Random Stuff

Keepalive …. keeeepalive!

I haven’t posted anything in ages. Graduate school has been eating *all* my time. But perhaps I should continue to post occasionally, even if it isn’t some epic or profound piece of deep insight, or the result of one of my never-ending projects (which seldom produce complete results :-P).

So, random fantasies as to what I might do eventually given time:

I’ve been thinking off and on of setting up my old POS dell server again. I started apache on my machine and was playing around with it, but it would be preferable to set up a gateway/server that could stay on all the time. I don’t like running my main machine constantly for two reasons:

1. Thunderstorms and brownouts – I don’t want my machine dying while I’m halfway across the city. I don’t care if the dell box fries.

2. Random suspicous port-scans from Russia – some dude in Russia keeps trying to connect to things. McAffee pitched a fit once when I had apache open and tried to connect to freenode on IRC. If somethings going to get hacked, I’d much rather it be my POS dell box.

The dell box is interesting. I bought it from a used computer store for $80 (and probably overpayed! :-P). It is a bit flaky in the way I wired the hard drive to the mother board (it’s a SATA drive going through a converter chip that occasionally shorts). On the other hand, it’s a perfect platform for messing around with esoteric server/gateway projects. I’ve currently got it running Fedora 10, and everything works well. I’ve got Apache set up and configured on it.

It would be nice to have it always connected to the internet, but I only have the one modem comcast gave me, and it only has one ethernet port. I would have to configure the dell box as a gateway, and set it up to forward traffic. Fortunately, linux apparently has all the stuff needed to do this. (Routers are internally usually linux/unix computers with certain software setups installed to boot on powerup). Unfortunately, this will require knowing more about networking than I probably do right now.

But to get me started in my pie in the sky project, the following FAQ provides some hints as to the steps required. http://www.stanford.edu/~fenn/linux/

Once I get this project done (read never) it should allow me to have an always-on internet “face” that I can log into remotely, use as a file and web-server, a platform to mess around with internet programming experiments, and forward all my traffic to my main machine which can be on or off half the day.

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