A peek at this site’s hardware

Here is a peek at the hardware which you are using right now to view this website. It’s hosted on a Raspberry Pi, a tiny, inexpensive Linux machine. This one is running “headless”, meaning it has no keyboard, mouse, or display. Instead, I connect to it via ssh, http, or other network protocols.

The black box on the right is the computer itself, in a black plastic enclosure. The data for this website actually resides on the USB thumb drive sticking out above the black box, between the orange Ethernet cable and the black USB cable.

The Altoids tin has nothing to do with the computer, but is merely to show a sense of scale, since every electronics tinkerer knows exactly how big an Altoids tin is.

The small black device above the Altoids tin is a powered USB hub. The Raspberry Pi itself may not always be able to reliably power mechanical disk drives.

The black and silver boxes to the left are external USB drives of 1 and 2 TB. These are not used for the website, but instead are network attached storage used for backing up some of my family’s laptop computers.

In addition to serving up this website and hosting the big backup drives, this computer runs an NTP server, to make one central reference in my home to which all other computers synchronize their clocks. It also runs some home automation software which I wrote, which takes care of turning on and off various outdoor lights.

By self-hosting my website at home on inexpensive hardware, I avoid ongoing expenses, and can run this site exactly how I want to. Notice the absence of advertising? The downsides are that I’m responsible for all administration and backups, there is nobody I can call for tech support, and all of the traffic to this website must go through my relatively slow home modem and network. So far, I’m not popular enough for that to be a serious problem.

2 thoughts on “A peek at this site’s hardware”

  1. Hello Rich,
    from Pete Barth W6LAW.
    I was led to your site (via NAQCC) to look at your Keys, Bugs, Paddles, Keyer’s article, .
    Then I went browsing all through your site.
    Very tasty!
    Well laid out, and professional looking. I figure that WordPress might help that too.
    Your pic. of the Bridge with S.F. in the distance makes me want to sneak out to Bolinas and visit KPH.
    I dream about their Tx’s and antennas. Sometime I hope to get out there for their “Night of nights”.
    I am very interested in someday duplicating your NTP server/RaspberryPi computer.
    I have one of the first Pi’s (never used). Retired now, I can apply myself and learn networking and Linux. I have books, but so far they seem daunting.

    Back to you….. I really enjoy wandering through your site.
    Keep doing it!
    Pete

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Pete. Glad you enjoyed the site, and I’ll try to keep updating things and adding content when I can. 73

      –Rich

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