Ideas: Remotely hosted personal site with home data store that syncs as client

This idea is based on my Local + Proxy Remote Hosting for Personal Site idea, but attempts to mitigate some of its problems further.

In this setup, the website (most appropriate for personal indieweb type sites) will still have a remotely hosted and a home hosted component. The home server will be the single source of truth for data, but will not be remotely accessible. The remote server will have the full code and data to run the website and will handle all visitor request directly, using copies of the data from the home server. CUD changes can be done on the remote server, but they will be marked as ‘unverified’ or some-such. The home server can have a cron task or manually run script to make a request to the remote server, which will transfer changes between the two. The change request may also be run after each change is done on the home server, or after a certain interval following an update to batch send them. Some sort of key based system would be used to authenticate both ends.
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Home Lighting: Sun-light, Moon-light

Every room has sun-light and moon-light. Hallways, stairwells, walkways, etc. probably just have moon-light. The sun-light would be the bright bulb(s) in the middle of the ceiling or by work areas to allow tasks to be performed. The moon-light is the much dimmer, low wattage option like a night-light, for moving about and other less visually precise activities. The moon-light would likely emanate from multiple locations in a room, possibly both low and high positions. It would ideally have a motion sensing, or even more advanced, setting by default, providing ample light to turn on the sun-light if it is needed. Off and on would also be provided for when the circumstances are appropriate, such as off when sleeping. The sun-lighting would likely just stick to the regular off/on switching, as the times when it is needed are somewhat more explicit. The moon-light might vary in intensity based on proximity. Sky-lights would ideally be used to provide free moon-light level lighting inside during the day.

Dwight moved out

After a year and a half of living with me, my roommate Dwight finally moved out. His girlfriend got a “real” job in Texas, so he moved down there with her. His stay here was supposed to be temporary, but he liked the low living expenses so much he decided to stay.

This has been quite a change for me. The change in my cost of living is quite significant: My basic expenses will increase by an estimated 34%, not a small number. This is at a time when I’m about to lose my job. I have money saved, and could easily get a job at a restaurant in no time I’m sure, but it still could be rough, especially on some of my planned extra type expenditures.

Living alone is quite different from living with someone. There was someone there most of the time to do stuff with before, but now I have to put effort into finding someone to do stuff with, especially since I no longer have any real friends (he was the only one that I actually did stuff with excluding family). He had a good collection of movies and frequently rented some, so we often watched them. We also played card and other games. It was nice to have an additional person to help with some stuff: It meant I didn’t have to always be there to look for and deal with everything. It can be very lonely sitting at home alone.

Of course, it can be nice as well. I can have lots of alone time without worrying about someone popping in. Dwight could be quite the talker and sometimes would talk for hours, sometimes about things I wasn’t especially interested in. The dishes were a shared duty and they ended up being quite a mess as well as a lot of work. My house is much cleaner now and I plan to keep it that way.

On the cleaner note, I have moved some of the stuff from my front room into his old bedroom. The front room had been piled with stuff and virtually unusable, but now it is rather clean. It will be an entertainment room (video, board, and card games, chairs to chat, etc). His old room is rather clean still as well, and may become an office. I hope to get rid of a lot of stuff and make the house cleaner still.

We’ll see how this works out.

Another mouse

There was another mouse in my house, removed yesterday.

Over the summer I had occasionally heard some mouse-like noises, especially more recently. But I didn’t see any signs, such as mouse poop and chewed up food. On Monday I saw very sure signs, starting with the same scurrying past my bedroom door tiny brown furry thing that had alerted me to the presence of a mouse in the past. I didn’t want to alert Dwight, as I wasn’t sure how he’d take it or what he’d want to do about it. But as I was trying to sleep that night, the mouse kept chewing on something. I couldn’t sleep, so I repeatedly went into the kitchen searching for him. I pulled off some wall/cupboard material in my search. He finally stopped chewing after awhile, at least long enough for me to fall asleep, but I did set up one of my live traps from before.

He wasn’t there in the morning when I awoke. There were no signs of him. When I came home from work though, i heard a scratching/gnawing similar to the sound from the previous night. He was not chewing on my house though, but on the trap. I had him captured. When Dwight came home I showed him. He was not especially, though slightly, scared of the dirty little thing.

I drove him to the park. I tried to take some photos with my new macro lens, but was unable to get anything good. He disappeared quickly.

wonderwash

I recently purchased a clothes washing “machine” for my home. It is the Wonderwash, a hand powered small washing machine. I was a little leery of the product, as it didn’t seem to have much more to it than would a plastic bucket with tight lid. However, it’s very small and costs only $50, and is supposed to use less water and much less energy than a conventional washer, so I sprung for it.

It is indeed similar to a bucket. It does come with a stand and crank, which seem to make it take up more room than a 5 gallon pickle bucket would while having a bit less capacity. But the cranking is fairly easy. I could simply roll a pickle bucket, but I’m not sure if that’d be as effective as rotating it on the other axis, with the sudden thwumping fall from one side to the other. The lid is screwed down, which is supposed to pressurize the contents (it definitely does). The pressure is supposed to do much of the cleaning, pushing the water and detergent through the clothing. This is the area I’m most worried about the pickle buckets capability. I will have to try the pickle bucket though to see how the results compare. It would be much cheaper, easier to obtain, more versatile, and smaller. The only other thing I’d be missing would be the spigot on the bottom of the wonderwash, which is nice save for the leaking it sometimes does.

So anyway, the Wonderwash thus far has done fairly well at cleaning my clothes, even in the two minute wash cycle recommended. Crank for two minutes. Drain and fill with rinse water. The rinsing takes 30 seconds, but I usually do two rinses. The whole process is fairly fast, most of the time going to filling and draining. Compared to hand washing, it seems to get the clothes somewhat cleaner, though probably not as well as normal washers. It is of course much easier, with no hands in the water, and is much faster. The rinse is also much easier and faster and seems to get better results with less water (the wash also uses less water than what I was using).

The biggest problem right now is with drying. I can easily handle hang drying from a regular washer, as the clothes are spun in them. There is no spinning in this or any ability to squeeze out the water as a group. This problem was the same as with hand washing, and is one reason I rarely did it. Since this is so much easier than hand washing, I’m more liable to do it. But I have almost no space for drip drying. Those clothes can really hold a lot of water. I can spend quite a bit of time squeezing them by hand and they still drip. I think the presses would probably be too bulky and take too much time. I’m considering a spinner. The wonderwash people also make two electric spin dryers. Uses energy, but it’d be fast and take me nearly to the dry point. I considered getting a commercial salad spinner instead, but they cost as much as the electric ones and would be more bulky and not get the clothes as dry. So I may just order an electric spinner soon.

Unfortunately, the spinner hurts the size advantages of the whole operation. I now need the washer, the spinner, and still need some hang drying space and apparatus. Luckily, the energy needs and water usage should be much lower. I’m hoping that once I get everything set up and get a good system going, the time required will not be much more than with the regular machines, especially since I have to drive to my parents to use them.

redo of plumbing fix

As I said in my last post, I recently had to cut out a section of pipe to fix a split, but the soldering job didn’t hold. I had been a little worried about the one joint, as I had heat it up a lot to get it to sweat, and the solder hadn’t gone in nicely enough for my liking. It was just a drip, so I had left it go, turning on the hot water section only when needed.

Sunday before last, when it was warm in the 50’s, I went back down to fix the leak again. I unsweated the whole two connection bits to make sure I could get them cleaned well. It’s unfortunately a pain to unsweat anything, as I can never get all the water out at the union I have. I have to push on the pipes to drain as much as possible, then pour a lot of heat into the first joint to melt it. Once I get the first joint open, I can then push the pipes to drain most of the water out, so subsequent unsweats are fairly easy. But that draining, followed by getting enough solder off to get things back together, is the biggest difficulty I have in plumbing.

I heated all the removed bits at a table and brushed off as much solder as I could. I got the two pipe ends under the house as good as I could. I sweat everything back together. The sweat at the same place as last time didn’t look that great, but I figured I’d give it a try. Unfortunately, this time water was spraying out of the joint. There was no way I could leave that while running anything.

I had to go through the whole rigamaroo of draining the water once again. I only unsweat the one joint this time, as I didn’t feel like doing everything all over again. Either in that unsweating process or in a previous one, I must have bent the pipe right as it went into the joint. It was kinda flattened, but not right at the end. I decided I might as well try it out as is, as I’d otherwise have to cut out that bit and cut another bit to replace the whole replacement bit I had made the other day. I really didn’t feel like doing that. I cleaned the two sides underneath the house there as best I could. I tried to go quickly in sweating to get the best joint possible, though I ended up reheating once to pour some more solder in. I just stuffed the flat side with solder, as much as I could get in there. Solder was dripping onto the ground.

I was, of course, rather worried about this joint holding up. To my amazement, when I turned on the water, it held just fine. There appeared to be a little, very slow seepage, but that must’ve just been leftover water from before: I haven’t seen anything dripping since. I’ve checked underneath the house a number of times since then, especially when it had gotten in the teens temperature wise again (I put the space heater down there in advance to ensure no freeze-ups), but have seen no signs of drippage. Soon I’ll remove the insulation again to see if perhaps it is dripping so slow that it is just getting absorbed by the insulation, but I think I am in the clear.

Now, this is good incentive for me to get that floor better insulated this summer. I’m considering putting two heat tape lines on the inside-the-floor piping, just to make sure it doesn’t freeze. I’m hoping that heat on just a little bit will carry through the whole pipe system to make sure it doesn’t freeze up. I’m also hoping that the tape doesn’t get too hot in the pipe insulation under the floor and melt the insulation or even cause a fire.

Plumbing break

I had my first split pipe a little over a week ago. The pipes froze for maybe the fifth time this year, on what might have been the coldest day of the year. I had put a lightbulb under the house, but it was no match for that cold and wind. I had shut off the water and opened the valves during the cold. After it warmed up, I put my space heater below the house to unthaw the lines (I had done this once before with fast results). It unthawed them, but I found one hot water line spraying out water.

I shut off the hot water side. Something made me think I had a leak in a cold water line as well. I think my toilet, which has a long delay for its valve to open after flushing, must have opened and when I heard the loud water rushing, I thought I had another leak. So I shut off all my water at my filter, which is inside the house.

For over a week I got my water from the filter: I had removed the filter part and was getting water from the hole that went through it. I boiled water for baths, filled jugs to use for teeth brushing, dish washing, and cooking. The water looked kinda junky, so I got my drinking water from my parents house.

Then one night I came home to find water dripping from the filter. When I went to shut it off, it fell apart and water was pouring out. I shut off my water at the main valve and had absolutely no water for a while. Luckily, the filter was not especially damaged, and I was able to just put it all back together. Evidently, the filter part holds a plastic plate against the valve part, preventing it from being pushed out. So I need to keep the filter on there.

Then I went underneath to fix the break. It was maybe a 1 inch break in the hot water line going to my kitchen. After some time of looking and crawling under my house, I determined that there was in fact no break in the cold water lines. I could have had cold running water that whole time. Without too much trouble, other than getting rather cold, I was able to cut out the old broken bit and put in a new bit with a junction. It held water just fine and finally I had all my water running again. I took a shower that night in celebration.

A few days later (yesterday) it got rather cold again. I put my space heater underneath the house just to make sure nothing froze up again. Unfortunately, a leak has developed, probably just at one of the soldered joints. I was worried about the one that had been there before, with how much heat I used to do some of the new joints. I’ll have to take care of that when the weather gets better. For now, I’m just shutting the valve till I need hot water.