Free SSL Certificate from Mozilla Let's Encrypt project

Last week Mozilla Let's Encrypt project announced the launch of its free, automated and open certificate authority. I had been waiting for this news for a long time. I quickly deployed Let's Encrypt on my staging server to learn how this technology works. The deployment process is painless and very straight forward. The certificates needs to renewed every 3 months, the Let's Encrypt client does this automatically. Thank you Jerome and Ryan for all your help!.

At the time of writing this blog post, Let's Encrypt client was not available for Ngnix server. So I am using the manual method to obtain the SSL certificate here. Please read the latest docs for additional information.


# Check out the let's encrypt source code
$ git clone https://github.com/letsencrypt/letsencrypt

# Stop the Nginx server, we need the client to bind to port 80.
$ sudo service nginx stop

# Start the let's encrypt client and follow the instructions on screen. You need to provide an email address.
$ sudo ./letsencrypt-auto --server https://acme-v01.api.letsencrypt.org/directory certonly --domains staging.example.org
IMPORTANT NOTES:
 - Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at
   /etc/letsencrypt/live/staging.example.org/fullchain.pem. Your
   cert will expire on 2016-01-02. To obtain a new version of the
   certificate in the future, simply run Let's Encrypt again.
 - If like Let's Encrypt, please consider supporting our work by:

   Donating to ISRG / Let's Encrypt:   https://letsencrypt.org/donate
   Donating to EFF:                    https://eff.org/donate-le

# Edit the Nginix config to point to generated certificates.
$ sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/staging.example.org

 listen 443 ssl;
        server_name staging.example.org;
        ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/staging.example.org/fullchain.pem;
        ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/staging.example.org/privkey.pem;

# Restart the Nginx server
$ sudo service nginx start


Please don't forget to test your server using an comprehensive SSL server test such as SSLLabs.


EpiHack Myanmar 2015

Join fellow developers, open data enthusiasts and health specialists at EpiHack 2015 in Yangon, Myanmar, to uncover new ways to collect, track, and share data on emerging disease outbreaks. The event will held from January 18 till 22 2016.


Epihack 2015 Poster

What is <EpiHack/> ?

EpiHack is a health focused hackathon bringing together health and technology specialists to collaboratively produce ideas, tools and a network that can act as a first line of surveillance and response for disease outbreaks.

EpiHack Myanmar is the latest in a series of events implemented in partnership with the Skoll Global Threat Fund in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Tanzania and Brazil.

Why Myanmar?

Connectivity is quickly increasing across Myanmar with the arrival of new mobile providers and growing investments in infrastructure. Mobile and web technologies offer unprecedented opportunities to optimise and streamline the collection, dissemination, aggregation and visualisation of disease related information. EpiHack will build on such technologies to improve disease surveillance and outbreak response in Myanmar.

This event is by invitation only. Please register here. To keep informed on EpiHack Myanmar and EpiHack developments, follow @EpiHack on Twitter and join the EpiHack community on Facebook.

Also join the world's biggest unconference Barcamp Yangon right after Epihack 2015.

How to make DIY compost bin for kitchen waste

At Hackerspace Phnom Penh we are always trying to new ideas. Salla Mäkinen had been talking about composting kitchen waste. One afternoon I decided to try to make DIY compost bin with Salla's help. The design is simple and easy to make in less than an hour.

We head down to hardware shops along the Russian Market area to buy used paint buckets. The first bucket with a lid holds the composting material and the second one collects the drainage seeping from the compost. Salla and I drilled lot of small holes in the first bucket. Then put in four large bolts to hold the bucket up, this seems better design than putting a brick at the bottom. That's it. Now the compost bins are ready for my kitchen waste.

We need to improve this design to make it easy to churn the compost for aeration. Let's use know if you have any design suggestions. And do come over to Hackerspace Phnom Penh if you are interested to learn to make your own DIY compost bins for your kitchen waste.

Polycom Communicator C100 Conference Speakerphone

Over the last years, I helped non-profits use technology for social impact. At times the technology solutions were complex; at other times they were off-the-shelf consumer electronics. In this post, I'll share an example that added value to the NGO Resource Centre in Hanoi, Vietnam.

NGO Resource Centre needed a solution to improve the audio quality of teleconferences. People connected to the NGO Resource centre's working group meetings using Skype from all over Vietnam and the world. We need an affordable conference speakerphone, non-profits often have very limited budget for technology. This device had to be simple to use, without the need for additional training and able to capture voice of half a dozen people sitting around a large conference table.

C100 Conference Speaker Phone

First I considered using regular Bluetooth hands free speakerphone, however they are really designed for use of single person and the quality of microphone is not suitable for conference use. After some research, I found the Polycom Communicator C100 that fitted the bill perfectly. We were able to buy this device locally in Hanoi.The feedback from NGO Resource Centre staff and the participants of the teleconferences was very positive. The audio quality was really great. The dual microphones provide great audio quality and speaker volume was loud yet clear. The Polycom C100 plugs into your computer and works with Skype software client on the computer out of the box.

When providing technology solutions, it is very important that the technology should make one's life easier not challenging. That means finding a solution that is easy to find locally, easy to use and within the budget.

And don't forget to share your experiences working with technology for social impact projects using the comment form below.



The Silent Horn: Design flaw in HornIt bike horn

The Hornit is certainly the loudest bike horn on the market by not the strongest. One morning Jack discovered his Hornit bike horn was suddenly all quiet. He opened the casing at Hackerspace Phnom Penh to find the over sized resonator(not quite sure if it one) had broken off. Perhaps the designers could have reinforcing this component with some glue or something instead of relying on strength of soldering alone. After all this is meant to be mounted on a bike and should withstand bumpy rides and vibrations. This is a very good example of technology world as built.

Broken resonator in Hornit bike horn
This component had broken off due during a ride

Hackerspace Phnom Penh's Jack, Leo managed to solder it back on. And put some copious amount of glue to prevent it from breaking off in future. I hope someone at Hornit is listening and try to remedy this flaw.