trekking through the amazon

A few months ago, I learned about the t2.nano, a new Amazon EC2 instance that was cheaper than my old t2.micro ($5 a month versus $10), so I tried switching over to it and promptly bricked the whole thing, which was why this blog wasn't working for a while.

I started a new job that required me to learn a lot more about Amazon services, so this week I decided to take another crack at migrating my blog instance over. This time I even properly documented everything. It took several long evenings (and a panicked rewriting of my commit history after I pushed up some config files to GitHub that I really shouldn't have, which resulted in my emailer promptly getting hacked and turned into a spamming device), but it's now on the smaller nano instance and purring like a kitten.

While cussing at my laptop, I learned a lot about:

  • SSHing into stuff and making that process easier
  • How RSA keys are handled between hosts
  • Cloning Amazon EC2 instances and EBS volumes
  • Copying files to and from remote hosts (scp)
  • Obscure Git commands that you only need to know when you've seriously ****ed some **** up

    I really ****ed some **** up I really ****ed some **** up

This was all basic web deployment stuff I've been wanting to get deeper into, since my main goal as a web developer is to be able to create and run applications by myself. While the frontend has always been my jam (I like making things people can immediately use), I figure that if I can be a one-stop shop, I'll be of much more use to smaller places that really need a web presence, such as nonprofits and small businesses.

People have already suggested other improvements I can make to the blog, like adding encryption. I could also make my Ghost instance a static site using Buster (a.k.a. 'Ghost Buster'), since storing it in an Amazon S3 bucket would be even cheaper-- around $3 a month. I'll consider some of these options. But before that, I'd like to just enjoy having it back up and running.

It was only a couple of years ago that I became a web developer, but in that time, it feels like I went to college again and learned twice as much as I had the first time around. I started this blog in 2014; I'm kind of surprised that I managed to do it, since I was blindly copy-pasting terminal commands from Stack Overflow and hoping for the best. I know so much more about how this all works now.

Edit: I still blindly copy-paste terminal commands from Stack Overflow and hope for the best, but not as often as I used to.

not sure what happened, but it works now

rabbit making its own way

I realized that my host provider's copy of Linux didn't have basic commands like sudo or man (declare -p and help finally told me I was running some kind of zombie copy of Red Hat Linux), so I got around the entire vi fiasco by setting up the bl subdomain through my hosting provider's Plesk console and then adding a .htaccess file there. I think one of the features I enabled while creating the subdomain allowed me to add the .htaccess file, but maybe I'll never know for sure, and I'm cool with that.

After successfully doing a silent redirect from to my EC2 instance, I tried to change the favicon as well, but I'm not really sure if it's broken or if the changes haven't propagated yet. Either way, idgaf. Welcome to the blog.

ssh into the unknown

I'm trying to properly forward to this Amazon EC2 instance URL, and my hosting provider has been giving me a lot of grief over modifying my .htaccess file. So I've SSHed into and created .htaccess by force, but guess what? The only text editor available on this machine is vi. Not even pico or Vim, vi.

muppet screaming

Lemme get back to y'all when I figure out what OS this godforsaken machine is running on.

what you'll find here

I'm a writer of fiction, music, and code. I try to create more content than I consume. I also try to be succinct.

For this blog I'm going to write about some vastly different topics. I'll tag each post accordingly so casual readers can easily find where our interests overlap.

adventures in hand-rolling

I've been trying to get my own copy of Ghost running on a server all weekend, and I think I finally managed to do it. had a lovely IDE with Node.js pre-installed, and I got Ghost up and running there in five minutes, but I wanted something that wouldn't shut the entire machine down after a set period of time.

So, even though it was more of a pain in the ass, I set up an Amazon EC2 Ubuntu instance (its micro instance is free for one year), SSHed into it, installed Node.js and Ghost from scratch, and finally got it running with Forever. I also installed Git and set up my GitHub key for good measure.

I'll link to the install guides I used here soon. I'll also add my own notes where my install deviated. I've never had to use sudo so much in my life.