magπ

A crafty, nommy, occassionally geeky blog-thing.

A Mobile Life

Being hell on machines, I recently had to retire my 24” iMac. This isn’t all bad — I still have: trusty Ebichu, the MacBook; Ragamuffin, the Ubuntu-jamming netbook; a keen desire for a truly portable and (reasonably) secure life. Now with added incentive to make it happen.

The goal was to be able to switch computers at will, and have everything I need just there. Since I live in the command line, this is largely a matter of keeping a consistent environment. I need to be able to move between my OS X and linux-based computers seamlessly. Ultimately, I’d like to add Windows, and guest computers into the mix.

The clever squirrels at DropBox keep my data portable, but I’m not sold on feeding them my actual environment. I’m not about to store private keys in the cloud. And I don’t want to have to install the client and sync crap down, just to work on a computer.

USB Flash Drive to the rescue, natch.

To ensure I keep it with me, I bought a pendant-style drive. The cap remains attached to the chain, while the drive itself pulls freely out. Its big, and gawdy, shaped like beetle, and covered in rhinestones. <3

Formatting with FAT32 ensures that its read-writable any place I stick it.[1. This was done on an actual windooze box, as OS X’s Disk Utility has yet to create a FAT32 partition that I can read in a non*nix system.]

Storing a backup in our safe ensures that I’m not inconvenienced should I misplace it.

Encrypting any sensitive data ensures I’m not screwed should I misplace it.

The Flash Drive thus far contains:

  • an encrypted tarball with my SSH keys & config.
  • a modest bash environment
  • my mutt environment
  • an encrypted file with my email passwords
  • my vim environment
  • a shell script to set things up

More on how each piece actually works, to follow.