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Spent the weekend improving the internet

29 November 2015 21:50

This weekend I've mostly been tidying up some personal projects and things.


This was updated to use recaptcha on the sign-up page, which is my attempt to cut down on the 400+ spam-registrations it receives every day.

I've purged a few thousand bogus-accounts, which largely existed to point to spam-sites in their profile-pages. I go through phases where I do this, but my heuristics have always been a little weak.


This site offers free dynamic DNS for a few hundred users. I closed fresh signups due to it being abused by spammers, but it does have some users and I sometimes add new people who ask politely.

Unfortunately some users hammer it, trying to update their DNS records every 60 seconds or so. (One user has spent the past few months updating their IP address every 30 seconds, ironically their external IP hadn't changed in all that time!)

So I suspended a few users, and implemented a minimum-update threshold: Nobody can update their IP address more than once every fifteen minutes now.

Literate Emacs Configuration File

Working towards my stateless home-directory I've been tweaking my dotfiles, and the last thing I did today was move my Emacs configuration over to a literate fashion.

My main emacs configuration-file is now a markdown file, which contains inline-code. The inline-code is parsed at runtime, and executed when Emacs launches. The init.el file which parses/evals is pretty simple, and I'm quite pleased with it. Over time I'll extend the documantion and move some of the small snippets into it.

Offsite backups

My home system(s) always had a local backup, maintained on an external 2Tb disk-drive, along with a remote copy of some static files which were maintained using rsync. I've now switched to having a virtual machine host the external backups with proper incrementals - via attic, which beats my previous "only one copy" setup.

Virtual Machine Backups

On a whim a few years ago I registered rsync.io which I use to maintain backups of my personal virtual machines. That still works, though I'll probably drop the domain and use backup.steve.org.uk or similar in the future.

FWIW the external backups are hosted on BigV, which gives me a 2Tb "archive" disk for a £40 a month. Perfect.



Comments on this entry

icon Serge at 15:55 on 29 November 2015

Why don't you prefer hubic.com, 10TB for 50€/year?

icon Steve Kemp at 17:04 on 29 November 2015

I picked this one because it's fast, UK-based, and I work there :)

icon anarcat at 22:12 on 29 November 2015

i recommend you take a look at Borg, it is a fork of attic with tons of bugfixes and enhancements.


icon Steve Kemp at 05:48 on 30 November 2015

Thanks for the tip. I've seen borg mentioned in the past, but I've not got a clear idea of what gain it would give me.

I see several bugfixes, which seems nice, but also I see compatibility issues - requiring client and server to be upgraded in sync.

For the moment I think I'll wait and see how things turn out over the next few months. I've been using attic for my personal machines for a good few months and haven't hit any real issues to date.