About

Table of contents

Me

Hello, hi and welcome. I am Thomas, and this is my website.


Me, at work, with computer glasses and headphones.
Me, at work, with computer glasses and headphones.

I’m a father of three sons, the oldest two being twins. I live with my kids and girlfriend in Norway, officially; the Kingdom of Norway, which sounds much cooler. I’m in my mid-30s and find computers with Linux, electronics and home automation things pretty fascinating. I’m also a big fan of red wine, Whisky, and cigars.

Web presence

E-mail, Github, GitLab, Twitter, Reddit, Unsplash

My story

My parents will tell you that my interest in computers and electronics started pretty early on. I find blinkenlights fascinating and always have… When I was 5, or 6, I got an Amstrad PC, and a bunch of cassette tapes, yes cassette tapes, with games. It was with this that I got started programming, in basic.

When I was 9, I started building a cycle trolley with a car battery, lights, and switches. Which I dragged around and improved for years until it eventually became “uncool.”


Dad and I, building the undercarriage of the cycle trolley.
Dad and I, building the undercarriage of the cycle trolley.

Me, with the cycle trolley, in the basement.
Me, with the cycle trolley, in the basement.

Me, with the cycle trolley, hooked to my bike.
Me, with the cycle trolley, hooked to my bike.

The year after, in 1993, the family got an x86 PC, with a color monitor and dot matrix printer. It was awesome; I stopped playing outside after that…


Me, in front of the family computer in 1993.
Me, in front of the family computer in 1993.

I moved into my own apartment and started to build AVR microcontroller modules in my early 20’s, and it quickly became an obsession. I put them all into a control cabinet that controlled the apartment, and monitored itself; every voltage level, fuse, and module had some kind of monitoring and alert system. After a few years, it had gotten pretty big.


Desk and workbench in my old apartment.
Desk and workbench in my old apartment.

Entryway closet in my old apartment, filled with tools, parts, and the rack box.
Entryway closet in my old apartment, filled with tools, parts, and the rack box.

Inside the rack box project.
Inside the rack box project.

I went to school for two years and improved my electronics skills. After I graduated, I sold the apartment and bought a house.


Workshop in my previous house.
Workshop in my previous house.

Part storage shelves in my previous house.
Part storage shelves in my previous house.

Server room, with rack, in my previous house.
Server room, with rack, in my previous house.

Family man

After living on my own in the house for about two years, I met my girlfriend. We dated for a short while, then we rented an apartment and moved in together in her hometown. Almost a year later the twins were born — hectic times and not a lot of time for projects. In 2014, when the twins were about a year old, we bought the house where we still live.

I called dibs on a room in the basement, where I am sitting now; typing this. It’s my combined home office, man-cave, workshop, electronics lab, and server room. 10.5 m2 (113 ft2) of pure awesomeness!


My current man-cave, home office, workshop, and server room.
My current man-cave, home office, workshop, and server room.

My current computer desk and electronics lab.
My current computer desk and electronics lab.

Homelab, server rack, in my man-cave.
Homelab, server rack, in my man-cave.

In 2018 our youngest son was born, and the family was complete. I try ever so gently to push the kids towards the right interests of course; it seems to be working.


My twin boys, visiting me at work in 2015.
My twin boys, visiting me at work in 2015.

My twin boys, at the dining table with blue LED strobe in 2017.
My twin boys, at the dining table with blue LED strobe in 2017.

My twin boys, playing with computer parts and motherboard in 2018.
My twin boys, playing with computer parts and motherboard in 2018.

Alexander, looking at the Fireman Sam alarm project build.
Alexander, looking at the Fireman Sam alarm project build.

Niklas, looking at the Fireman Sam alarm project build.
Niklas, looking at the Fireman Sam alarm project build.

Adrian, playing with toy cars in 2018.
Adrian, playing with toy cars in 2018.

Between work and family I don’t have a whole lot of time available, but the time I do have I mostly spend in my office doing computer and electronics stuff. I try to write about it on this website.

Website

This site is:

I aim to keep it clean and uncluttered, and as fast as possible. I try to avoid using 3rd party software services (SaaS), both for performance and privacy reasons. I do use a couple though;

If you are interested in seeing what I have planned for, and currently ongoing on the website — it’s all in the issue board on GitLab.

Running cost

So what does it cost per month to keep a website like this going?

Service What Cost
ZEIT Now Hosting & DNS $0
GitLab DevOps toolchain $0 1
Fathom Analytics $0
Hugo Site generator $0
Domeneshop Domain name $1.2
JustComments Comments $0.1 2
💰 Grand total $1.3
  1. I do have a bronze subscription, costing $4 pr month, that I use for private projects. For public projects, like this website — all features are available on the free plan.
  2. The pricing is pay-as-you-go, $0.1 covers about 6500 pageviews. Way more than I have.

Why uCtrl?

I first got the domain uctrl.net back in 2009, uctrl.org in 2017, and uctrl.dev in 2019. The “u” represents both μ (micro) and you, “ctrl” is of course control. Both meanings appeal to me.

I use uctrl.net for network services, home network stuff, NTP, DNS, etc. uctrl.org for hosted web services — and uctrl.dev for this website. I think it’s a short and sweet domain name with lots of relevant meanings related to my interests and what I write about.

Analytics

To get a ballpark idea of how many visitors the site is getting, and what post and pages they are reading — I’m using a self-hosted instance of Fathom Analytics. The software is very privacy friendly and does not track any personally identifiable information. A cookie is set to recognize returning visitors.

Fathom Analytics is website analytics software that tracks and reports aggregate website traffic without compromising on your privacy. Fathom only reports on aggregates, so no information specific to the website visitor is ever tracked or recorded.

You can opt-out of tracking by the Fathom software by enabling “Do Not Track” in your browser settings. For more information, see our data collection policy: https://usefathom.com/data/

Statistics for this website is publicly available at stats.uctrl.dev.

Inspiration

Here are some blogs that I have looked to for inspiration;

License

Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.