EuroBSDcon 2022 Vienna

I have been meaning to attend EuroBSDCon for quite some time now, but wanted to do so in an environmentally conscious way. Practically this boils down to not flying. In 2019 this meant I could not attend EuroBSDcon in Lillehammer, Norway; I was just not naive enough to travel 24 hours by train with 7 transits and an equal number of possibilities to miss a connecting train. In 2020 and 2021 COVID-19 simplified any travel deliberations by putting a full stop to most in-person conferences, including EuroBSDcon.

Syncthing on FreeBSD

According to its homepage Syncthing is: […] a continuous file synchronization program. It synchronizes files between two or more computers in real time, safely protected from prying eyes. Your data is your data alone and you deserve to choose where it is stored, whether it is shared with some third party, and how it’s transmitted over the internet. In a way it does what Dropbox does, but without the central hub that Dropbox provides; Syncthing syncs directly between computers!

Printing under FreeBSD

Recently I took delivery of a new multi-functional laser printer. Contrary to my old laser printer, that was connected to my aging 2009 Mac Pro via USB, this new printer has WiFi. This has been a great convenience; everyone in our household can now easily print from their MacBook or Chromebook without having to turn on the Mac Pro. On my FreeBSD laptop - my primary development machine - I had to do a bit more work.

Extinction Rebellion

Living a climate consciously aware life feels inadequate; being aware of the environmental impact of the things I do and eat feels insufficient. As an admirer of the Stoic philosophy of life I’m aware of the Stoic Dichotomy of Control. It is the distinction between things within our power and not within our power. William Irvine, in his excellent book A Guide to the Good Life. The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, redefines this sharp division into a more practical Trichotomy of Control by adding “existence of things over which we have some but not complete control”.

Conferences and Flight Shame

Although I do like conferences I have not been to many of them for various reasons. EuroPython 2014 (Berlin), Code Mesh 2015 (London), Erlang User Conference 2016 (Stockholm) were the last three international ones. I enjoyed them enormously. Learned new things, met friendly people and got a good feel for what’s happening in their respective communities. Last year I contemplated registering for BSDCan 2019 (Ottawa) and EuroBSD 2019 (Lillehammer). But in the end I did not.

Enabling TLS on my blog

Google has been favoring websites behind HTTPS over those behind HTTP in their search ranking for quite a while now. Somewhat more recent they started to mark interactive websites behind HTTP as insecure in their Chrome web browser. According to Google: “Eventually, we plan to label all HTTP pages as non-secure”. One could argue about the value of marking non-interactive websites, such as blogs, as insecure. However given how easy it is to enable TLS by using Let’s Encrypt our time is better spend on simply enabling it.

Using FreeNAS to Host a Blog

Back in 1994 I started studying Computer Science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. One of the courses I took was the Operating Systems one by prof. Andy S. Tanenbaum. During one of his lectures he recommended trying a BSD Unix such as FreeBSD if we were interested in running a more production level grade Unix on our Personal Computers. I happened to have just bought a Pentium 133Mhz system and decided to follow Tanenbaum’s recommendation, installed FreeBSD 2.

Working while Commuting

As a (freelance) software developer I have the ability to easily carry my working environment with me. All it takes is a properly configured laptop. This opens up a lot of possibilities. One of these I’d like to emphasize: working while commuting. Ideally I work close to where I live. It allows me to cycle to work. In addition to being fun, quick and convenient, cycling also provides some physical effort, albeit light.