Re: Servers, and fun things to do with them



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(Cross-posted to autopilot list, for description of road-monitoring system
described below.)

In article <a05101531b8dbef4eda46 at [65 dot 227 dot 51 dot 107]> you write:
>First, re the discussion about list hosting and such:
>
>Yes... Yahoo has some neat tools but is clunky for a small discussion 
>list, and coupled with this Starband system that burps and hangs on 
>large cookies (or anything other than vanilla HTTP transfers, at 
>which it's pretty nice), it can be a real pain.  For the past 10 
>minutes or more, I've been trying to get to the page that lets me add 
>someone to the flotilla list, struggling past HTTP errors, timeouts, 
>and other nonsense that seems more a product of the 80's than 
>whiz-bang 2002 technology.  Ah, there.  Finally won, but it wasn't 
>fun.
>
	Agreed. Yahoo has implemented a list server via a web server, because
they do everything via the web. Reminds me of a quote:

If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
                -- Maslow


	I run a bunch of lists using SmartList, which works well. I've
heard great things about MailMan, but am not personally familiar with it
(yet). I could easily set up an ad-free, text-based list on my server. No
problem. Let me know if you'd like to go that route. 
	As an aside, I had Starband for 5 months last year, and quite liked
it, until they dropped support for anything but Windoze, and disconnected my
service that had been working fine via cable/DSL router.

> [description of spaghetti-net deleted...] This is 
>entirely too messy, so we're looking for a cheap (or donated) host 
>that can do almost everything serverish including mailing lists, a 
>few websites, CGIs, SQL, streaming media, moderately large file 
>space, liberal bandwidth, a web front end, hosting a dozen domains, 
>ftp access, shell accounts, a load of email addresses, and an onsite 
>admin to kick it when it stumbles and hangs.  This will also host the 
>Datawake server for our environmental telemetry, and lots of other 
>stuff related to the project.  I'm open to suggestions (preferably 
>off-list to keep posting volume down unless it's something that calls 
>for discussion).

	My friends and I have a network co-op in the Santa Cruz Mountains
with T1 access, and server/rack space. The more people we have on it, the
cheaper it is for everyone. What we might want to try is a flex/floating
partial donation from people in the community. Rather than relying on the
generosity of a few people, have those who can afford it kick in what they
can spare when they feel they're getting use from the service. Might be a
one-time $10 donation via PayPal, or $50 every few months, or whatever. I'm
sure we could even Frankenstein together a beefy server from spare parts we
have laying around, if we wanted to do so. I live 8 miles from Eric's
house, so I have easy access to machines in case of emergency. 
	If we wanted to get really geeky (who, us?)  we could even work on
a micro-payment system for fetching info from this trip-planner system.
This would tie in with (and lend value to) the usage-credits-earned-for-
submitting-info idea that was proposed. 
	The actual details of putting a server in at our co-lo can be
discussed offline, but I figured I'd throw out the idea of the group
micro-donation system to the whole list. I know there are a lot of us in
this community, although I'm not sure how many. I suspect, though, that
something like $1/month from each person would provide us with piles of
bandwidth and spare money for hardware. And doing something like PayPal
would allow you to drop a chunk of money once, and not worry about it for a
year or two, thus relieving us all from the complications of billing
systems.

>In other news, the bicycle route planner idea that has been tossed 
>around over the last couple of days is very cool -- 

[...]
>
>One could even integrate this with route-planning software once the 
>database was rich enough.  Simply enter the parameters for which you 
>want the software to optimize, along with start and end points... and 
>the widget would return total mileage, average road-code, percentage 
>of the route with traffic greater than x, climb data, etc.  And while 
>we're at it, quoth the Microship guy, how about doing a similar thing 
>for waterways, kayak routes, and so on?  In fact... hm... this is 
>sounding a LOT like the Datawake tools we've already postulated in 
>proposal form:  a tool for integrating environmental telemetry from 
>an arbitrary number of mostly mobile nodes, including community trust 
>values and linked text/image files.
	This sounds very cool, and actually ties in closely with an
automated road condition/repair-request/traffic-monitoring system that I'd
like to develop for autopiloted vehicles. (Car senses pothole, car denotes
severity of shock and logs GPS coordinates, and submits to database.
Automated road-repair-droids are dispatched to patch road based on
auto-prioritization, based on number of cars that hit a specific pothole.)
	Seems like a good system to start developing, and would tie in
nicely with all travel routes, waterways, etc., as Steve suggested. Another
project I've had in mind for a few years and was going to implement with
the help of my girlfriend was a "litterbug database", letting people
(hikers, bikers, kayakers, student/class outings, etc.) log what types and
quantities of garbage are found, and in what locations. Every month or
season, you can issue a public "Top Ten Polluters" list as a sort of "wall
of shame", listing things like "Budweiser drinkers seem to be the biggest
litterbugs, followed by those who drink Pepsi, smoke Camel Cigarettes, and
so on." The graphing and trending on this would be pretty mind-blowing,
since you could show by area, type of product (beer vs. soda vs. cigs,
etc.), and hopefully exert a bit of pressure on the companies to try either
impressing the need to be cleaner on their customers, or the need to design
better, more biodegradable packaging. 
	Anyway, I think this would all fit very nicely into a database, and
I'm starting to get into a database-jag, although I'm by no means
experienced, yet. So I might be able to start implementing the back end
framework for it as a way to learn things. 
	I'm also going to cross-post this and several other things in the
road-status-reporting-system thread to the autopilot list that I run. If
anyone here is interested in that (extremely low traffic, unfortunately),
see http://reality.sculptors.com/lists.html for instructions on how to sign
up.

>
>Maybe if we get a nice robust server donated for all 
>technomad-related things, we could host this (sticking my neck out, 
>as *I'm* certainly not going to write it! <grin>)
>
>Steve
	This is certainly doable, and probably not that difficult given the
talent we have at our disposal. 


Pat
	   ___________________Think For Yourself____________________
	 Patrick G. Salsbury - http://reality.sculptors.com/~salsbury/
       Like geodesic domes? See http://reality.sculptors.com/lists.html
	   ---------------------------------------------------------
    "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius,
	      power and magic in it.  Begin it now."   -- Goethe

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