For the past nine months, I’ve been using a BPI-R1 as a personal home router. It’s a small, affordable router board with a Dual-core ARMv7 processor, 1GB of Ram and Gigabit Ethernet. It and can run several flavors of Linux, however getting the initial setup going was a little tricky with the way the Ethernet switch/vlans are configured. The following is a guide to setting up a BPI-R1 using the Bananian Linux distribution.Read More
I am a terrible speller. Every few words I find myself hitting the menu key to correct some word staring at me with its squiggly red line. This proved to be horribly difficult back when I used MacOS, which lacks a menu key and requires the user to find the spell correcting shortcut for each individual application (if one even exists). In the Linux world, I’ll often open a terminal and run
aspell -a when the traditional spell check fails me. Aspell is remarkably better at correcting my poor spelling, so why then do most Linux application use the terrible checking provided by Hunspell?
Most of the time I spend on my computer is in the Linux world, however I do have a Windows laptop for the non-open applications I need to use from time to time. One of those applications is the video conferencing tool I use for work. Last Wednesday I was working from home, switched to my Windows laptop to prepare for the morning scrum conference, only to find Windows had decided to update and restart itself. Annoying, but not a big deal, until I logged in and realized that all my drivers for networking, bluetooh, usb audio and usb video were all disabled.Read More
The idea behind open source software is a simple one. Developers decide to make the source code for their software available for free, for everyone to use, modify and redistribute. However, not all open source licenses force redistribution. Many projects today symbolically adopt a banner of open source while their primary motivation is product monetization over building community. Some go as far as to making their products difficult to use without paid support or even removing critical features and placing them in an enterprise version. We’re going to take a look at commercial/open business models implemented by companies like Alfresco, TypeSafe, Apple, Google and others. We’ll examine how they fit in with various open source philosophies of the past and where we are likely to go in the future.Read More
There’s nothing quite like not being able to get something to work the way it should, and implementing a terrible hack instead. It may work for now, but you can only kick that can so far down the road. Recently a coworker discovered one of my terrible hacks, and after months of kicking the can, I finally had to figure it out. The answer involved a long journey, ending in changing a series of hyphens (
-) to the
in keyword. It wasn’t a bug, just an oddity of the way that the ScalaTest framework works.
When it comes to most general purpose operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS X and many Linux desktop distribution, an end user can wipe a device and reinstall that operating system from scratch. So long as the hardware is supported, or has available device drivers, the machine can work with a stock version of the operating system. When it comes to embedded systems, many use firmware, a combination of an operating system and applications, typically stored on read-only storage, and tailored specifically for a device; hardwired for a limited set of functionality.
When Google originally purchased Android Inc in 2005, their development and releases of Android for cellphones was treated more like firmware than a general purpose operating system. As Android has grown, manufactures use the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) as a base, modifying it for each of their individual headsets. The result is that users are now dependent on operating system updates from each manufacturer, leaving many devices with obsolete versions of software or worse, major unpatched security vulnerabilities. This is what’s known as Android fragmentation.Read More
Update: It turns out the mysterious iOS device was due to the fact I was using purple-hangouts to connect to Google’s chat service. Since it uses undocumented APIs, it must identify itself as an iOS device. When I revoke the iOS device, my chat client disconnects and I am required to re-authenticate. I’m guessing the YouTube plays problem stem from a current issue about paused videos randomly starting in background tabs which I have experienced.
The other day I was searching through my YouTube history and discovered a ton of garbage pop music videos that I’ve never viewed. I always turn auto-play off, so the presence of these videos in my history was puzzling. I immediately checked my Google account history to look for unauthorized access. Within the list was an iOS device. I haven’t owned any Apple productions since my MacBook was stolen two years ago, so I immediately revoked access to that account and changed my password.Read More
Using relatively new hardware on Linux systems can prove to be challenging. Last year, I ran into several challenges when I decided to use an MSI Gaming laptop as a development machine while I was backpacking around the world. Now that I’m in one place again, I’ve run into similar challenges when trying to get my LG 31MU97C-B 4k monitor working at its optimal resolution in Linux. The following guide shows the modelines that must be added via the
xrandr command in order to have this monitor function at 4096x2160 at 60Hz.
Jekyll is a powerful static website generator geared towards programmers or those with technical backgrounds. It also has support for automatically building SCSS. I wanted to use Jekyll with the Foundation CSS framework, but I found that most of the tutorials available were out of date, used older versions of Jekyll or Foundation, or recommended forking an existing Github repository. The following tutorial goes through the process of adding Foundation to a Jekyll website and having Jekyll automatically build all the necessary assets. It uses Jekyll 3.0.1 and Foundation 6, and may need to be adjusted for future versions.Read More
E-mail is completely broken and unreliable thanks to big players like Google, Microsoft and Facebook. Shortly after the NSA spying revelations, I decided to move off of Gmail and back onto my own e-mail server. It wasn’t for privacy, as e-mail is often transmitted plain-text and has no more security than a postcard, but just a general desire to distance myself from Google services. I had run an e-mail server in the past using Postfix and Courier-IMAP back around 2005 (as well as Amavis-new, Spamassassin and ClamAV for spam and viruses). When I attempted to setup an e-mail server in 2013, the stack was pretty much identical except Dovecot now replaces Courier and additional tools such as DKIM, DMARC and SPF are now necessary for outgoing e-mail validation. However the largest challenge I faced wasn’t from my own technology stack, but with my e-mails becoming unreliable against both Google’s and Microsoft’s over-aggressive spam filters.Read More