My name is Karyl F. Stein and this is my website--a place to collect artifacts related to my family and interests. Family and friends may enjoy the journal entries. Perhaps some will wonder how I prepared a certain meal and look up the recipe. Searches for technical setup or configuration help may lead to one of my articles. Others may wonder how they got to this site and quickly run away! Whatever your reason for being here you are welcome and I hope that you find something interesting or useful within these pages.
In order to implement a cohesive way to control and monitor you home, you need some sort of controller to integrate with your devices. This can take the form of a "hub" hardware device (or multiple hubs) that you place in your home, or the use a third-party (or multiple third-parties) over the Internet. Since there has been a historically bad track-record with security flaws with home automation or Internet of Things (IoT) devices and software, I did not want to rely on a third-party to manage control of my home automation. I also wanted to control my data as well as remote access to my home. With that in mind, my main goals for a home automation controller are:
As part of the changes to the Stein Home Network (see Stein Home Network - 2021 Edition), the core home automation server is being moved to a new virtual machine and a new version of the openHAB software I use. While it is the same software, it is a major change and it is recommended to rebuild the system from scratch using their new tools instead of trying to upgrade in place or migrate data from the previous implementation.
The main goal of this iteration is just to update the server software used and get used to the changes made. However, it also helps to further another goal of decommissioning one of the full-time, physical servers in the basement to reduce energy consumption. No other changes are planned at this time.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a way to securely access a private network over a public one such as the Internet. For example, when I am away from home I may want to access and use my desktop computer located in my home study. But I do not want other people who may have access to my connection, (think of WiFi hotspots in many places such as restaurants, hotels, and businesses), to see what I am doing or typing. A VPN provides an encrypted (unreadable) tunnel between my device, such as a laptop or a tablet, and my home network. That way I can access my home network securely and as if I was connected to my home WiFi. A VPN can be used to securely connect two private networks, (such as between a home and a vacation home), over a public one. However, my goals for a VPN are fairly simplistic and are as follows:
DNS and DHCP are core services that many home networks provide. Usually these services are handled by an appliance such as a router provided by a person's Internet Service Provider. Even though one of the major goals of the 2021 edition of the Stein Home Network is to simplify the infrastructure, (see Stein Home Network - 2021 Edition), the appliances I have are not flexible enough to handle things such as reserving an IP address for a specific device or providing services with different configurations for individual VLANs. Therefore a virtual machine running a version of Linux will still be employed to provide those services. However, complexity will be reduced by no longer having multiple physical and virtual servers with a shared data store and fail-over capabilities. This means that a server outage can impact these vital services, but some redundancy has been built into the design to mitigate the impacts of outages as much as possible. (For a detailed description of the redundant DNS and DHCP configuration previously employed see DNS and DHCP - 2017 Edition.)
The main goals for DNS and DHCP are:
Home - Pretty much everything put on the site ends up here. If you want a full feed of all sections subscribe to this.
Cooking - Recipes plus ramblings about techniques, tools and more may be found here.
Technology - Information about the technology I use and how I use it.
Writing - Stuff that comes out of my mind and ends up on (digital) paper.
Résumé - I am not currently looking to switch jobs.
Family Site - Links to family photos and videos and more.
Contact - Click on "Contact Form" to send me an email.
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