Adding LetsEncrypt SSL to GitLab on DigitalOcean

I keep a personal instance of GitLab for managing my source code. My GitLab instance runs on a small DigitalOcean droplet. I do this instead of using GitHub because I have a lot of personal projects that I do not want public and it is only $15 per month for essentially unlimited private projects. I still use GitHub for public projects, GitLab is just for my private stuff.

DigitalOcean has One-Click apps which is how I set up GitLab, but this leaves GitLab running over HTTP, not HTTPS. Since the entire point of this is to host private projects, as well as the security risks of sending my login information over HTTP, I needed to fix this.

SSL certificates can be expensive, especially when you have to renew them yearly. Luckily there is Let’s Encrypt. Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority that is currently in beta. Thanks to this article on Webnugget I was able to easily get an SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt set up.

The only part of the article you need to change is to skip the “Install GitLab” section and the rest of the steps work cleanly. The article also covers setting up a cron task to renew your certificate every month.

Apple's Response to the FBI

First, for those unfamiliar with the situation, here is some background reading on what has led up to this.

Apple has filed it’s motion to vacate. Though I have not had the chance to read the motion, the part I find interesting is that all of the reporting from the normal Apple-focused sites are calling out different parts of the filing to highlight:

All of these points seem fairly strong defenses to me, but I am strongly on Apple’s side in this case and I am also not a lawyer.

Even though all of these sites could be called biased towards Apple, I take this as more an indicator that Apple has a good defence in this case and I really hope they prevail.

Backing Up Contacts

TJ Louma over at MacStories wrote a great article on backing up your contacts using iOS. I highly suggest you give it a read.

I have added his suggestion of using My Contacts Backup Pro to my backup routine, but I dislike having to rely on iOS (and yet another manual process) for this.

If anyone can find a OS X-based tool for this (preferrably a command line one that I can script as part of my normal backups) I would appreciate it. In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to schedule some time for poking around with Swift and trying to build something on my own.

Backups: Preventing Despair

I have (several) times in my life lost data, which is a sterile, emotionless way of saying I’ve lost photos, documents, music, and contact information that I could never recover or replace. Over the last several years I have started putting systems in place to preventing this from happening again.

Part of the impetus for this article is that I not only wanted to go through all of my backups, but I wanted to document them, so I could refer to them later if I needed to. I hope all the thinking and documenting I’ve gone into here will help other people generate their own backup plans.

Top 2015 Albums

  1. Clutch – Psychic Warfare
  2. Amorphis – Under the Red Cloud
  3. Trivium – Silence in the Snow
  4. Alkaloid – The Malkuth Grimoire
  5. Good Tiger – A Head Full of Moonlight
  6. Blind Guardian – Beyond the Red Door
  7. Pyogenesis – A Century in the Curse of Time
  8. Rivers of Nihil – Monarchy
  9. InAeona – Force Rise the Sun
  10. Barren Earth – On Lonely Towers

Quick Cursor Replacement

A long(-ish) time back Jesse Grosjean of HogBay Software created a wonderful little app called QuickCursor that let you open text from any application (or text field on a webpage) in your preferred text editor. Thanks to Apple’s sandboxing rules, QuickCursor stopped working, and I forgot about it.

Recently, TJ Louma at MacSories, Dr. Drang, and several others created replacements for QuickCursor using Keyboard Maestro.

Shifting Icons


On the first episode of Connected the hosts spend some time talking about their iPhone layouts. This led me to start thinking about how I had my iPhone organized.

I really like a lot of what CGP Grey brought up with how he had his iPhone organized and decided to use that as a jumping off point.

Top Albums of 2014

  1. Insomnium - Shadows of the Dying Sun
  2. Clutch - Earth Rocker
  3. Allegaeon - Elements of the Infinite
  4. Amaranthe - Massive Addictive
  5. Lindsey Sterling - Shatter Me
  6. Babymetal - Babymetal
  7. Job for a Cowboy - Sun Eater
  8. Beyond Creation - Earthborn Evolution
  9. Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails
  10. Set and Setting - A Vivid Memory

Top Albums of 2013

  1. Set & Setting - Equanimity
  2. Insomnium - Ephemeral EP
  3. The Ocean - Pelagial (Instrumental)
  4. Wolfheart - Winterborn
  5. Black Crown Initiate - Song of the Crippled Bull EP
  6. Soilwork - The Living Infinite
  7. Wintergatan - Wintergatan
  8. Russian Circles - Memorial
  9. Katatoinia - Dethroned & Uncrowned
  10. Soundtrack - Pacific Rim