I've finally got around to completing the transfer of data for my Website, Email, File server, T2TAS & APRS iGate/Digi services. I'm using a model B for the APRS duties with the VHF port using TNCPi kiss tnc and still using the old faithful PK-232MBX & USB to serial converter for the HF port. For the website and email servers I'm using the new model 2B. Both are using 16gb Class10 sdhc. This leaves the third Raspberry Pi for experimenting with whatever suites!
The motivation behind this was to retire my aging IBM eServer 220 (costs about $100AUD per quarter) that had suffered the loss of 1GB ram due to age and the 10k SCSI drives sounding like they were about to self destruct! So performance may not be comparable from the old server, but that's not the focus here.
Back in December 2010 I applied to become part of the T2 server network. It's now just a little over a year since then and for me I believe that it was a good decision to pursue. At the time of applying there was only two T2 servers located in Australia, they being T2AUST & T2SYDNEY. Now just a year on and there's now 5. This has certainly improved the user experience within AU as this provides some more redundancy to the network.
Wow has it really been that long? I started experimenting with WordPress back in June 2008 with the intention of setting up a site for the company I was working for so that it was the were to get information within the company (intranet) However, as most things tended to never happen there it was never implemented so not long before I was made redundant I was given the server that hosts this blog (and other services) so I put it to use here at home!
So lets look back at the versions of WordPress, Now as I said I started tinkering in June of 2008 so that would have been version 2.5.1 (yes I cheated, see release history here) Now I won't give a breakdown of each release as you can read that from the link above! But WordPress has come a long way from my early days, there's a lot more automated items now where traditionally you would have had to ftp your updates or themes and the like.
Also within the 3 year period my server has changed a lot as well (software) as when I originally started it was using Debian Etch. Although my preferred Linux distribution at the time was Ubuntu 8.04, However for some reason the live CD of either the Desktop or install media for Ubuntu Server wouldn't recognise the RAID card! So that made for a rather short-lived prospect for running Ubuntu. It wasn't until Ubuntu 8.10 that I was able to install, as for whatever was the issue on the 8.04 LTS had been either addressed or the necessary module was now included by default. I was also wanting to host my Email server and there was some simple setup prerequisites that Ubuntu Server 8.10 introduced that made setting up Postfix with all the bells and whistles of using Amavis, SpamAssassin & ClamAV to give you a bit of mail cleansing! So Ubuntu remained as the servers OS untill September this year when trying to update to 11.10 when horribly wrong! and I was left with a non working system, Yes I certainly did do a system backup of all the data that I considered important, but this didn't include a full drive clone though (something I considered but didn't do!)
I'd become a little displeased with the direction Ubuntu was going anyway (I'd stopped using Ubuntu on my desktop not long after the release of 9.10) and the usage of Plymouth cause me some headaches as the video chip wasn't up to spec for displaying the intended splash screen associated with Plymouth (even my desktop PC didn't play nice with Plymouth!) It is my opinion that a server should only show verbose output while booting so you can see if there are any issues, by hiding that (verbose output) behind a splash screen as default was a bad move! So after some thought it was clear to me that my server needed to return to Debian (stable release) so that happened on the 9th of September and hasn't missed a beat for me.
Now I have to admit that the majority of the content on this blog is really of no significance (to any one else!) but over the time of it's existence I've learnt how to set up a Web server, Email server and a few other monitoring solutions. This blog (well the server really) is purely for my self education and none of this would be possible without Free Open Source Software (FOSS) and the developers that dedicate their time etc…
So will this last another 3 years? … Lets hope so! 😉
For us Amateur Radio peeps that have Android phones and wish to play with APRS without the need for a radio or if you are just interested in what it's all about, then there are currently two applications that will achieve this. However both of them are not currently included in the Google Market so you will need to visit the respective sites to get them…
This has a simplistic terminal like display when in the foreground and has a task icon when active (icon visible in the last image)
The map view (accessed via the menu) uses Google Maps to plot both yourself and heard stations from the APRS-IS feed.
If you are already familiar with configuration for a PC based APRS client, then setting up is quite straight forward
The main thing to note you must have a valid APRS Passcode for your position to be gated into the APRS-IS
Menu button pressed showing options available
APRSDroid in action!
Has a tabbed main screen allowing quick change without the need to access the menu. However this doesn't currently support landscape mode! (not critical)
Message screen can be set to display messages just to you or can be set to accept all or be filtered to a specific area.
Map screen uses aprs.fi to render both you and nearby stations.
Configuration is all in one screen (accessed viz the menu key) Some of these items could be consolidated into categories (just my opinion!)
There are two types of beacon modes, Manual & Automatic
Both applications do the job of reporting your position and passing it on to the APRS-IS, the one benefit that U2APRS has is that it supports messaging. I currently have both installed so I can select if I want to be able to message or not (to me not an important feature for a phone tracker) The set up options for U2APRS could do with a little clean up. Also as both of these apps are not in the main Android Market you will need to regularly check the respective web sites for updates as neither have an update function check, but if they one day both go into the market then that will no longer be a problem. I must say that I was two versions behind on APRSDroid, the version I had installed didn't have map support or the task icon when active!
So depending on what your preferences are I'm sure that one of these apps will cover what you want… 🙂
Note: I'm using the HTC Desire (A8183) and Oxygen ROM 2.0.1