GCW gets a new home

After many years of running Great Castle Wilson on some flavour of Mac, I’ve finally decided to give it dedicated hardware of its own. In part, this is because I enjoy proving to myself that I can still set up and configure a webserver and all the other required accoutrements — yes, I’m weird like that — but mostly it’s because I’m fairly confident that macOS Catalina is going to break my current configuration anyway, so it seemed like a good time to make a change.

For those who aren’t aware, Catalina is the first version of macOS that only supports 64-bit applications. There are some fairly significant changes under the covers, and the odds are low that my personal mix of random open source software and existing Mac tech is going to continue to work.

So without further ado, here is the brand new GCW:

Yep, it’s a Pi 🙂

Specifically:

So far the setup process has been relatively painless, but I did learn that WordPress does *not* like it when its API URL points at a different instance of WordPress than the one that’s making the request — that took a couple of hours to debug. 🙂

Anyway, if you can read this, then we’re live. The site seems quite responsive and the only posts that aren’t displaying properly are ones where some of the original content they linked to no longer exists

Welcome!

Some history…

I don’t post to NfGCW very often any more, but I love the fact that there’s years of history from our family here. I’ve blogged about many topics over the years, including the site itself. Here are some previous posts about the hardware GCW ran on.

Building a Static Website using IBM Cloud

Update 2: Another round of updates to make sure the URLs and other content match the correct IBM Cloud branding.

Update: I have upgraded my project to be a new IBM Cloud Continuous Delivery toolchain and updated the Deploy to IBM Cloud button below to point at my new repository. Learn more.

Somebody asked me the other day if it was possible to build a simple, static website using IBM Cloud. With a bit of thought, I managed to get one going that used the nginx buildpack, but it turns out there’s an even simpler solution. On the CloudFoundry community site on GitHub there’s a “static file” buildpack that is just what you’re looking for. Given this, it’s just a handful of steps to get a static website going:

  1. Create a toolchain at IBM Cloud Continuous Delivery, with a repo and a pipeline.
  2. Create a manifest file with the buildpack: set to the static file buildpack
  3. Pour in some html content
  4. Configure the pipeline to deploy the app
  5. Commit your source to the repo

Ok, even though that’s pretty easy, it might be a bit hard to get right if you’ve never done it before. So here’s an even simpler solution…

Just click this button:
Deploy to IBM Cloud button

🙂

That will take you through all the steps above, setting you up with a toolchain and all the tools you need to work with on IBM Cloud, along with example starting content for your website. It also takes care of deploying the site so you can see it running right away. All you have to do is edit the html files to be what you want, commit them to the repo, and you’re done.

It even works if you don’t have an IBM Cloud account yet (although you’ll be asked to sign up for one).

Now that’s simple!

(… Ok, it’s not quite that sample. IBM Cloud uses API keys to access its services, including Cloud Foundry deployment. You’ll need to create one along the way. Luckily, that too is part of the flow that happens when you push the Deploy to IBM Cloud button above, so it’s *almost* that simple.)

*** Site stability warning *** (updated)

Just letting you know that the various sites we host may be unstable for the next few days.

We’ve just upgraded our network connection, which should significantly improve performance, but it’s going to take a while to get all the kinks worked out.

Wish me luck :-),
McQ.

Update: The most important sites are all working again. If you have any problems, please let me know.

SlingPlayer for iPad — don’t buy it.

I have to say, when I finally got a chance to get the SlingPlayer Mobile app for my iPhone, I was quite upset to find that they were charging $30 for it — more than 5x the price of any other app I have purchased for that platform.

On top of that, after using it for a while, I can honestly say that it was not worth the price. The control scheme is unwieldy (to say the last); the actual interactions with the PVR are unresponsive to the point of being nearly useless; and the picture quality is poor (even with the latest 2.0 version).

Essentially, it’s a tech demo: I have never used it for anything other than explaining to people what is possible on the iPhone.

I’m an optimist though, so when the iPad version of SlingPlayer came out, I thought maybe they will have made use of the improved screen real estate and horsepower to provide a better experience, so I’ll just go to the App Store and… WHAT?!?!?! Another 30 dollars!!!!

Um… In a word, no.

Even for an iPad app, that price is off by (at least) a factor of two, and they simply haven’t demonstrated that they can deliver an experience that justifies that cost. Hey, SlingMedia, take a look at StreamToMe it’s one tenth the price and offers a streaming media experience (albeit a simpler one) that is significantly better than SlingPlayer.