Cruise:Onboard Twitter/StatusNet/Summary

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Summary of StatusNet for JCCC2

Non-Technical

We wish to bring a low power computer (such as a laptop or netbook) on board. This computer would be running software to host a service similar to Twitter that would not require an Internet connection. People would use the ship's WiFi connections to use their smartphones, tablets, or their own laptops to connect to this service and send small messages (140 characters) to each other, groups, or everyone.

The service can also allow people to send pictures to be stored on the computer for others to view. This option can be configured to limit the amount of data to avoid using too much of the WiFi's capacity. This option can also be disabled, but we would like to allow at least limited photo sharing (2 or 3 photos per person per day). We can reconfigure this option at any time without HAL's involvement.

Involvement of HAL staff may vary, depending on their own preferences. Ideally:

  • HAL would allow us to connect the laptop to a wired connection to their internal network instead of relying on the WiFi.
    • This is not strictly necessary, but it would help prevent over-use of the WiFi capacity.
  • Have the technical staff on board assign us a specific address to use for the computer that will not change for the duration of the voyage.
    • Again, not strictly necessary, but will simplify things for both us, and prevent potential technical issues for other WiFi users

Technical

We wish to bring a laptop or netbook on board, configured as an up to date, patched LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) server, likely running Ubuntu. It will run an open source microblogging service called StatusNet. It allows small messages sent via a web interface, Twitter client, or custom StatusNet client. It would not use Internet, but only communicate on the ship's internal network.

The service supports uploading of files as well. File uploads can be limited to picture file types only. Daily quotas can be implemented to limit per user bandwidth. Message throttling is also supported to prevent over-posting of text messages.

Ideal HAL involvement:

  • We would prefer to have a static IP assigned that will not be issued by the internal DHCP server to another computer on the network.
  • If there is internal DNS, a DNS entry would be appreciated so that users could use a easily remembered name rather than an IP address
  • A wired connection would preferred over a WiFi connection for the laptop. This would prevent bandwidth overloading of the WiFi router that the server would be connected to
    • We recognize that this may limit physical access to the server

Minimal HAL involvement:

  • Approval to run the server on their WiFi network

Somewhere in-between HAL involvement:

  • Approval to run the server on their WiFi network
  • Assigning of a static IP address

Being a rather technical bunch, we can likely supply any additional cabling, routers, or switches deemed necessary by HAL.

Source code for the StatusNet service is available at http://gitorious.org/StatusNet