technology

(Rolling Down) Katamari Drive

2 minute read Enclosure Published

Using FFMpeg to combine CC-licensed works.

Inspired by a chiptune topic on ZeroNet I downloaded one of the songs shared using youtube-dl but wasn't satisfied with the quality of the video encoding. The song on the other hand was great. And thankfully the author's website was still up so I could download the original MP3 and creating a new video.

I spent a few hours learning FFMpeg from the comfort of the chair behind my Invisible Arch. The manpages for FFMpeg include tons of diagrams and examples so cobbling something together wasn't as hard as I'd expected. Once I was satisfied with the result I transitioned over to my 2019 Mac to share the video…

Moving GPG Keys Privately

4 minute read Updated

How to privately move your GPG keys from one machine to another.

If you're a software developer working ethically you're almost certainly using GnuPG to sign your work. And if you've been at it for any length of time you've almost certainly been forced to switch machines. Unless your aim is to create a new identity for each machine you use (please don't) you need a simple, repeatable strategy moving GPG keys privately. Let me show you how.

Invisible Arch Linux

13 minute read Enclosure Published

Encrypted system using detached LUKS header with air gapped install.
Caveat lector: This information is intended for entertainment purposes only. When individuals speak of doing “big fist pumps” after their Arch installs successfully boot it can be hard to contain one's curiosity about the path that led them there. But it's hard to understand until you try it yourself. This was my journey to first install. It was an encrypted one. In this tutorial I will show you how I repurposed the bomb I took on 30 flights to double-down on privacy using deniable encryption and how you can too.

Secure Your Digital Life

8 minute read Updated

Safeguard your privacy online. Arm yourself with knowledge and use these tips, tools and techniques to secure your digital life.

I'm no Steve Wozniak but I carry a healthy distrust of computers. After hearing of the Equifax data breach affecting the privacy of more than 145 million Americans, learning Uber paid and tried to cover up the loss of 57 million driver and passenger records and seeing the lasting impact of the Meltdown attack I'm starting to understand the gravity this quote from Woz:

Awesome React Boilerplates

7 minute read Updated

Awesome React starter kits to kick your app development into high gear.

Not interested in reinventing the wheel? Neither am I. Here's a short list of awesome boilerplates – sometimes called starter kits or seeds – for getting your React applications off the ground in a hurry.

These boilerplates weren't taken from any list, however awesome it might be. Rather, they've gained enough mindshare to find me outside The Stream.

So without further ado…

Putting WordPress into Hyperdrive

2 minute read Updated

Prepare for Ludicrous Speed with a 300% improvement in page load time.

After giving a talk at WordCamp Ubud 2017 – where I showed how to use a $5 Vultr box and Redis with Load Impact to support up to 7000 concurrent WordPress users – I was asked to help turn some of the performance optimization work demoed into a WordPress plug-in.

It’s the first of it’s kind — and like no other performance plugin to precede it. Based on initial tests it speeds up the stock Twenty Seventeen theme about 300% and I suspect time will show even greater gains for other themes. It builds on top of a performance optimization technique called Fetch Injection, enabling external scripts to download asynchronously in parallel while preserving execution order.

Git-based Continuous Delivery with Rio

16 minute read Published

Using Rio in a compact Kubernetes cluster for Git-based continuous delivery.

Rio is a MicroPaaS for Kubernetes designed to run using minimal resources. Rio provides automatic DNS and HTTPS, load balancing, routing, metrics and more. Use it to remove the chore of creating and managing a secure IT infrastructure.

k3s is a lightweight, certified Kubernetes distribution capable of running on constrained hardware and therefore ideal for local, edge and IoT substrates. K3s was originally developed for Rio but useful enough to stand on its own.

Today I'm going to show you how to easily set-up k3s and Rio on Manjaro Linux and use them to create a self-hosted, git-based continuous delivery pipeline to serve your own website.

If you're not yet familiar with Kubernetes, no problem. Please let this gentle introduction serve as your practical guide. When you're finished you'll have a better understanding of the concepts and tools used in container orchestration and a shiny new website you can use to demonstrate your skills.

The Bomb I Took on 30 Flights

2 minute read Enclosure Published

I thought I bought an Apple; what I got was a lemon. A flammable one at that.

Years ago I built my own computers from parts sourced by a Chinaman who ran a small warehouse in an industrial park in Westmont, Illinois. No big box retailer could beat him on price and so I eventually became a loyal customer of Han's. My most frequent purchases were 3.5” SATA drives which I used for system backups.

When I moved to Bali I chose not to lug around those large SATA drives. Instead I bit the bullet, dropped a cool three grand on a MacBook Pro and started paying for iCloud – expecting Apple to keep my data safe. Sadly that was a mistake.

Beyond Incognito

2 minute read Updated

Block your computer from making requests to known ad and malware servers.

I read an article on Medium titled How to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour. The article provided a number of tips for staying secure digitally. One of the tips was to use the Tor browser because popular browsers such as Safari and Chrome were not private enough – even in private mode.

What the author didn't tell you was that it's possible to increase your privacy without switching browsers using Dan Pollock's hosts file. A quick look at the file describes exactly what it does…

Alternatives to Firefox on Manjaro Linux

6 minute read Updated

A quick rundown of Firefox browser alternatives you should be aware of.

Last week Firefox suffered multiple zero-day vulnerabilities, prompting renewed interest in a browser discussion thread on the Manjaro Forums.

Ironically the reason I'm using Manjaro in the first place is because macOS itself had several zero-day vulnerabilities recently, prompting me to perform a serious back-up of macOS and all my files on iCloud.

Thankfully switching browsers is trivial compared to switching operating systems on macOS. So herein I'll show you how to easily install a few different browsers so you can try them out and decide for yourself which you prefer.