Release the hound

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The new versions of the Golden Retriever app have been officially released! I am so happy to finally have these released so I can start working on other modules for the GR platform. Except now I’m looking at Flutter and a part of me wants to re-write the app in Dart #SoftwareDevProblems

To go along with the app releases I also did a quick revamp of the GR website. The old site was built with Wordpress and had an old theme that wasn’t going to work well with the new version of Wordpress. So I took a couple hours and remade the site with Hugo. Maybe I’m getting old but I am finding I really appreciate a good static website these days, which feels like hypocrisy as I am a huge PHP guy. I also needed to update the pricing on the site as it was decided we should reduce our pricing tiers down to just two (from four) and start recouping some costs from our high data usage clients by charging a fee if you have over 20GB of data in your account. Yesterday I pushed the Stripe code changes to production so current clients will start to be billed on the new pricing tiers as of today.

I also spent the past few days adjusting my office NAS backup plan. What brought about the need was I found I had a ton of data on my main machine that I barely (if ever) reference anymore. So why keep it located on my main laptop? I know storage space is cheap these days but I am really liking the idea of a minimalistic approach to my main machine. Just keep my working files and archive the rest to the NAS. With that completed I wanted to set up some semi-regular automatic off-site backups of the NAS. I had been taking monthly backups to an external drive and then once a year I swap the backup with one I keep at my parent’s house, which has worked well up until now as the NAS didn’t really have mission critical data stored on it. So, being an AWS fanboy (except for the price, everything else is great, but Digital Ocean beats them by a mile on price) I have set my NAS to regularly backup to an S3 bucket. I did hit one snag in the process though, and I had a feeling going in I might. Because my NAS is an older model it does not support the newer Amazon datacenters (such as the one in Canada). It was throwing a generic error so I instead pointed it to a bucket in one of the Amazon datacenters that still support v2 of the signature signing process and things magically worked. I added a lifecycle rule to my bucket to move all the stored data from “Standard” to “One Zone” after 30 days to save on cost (these are just backups), disabled the ability for any objects in the bucket to ever be public, and restricted the AWS credentials to only have access to the backup bucket. Now I’m just waiting for the 0.5TB of data to finish transferring…

Over the past few weeks I’ve been testing out the Brave browser as my main browser and I don’t see ever going back. I have noticed some issues with certain websites but when they are accessed in Chromium, they work fine. Hopefully that will be fixed in the future. I am a huge fan of what they are attempting to do to the online advertising space and want to support them in their cause. If you are not aware the eventual goal with Brave is that you opt in to view “Brave ads” from their ad network. You then get paid when you view them (a digital currency is deposited into a built in wallet). You can then “tip” blogs and other content creators this currency. You can even enable monthly tips. For example, I have enabled the ability for people to tip me on this blog, just as a test as I wanted to see how it all worked. I tipped myself the other day and the workflow was really straightforward. Needless to say, I am really excited for what the Brave team is doing.

In other, non tech news, apparently all this cold weather has taken a toll on the lifting pistons for the rear door of our minivan. One day the door lifts fine, the next it tries to drop on your head and kill you. I’ve never replaced these before but it doesn’t look to hard so I ordered replacement ones from Wrench Monkey and they should arrive next week. Which is supposed to have warmer weather (I will believe it when I see it) that will make the installation easier for Dave. For now we are using a large stick to hold the door open when we need to access anything from the back. It is so haggard but it works.

Oh, I also deployed a new server today on Digital Ocean (I’m starting to think I have an addiction to VMs). I am now running my own Mastodon server at I named it the “Holden Hilton” in honor of our old watering hole in my home town. The “Hilton” has since closed down but I have so many great memories of that place. And since they never did have another shuffle board tournament before closing I am still reigning champion :)

Have a great rest of your night!