The future : secured

Yesterday, I took a new server over to the man who run's the business that we host at, dropped it off, gave him a grand for 2 years of colocation, and today the server is up and ready to have all of our stuff transfered over to it. Cementhorizon will unequivocally exist through at least August 1 2006 and hopefully beyond.

The new server has a 3 disk RAID 5 array giving us about 72 gigs of impervious storage space. Any diver can blow up, and while everything is till running (and mind you lost no data at all) we can pop in a replacement hot-swappable drive (which I've also given the guy already) and the server will re-introduce the new drive into the array and we're back like new, all with no downtime.

I've just in the last week finished installing nagios on a machine here at 140 Noe which will monitor our server(s) and alert me if anything goes wrong. It'll keep track of everything, the website, our email, our backup email servers, ftp, ssh, everything.

Our bandwidth utilization is not nearly filling the T1 that we're on.

After the Inflatable Supermodels joined on board a few weeks ago we've (finally) covered our hosting costs for 2004! I'd like to thank those who helped us get there, Clark Wood, The Inflatable Supermodels, Jessee Wood, Kristen Larson, Sean Keane, Chri #This string should be invisible to a browser but prevent google from indexing the name# stine K #This string should be invisible to a browser but prevent google from indexing the name# eagy, Cody Sisco, Kati Voluntine, Jacob Corn, Nuala Mansard, Michele Gibney, Matt Holohan, Aaron Vinson, Jason Shamai, Kristina Almquist, Boback Ziaeian, Robyn Mellen, Adrienne Mansard, Clint Alexander and Jack Small.

I've also reduced our yearly costs by 60$.

Rosy, the outlook is rosy.

During our move to the new server, we'll get badly needed upgrades to almost all of the software we run. We'll be moving to PHP 5.0, Apache 2.0 (our webserver), a newer version of sendmail which will allow authentication (this means that anyone with email at cementhorizon, can use our mail server as their outgoing email server), among others. I'm also looking into transitioning our existing email system from University of Washington IMAP over to Carnegie Mellon's IMAP server, Cyrus. This will allow us to do a number of cool new things. The main initiative that I'm excited about is trying to use the LiveUser PEAR package to facilitate single sign on across all parts of cementhorizon. What this means is that instead of the way it is right now where you've got one username and password for your email account, another for the main site, another for movable type, another for phpBB2, and this is only tied to your addressbook entry (in clio) through a lame hack I wrote, you'll soon be able to have one user profile which will apply to everything you do here. Everything will make more sense, and I can tear down all of the hacks that I've put together to get CH to work as it does. It'll be cool.

There are a number of small things that have been way overdue which should be coming up also.

  • Open up the clio addressbook so anyone can add new contact into it, fix up the layout of the results when you search, and try to move it into an LDAP server instead of the unwieldy database it's in now.
  • Look into whether we should move to MovableType 3.0, Wordpess, or stay where we are.

  • Set up a secure (https) place for our single login's (for all things) to take place. Then we won't be sending cleartext passwords over the internet. =(
  • Setup phpwebcalendar and integrate it into the rest of the site so everyone can use a decent calendar if they want to.

Upcoming will also be another major shift in Cementhorizon. My hope is to start what would essentially be an online magazine. Right now, there are many authors on Cementhorizon, some who have aspirations to write as a career, others who have a blog for keeping peers in our community up to date on their lives, and others have it for a combination of reasons. I'd like to provide a venue for the people in our community who find themselves writing stuff which doesn't seem to fit in the weblog/journal style. I'll have more specifics soon, but the idea is an online magazine that would come out (or be updated) on a fixed periodic schedule (for example twice a month) and would comprise articles by different authors on a variety of topics. There would be editorial control by me (I'll teach you all the salute, and what color arm bands everyone needs to wear later) as well as a mix of recurring columns (either written by the same author ever issue, or by a different one) and one time columns.

This would have no effect on anyone's weblogs, so don't worry. This would be in addition to what we have now. I've talked in person with a few people, trying to feel out if anyone has an interest in this and it's been positive. I'll send out more detailed and formal communication when I get everything to a point where this could happen. I'll be able to ask everyone what they think, suggestions, etc.

Thanks for reading.


  • CB says:

    Oh Gene, you’re so technical.

  • dD says:

    Keep me posted. The CH format may be suitable for me, meaning that I could potentially turn into something other than what it is.
    Lord knows what. Considering that I hate editing my pictures, I may just use it for photo hosting for a while. Ah, sheeit, maybe I’ll turn it into Something Completely Different.
    I’ve been lazy lately, but with all this non-Kim free time on my hands, maybe I’ll move back to the web for a while.

  • robyn says:

    Thanks for doing all that work (even though I guess you kind of enjoy it) so the rest of us can just take CH for granted.
    I appreciate you and cementhorizon!

  • kati says:

    Thanks a lot, Gene. CH really rocks.
    And I miss you, too, Robyn!

  • michele says:

    gene. i love you. and your upgrading ways. that is all.
    brian danny- come back to the internet, you fool.

  • Dianna says:

    I’d like to echo the general sentiment of all of the preceding comments, but mostly Robyn’s. You do stuff and pay for stuff and fix stuff so we can complain about the one brilliant function you haven’t added yet. Thank you, sir.

  • didofoot says:

    i agree with all that, and also can we have restaurant reviews on the new magazine? it would be useful to go to, say, a dianna review to see where i can take a vegan friend for dinner.

  • Dianna says:

    Or an acrophobic friend, hint hint.

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