Category: Technology

Bach, Dot Matrix Printers, and Dinner

January 27th, 2016, No Comments

Dinner last night started out all normal. Then Jacob and Oliver started asking me about printers. First they wanted to know how an ink jet printer works. Then they wanted to know how a laser printer works. Then they wanted to know what would happen if you’d put ink in a laser printer or toner […]

Hiking a mountain with Ian Murdock

January 3rd, 2016, 8 Comments

“Would you like to hike a mountain?” That question caught me by surprise. It was early in 2000, and I had flown to Tucson for a job interview. Ian Murdock was starting a new company, Progeny, and I was being interviewed for their first hire. “Well,” I thought, “hiking will be fun.” So we rode […]

Memories of a printer

November 13th, 2015, 11 Comments

I have a friend who hates printers. I’ll call him “Mark”, because that, incidentally, is his name. His hatred for printers is partly my fault, but that is, ahem, a story for another time that involves him returning from a battle with a printer with a combination of weld dust, toner, and a deep scowl […]

Detailed Smart Card Cryptographic Token Security Guide

August 6th, 2015, 4 Comments

After my first post about smartcards under Linux, I thought I would share some information I’ve been gathering. This post is already huge, so I am not going to dive into — much — specific commands, but I am linking to many sources with detailed instructions. I’ve reviewed several types of cards. For this review, […]

First steps with smartcards under Linux and Android — hard, but it works

July 16th, 2015, 3 Comments

Well this has been an interesting project. It all started with a need to get better password storage at work. We wound up looking heavily at a GPG-based solution. This prompted the question: how can we make it even more secure? Well, perhaps, smartcards. The theory is this: a smartcard holds your private keys in […]

Roundup of remote encrypted deduplicated backups in Linux

June 11th, 2015, 21 Comments

Since I wrote last about Linux backup tools, back in a 2008 article about BackupPC and similar toools and a 2011 article about dedpulicating filesystems, I’ve revisited my personal backup strategy a bit. I still use ZFS, with my tool “simplesnap” that I wrote about in 2014 to perform local backups to USB drives, which […]

First impressions and review of OwnCloud

May 8th, 2015, 9 Comments

In my recent post (I give up on Google), a lot of people suggested using OwnCloud as a replacement for several Google services. I’ve been playing around with it for a few days, and it is something of a mix of awesome and disappointing, in my opinion. Files OwnCloud started as a file-sync tool, somewhat […]

“Has Linux lost its way?” comments prompt a Debian developer to revisit FreeBSD after 20 years

February 17th, 2015, 61 Comments

I’ll admit it. I have a soft spot for FreeBSD. FreeBSD was the first Unix I ran, and it was somewhere around 20 years ago that I did so, before I switched to Debian. Even then, I still used some of the FreeBSD Handbook to learn Linux, because Debian didn’t have the great Reference that […]

Reactions to “Has modern Linux lost its way?” and the value of simplicity

February 11th, 2015, 79 Comments

Apparently I touched a nerve with my recent post about the growing complexity of issues. There were quite a few good comments, which I’ll mention here. It’s provided me some clarity on the problem, in fact. I’ll try to distill a few more thoughts here. The value of simplicity and predictability The best software, whether […]

Has modern Linux lost its way? (Some thoughts on jessie)

February 9th, 2015, 120 Comments

For years, I used to run Debian sid (unstable) on all my personal machines. Laptops, workstations, sometimes even my personal servers years ago ran sid. Sid was, as its name implies, unstable. Sometimes things broke. But it wasn’t a big deal, because I could always get in there and fix it fairly quickly, whatever it […]

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