Category: Technology

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

July 16th, 2015, 2 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, 17 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, 8 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, 77 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, 116 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 […]

Home Automation, part 2: Z-Wave and ISY programming

January 31st, 2015, No Comments

In my part 1 post yesterday, I wrote about the start of the home automation project. I mentioned that I was using Insteon switches, and they mostly were working well (I forgot to mention an annoyance: you can dim, but not totally shut off, their LED status light.) Anyhow, the Insteon battery-operated sensors seem to […]

First Steps with Home Automation and LED Lighting

January 30th, 2015, 1 Comment

I’ve been thinking about home automation — automating lights, switches, thermostats, etc. — for years. Literally decades, in fact. When I was a child, my parents had a RadioShack X10 control module and one or two target devices. I think I had fun giving people a “light show” turning on or off one switch and […]

My boys love 1986 computing

November 23rd, 2014, 20 Comments

Yesterday, Jacob (age 8) asked to help me put together a 30-year-old computer from parts in my basement. Meanwhile, Oliver (age 5) asked Laura to help him learn cursive. Somehow, this doesn’t seem odd for a Saturday at our place. Let me tell you how this came about. I’ve had a project going on for […]

Debian – A plea to worry about what matters, and not take ourselves too seriously

November 9th, 2014, 4 Comments

I posted this on debian-devel today. I am also posting it here, because I believe it is important to more than just Debian developers. Good afternoon, This message comes on the heels of Sam Hartman’s wonderful plea for compassion [1] and the sad news of Joey Hess’s resignation from Debian [2]. I no longer frequently […]

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