Things

Communication

I use the following chat services (in order of personal preference):

[1] Whatsapp is particularly difficult to ween off since most of the people I talk to use Whatsapp and despite efforts to convince them to adopt Signal/Wire, they’ve still refused to do so. I’m tentatively tolerant of my usage of Whatsapp since IIUC Whatsapp is still not fully integrated into Facebook Inc. just yet and Whatsapp uses the Signal protocol.

[2] Signal on Android without GMS is a battery-sucking monster and there’s no way to tweak the background polling frequency. Otherwise, I’d favour signal over IRC.

Services and Hardware

I self-host a good number of services on my inexpensive private cluster of ARM single-board computers (SBCs). I currently own an Odroid XU4, Odroid-N2 and Raspberry Pi 3. Out of the three, I am most satisfied with the Odroid XU4 which runs on armv7hl.

My setup involves setting Docker Swarm and each service is then spun up using a docker-compose.yml file. For storage, I have disk drives physically mounted in one of my nodes and I share the NAS using NFS with LAN.

I also pay a lot of money for an Internet Subscription which is uncongested and has good routing in the World Wide Web. Shockingly despite the Australian Government spending billions on Internet Infrastructure, ISP services in Australia are generally best described as shit. Whenever selecting an ISP, I run a bunch of speedtests against various different servers located in different places on the planet. I also checking their looking glasses (if available) to see what transit route is being used. There are some well-known Tier 2 providers here that have really busy networks and are best to be avoided.

I use very few online services, these are the ones I actually pay for:

Everything else, I self-host.

Some example services that I run:

I take my personal service reliability very seriously and to date uptimes have been around 95% with very little time spent on maintenance.

Some services I have ceased usage:

It is my belief that the big service providers such as Google, Facebook and friends should not be able to have a monopoly on Internet content and I find that the aggregate content accessible today to these providers give them significant leverage over what the topology internet of the future will look like.

Commuting

Melbourne is one of the world’s most livable city. That being said, it is also a population magnet. People come and they very seldom decide to leave, so naturally places and roads become congested. I’ve never felt better since I sold my car and got myself a road bicycle instead. I have since felt better in terms of my physical health and I have become more tolerant, patient and less stressed over traffic. I find that if you live within 10km of the CBD, you’ll probably gain a net improvement in your lifestyle by getting rid of your car and transitioning to a bicycle instead. It is a win-win, you save on road taxes, annually increasing fuel excise taxes, the environment, your mental health and your personal health. If you’re a public transport user, all the service changes are probably also taking a toll on your mental health, just get a bike. It was reported on numerous occasions that the infrastructure that is being built right now will run at capacity when they are completed. Everyone should just own a bicycle. If you find it too strenuous, get an electric bicycle.

Map of Melbourne Bike Trails Map of Melbourne Bike Trails. Credits to /u/Fozzaroo from /r/melbourne. Use browser-zoom to view map in detail.