Saturday, October 20, 2012

Living In The Cloud

For years, I kept a knowledge base of .txt files. Basically just notes from each project I worked on. That's not very portable. I tried blogger, but didn't like the edit interface, so I wrote my own blog software which allows me to compose in limited raw html and apply permissions to each post. This solution isn't ideal because no doubt my server will go down shortly after I'm hit by a bus, and I'd like the public posts to be more permanent, so I periodically clone them to blogger.

For images, I use picasa. Blogger images also uses picasa, but I found that when uploaded from blogger, they were modified in undesireable ways. A better solution is to just create your own picasa album and upload images directly there. Then click the image to view it in picasa; right-click > view image, to view the raw image; change the sXXX in the url to s0 to view the full size image. Now you have a url that you can use in your blog, and if you want a scaled down version just change the s0 to sXXX where XXX is the maximum height/width. Of course, over time your picasa album will become large. To keep things organized, I prefix every image name with the date of the post for which I created it. I set the permission of the picasa album to limited "anyone with the link" which means that the images are essentially public but unlisted. It appears that you can't deduce the link of the album from the sXXX url of an individual image so this is a relatively secure way to store images online.

For non-image files, I tried google drive, but it required sign-in. Documentation suggests it should work but when sharing a folder or an individual file as "anyone with the link", "can view", "no sign-in required"; trying those links in a signed-out browser either prompts for sign-in or shows an empty document. I even tried to make a direct download link like this https://drive.google.com/uc?export=download&id=0B40U_IQ5WktpMDZvXy1mQjN0cGs where the id comes from the edit url https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B40U_IQ5WktpMDZvXy1mQjN0cGs/edit?authkey=..., and that works if I'm signed in, but not from a signed-out browser. Even making it public didn't help. After some thrashing, it seems that sharing on google drive is buggy. So for now, I'll have to keep hosting my own static files.

web
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