my hosting/publishing/sharing setup


Time for another reclaim project update, after nuking my Flickr account. What am I running, and what is my workflow? Well, I'm running almost everything on my Hippie Hosting Co-op account, including:

  • my main blog
    • all media is posted there - either in a full blog post, or in the ephemeral media section
    • I use a bunch of plugins, all listed on my colophon page
  • links (running a self-hosted copy of Scuttle )
  • rss reader ( FeverËš )
  • url shortener (Shaun Inman's lessn, with no tracking or administration)
  • feed2js, for doing fun things with rss feeds on web pages
  • about mini-site. static html.
  • 1998-style home page, using my instance of feed2js to tie in feeds in a handy dandy dashboard

Most of my posts are made as photos using the WordPress app on my iPhone. I have it in the main app bar, so it's always just one click away. Photos are lately taken most often using the great 6x7 app on my phone (not owned by Facebook, not tied to any service - all it does is take a photo quickly, and save it to my camera roll where I can quickly post it using the WordPress app).

My default category for new posts is "ephemera" so I don't have to select any categories when posting photos from my phone. I use a plugin that I wrote, which filters all "ephemera" posts from the front page and main feed so that the 4 subscribers aren't inundated by photos. I use a second plugin that I wrote that tells the Twitter WordPress plugin to tweak the tweet announcing posts - so "ephemera" posts have "(media)" inserted in the twoot to prevent Scott from blowing a gasket at all of the tootbot noise...

Bigger "real" posts (like this one) are written using the WordPress web interface. I used to use MarsEdit, which is really great software and I love it, but WordPress' interface has gotten good enough that I really don't need a separate app. And, with the Markdown QuickTags plugin, it's actually easier and faster to use the native web interface. It also handles media uploads really nicely, which is handy (and the biggest reason I used to use a separate standalone app for writing stuff - the media uploads used to be easier that way).

The only things I'm not hosting myself are my Google account (which isn't used much, and I still use DuckDuckGo for 99% of my searching because it doesn't feed the beast), my Facebook account (which only exists because I have family and friends that don't exist online outside of Facebook), and Twitter (which is like ephemeral social glue).

One nice thing about running everything on my own (co-op hosted) server, is that I can back everything up at once. I can use something like rsync to suck my entire hosting account directory onto my laptop, so I've got a backup in case Bad Things Happen. That's hard, or impossible, using distributed hosted services...

What have I lost by hosting it myself? Not much. Some of the community connections, perhaps, but most of that has been happening in Twitter anyway, so that's not a big deal.

What have I gained by hosting it myself? I own it. Nobody can say "hey. we sold our company to these guys. good luck with that." And nobody - nobody tracks what people do here. I have the static apache logs, but that is a crude and completely anonymous aggregate of activity. Nothing directly feeds Google's (or any other company's) machines for tracking and monitoring and monetizing (I don't use any third-party analytics packages, so there shouldn't be any tracking except from YouTube and Vimeo hosted videos). That's worth doing it all myself, right there.

Worst case scenario, if Hippie Hosting Co-op's orbiting server platform goes offline for some reason, almost everything I publish becomes temporarily unavailable. That's not really a big risk. The world could do with a little less noise. And, eventually, my stuff would become available again and balance would be restored. Whew.

update: I thought of some other key tools that I use that I'm not hosting myself, but would love to find a way to do so:

  • google docs. no way out of this one, aside from emailing documents around again. nope.
  • evernote (I basically live in this, but am kind of queasy about the amount of my private/secure data that's residing on a company's servers somewhere)
  • dropbox - I've played with owncloud, but it's just not as seamless as dropbox, especially for automagically syncing across many devices
  • icloud - likely no way out of this one. it's an email account and iOS backup, but also tied to Ping, GameCenter, and other things Apple.

and other services that are hosted elsewhere but I just don't care because they're meaningless (but I'd consider nuking them just to throw a shoe into the machinery of ubiquitously tracking everyone):

  • linkedin. really? do people actually use this?
  • facebook. it's full of people. and creepy monitoring/monetizing.
  • likely a bunch of other stuff I can't remember because they're silly and meaningless web 2.0 noise...
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