Securing Your Website With SSL Part 2: Free Certificates With Let’s Encrypt.

In a previous tutorial we looked at setting up an SSL certificate using a paid for CA provider. With it we got a pretty cheap option that would do for a single low-traffic site. However, whilst still being a decent price, this can start to get pretty expensive, especially for devs that do this as a hobby, should there be multiple sites they wish to secure. Also, businesses have to secure their dev and staging sites, which is cost they don’t really want. Well today, we’re going to go one better than cheap; we’re going to set up SSL, on a website, for FREE. That’s right. Absolutely nowt. Enter Lets Encrypt.

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Solwise Aztech AV2 1200 Homeplugs

What do you do when you need internet to another room of your house, and wireless doesn’t cut the mustard? Whilst my first preference would be to cable up the building with ethernet ports in every room, that’s sometimes just not practical. Perhaps you’re renting or simply don’t have the time/budget. Whilst wireless is convenient, I’m still not a fan of my data flying through the air. Upload speeds tend to be very poor as well. Plus, if you have thick walls, it can difficult to get a signal even if you’re in the next room. Random drop outs can occur. Very helpful, if you’re running some homeserver on the network. Here’s where homeplugs come in. They offer the security and reliability of ethernet, whilst being rather convenient in that you don’t need to hack your way through the house. Sure they also come with their own caveats – they are no way near as fast as dedicated cabling, and performance varies in different scenarios – but they’re simple to get up and running.

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Shut Your Pi-Hole

Adverts. Whilst probably being a necessary evil in a world that expects more for free, for the most part they are also intrusive, loud, garish and a waste of processing time and memory. Some places allow you to pay a subscription, to enjoy an ad free experience. Which is certainly something I do if it’s an application I use often and has usefulness to me. The less said about places that charge a subscription and still show garish ads the better. And there are some sites that have unintrusive ads that may actually be relevant to the person viewing them. They’re okay (should I ever allow ads on this site that’s the sort of route I’ll go down) but, personally, I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything that I’ve seen on a web page as (I’m just as bad with TV ads too), and I’ve never once clicked on one. So I’d rather minimise the wastefulness on my household systems, make my eyes happier and my brain less cluttered. Whilst you can use extensions for your browser, there is a network-wide solution which will cover every device entering your home network, including in-app ads on mobile devices. Say hello to Pi-Hole.

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Securing Your Website With SSL Part 1: Paid For Services.

Having a website that can handle encrypted traffic is more important than ever, in this vastly connected world. Billions of transactions per day are carried out across the web, and encrypting your data is another in the fight against data theft. Browsers are also now being set to tell you if the site you are using is secure or not.
Not only that but SEO rankings now favour sites that have https enabled, over their non-encrypted counterparts. So just having it will boost your site’s visibility in searches. If you want traffic, you’ll need SSL. All in all securing the traffic on your site, even a very basic one, is a very good thing.

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So I bought a Raspberry Pi 3

Despite my earlier article, where I mentioned my Raspberry Pi 1 was gathering dust for years, I decided to get myself a v3 version. Simple reason being this will let me use it as a machine to muck about with, as the v1 is now doing various tasks on the network. It’s not a good idea to mucking about with something that is heavily involved in your eco-system, until you’re ready to deploy it properly. Much better to have a ‘dev’ box for testing things out on. Besides, I got one of those ‘itches’ I needed to scratch. And the last time I got one of those, I ended up buying a new graphics card. So this isn’t too bad a purchase, in the grand scheme of things.

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Using the Raspberry Pi as a DHCP server.

In the first tutorial, we set up the Pi with Rasbian, stuck it on the network, with a static IP and enabled SSH for remote log in. That’s all well and good, but there’s no point if it’s doing absolutely nothing. It’s time to get it performing some tasks. Here we are going to set the Pi to act as a DHCP server.

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An Ode to the Greatest Computer Ever*

Most software developers, DBAs and sys admins will have a favourite computer (and many people who aren’t in those 3 categories, such as artist and musicians). A machine they grew up with, cut their teeth on, allowed them to get creative, and had them poking about the innards trying to learn how everything worked. For me, that machine was the Amiga. A machine that revolutionised the home computing world and seemed poised for world domination. Instead a series of poor decisions led to it’s demise…

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Setting up a Rasberry Pi with Rasbian

The Raspberry Pi was, and still is, a neat little device. I got one of the first of the v1 Model B boards off the production line, with the full intention of doing so much cool stuff with it. Even though, at the time, I was poor undergraduate the allure of a PC, capable of running Linux, for about £30 (more like £50 once you factor in a case, and power supply) was too great. The initial lead times for quite high, so it was a bit of a wait between purchasing and actually receiving it. And, truth be told, it essentially found life as a media server, running RasbBMC, as I imagine a lot of them did.

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2019: All change, please! All change!

Well hello there.

Thought it was about time I finally got a proper personal blog on the go. I’ve been meaning to do it for quite a few years now, but the plan was to create my own CMS software, and use that as the base for the site. Howevvvvver, as is the norm with most developers, the project was sort of half started but I either a) got more interested in doing other projects or b) work got in the way.So, scratch that. Let’s just go with some premade package that I can tweak to my hearts content, should I wish to. And, with that, comes a new Github identity. Now Github allows free private repos, as well as public, it makes it nice and easy to keep everything in one place, and collaborate on work projects (sorry, BitBucket!)

And, now I have some new found time, to actually work on it I might actually get some content on here. Knowing me, it’ll probably fall by the wayside, as life goes on, and other things take precedence; as is per the norm, with me. But it’s there for anything I want to throw out in to the world.