Last updated 2 weeks ago
Post Taiwan: Full Cloud Citizenship
Last updated 2 weeks ago

So, it's been about a week since I've been back from Taiwan, and I've finally had a moment to catch my breath with work and all the things that happened while I was away from the office, life and such.

To basically sum everything up - Project Cloud Citizen works. It meets my needs with my work and media requirements. Between the Nintendo Switch, mobile and iPad itself, my gaming needs are met too. There's a few caveats however...

Caveats for why Cloud Citizen is a 'success'

I'm no longer a hardcore gamer

This is probably the biggest caveat I can think of. Gone are the needs of 100% minimal input lag gaming; I'm not cruising around in some competitive FPS, and most of my gaming needs can be very casually met. I was satisfied mostly gaming on the Nintendo Switch, and the occasional odd iPad game.

I'm not as media creative focused anymore

I still tinker around every now and then in Photoshop and with some graphics; I don't think this'd be possible with full blown video editing suites. Rudimentary graphic design is still very much possible, as long as you're willing to compromise with colour reproduction and image quality while editing your work. The finished product will very much still be to spec, but due to the nature of streaming, you might not see your work with perfect clarity.

Cloud Citizen works for me


I was able to upload and retrieve just about every photo I took within a few seconds, on-demand during the trip. Taiwan has cheap, unlimited 4G for tourists (Alice and I picked up a 10-day SIM) with extremely consistent coverage everywhere in Taipei and Hualien. Whilst this is mostly a success due to the availability of mobile internet; the usability is a success from my phone/iPad with Cloud Citizen.

Remote Work

Whilst I was overseas, my team deployed a new project that had been in the works for about half a year. Thanks to Cloud Citizen, I was able to remote into my server, and via a remote setup on my iPad with a mouse -- I was able to contribute meaningfully to the processes.

I could indeed use my iPad as my main computing device, as long as it's backed up by the power of a full fledged desktop environment back at HQ...

If it's a success, does that mean...?

That I'll be using my iPad as my main device? After this whole experience, I feel that yes, I could indeed use my iPad as my main computing device, as long as it's backed up by the power of a full fledged desktop environment back at HQ. It has made me reassess my needs (and wants) for mobile computing; and I come to the conclusion that I need something a little more robust.

My work, and often whatever I'm doing digitally, tends to be code based. And my workflows currently involve a lot of Docker container usage for my work. The #1 issue that I have with the iPad is that I have no way for testing my PHP code locally. Sure, this could be overcome by remoting into a PC and doing everything from there, and whilst it's not terrible, it's also not ideal (for example, if I'm overseas I might not have access to the internet, or be on a very data-restricted plan).

This, in essence, makes my choice for me going forward into 2019... I'm going to need to return to using my laptop. It's no slouch, and it's comfortably going to run all the Docker stuff I need; combined with some other applications - I think I should be quite comfortable with development on the go with it.

It's unfortunate that yes, while I consider Cloud Citizen a success; it's only a partial success with the particular ecosystem I brought with me to Taiwan.

Last updated 2 months ago
To Taiwan: Powered by Cloud Citizen
Last updated 2 months ago

So, over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be travelling overseas to Taiwan. It's a vacation, my first in nearly a decade; and since my last vacation, a lot of technology has changed that perhaps makes this journey a little more comforting to a reclusive geek like myself. The airline I'm flying with, provides a USB socket in its international economy seats, with 5V DC and 500mA charge, meaning I can power a device somewhat comfortably to enjoy a variety of media, and entertainment. So without further ado, I'm going to go into something of a diatribe about preparing for the trip to soothe my inner geek.

The constraints

There's a number of limitations on this vacation, predominantly governed by my travel arrangements (flights, trains, etc.) so listing them out:

  • Portability; I'm using a Crumpler 8L backpack; the "Low Level Aviator"
  • Power; My gadgets need to last a while, and/or be charged with in-transit USB (5V DC, 500mA - about the same as a USB 1.1 port)
  • Media; and Storage for photos and videos from my phone
  • Entertainment; I don't expect to have much time, but in the down time and flights I might watch a show, or three...
  • Gaming; of course :)

The goal of this post is to put down my thoughts so that I can build up an EDC kit for my trip.

The EDC Backpack

Aside from my wallet - "The Pilot" by Andar; and my iPhone on my person - I'll have most of my gear in my backpack with me:

  • iPad Pro 9.7" - it's only 32GB, but it should hold enough of my notes and such to continue being useful!
  • Nintendo Switch - previously in Project Cloud Citizen, this would've been my GPD-WIN PC, more on this later;
  • Bullet Journal - my bujo, I carry this with me pretty much everywhere
  • Pen cases - will hold my pens of course, and insulin injection pens, as well as some bandaids and what have you
  • Screwdriver kit - this is a little portable kit with a combined tape measure that I will keep with me just in case
  • Glasses case - obviously, for the glasses I wear, as well as a spare pair inside
  • Battery Pack
  • Cables for iPhone/iPad/Switch

This trip is a good opportunity to really see what there is that I can and can't do when I'm truly away from my home desktop, and must rely on Project Cloud Citizen. I'm packing quite lightly with this trip, and my day-pack is smaller than my usual laptop bag. I'm also trying to ditch the laptop in favour of the lighter-weight iPad, and gaming/entertainment is handled by both the tablet and my Nintendo Switch instead.

In my last Cloud Citizen post I mentioned that I was going to use my GPD-WIN for my gaming purposes; but I am actually thinking more along the lines of no longer using it. For a few reasons:

  • Its battery is good, but not as great as the Nintendo Switch or the iPad
  • It's far more general purpose, and far more of a compromise in power/features - so I feel like I've sacrificed too much to use it
  • The iPad can truly connect with my Cloud Citizen server as a remote client now

For anything really PC related or desktop related, I can actually use my iPad now to remote into my server as needed using a piece of software called Jump Desktop, it works great with a specific bluetooth mouse and my iPad, and should satisfy any mobile needs I might have. In fact, I intend to work on this site and blog while I'm in Taiwan to try and get a feel for it.

So as it seems, I'm going to start using just my iPad and Switch, for this trip. It's a 9 day long trip; so it's a fairly valid testing opportunity!

Last updated 2 months ago
Website update!
Last updated 2 months ago

I've actually made some changes to the site, with a greater focus on nice code. There's some significant back-end stuff happening in preparation for future updates (when isn't that the case?)

New to the site

  • A page editor GUI that lets me create static content pages using Bootstrap columns/rows/grid layouts
  • Page Editor upgrade that also lets me edit the raw HTML of a static content page
  • Better data table handling of posts/pages and elements like logs
  • The groundwork for better logging functionality in the future
  • A release pipeline, with appropriate versioning based off CI/CD from VSTS

Planned updates

  • Blog post comments
  • User account creation
  • Discussion Forums
  • Members only sections

Eventually I'm hoping to have built enough services around the stuff I've got online for friends and family that it grows into a small community. From there, who knows?