Purpose of This BlogFebruary 7, 2020
I decided to revitalize this website on a whim. My desktop computer had been sitting at my desk, largely unused except for occasional online games and managing my music library. With winter around the corner, I figured I could either dive deep into an RPG to pass the upcoming months (WoW Classic was very tempting), or disconnect the peripherals from my desktop, open up port 22, and use it as a hobby server for my side projects that never seem to get a proper deployment configured. I had written a previous version of this site to act as my online business card while I was on the job hunt, and it had been sitting in a GCP bucket completely outdated and unloved for too long. I figured this would be a great project to get started with.
If you have an extra computer laying around, running a simple home server is great way to get some basic experience in server configuration, administration and maintenance, and to learn the ins-and-outs of your host operating system. Any computer you have should work for this purpose; I regularly think about scrapping my current setup in favor of a rack of Raspberry Pi boards to eliminate the fan noise from my studio apartment.
As far as my setup goes, my box has four hard drives – one boots an Arch Linux install, one boots a Windows 10 install, one is strictly a media drive, and the last is entirely for video games. My server is running on the Arch Linux drive, and I have the media drive mounted to serve files over Plex. Say what you want about my setup, but it was the lowest up-front time for me to get started and has been surprisingly stable.
I don’t plan to spend any time on this blog discussing how to configure Arch Linux, dual boot Windows and Linux, or anything of that nature. The Arch wiki is plenty helpful if you wish to go down that path, and honestly, I can’t even recommend it. Installing and running Arch Linux is a great way to get familiar with your operating system, and pacman is the best package manager I have ever dealt with. I also find it convenient to work on an Arch Linux server from my laptop that runs Manjaro. That being said, it is a huge time sink and should be avoided unless you like wasting the occasional weekend debugging your system, configuring tiny aesthetic pieces of your desktop, and so on. If you plan to get a homelab going, just use your favorite flavor of Debian.
What I do plan to spend time on with this blog are bite-sized, casual guides for people who have similar tech stacks and problems as me, mixed in with some personal stories and opinion pieces. The main purpose of the technical articles will always be as documentation for myself, but they will be written so that they can guide someone through the barriers where I have gotten stuck, or to show up on what would probably take a very specific Google search to hand-hold people through basic tasks. The Arch wiki is a much better resource, but this can hopefully help supplement the wiki with some more specific problems that I have run into, or give some direction on what kind of tools you can use to meet your needs.
If you made it this far, I appreciate you reading! If you have any feedback, suggestions or corrections you would like me to incorporate as you spend time on this site, please email me at [email protected].