Suddenly I find myself trapped in my own home due to COVID-19. It’s not really a big deal because I work from home normally. But it has changed my weekend plans drastically. So it’s time to start tackling one of my 2020 goals:

Organizing all of our digital files and having a consistent back-up strategy.

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My son Jules loves trains. I like trains too and my enthusiasm was probably the seed that grew into his obsession. My good friend Joe bought Jules a copy of “Trainz Railroad Simulator” for Christmas a year ago. It was in the bargain bin at Mills Fleet Farm:

trainz_fronttrainz_back
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Garmin is the Apple iPod of GPS products. So when it came time to purchase a new GPS, I grabbed a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx. It had a great feature set for a handheld unit: SD card expansion, turn-by-turn directions, etc. And because it’s a Garmin, it had the best “hacker” support, namely: free maps from Open Street Maps.

The one thing that I was dissatisfied with was the software support under Linux. Sure you could plug it in, and retrieve data, but simple editing of tracks (splitting, joining) was tedious. Garmin’s free MapSource software worked well, but I wanted to avoid booting into Windows just to use it. Luckily I found this thread on ubuntuforums.org. I rehash here much of the info provided there, and include some updates.
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At home I have what some may call a “back-office” server.  Technically it’s in the laundry room, but it does all sorts of home automation type stuff: record TV, download files, store and play music, distribute files, run backups, etc.  I may do a post on it later, but the gist is that it’s running Ubuntu Server with a bunch of disk drives.

Far and above, it’s main purpose in life is being a file server.  There are several ways to connect to it: Samba (Windows file sharing), NFS (Unix Network File System).  The server also runs SSH (Secure Shell) for terminal access – which can also be used a pass-through for secure local and remote file sharing.

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