on martijn van exel


a man getting rid of cruft in is life by shutting off his home server.

I purchased a Lenovo X220 laptop back in 2011, shortly after we first moved to the United States. I used it for years, even when I had access to snappier laptops I got from work. A few years ago, I purchased a Macbook Pro for myself, and the X220 was left gathering dust in a corner.

It still worked great though! I had upgraded the origingal 4GB RAM to 8GB, replaced the internal HDD with a solid state drive, and installed Xubuntu on it. With those mods, even today it's perfectly fine for a day to day latop. I figured I might as well use it to host a few things: my personal blog, a tile server for 2008 vintage tiles, a Nextcloud instance, and a few other odds and ends. I learned a lot from hosting these things from an old laptop.

Today, I decided the time has come to decommission my home server and finally retire my X220. The reason is simple: it requires constant attention. Not a lot, but enough to be noticable. I compare things that require some level of continuous attention to the idea of "Death by a thousand paper cuts". Considered in isolation, this small home server project is an easy one to maintain. I just need to check in from time to time to ensure everything is running, upgrade things as needed, and fix the odd issue now and then. But considered as part of my life, it's one more thing that contributes to an overall feeling of "always catching up". That sure sounds dramatic, but I firmly believe that if I keep being very critical of maintaining or entering into commitments that demand some level of continuous attention, I will eventually be able to shed this feeling and be less stressed out.

X220, I will raise a glass to you tonight. Thank you for your service!

My X220, resting