New Year, New Host, New Blog

I mentioned at the start of the year, I’m hoping to get back into blogging a bit more this year. I had a pretty good run of posting once a fortnight, but it fell away as my commute got shorter and less convenient for typing.

I’ve moved my blog to Digital Ocean. The reason is partly cost-based, but also because I wanted to play around with SSL certificates for DreadBall Hub. My previous web host was eHosting, a UK based provider of Windows hosting. That was important as a .NET developer, until last year when .NET Core has brought my skills to Linux.

Anyway, I wanted an SSL certificate and could get a free one from Let’s Encrypt. I spoke to eHosting, and they said that I could absolutely install a third-party certificate like Let’s Encrypt, but I’d need a static IP address. That’d be £1 a month (+VAT). Well, that was still cheaper than the £50-100 for another provider’s certificate, so I thought it was worth the cost. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the option to buy that add-on.

Their support staff were very helpful – the solution was to upgrade my subscription at an additional cost of £5 a month (+VAT), so that I could buy the £1.20 add-on for a static IP address. So that’s a total cost of £72 (+VAT) a year, to get a free SSL certificate.

Rather than spending an extra £80+ every year, I decided that with the Linux portability of .NET Core another option was open to me. Try out a Linux server (and Digital Ocean charge by the hour, so I’m not locked in too tightly) and see if I can do everything I want on there. Even with the collapse of the pound against the dollar, the hosting is cheaper than I was paying at eHosting with the downside of having to be the administrator.

The upside of course is that with free SSL certificates, this blog and DreadBall Hub are now encrypted. My mail is handled by another free domain-mail handler. I’m saving money, and I’m getting to learn new things about Linux and .NET Core – exciting new stuff! Onwards and upwards!

Family Tree Update

On Saturday, we visited my father-in-law’s family to make a start on my wife’s family tree. We managed to add just over sixty names to the list, bringing to total to over two hundred! As usual, a lot of the details are concentrated near the bottom of the tree – people who are still alive – but some of the older details were backed up with birth, marriage or death certificates. These are fantastic, it helped to fill some gaps in the knowledge that people either don’t know off the top of their head or never knew. I am indebted to the in-laws for keeping a hold of that sort of thing. I’ll definitely try and keep what I can for the future, and pass it on with the tree itself. We’ve gone back six generations from my son on almost every path now, and just think how amazing that will be to his children and grandchildren!

There are still some gaps, but with luck we should be able to get in touch with some of the more extended family and see what they can fill in (even if it is only their own details!)

Also, my parents are at home Easter weekend so we’re travelling down to see them – hopefully, I can meet up with my granddad and get some more information from him. I’ve been warned that he probably won’t have any documentation to help piece things together, but that’s not a major problem. We’re also going to start planning to meet with my wife’s other grandparents, to find out what we can there. It will challenge my family tree program and it’s text support, as most of the names on that side are German…

One thing my dad hasn’t tried when researching his tree is getting in contact with living relatives he doesn’t know or have a lot of contact with, to try and get more details that his main sources (close relatives, of which there are few) might not know. Although, I don’t know that there’s much more that they can tell him – he is from a small family, and his mother knows enough to place the top of the tree near the beginning of the 19th century. It’s at least two or three generations further than I’ve managed yet.

In other news, I have a small disaster to report. I was, over this year, going to try and re-post all the content I produced for way-back-when I was a student, and had the time, and some really weird ideas. Like eating noodles for 23 days, or flying to Glasgow on a whim.

This idea might have to take a backseat for a little while, as in the recent reformats of my drive… I’ve lost them. Now, I’m sure there’s a spare hard-drive knocking around somewhere that it should be saved on (some of the older stuff may even be on a CD backup I made many many years ago). I think that I have a bunch of IDE drives in a box, and eventually replaced the ones being actively used with SATA drives. So given the age of the content, I just need to find out any old IDE drives and see what’s on them! That’s almost easy! As long as the files still exist somewhere!

I’m not filled with a huge amount of hope. I have a few too many things to get sorted before I can search the drives out anyway.