The night before

Well, the decade is almost over. I know, not technically, but the 10’s are done for and the 20’s start tomorrow. It’s really hard to believe that not so long ago, we were going to start the new millennium. In many ways, it feels like Y2K was just yesterday. In many other ways, so much has happened. The world is different. We have the most politically divisive administration happening right now. Our borders are tightening and disappearing at the same time (i.e. the wall and the multinational). The Internet is not new, and is in fact a core service – not too different from power.

I’m not going to go political and will likely ruminate on the other changes later. For this one, I’m going to focus on the internet and maybe some predictions:

A dozen years or so ago, when I first started this blog, self hosting was not unheard of, but also not very common. Today, it’s in a similar place, but for different reasons. There’s a ton of services that offer blogging platforms for next to nothing. However, they seem to be ephemeral. Many people are also choosing to use one of the various social networks as their blogging platform. I’m not a fan of those for a number of reasons, but the biggest is the pernicious nature of their monetization. Others have written extensively on that, so I’ll skip the diatribe about being the product. For me, at least, self hosting is eminently more doable and practical now. The cost of storage is essentially zero. Back when this got started, gigs cost real money. Now, TBs are around $15/TB. That means a gig is 1.5 CENTS. A gig of writing will take a lifetime. What’s more amazing is the transfer cost has reached essentially zero as well. I have full symmetric gigabit internet coming into my home via a fiber link. The speed of my blog is nearly instantaneous. Even if I post images, they are automatically optimized by WordPress. If you click on one of them, it’s expanded and even at full resolution sending a 3-4MB image is fractions of a second. That’s nuts.

This same "freeness" of storage and bandwidth has led to an expansion of gizmos and services that are internet connected. I run a moderately complex home network. It includes several automations (lights, garage, doors, alarms, etc.) as well as several voice assistants (Alexa, Siri, etc.). Add up all the gizmos and gadgets and my home now, on average, has about 120+ things with IP addresses on them. That’s nuts. And it’s only going to get crazier. I have a few upgrades planned over the next few weeks that will help me manage that better (switches with better VLAN support, faster storage, etc.). I’ll write about those as I go through them, but in the end, I suspect I’ll be ready for a cambrian explosion of internet things. And I’ll have to worry about security – even more. The fact that I have this bandwidth and all these gizmos means that my attack surface has exploded. The fact that I have to create an enterprise level network to manage it is crazy. The fact that I have to do it with some serious skills and that it’s not been figured out as a simple appliance is crazy. Maybe there’s a business idea in there somewhere.

Anyways. It’s nuts. The last decade has changed many things and the home network is one of them. It’s not what I started to write about, but I’m glad I put it down. Let’s see how I/we adapt to this over the next decade.

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