Wednesday, January 17

self-hosting, a status check

Following up on self-hosting, cloud disentanglement, windmill tilting, etc., a brief summary of progress:


I’m using FastMail as a provider for my new address(es), for now anyway. (Actually it’s an old address - one I used more than a decade ago and should have retained instead of being lured in by GMail’s gleaming surface.) I could wish for more open code and more encryption in the mix, but they seem well-managed and offer some useful features without obviously breaking the ecosystem in any way I’ve noticed yet.

I’m using OfflineIMAP to keep a rolling local copy of everything still in GMail. I think at some point this will become purely archival and I’ll delete everything stored in GMail and just treat that address as one regular account in whatever client I’m using at the time. Realistically, I can probably never actually kill the account, because even if I make an effort to change the address on every account I have elsewhere, I’ll miss something that will turn out to be vital.

The desktop e-mail client situation is dire, but not impossible. There’s a strong temptation to go back to Mutt. I used it before, I could probably use it again. I could also probably just use Thunderbird, Evolution, or some other mediocre but stable holdover from the era when native GUI desktop client applications were still a thing.

In summary, this is a giant pain in the ass and I hate it, but I’m probably 20% of the way there. I hope to document my setup when it settles down into something coherent.

phone service / mobile os, apps, etc.

I ordered a Gemini PDA, a small device with a physical keyboard which will theoretically boot into a real Debian. This is a gamble, and will likely amount to having thrown away the price of a new phone, but it does potentially represent a step in the right direction. If nothing else, spending the money is another signal to the market that I am still interested in keyboards and would like a device that does what this one is supposed to.

Eventually, perhaps someone will decide that there are enough idiosyncratic fanatics like me to sell us useful goods.


I canceled my Amazon Prime account today; a futile but mildly satisfying gesture.

So far every book I’ve read in 2018 has been on paper. Which is probably my best solution for as long as they’re still printing paper books.

laptop and desktop hardware

In the wake of Meltdown/Spectre, It turns out this situation is even more unfathomably fucked than I thought it was a couple of months ago. Solutions are in very short supply.