« Back to home

The Lab has Moved!

Posted on

The Garage Lab has now settled in to it's new location so I can get back to project again. Hopefully the drought of updates is finally broken.

The new location has a lot more space and lets me separate the different phases and types of projects more easily - I tend to work on multiple projects at once and now I can do that without them impacting on each other. I've already built a few things at the new premises (mostly space improvement projects) and the additional space has made it a lot easier.

I've also taken the opportunity provided by the move to clean up my internal network and the servers I run (I have a number of micro-PC's running XUbuntu in headless mode). The 'Garage' part of the lab is detached and is set lower than the main building leading to very poor WiFi reception - I used a pair of powerline adaptors from Netcomm which have solved the problem. I highly recommend them if you are facing similar issues - they provide a fast and reliable link between rooms without needing additional cabling.

One of the services I run is GitLab, a complete solution for hosting Git repositories on an internal network. It provides a web based UI that is very similar to GitHub complete with multiple users, project creation, issue tracking, a wiki per project and a complete set of graphs and other statistical information. It also provides you with full ssh and https access to your repositories.

Although sharing on GitHub is a better solution for open code there is a need for private repositories as well - I have started keeping a number of things (such as network configuration files and notes, small internal projects and custom single purpose projects) that it would either be a security risk to make public or would simply be clutter on the public GitHub service. Another reason to keep projects private, at least for a while, is to allow an incubation period as it is being developed and worked on - allowing at least a relatively stable version to be pushed to GitHub at the appropriate time.

If you have a spare machine to use as a server (a older laptop will do, even a Raspberry Pi if you don't have a lot of projects and don't expect top speed out of it) it is well worth setting up a GitLab service for your own use.

Another service I set up on all the machines was a CPU mining program for Dogecoin. I wanted to start experimenting with crypto-currencies just to get a feel for what they were like and how to work with the various software services surrounding them. BitCoin is hard to acquire without a significant cost involved (and the mining process requires some specialised, and expensive, hardware to be efficient now). I chose Dogecoin because of it's less serious nature and that I could actually mine some without spending a fortune on high end graphics cards or ASIC based mining solutions.

If you like, feel free to send some Doge my way - my wallet address is DCb85eXgP4J2r4F6R2JwkcyZr2YuLZUWBK. I'm not sure what to use Doge for yet, apart from tipping others, so any suggestions would be welcome.

Anyway, enough is set up that I can start catching up with my work queue so I have a busy few weeks ahead of me.