LOGO

I’ve become very concerned personally about the continued coalescing of basic internet services behind only a few major players. Google (GMail), Yahoo (Mail), and Microsoft (Hotmail/Outlook/Office365) are the de-facto centers of the universe when it comes to e-mail. Google (YouTube) and Amazon (Twitch) are the purveyors of live video, and Facebook and Twitter are the gatekeepers of the increasingly anti-social social media.

This creates a terrible situation, where all of your personal information is easily accessed by anyone who gains access to these services. That could be a government, a savvy criminal, or even the hosting company itself. Even more concerning is the notion that your personal beliefs, could fall out of favor with these corporations and result in you losing access to your service.

The reason they can get away with this is due to the EULA (End User License Agreement). Basically, you have signed up for a mail service that costs $0 to you, but they monetize you and your data by any number of means – with the most innocent being targeted ads.

The solution to this? Pay. Pay for a service that protects your mail and has no access to the data. Even better, roll your own, like I have by using Mail-in-a-box. I pay $68/yr and have my OWN email service and my own domain. That’s right. Hosting provider + Domain registration = $68/yr.

Since I’ve done that, I’ve decided to drop YouTube and Twitch as well. But not YET. I’m following a project call PeerTube. Its a distributed model similar to Mastodon (Popular Twitter Alternative). They are currently undergoing a major improvement to their model and it looks quite promising. Basically, you post your video to your PeerTube (ours will be on video.apocalypticarmy.com most likely) and then it is available to post and share. They do a good job of explaining it a joinpeertube.com. Depending on your appetite for uploading, you could get this done for…. guess what, $68/yr. If you already have a domain and a server, it could be even less.

via GIPHY

I’m really getting passionate about this and am putting effort into this as well as considering financial support for it.


SQRL

I know I mentioned that I was feeling squirrelly, but now I think I may have gone off the deep end. I stripped back the system a bit, eliminated a useless set of Facebook, Twitter, Steam, and other login mechanisms and dropped in SQRL. If you’re not familiar and are a super-nerd like me, head on over to GRC.com and check out SQRL. Its an amazing piece of “simple” tech that solves a very real problem with security.

The simplest summary is this: The current internet password system (that fails us so frequently) is based on you coming up with an amazing, super-fantastic “password” and you tell it to your bank, under the premise that you can trust them to not tell anyone.

Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.

-Benjamin Franklin

The problem is trust. You don’t actually know that they are keeping it secret. And, unfortunately for us, the adage, “dead men tell no tales” doesn’t apply to the internet, the dark web or whatever other term there is for the seedy underbelly of the internet.

So how do we trust someone in an age where we can’t actually know that they are keeping my secret, and millions of others, safe? Especially when the bank’s list of secrets, collected in a single database, is such a juicy target?

Lets go backwards about 100 years, to the mobster days of rum-running during prohibition. How did the gangsters really know who they could trust? They started with family. People they know intuitively and recognize on sight. That is the functional equivalent of a fingerprint of an identity.

Consider this, you know you mother, but can you describe her in a way that a complete stranger could pick her out of a crowd?

Uhh, she’s blond. Mostly. Kind of a sandy blond. Wait, she got highlights. I think its more platinum. You’ll just know her when you see her.

That unconscious knowledge is how we know family and friends instantly, and how we have a nagging feeling of knowing classmates 20-30 years later. Imagine being able to summarize that complicated “knowing” of yourself and hand that someone. Now imagine they can deterministically repeat the process of identifying you with that rubric.

At this point, to the business you shared that “fingerprint” with, you have become Norm from Cheers.

NORM!!!

That’s right everybody knows your name. They don’t have any secrets, they just know YOU. That’s the best part of the tech. Your secret? Its you! Its a bit more complicated, and there’s some real crazy science going on, but that’s the short version.

SCIENCE!


New hosting provider

For people who follow along with such things, we have switched hosting providers again. I think I found one that is really good and can meet our needs. Not only do we have our very own domain, rated A+ by ssllabs.com, but I now host my own webmail. Divorcing myself from Google never felt so…. whats the word? Oh yeah, cleansing. I feel like a stench has left me. And it FEELS SO GOOD! No more is big brother looking at all of my, well boring and adolescent content! Let me know if you’re interested in getting down with this.

Oh, I guess I should plug the things I’m using. The site is now hosted on a Digital Ocean droplet. Its the right size for the website and mail-server, and costs the same – $10/month for the two droplets. One dedicated to email, and one to the 4 websites I host there (okay 2 websites, with 2 vanity domains). But it could easily manage all 4. The other thing I grabbed was mail-in-a-box. They automate most everything for you. Last, I have moved all the domains to Cloudflare and now I use Cloudflare for my DNS across the board – so much cleaner than GoDaddy or Ionos (used to be 1&1).

I’ve also begun playing around with nginx for rtmp streaming. Right now the project is just local to a Raspberry pi on my desk, but I’ll push it to the cloud later once it is doing everything right. The goal was to simulcast to Facebook Live, Twitch, Vimeo, a file, and to a private website. I want to do it as a snap or a docker, so I’m still plugging away.

For any of you still out there banging away and looking to get down with a good game, hit me up. This COVID thing has got me real squirrelly.


Don’t Starve Together Dedicated Server Online

We are now hosting a password-protected don’t starve together server.  ApocalypticArmy is the name.  If you want to get in, hit up @echo5rom3o or @muppet1856 for the password.  Its not running any mods right now, but that could change if you were up for it.


New theme is still a work in process

I’ve added the forum and a social plugin called buddypress.  This lets you have all sorts of cool functionality, most of which in inaccessible right now.  I also deleted a LOT of accounts.  I’d prefer it if you used facebook to register to the site for now.  I have to delete over 300 bogus accounts to kick this off.  Reregister please.


Same great website – just updated the look and feel.  I hated how my previous theme broke the TS Viewer.  NO MORE!!!   🙂

More great news – we are prepping to add forums back in.  Check in again later.


SO a lot has been going on here lately – I recently updated the ArmA 3 Wasteland server to allow us to use the latest beta.  Please post to the forum if you have trouble connecting – its usually that the server hasn’t been bumped to the latest steam version.

The DayZ US 1154 server has been more stable now that it has been set to 24 hour restarts (8:00 AM Eastern).  It seems the Hive stopped crashing when I did that.

We are all (by all I mean most of us) playing a bunch of Payday 2.  Its a fun thing, in the general model of Left for Dead, with a little bank heist thrown in.  Fun to do.  You should try it.


As a lot of you know, there have been a lot of problems with the server lately.  It keeps hanging on a Internal Hive Error.  When it does, the process will not notify the system it is hung and the restarter will not do anything.  I have to manually kick it over.  I’m not sure WHY this happens, but I am working on it.  Please bear with me.  It seems to happen on server restarts ONLY.


UPDATE:  This appears to be a public hive only issue and is on “their” end.  It is being experienced all over.  It seems to self correct when I restart the entire server (ie hit restart).  More to follow.

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