Joel Always one syllable, sometimes "@jayroh"

Weeknotes for the week ending Jul.29

29 Jul 2022

An empty cardboard box on the sidewalk with 'free' hastily written on the side
You know the saying - "Nothing in life is free"

A year or so ago I bought a Synology NAS and started to consolidate some of the disparate cloud storage services into one single physical box that I knew I could (theoretically) control myself. It worked out well. I liked it! I could install some packages, I could run Plex, I could back up docs, photos, mp3’s, movies, etc.

Then I started branching out a little bit and messing around with using docker to host some services that didn’t already have Synology-related package installers. With docker-compose, this was all pretty straightforward and didn’t give me too much headache.

Over time this has grown into a full-on “homelab” situation where I’ve migrated most services onto a small Dell server that sits in the corner of my office plugged into a UPS. Ultimately this has turned into the sweet spot and I am thrilled with the workflow. It looks a little something like this:

  1. Does this service I pay for (Dropbox) have a decent alternative? Is there a docker image? Give it a shot.
  2. Does this service which I DON’T pay for but serve as data points for a machine-learning algorithm (Google Anything) have a decent alternative? Is there a docker image? Give it a shot.
  3. Does something look cool on /r/selfhosted that I want to try? Is there a docker image (almost 100% of the time: “Yes”)? Give it a shot.

Pretty easy.

So what has been good for me?

  1. Dashy - A dashboard that serves as my homepage. Links to all of my self-hosted services, in their logical groups, go here.
  2. Nginx Proxy Manager - An nginx configuration front-end. Makes setting up services and LestEncrypt certs a cynch.
  3. Linkding - Bookmarking app a la “Pinboard” and “”
  4. Whoogle - “A self-hosted, ad-free, privacy-respecting metasearch engine “, AKA “Google front-end”. No google ads. No tracking.
  5. Umami - A privacy-focused website analytics package. No more Google Analytics for me.
  6. AdGuard & Pi-Hole - Both! DNS servers for local, in-house, ad blocking.

This is the tip of the iceberg. There are more, but these are good starts.

If you’re in the “tech” business you can imagine this is a potentially dangerous hole to drop down into. I recognize this, but there’s not a chance in hell I end up like the people in /r/homelab.

Knock on wood.

I'm working on something called!

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