ideas posts page 2

Ideas: regions vote for governing state

Each state would be close to sovereign, with general freedom to create and enforce laws, choose and operate economic systems, run military organizations, etc. States would start as they are now, as geographic areas.

Each state would be divided into regions, such as the current counties, though preferably equal in size. Each region would have a nationally prescribed method of voting to switch to governing of another state.

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Ideas: Local + Proxy Remote Hosting for Personal Site

Hosting your personal website on a computer at your home puts extra indie in indieweb. You truly control all of your data. I did this for several years. I did this with a very modest setup, serving from a mobile home using an iBook G3 800 with Windstream DSL internet. Performance obviously wasn’t the same as a web host would’ve provided. Of course, it helped a lot that I didn’t have much traffic. But I still had a lot of downtime, for a number of reasons:

  • Dynamic IPs: most consumer level internet service plans do not have a static IP, and change occasionally. I used DynDNS to accomodate this, but it still led to downtime between the time that the IP changed to the time the daemon was run, DynDNS updated its records, and the DNS propagated.
  • Internet outages: consumer level plans definitely don’t have the robust connection that a web host has. This was especially true at my mobile home, where perhaps old wiring led to fairly frequent outages, especially on windy days.
  • Power outages: hosting companies have backup power. Most homes do not. My power went out from the electric company at least several times while I was hosting, but also went out whenever I had to turn off the power to work on something electrical. My server would stay on because it was a laptop, but not the router. A UPS is a reasonably priced option for reducing or eliminating this problem though.
  • Computer / router issues, updates, etc: Any reboots, shutdowns, or stopping of server daemons will mean your site is down, which could be needed for updates or various problems. Web hosts usually have robust servers, and if they’re managing them, they’re usually very good about keeping them up and doing updates quickly and during down-times.

My idea to mitigate performance and downtime problems would be to use a reverse proxy, such as varnish, running on a remote web host, with your DNS pointing at it. It would be configured to go to your home server’s IP for content. You’d have to set up a daemon to contact the remote server and update this when it changes. Public pages would be set with long cache times so that they would be available if your home server goes down. The application(s) on the server would then have to be set up to send a PURGE request when pages were updated. Or perhaps, if the proxy allows, you could use whatever maxage times you want but have the proxy store the cached responses indefinitely and server them if the home server can’t be reached even if the maxage has been passed.

This idea is not without its problems. For instance:

  • Security of connection between servers: If your site is using SSL, the connection between the servers would also have to be over SSL or the SSL used between the client and remote server would be virtually worthless. Without SSL between the two, a man in the middle could easily eavesdrop on the traffic or divert all traffic to their own server. Because of the changing IP address, the home server would have to use a self-signed certificate possibly increasing the risk of a man in the middle attack between the two servers and at the least requiring the remote server to accept that cert from any IP that it considers your home server.
  • Non-cacheable requests would always need the home server: Private pages like admin pages as well as any mutating (POST, etc.) requests, would always have the same performance and robustness issues as the home server. Most importantly for many personal sites, webmentions / pingbacks / trackbacks / comment submissions would fail if the home server went down. So would any other form submissions. To deal with this, you’d probably have to do some programming on the remote server to have it queue these requests and give it an appropriate generic response for the request. For admin and logged in user activity, you could build the client side of your app to operate as you desire in offline mode.

And, as is always the case with serving from home, server and home network configuration, security, maintenance, etc. is all on you. There isn’t really a “managed” option available. You’ll have to get everything working, apply updates, deal with server and network problems, etc. In a home environment, security also includes physical access to the device.

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.

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Taxes: Income Tax Simplification of Forms

Usonian income taxes are crazy complicated and a pain to deal with. They shouldn’t be, especially for normal people: Only people performing complex income related activities should have any need for a tax accountant. There are so many modifiers to promote certain behavior and demote other, but it is very inconsistent and confusing and irrelevant stuff often has to be read through by people for whom it doesn’t apply. Promoting behaviors is good, but it needs to be simplified drastically.

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Post-Suicide Q&A

It would be nice if you could field questions after killing yourself. Then maybe people could understand why and perhaps be better able to handle others in similar situations who might be considering offing themselves as well. You can write up all that you want before you off yourself, but you can never really know what people would actually ask or who would even be interested enough to ask. There are many nuances in conveying information, and you probably won’t be able to convey your messages in exactly the way that the people you are sending them to need them to be to truly understand what you are trying to say. There can be no follow up questions, which are usually very important for homing in on what the asker wants to know and the answerer wants to say. And of course there is no guarantee that the people who you are sending those messages to or who want to know some answers will actually read them. Reading can be quite tedious, especially the voluminous amounts that a suicidal has to convey and the great boringness it most likely has to most other people. It is, of course, also tedious to write, and you probably in the end just won’t right all you want to before you go through with it. Most people probably have some hope or feeling that it won’t actually happen, and the last bit where they are sure it will happen, they are in poor condition for writing profusely and well. There is, of course, no way to really implement this idea, just thinking.