I’ve blogged about ownCloud before, and written a couple of features about it for MM. Unlike a lot of software that I’ve installed, tested, written about then forgotten, ownCloud is in regular use.

My entire /home/phil directory is synced to an ownCloud server, which is just an old Athlon 3500+ desktop sat in my office, and I can access it from anywhere with an internet connection. It’s so convenient I’ve installed the client on my wife’s PC and use a folder we can both access for simple file transfers between our machines. Changes are afoot though some falling out between the majority of ownCloud devs and the management of the ownCloud company which markets the supported commercial version has led to the majority of devs leaving.

Being open source of course they left with a full copy of the source code which they have forked to create Nextcloud, and have just put out their first release with instructions for upgrading from ownCloud.

We’re moving house soon (-ish subject to lawyers) so the server and network is all going to be packed away. Once we’re settled I think I’ll stick a new disk in the server and install Nextcloud from scratch, and do it right this time using MySQL rather than the default SQLite.

It’s Cloudy again

ownCloud on my webserver works just fine. But the obvious snag is that web host companies charge for storage space, and generally charge more than a dedicated cloud storage provider. ownCloud have thought of this and provide a plugin to connect to external storage using various common protocols.

Given that I got into ownCloud because I want to avoid government snoops and US corporates selling my data I want a UK based cloud storage provider that allows access by FTP or SFTP. There are several issues.

A lot of companies with a UK website turn out to be branches of US companies who don’t disclose where there servers are. Many companies provide cheap, even free, storage but only if you use their Windows, Mac or Mobile client software. Won’t link to ownCloud unless you pay for the ‘Pro’ package which often starts at £10/month. I did find one exception, Memset which charges 4p/GB/month. Set up is easy and it links to ownCloud via FTP or SFTP. But I can’t make it accept files.

In desperation I signed up to a 30 day free trial with iWeb. It also uses FTP and connects to ownCloud just like Memset – but it works. This demonstrates to my satisfaction it’s not me or ownCloud at fault, so I’ve filed a support ticket with Memset. I hope they fix it, after 30 days iWeb gets expensive!

The long term plan is to mirror my entire /home/phil directory on ownCloud so I can work anywhere without needing to remember what to copy/backup before I go.


New PC

Finally built myself a new desktop PC. The idea came about when I reviewed Mac4Lin, such a cool looking operating system really doesn’t belong on a beige box and CRT screen. So here it is…


Unfortunately the BenQ V2400 eco monitor is only a review model on loan, it’s going back tomorrow.

Mini 9 -intosh!

I just got a new toy, a refurbed Dell Mini 9 for £164 from NDC. It was supposed to come with Linux, but due to a cock up arrived with WinXP installed. NDC offered to take it back but I was too anxious to play with it, so I installed the latest Ubuntu (9.04) and Mac4Lin. I’ve blogged about Mac4Lin before here, but I’m amazed how well it runs on a lttle netbook and how usable it is.

Mini 9-intosh (& an espresso)
Mini 9-intosh (& an espresso)

The Mini 9 seems robust, the keyboard is surprisingly usable with decent sized alpha-numeric keys, though some of the others such as Tab, Enter, Back etc are fiddly. The middle row of letters are used with a Fn key for F1, F2 etc. WiFi works with no hassle at all and the graphics system runs Compiz so you can have wobbly windows and essentially for Mac4Lin, the AWN dock. Built-in webcam works too, though strangely there is no built-in mic and I’m struggling at the moment to use an external one with Skype…