) we’re caught up in the process of driven evolution and become something we cannot imagine.

It really is a very exciting concept. It is just another crazy futurist theory of course, one I happen to find particularly attractive.

Big Iron

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

Well, I really mean bigER iron – bigger than a VPS at any rate. I’ve had enough of this whole VPS thing, performance is too unreliable (who knows how many VPSs they have on a system?).

So I’m likely to go for getting a dedicated server, since the thing is my primary communications hub (and also for a couple of other people) I think it is time to upgrade for the sake of reliability. I haven’t decided where yet, there’s good old EV1 of course who are fairly solid (though they do have an iffy reputation for getting IP ranges spam blacklisted and they don’t do Debian) but there are many other choices. It’ll either be in the US or UK since prices in these locations are still much better than back home.

It costs a lot more than a VPS of course, so ideally I’d like to share the cost around and form one of these “server collectives”. I have no idea if anyone is likely to be interested in this, but if you are send me an email and if I get any responses we’ll work out what we need and how much it is likely to cost.

The deal would be simple: If the server costs $x then each of ‘n’ users pays $x/n. For your $x/n you get a single shell, root access if you feel you need it (I think I trust almost everyone I know to admin a Linux system without major mishap!) and an equal say in the running of the machine. I’m happy to look after all server administration, my typical setup provides POP3 and IMAP with Courier, Postfix for SMTP, Apache for HTTP, webmail with SquirrelMail and I use ClamAV and SpamAssassin. Debian is the OS, I wont budge on that. And some packages are sourced from for the sake of keeping up to date (for items like ClamAV and SpamAssassin where being up to date is important).

As for the machine, that would be decided by the people involved. As an example, the cheapest EV1 option is US$99 per month (however EV1 only offer RHEL, so they’re actually an unlikely choice) and this is a 1.3GHz Celeron with 512MB or RAM and 60GB HDD. I’d think that having an IP per user would be sensible plus one for the system (for HTTPS use, system IP is for SquirrelMail), IPs are usually cheap (7 for “free” with EV1 for example). I think the basic HW specs with the EV1 example are fine for a fair number of normal users (assuming you don’t have an insanely popular website).

Now we’d (Kat and I would be 2 users of course) be willing to pay a reasonable amount (if nobody is interested then we’re likely to end up getting a dedicated server anyway), so having a small group of people with up to US$40 a month to spend would get us a decent setup – and the more people the cheaper the price is! Using the EV1 example then two extra people would get us the server for US$25 each.

Some dedicated server setups:

Me buying a server from eBay or something and just paying co-lo is also an option (some good options in the UK for around 50 GBP).

It may also be an option to have a cheaper class of user, for just email, FTP and webspace say – but it’d be easier if everyone was equal. An equal share user can have as many web domains and email addresses as they like of course and can provide simple hosting for others (for example I host a domain for my Mum and handle her website and email) but the only login access she has is for email. So long as the setup of a user does not adversely affect others on the system I’m sure everyone would be happy, so really the only restrictions are that only paying users get a shell and root access.

So send me an email if you’re interested!