For over 40 years I've been hearing people say "If voting was it would be made illegal" and just laughed it off. Just reading the news for 2012, I'm beginning to suspect voting to be more effective than I've been giving it credit for.
If we are going to acknowledge that the market has failed to provide Americans with internet service roughly similar to what other people have at similar costs and begin spending public funds on communication infrastructure (again) it's essential that we take steps to make sure that this does not once again become a mechanism to transfer public funds to corporations. This means not only removing all barriers to municipalities and other small communities from forming competitive last mile public ISP's but we also should get some sort of clawback program to go after the corporations which benifited so much from the last round of public funds and *did not deliver as promised*.
Reminds me of the variable combustion chamber geometry engines that were a fad back in the early '90s. With electronic control it is possible to run a gasoline engine mostly on single event pre-detonation (which used to be called "pinking") which allowing things to get completely out of control and creating the damaging pre-detonation commonly called "knocking".
Besides complex passwords don't forget about usernames. I used to use just one username for all my online accounts but then I read some research paper outlining how much information an advertiser or attacker could gather from just comparing the same username across different websites. So now besides changing my passwords I also, where practical and possible, delete old accounts and create new ones with random usernames from a collection of username generators I've found.
You need to talk to Bruce Parens. He's easy to find.
For my entire adult life I worked in the medical diagnostic device industry and somewhere in the late late 80's and electronic documentation & email really started to take over. Then following a series of lawsuits the corporate SOP began to change. We went from loose organization in directories to using versioning tools for documents. And we went from what was essentially unlimited email storage to smaller and smaller... eventually ending up in 2005 with mandated culling policies. (mostly as a proactive defensive legal strategy).
By my nature, I am digital packrat. I still have all the email I have ever received or sent, in curated archives. I still have all the documents I have created. I still have all the code I have ever written. I still have all the design docs I have ever created. And I still have the knowledge management system I created to curate all of that data.
So, my nature and corporate policy really began to conflict more and more strongly. For about 12 years I used my own hardware for backups with my management looking the other way. Eventually I was told the backup strategy had to go and to take all my stuff home. That was replaced by corporate supplied laptop which I routinely took home to backup.
I took early retirement in 2009 and in late 2010 was asked back to resolve a thorny problem with some of the in-house equipment I had a hand designing. The current site manager, who I have a lot of disagreements with but is a nice guy, assessed the parts of my personal archive that I brought in with me as "The largest and most frightening example of industrial espionage he had ever seen"... and wanted to buy it from me so he could destroy it.
Just because you mentioned ARM, perhaps you should look into Calxeda. I have no idea if their solution is well suited for your problem, it is a whole bunch of 32bit cores in one box. Someone else already has a similar arrangement using Intel Atom.
I'm still disappointed Technocrat is no longer. It wasn't perfect and I completely understand your reasons for shutting it down. Still, it's disappointing.
I'm glad you've started to do something more public, I'm looking forward to see more of this. Open Source Software has really proven the importance of the existence of things with an alternative to the most restrictive copyrights. In fact that success has enabled me to successfully argue that the firm I worked for should abandon those restrictive copyrights for certain projects where we released source code to our customers for free. Open Source Hardware is the obvious next step, yet despite these obvious advantages I don't have the impression that the idea has really generated the kind of critical mass that we need for the wider adoption needed to be self sustaining. Hopefully this journal can be the positive influence we all need.
Also, I think the idea of publishing a journal instead of blogging, tweeting, or just using your facebook page is very smart and sets the whole enterprise up on a great direction.
I have to wonder how much of this is due to the stagnating economy in much of the developed nations. My recollection is that the last time the economy went south, all sorts of projects were either postponed, put on hold, or simply ended.
Not the New York Times, the New York Post. It's a Rupert Murdoch, Enquireresque, Gotham City mashup.
This is an incomplete solution because it makes it very difficult to share files to unskilled users.
Asking what is an alternative to dropbox is only part of the question.
The whole question is what is an personal & private alternative to "the cloud".
Eben Moglen's FreedomBox effort is part of the answer but I am not aware of a more complete solution.