The Grapevine - News

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Welcome to the Grapevine Blog

This website has been up and running for quite a few years now, but I've never made any real changes to the front page since the beginning. I like blogging's casual format and have decided that it will be the best way to go. For now on, I'll be adding small entries here and there to describe all the things that are available on this site (and there's quite a lot). Feel free to browse around and leave some comments, I'm always curious to know about who manages to find us out there.

To begin with, here's some background about this site. You're actually viewing a website that's hosted from my home computer on my broadband connection. I'm using DNS2Go by Deerfield in order to have a URL that follows me to whatever my IP happens to be on any given day. These days, my connection provides around a 300K upload speed, which is more than enough of a download speed for a website that's virtually unknown. I'm just interested in providing a useful site to the small number of people I know. If the site becomes popular, then I can consider commercial hosting.

The really cool part is that there's no limit to how much content I can host. I just need to be real diligent about keeping my system secure. Check out my entire digital picture collection, they're all available in full size originals. My downloaded program files section is an archive of every useful file I've ever downloaded from the Internet. See where I'm going with this? Everybody who has a broadband connection should be able to do something like this, unfortunately you have to be a bit computer savvy to accomplish it at the moment.

Advantages of dynamic DNS

I don't like the idea of being tied to a particular ISP any more than you have to be. Every time your provider changes, you have to notify all your contacts of your new email address. And then there's all that spam. Hosting your own mail server through dynamic DNS gives you great flexibility to fight spam, but yet everyone always knows where to find you. Through my website, I'm also able to provide a login for checking email away from home. Imagine having an unlimited number of email addresses. Just give a different address to each contact so you can keep track of where emails are coming from.

About my Site Certificate

When you access any of the SSL secured areas of this website for the first time, your browser will complain about my certificate. I'm not too thrilled about paying $450 for a trusted VeriSign certificate that will only last one year, so I created my own for free that will last 10 years. If you don't want your browser to complain, download my certificate and add it to your Trusted Root Certification Authories group. There are some applications out there, such as the Windows Media Player, that require trusted certificates in order to play content.

Which brings me to my music collection. Back in the Napster days, we all ripped our CDs to MP3s and downloaded a few as well. I wanted to listen to my music at work and at home, but there were no iPods to be found yet. Therefore, I put the whole collection up on my website and my 300K bandwidth allows me to stream it out to work in real-time. There was only one big catch. Most emplyers block you from downloading MP3s via http, so I had to secure the content using SSL. Since it's all encrypted, nobody knows you're downloading MP3s and employers typically will not block SSL content.

Big changes at work

KLA-Tencor just put a number of their e-beam products into sustaining mode, which means no new development for the forseeable future. Looks like quite a few people there will be losing their jobs, hopefully I will not be one of them. I had a favorable conversation with my Engineering manager last week, but you never know what can happen.

This reminds me of a few years ago when GE-Imatron went into sustaining mode, and most of the Engineering staff (including myself) was let go. Parts of this site, such as the Imatron Forum and my resume page were created to deal with that situation. I learned a lot and had quite a few good opportunities come out of that time. It's interesting being on the other side now, people are just dissapearing and it's very quiet in the mornings.