Own Your Cloud – GDSE05

Hi, this is Matt, the Stay-At-Home G33k Dad in Northern California. You’ve found the G33kDadShow! and this is episode 5, Own your cloud. Thanks for listening, let’s get to it!

Welcome, welcome to episode 5 of the G33kDadShow! I am so glad you have all tuned in. I have some new gear I am excited to be testing out. My goal is to try and do as much of the show live… well, live to recording, as possible. Currently, I do not have a mixer so it is difficult to do the music live. I will have to add that stuff in post-production. However, I am doing my best to have the episode scripted so I can sit down and record it in one go! If you want to follow along with the show notes, you can find them on our website.

In our last episode we talked a bit about “the cloud”. We talked about how the nomenclature came to be used and we talked about how we use the cloud in our everyday computing and social lives. Today, I want to dive a bit deeper into a specific kind of cloud. If you use Dropbox or Google Drive, then you are familiar with the concept of cloud storage. That is, you upload or sync your files from your local computer or mobile device to a storage site on the internet. We will talk about the difference between uploading and syncing in a second. Once you have uploaded or synced your files, you can access them from other computers connected to the internet. These are sometimes referred to as public clouds because anyone can get an account on them. Public cloud doesn’t refer to a service that is open to the public in such a way that just anyone can download your stuff. This is not what we are talking about today; today we are talking about private clouds.

By definition, a private cloud is cloud storage that is owned and managed by an individual or organization for the sole use of itself. There are several ways you can accomplish this from the very technical to the very simple. It is the simple way that appeals to me, not because I am fearful of setting up, running, and securing my own sFTP server, but because, who has the time? No, I use an awesome piece of software called, ownCloud. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am more than just an ownCloud fanboy. I am acquainted with the developer and community manager and helped to staff the ownCloud booth at SCaLE this year. I am, however, not a paid representative, merely an enthusiastic user.

ownCloud is a web application, written in HTML, PHP, Javascript, and some CSS, for styling. It is very approachable from a user perspective and even as an administrator, it is very simple to set up and manage. ownCloud is available in two versions, technically, but both are based on the same core. The community edition, which is free as in freedom but also free as in beer, can be downloaded and installed on any web server which supports PHP5. It can use MySQL or MariaDB as a database, but if you are only using it as an individual, it can also use SQLite. It can be run on bare metal, on a VPS, or even on shared hosting. Basically, if you have some web space somewhere, you can probably run ownCloud. In fact, if you do have shared hosting, ownCloud has provided an easy way for you to install. You download a file from the ownCloud website and upload it to your shared hosting. Then you simply navigate to that file in your web browser and follow along with the simple installation instructions. Piece of cake!!! If you want to run on a server you host, there are instructions for installing on many different Linux distributions. What I do, and what I find the easiest for my needs, is run ownCloud on a VPS or virtual private server. What this means is I have a server that I run and I have administrative access to, but the hardware is owned by my provider. In my case, I am using Digital Ocean. I pay $5 per month for a server with 20GB of storage space and I use that to host my ownCloud. It works flawlessly! So what do I use ownCloud for? I’m glad you asked! I use the calendar and contact management features of ownCloud to support my android phone. ownCloud uses standard CalDAV and CardDAV protocols so I can sync my calendar and contacts to my phone, without using Google Calendar or Google Contacts. Not only does that data now come under my control, I have noticed a distinct battery savings using ownCloud for my syncing over using Google’s services. I wonder if this is because my phone isn’t polling Google for updates all the time… perhaps?

I also use ownCloud to sync files between my different computers and to share files with my friends and family. I do not, however, use it for backup. This is because of the difference between uploading files and syncing files. ownCloud syncs. That means,at least for you designated sync folders, it will echo what you do on your local machine. So if you delete a file from your local machine, ownCloud will dutifully delete the file from your server. ownCloud assumes you know what you are doing. This makes for a silly backup solution. But backups are important, right? We will be talking about that topic, in a later episode of the G33kDadShow!

Well, thanks so much for tuning into this episode of the G33kDadShow! I hope you have enjoyed this 2 part look at the Cloud. In the next episode of the show, we will be leaving the server room stuff behind and moving into the kitchen. I will be telling you about the 5 best kitchen tools a G33kDad can have.

The theme song for this episode is, as always, Insurrection by Grant Bowtie. Grant has some great electronic and dubstep music on his soundcloud page, you will find that link in the shownotes at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net/5. Like all of our episodes, this one is hosted by the Internet Archive at archive dot org. Check them out over there you will find a bunch of very cool music, live concerts, podcasts… there is even a section of retro video games you can play right in your web browser. Nice. Head on over to the website for me, the SAH G33kDad. g33kdad.thestrangeland.net where you will find articles to support and expand on this podcast. I have a recent article up about choosing between iOS and Android for your phone or tablet. Also a quick video post unboxing the first box of the Marvel Collector Corps, link to them and to the video are in the shownotes.

If you want to send some feedback you can hit me up on twitter I am @sahg33kdad, you can send me email to feedback@thestrangeland.net. Or just hit up the website at g33kdad.thestrangeland.net and use the contact link in the sidebar. Thanks again for listening to this episode of the G33kDadShow!, catch you next time! Bye, bye.


  1. Grant’s Soundcloud Page: soundcloud.com/grantbowtie
  2. Marvel Collector Corps: collectorscorps.com
  3. Marvel Unboxing Video: G33kDad YouTube Channel
  4. iOS vs Android Article: g33kdad.thestrangeland.net
  5. Matt’s Amazon Wish List: Stuff I Want
June 8, 2015

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