Navigating Self

My attempt to have a writing habit. Writing forces me to have clarity with how I'm living my life.

ComputersFinancesSystems and ProcessesThoughtsUncategorized


Enterprise-grade CCTV on a Consumer-grade Hardware

Surveillance Station Dashboard

My Mom asked for a CCTV at their place. There were disputes were a CCTV would have been beneficial to quickly sort out the issue.

I initially setup the “easy” kind of CCTV. An IoT WiFi-based camera, but it turned out not to be reliable. It saves its data on a MicroSD, and it easily burn out after a couple of months, wireless connection gets disconnected intermittently, and the camera itself is unpredictable and hangs from time to time.

I switched to PoE-based solution which is far better that what I initially installed.

Network Video Recorder

With PoE Camera, it does not have it’s own storage. The data has to be stored somewhere, which is the NVR (Network Video Recorder)

I have an existing server for Crystaldrin Network which serves various purposes including a NAS (Network Attached Storage). I was looking for something I could virtualize and use the same storage already available.

I explored a couple of software solutions and I decided on Synology’s Surveillance Station. The good things is, it’s Linux-based, and there’s a community that allows it to run in a virtualized environment:

I chose to emulate DVA3119 since I had a unused Nvidia GTX 1060 3gb lying around which would allow me to use deep learning features such as facial recognition and object detection.

GTX 1060 3gb
After installation to the server

I have it running on my Proxmox server with the GPU passed-through to guest virtual machine.

The GPU gets successfully detected by the virtual machine after booting it up.

Object Detection

This is where things got exciting for me. I think the usefulness of a CCTV comes with the ease on how easy it is to find what you’re looking for.

Surveillance Station’s interface itself is very intuitive. It also have a mobile app so it can be accessed remotely.

What’s more is they added features that can detect objects (e.g. plate number, people, vehicles). With this info, you can filter by time and date and/or people and/or plate numbers.

Backup Power

To make it more enterprise-y, it has to be somehow resilient to power interruption. Since the camera are powered over ethernet, I only have to have a backup power for the PoE switch.

I used SNADI 1kw with a 12V 100Ah LifePO4 battery. Based on my computation, it should run around 6 hours without power from Meralco.


This was a fun project. I get a lot of satisfaction finding uses for old hardware. This project is definitely one of those.

Contributing back to WordPress

WordCamp Manila 2023 Attendees

For more than a decade now, I’ve been using WordPress. Using is a keyword here. I’ve been using it without contributing back. 

WordPress has reached 20 years this year, primarily due to the thousands of volunteers who contribute to its continuous development and maintenance, keeping it alive.

Looking back, it was working on WordPress-based projects that opened a lot of opportunities for me. The projects and jobs I got from it put me in a position where I could provide a comfortable life for my family.

I could say that if it weren’t for WordPress, I would not be where I am at now.

Applied as a speaker for WordCamp Cebu 2023

I had the intention to give back for a long time but I did not know where to start. When I saw that WordCamp Cebu was looking out for speakers, I applied. 

My topic was not even about promoting myself, or any of my work or expertise. It was about how I personally use WordPress and why I think it’s the right choice for a CMS as it guarantees that you own and control what you produce.

As a speaker, I had the chance to meet Drew, the lead organizer of WordCamp Manila, and Dreb, the lead organizer of WordCamp Davao, at the welcome dinner. It was super fun to hang out with them, an experience that becomes increasingly rare as I grow older. It felt like being around with my kind of people.

Attended WordCamp Asia 2023

Pinoy delegates at WordCamp Asia 2023

The following month, WordCamp Asia took place. I connected with more people, and it was surprisingly easy to get along with them. It felt like WordCamps attract a certain kind of people who are open and inclusive by default. 

The after parties were so enjoyable that the people I was with expressed a desire to bring that same fun back to our local community.

We started casually talking on organizing WordCamp Manila. No concrete plans yet, but it planted a seed with everybody about making it happen.

Helped organize WordCamp Manila 2023

WordCamp Manila 2023 Organizing Team

After coming back home, I started getting more involved with the local community. I did another talk in a meetup, I volunteered, and I was always present in-person and in our weekly calls.

Last November 11, we finally made WordCamp Manila 2023 happen.

It’s just amazing how one thing always lead to another.

Getting involved made me realize that community work is a key factor in sustaining WordPress’ longevity. With organizing a WordCamp event, even if we inspire just a single person to contribute back, it will help WordPress. And I’m hoping that we did.

What’s next?

I work with very talented people who’s an active contributor to WordPress. I’d like to explore more ways to contribute back, especially to Core and Hosting, which is directly tied to my work at Human Made.

No concrete plans yet, but let’s see what happens.


I did all this with the pure intention to contribute back, not expecting anything in return. I felt like it’s time for me to give back. However, I still ended up gaining more than I gave – new friends.

WordPress just keeps on giving.


I first learned about this word when I attended Vipassana back in 2016.

I don’t only remember it, but it’s ingrained in my head because it’s the word that’s used to break the hours-long meditation sessions that happen a couple times a day for 10 days. I began to yearn for it, especially when back pain becomes unbearable from sitting up straight, or there’s a mosquito right on my nose sucking out my blood, and we’re instructed to just observe. Observe our breathing. See how everything comes and goes.

Anicca means impermanence.

The word resonated with me so much I had it tattooed on my right forearm. When I learned that it is transliterated as “anicca” from Pali, I knew it’s going to be the name of our baby girl.

And here she is.

Nothing in life is permanent. Being aware and accepting this fact will only help us prepare, and face the things that will come and go.

It’s a belief that makes me balanced. It’s a belief I want to introduce to my kids and see if it’s going to resonate with them too.

Switching back to YNAB 4 and Making a Fresh Start

YNAB 4 running on a macOS Ventura

I haven’t done budgeting since November 2022 (9 months!). Mainly because I’m out of track.

Before getting out of track, I’ve been consistently doing it for the past 5 years.

I’ve attempted twice to get my budget in order, but the backlog is just too much. There’s a lot to account for, there’s a lot to tally. After spending several hours hours backtracking, I gave up.

Fresh start

YNAB have this concept of not caring about past expenses. There’s nothing you can do with money already spent.

Even though it’s good to have 5 years worth of data, it’s only a nice-to-have. If I continue to operate without a budget, I’m risking myself to be in a position where I anxiously wait when my next paycheck will be. Kahig-tuka ba.

Another side-effect is it’s also getting incredibly difficult to make big financial decisions without knowing where I stand financially.

I decided to let go and do a fresh start.

Switching back to Classic YNAB

Since I’m going to start fresh, it’s a perfect time to switch back to Classic YNAB.

I love YNAB methodology. It fits my thinking. It helped me manage my money when I started earning.

Over the years, the company behind YNAB changed and they pivoted the product to one-time purchase to a monthly subscription. I had no problem with it, especially with a grandfather’ed pricing where I got a discounted monthly fee. I’m happy to pay because it literally changed how I think about money.

A couple of years more, they increased the price twice. It felt like they lock you down with their methods, and leave you no choice but to accept their pricing change.

It’s been on my list to move out of YNAB. I was looking for something that I can use in my lifetime. I tried Firefly III (an open-source alternative but with different methodology), GnuCash (another open-source alternative), but the YNAB method is already ingrained in me.

Luckily, I’m not alone feeling this way. The community made the classic YNAB 4 work on a modern OS.

Knowing for a fact that it will not change (it hasn’t been updated since 2019) gives me confidence it will still work for the foreseeable future. I can build my budgeting process without getting affected on any change of direction of the company behind it.


Y64 provides a bash script that will download the latest YNAB 4 and the latest Adobe AIR 64-bit runtime and compile it to a working app. Running the script will output a working YNAB 4 app.

Grabe nostalgia when I opened the app

The app itself aged like a fine wine. It’s still perfectly usable and does not feel old.


YNAB does not sell license anymore for the classic YNAB. Since it’s already unsupported, the way to workaround this is to adjust the trial mode end-date by editing the license file.


~/Library/Application\ Support/com.ynab.YNAB4.LiveCaptive/Local\ Store/.lic


%APPDATA%\com.ynab.YNAB4.LiveCaptive\Local Store\.lic

Edit the date and save

Starting fresh

With all this prepared, I’m now in a good position to make a fresh start.

Self-hosting Your WordPress Site at Home

  1. Install Docker
  2. Create a folder
  3. Create a plain text file named docker-compose.yml
  4. Copy the code below
  5. Run docker-compose up

    image: wordpress:6.1.1-apache
      WORDPRESS_DB_USER: wordpress
      WORDPRESS_DB_NAME: wordpress
      - ./wordpress:/var/www/html

    image: mysql:5.7
    platform: linux/x86_64
      MYSQL_DATABASE: wordpress
      MYSQL_USER: wordpress
      MYSQL_PASSWORD: password
      - ./db:/var/lib/mysql

    image: cloudflare/cloudflared
    restart: unless-stopped
    command: tunnel --url wordpress:80
      - wordpress
      - db

Switching to WordPress Multisite

One of the reasons why I don’t publish regularly is I pre-judge what I write if it’s publish-worthy.

At Human Made, we use a WordPress Multisite. Each area/interest of the organization has it’s own site. This fits nicely with my internal structure. I have multiple interest with varying degrees, and only work on those interests only when I feel like working on it.

What I did is convert this personal site to a multisite too and started creating sites for topics I’ve been putting my energy on. This removes the hesitation if it’s worth posting since it will be in it’s own little space. I can be as technical as I need to be. The audience is my future self, and probably my kids if they also happen to stumble on the same interest.

One topic I’ve been spending a lot of time on recently is FTTH. Here’s an example post of installing NAP box for my ODM:

My plan is to document my progress using posts and compile elaborate knowledge base using pages.

Publish everyday

I’m actually writing this on Jan 2nd already, but family stuff happened and I’m okay to back-post to fulfill my new year’s resolution which is to publish everyday.

Publish everyday, no matter how insignificant my update is. Why? I feel like I’ve been keeping too much stuff inside my head. Stuff not written down only fills in my limited head space. Once I write it down, I’m free to let go of it. Or look back with what I published when I feel like I need to.

Bad start, but it’s okay

Here’s to a bad start of posting late in the first day of the year. But forgiving myself and still doing it anyway.

Let’s see where this takes me.

Slow down to appreciate, stop to reflect

For a couple of months now, my days are mostly filled work and family time. I feel guilty with the amount of time I’m spending at work. What I do is every time not spent working is spent on family.

No time to slow down, let alone to stop.

This has been detrimental to me on multiple aspects.


With my days filled, there’s minimal wiggle room for exploration and mistakes. This puts unnecessary pressure to myself. With pressure, I don’t operate optimally. Even the simplest tasks take a long time to get started and push to completion.


Even if I’m physically with my family, I cannot be fully present. At the back of my mind, there’s this anxiety of things I need to do.

Not being fully present makes me feel more guilty.

Failing to deliver things on expectations I set hits my self-esteem. A lower self-esteem results to failing to deliver more.

It’s a downward spiral that takes a lot of self-awareness and willpower to get out of.


With feeling limited of time, exercise was one of the first thing that went away. Without exercise and pushing myself hard, I felt weaker and unprepared for day-to-day challenges. I easily get ticked-off, I easily give-in.

It’s counterintuitive to slow down when I have a lot of things on my plate. But it’s exactly what I need when my days are filled.

If your brain is a highway and you are filling yourself with work, after a while you start to slow down. Your mental rush hour gets longer and longer. You find yourself struggling to accomplish even the simplest tasks.

Today, I took time to stop and reflect where I’m at.

One of the first steps to get out of this rabbit hole of always pressured, always in a rush, and failing to manage expectations.

Hopefully, I get back on track soon.

Want-to-do Saturdays

While doing a weekly review earlier today, I realized most of the stuff in my plans are for other people. I don’t have a day where I get to do things I’m naturally drawn to do. I fill all my days with things I have to do — which I actually don’t have an issue with, but leaves me unfulfilled.

Maybe this is also why when I share that I’m planning to try something new, I get a laugh instead of support. I can’t blame them. My want-to-dos only has been increasing. I should explicitly make time for it.

I’ll try this: I won’t plan work stuff on my Saturdays. I added a note in my weekly planner and calendar to remind me to do things for myself.

What do you want to do that you don’t have to do?

It’s important to have a day where you’re not busy. To think, to plan. If you’re always anxious about your have-to-dos, you won’t get any thinking done. You’ll just react to things without a direction. This will leave you astray, unfulfilled, sad.

Try it on Saturdays. Go to your office with no agenda. But to think, to do things you feel like doing. Without pressure.

Putting myself first

“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be.” – Charles Bukowski

For this year, I’m explicitly deciding to put myself first.



I can’t expect other people to take care of me. It’s a nice-to-have, but I shouldn’t really rely on it. Other people already have their own set of priorities and problems, I can’t reasonably expect another person to put me first.

To change: Prepare and have the capacity to take care of myself

Be a less agreeable person

It’s easy for me to empathize with anyone. This leads me to being an overly agreeable person. By default, I put other’s people needs over my own. It’s genuine, but I’m at a point that I feel it’s a disservice to myself. I’m here to lead a good life, to be an example to my 3 sons. I’m not here to please.

To change: Put my needs first. Less empathy, more enforcing of boundaries. Embrace tension, conflicts, and disagreements. Don’t tolerate any form of disrespect. People may cut me off, and that’s okay.

Indulging myself

Spending for other people is infinitely easier for me than spending for myself. I’m thinking it might be a symptom that deep down I feel I don’t deserve to have nice things. I don’t particularly like the word “deserve” because it reeks entitlement , but in this case I think I deserve it.

To change: As long as I fulfill my duties and roles, I’m allowing myself to indulge guilt-free to things I need, want, and prefer.


Everything here sounds too selfish to me, but I have to remind myself: The better I take care of myself, the better I will handle life, the better it will be for people around me.

So starting this year, I’ll put myself first.

2020 © Jerico Aragon