Status update for January 2022 (and the last two months)
Published on January 07, 2022
Table of contents
Happy new year everyone! I skipped a couple of monthly updates, so this one will be a bit longer than usual. I couldn’t find the motivation to keep writing these updates since I felt like I had nothing to show, and I also felt like I had the responsibility to spend more time working on the freelancing gig I had taken.
After the new year when I did the last major task that I was contracted to do, everything unblocked. Go figure. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been doing for the past couple of months.
The new ANSOL website was released. Converting the drupal database to markdown wasn’t hard compared to rewriting the whole theme. I’m still tweaking some things here and there, but it’s mostly functional. The website’s code is available on GitLab.
I accidentally sat on my phone with my keys in the back pocket and its screen died. Instead of getting it fixed or buying a new one, I rolled back to my previous Moto G3. I didn’t bother logging in to the play store, and I don’t even have email access right now. Through F-Droid, I installed Element, Firefox and VLC. Since I’m practically at home all the time it hasn’t made much of a difference, but I do miss not having a couple of homebanking applications. Unfortunately those are all closed source.
Completely unrelated, I spent most of the month going down a giant rabbit hole of understanding android applications and how to reverse engineer their APIs. I didn’t get very far in my initial goal, but I ended up writing a partial Dalvik interpreter/emulator in ruby. This isn’t super useful, and my application was stuck in an infinite loop so it’s definitely buggy, but it was kind of interesting to learn.
We released three episodes of the Conversas em Código podcast: one about reverse engineering Android apps, one about Matrix, one about PeerTube. I still have one unreleased episode that will probably go out this month.
I did some client work deploying a new version of a third party application, where the old version was on a windows virtual machine. Thankfully I was able to deploy the new version without touching the old one.
During December I focused mostly on Cyberscore. I’m
continuing to go through each php file in
public/ and converting them to a
router based file in
src/, taking the time to go through the code and remove
any potential SQL and XSS injections. I covered roughly 7000 lines of code this
month, with 12000 lines to go. The low hanging fruit is mostly gone, so now I’m
focusing on large and complex files.
I did some client work as well, upgrading some ruby applications, including going from ruby 2.6 to 3.x, from ruby 5.x to 6.x, and bumping every gem.
December is the month of Advent of Code. I was way from the computer at the start of the month but managed to catch up and do the challenges daily until the 21st. I did the remaining four days on the last hours of day 25. I went with rust again, and uploaded my solutions onto a git repository.
The new year only started about a week ago, but I already got a bunch of stuff done.
untracked in rust. The
tool had a couple of bugs that I wanted fixed and I didn’t feel like dealing
with C. The codebase ended up practically the same size, but rust enums and
pattern matching made things a bit easier.
mknsd, a tool to generate
nsd configuration and zone files. It uses its own syntax to define zones,
since I don’t need all the bells and whistles of a regular zone file. This tool
was in my private
infrastructure.git repository, next to my actual zone
definitions, but extracting it allows me to publish it.
I cleaned up the
tool output a bit. It now silences
each step’s output unless that step fails.
I finally automated the backup process for
Central, viste.pt and my
miniflux installation. I was backing up some of those
manually once a month or so, and the other ones not at all. I’ve setup
restic using an append only rest backend in a new
debian machine I setup in my bedroom. The next step is to create some redundancy
by shipping those snapshots somewhere else as well.
I had an AWS account draining my wallet for no good reason, with an S3 bucket (~80gb) and an old route53 zone for hugopeixoto.net (before I started self-hosting my nameservers). The zone and the bucket are now gone. The only resource left is a set of credentials for AWS SES that I use to send emails in one of my projects, but that shouldn’t cost me any money, since the project is practically dead.
I bought conversasemcodigo.pt a couple of months ago but never bothered to set it up. It’s now redirecting to conversas.porto.codes. One day, maybe, I’ll start self-hosting the podcast and ditch simplecast. I’ll need to figure out how to analytics first.
I did a small gig where I upgraded a Heroku application that was using a
deprecated stack (
heroku-20). This required bumping node from
8 to 16, upgrading some packages and rewriting the integration with google
spreadsheets, as their V3 API was also shutdown in the meantime.
Also did some client work upgrading a bunch of RDS databases from postgresql 9 to postgresql 13 using terraform.
A friend kindly donated a bunch of hardware. I got an Acer AspireRevo that became my backup server, and a couple of android smartphones that I’ll use to play with installing either a free version of Android and/or a Linux distribution. Thank you!
These next couple of months are going to be full of ANSOL tasks that need to be done: we’re making some changes to the association rules to make them a bit more lax and practical; we’re analysing the parties’ programmes for the 2022 Portuguese legislative election to see how they relate to free software; and work on celebratory messages for a couple of “International Days” related to free software. Help is appreciated.
In February I’ll be virtually attending FOSDEM! I’m looking forward to attend, the whole matrix experience was interesting. It was easier for me to socialize than when I attended in-person.
I also want to at least convert a couple more Cyberscore modules this month. There are still 12kloc to convert, and it would be nice if I could hit the 10kloc mark this month.
I’d also like to setup some redundancy for the backup server. I already have a machine in mind, I need to find out how to synchronize them. I’m thinking maybe rsync+btrfs snapshots. Backups are done daily at a fixed time, so for most of the day the backup repository will be stable.
In the self-hosting experiments department, there are a bunch of things that I’d like to play with: give Jellyfin a try, replace my AWS SES usage with something like maddy, and find a good email client. I’m also thinking of finding an alternative portuguese VPS provider, since the one I’m using is too expensive for the specs and it doesn’t support IPv6.