Dingman.org v1.0.2

Recent news:

Wow. It's been a long time since the front page here got updated. Nearly six years, according to the timestamps. Why now? Well, we've switched over to a new server, though I don't think many of you are going to notice. It's part of my grand plan to spend less money on Dingman.org while improving the reliability of the service. This move has gotten Dingman.org (and Andrew's other projects) off of the aging Pentium I in the basement and onto a virtual server in a real data center. That means that we're no longer reliant on my DSL for connectivity and no matter what wires the cats play with, they can't make the website go away.

If you use a personal web page on Dingman.org, you're probably going to need to talk to me about how to get access to update it again. Your user name and password are still the same, but password authentication to the new web server is turned off. Instead, you'll need to set up something called key-based authentication. Call me and I'll talk you through it. It's relatively easy to do, and I can help you out with either PuTTY on Windows or OpenSSH on Linux and Macintosh machines.

Mail service is still dependent on the server in the basement, but moving that to a new server is the next step in my grand plan. Relatively soon, you can expect to see our mail service upgraded to another virtual server, also hosted in a real data center rather than my basement. That on its own should make mail service faster for most of you, though I expect it to make mail slower for Jackie and me. At the same time, we'll be upgrading to an e-mail system called Zimbra. The biggest thing you're likely to notice is different about Zimbra is that the webmail interface is far superior to what we have now. In addition, Zimbra provides much better spam filtering than we currently have, and can provide calendar and address book features as well. Those aren't just in the web interface, either. You should be able to use them from Thunderbird, Evolution, Apple Mail, and maybe even Outlook. There's even a Zimbra Desktop program you could use instead, if you don't like your current client. I don't have a firm time frame on this change, but it's coming soon. Really. 'Cause making the change will save me over $100/month.

Future plans

After the mail migration is complete, I've got a couple more ideas about things to add to Dingman.org to make it more useful. One is that I suspect we'd all be happier with the web presence if I added some sort of content management system and/or blog software. I'm not sure which one to use, though. The two things I'd require are LDAP integration, so that everyone can use the same password they already use for e-mail, and HTTPS support, because I don't want people signing in with their e-mail password unless it is protected from snooping. Other than that, I don't really know what we would be looking for. Bluntly, you guys probably have more experience using this sort of software than I do, so I'd love some feedback on what you'd like to see. I'm toying with the idea of using DotClear, but I'm open to other suggestions.(Yes, I noticed it's all in French except the plea for translators, too. If I deploy it, I'll probably also volunteer as a translator for them. If you're wondering whether it does something in particular, ask me and I'll let you know.)

I also intend to get a remote backup solution running for those of you who don't share a house with me. Storage in a hosted environment is too expensive for me to offer that in remote data centers, though, so it will still be dependent on the machines in my basement. In the course of setting this up, I'll probably end up deploying a VPN solution that you'll be able to hook into if you want. About the only advantage would be increased privacy when using public WiFi, but it'll be there if you want it. I've seen enough evidence that hotels spy on me regularly to find that appealing.


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