Hosting Monica in Amazon Lightsail
by Frank McPherson Monday, December 18, 2017

I've created a server in Amazon Lightsail to host Monica. Lightsail is a user-friendly version of AWS, with easier to understand pricing. I've provisioned the lowest cost virtual server using Debian Jessie.

I initially tried to implement the instructions for hosting on Debian Stretch but the instructions didn't translate backward to Jessie perfectly, so I aborted that attempt. My next attempt using the Docker instructions was successful. When I installed Monica earlier this year on my Mintbox I used Docker. I got the instructions up and running pretty quickly. Before I go further with entering data I want to understand how to backup data given that it is being stored in a container running mysql.

This is my second go with Monica, when I first learned of it I installed the Dockerized version on a PC in my home office. I stopped using after a while, mostly because since it was hosted on a computer on my home network it wasn't accessible to me outside the home. 

My interest in personal relationship management comes from my need to store information about people with whom I work with that goes beyond what you normally store in an address book. The question at hand is, do I need structured data such as you put in a database like Monica, or do I need unstructured data like you put in Evernote?

My first instinct is unstructured, built in to my electronic notebooks that I use for capturing information. The ideal for me is something like a Wiki where I can create pages for each person with whom I interact that contains their information, and then when I write notes and enter that person's name, a link is automatically created to that information page. I know VoodooPad can do this, but it only runs on OS X and I need something that runs in Windows and iOS.

Evernote and OneNote both provide ways to link to pages, but they aren't automatic and therefore take too much time to create the network of links. The other challenge is that I am writing most of my notes in digital ink in OneNote so doing what I want would require OCR and linking, which is not something I hold out hope in finding any time soon.