My review of the Fitbit Charge 2

My review of the Fitbit Charge 2

Ever since my previous Fitbit, the Charge HR, died an early death I have been wearing a Fitbit Charge 2 in its place. Now that I’ve gotten a few months of use out of it I thought this might be a pretty good time to share my thoughts on this device and how I think it compares to the Charge HR. Like my previous Fitbit, the Charge 2 does all of the usual Fitbit things.

Setup your own VPN with OpenVPN

Using the excellent Digital Ocean tutorial as my base I decided to setup an OpenVPN server on a Linux Mint 18 computer running on my home network so that I can have an extra layer of protection when connecting to those less than reputable WiFi hotspots at airports and hotels. While this post is not meant to be an in-depth guide, you should use the original for that, it is meant to allow me to look back at this at some point in the future and easily re-create my setup.

Big Brother: a tale of two books on privacy in a digital world

Recently I’ve been reading a few similar books on the risks and realities posed by our ever increasing digital world and thought that they might be worth a mention here. Both are depressing, scary and excellent reads with a lot of research put into them. The first is Data and Goliath by security researcher Bruce Schneier. Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World

Commonly Whitelisted Domains for pi-hole

Pi-hole is a great piece of software that will block almost every ad for all devices on your network. However by blacklisting some domains you can occasionally run into problems with unrelated services. Thankfully someone has created an excellent list of commonly whitelisted domains here as well as the related commands you need to run in order to actually whitelist them. I’ve re-produced the list below in case the original link stops working at some point.

2017’s open source project donations

Every new year I look back at the open source projects that are essential to my computing life and take a moment to thank them by donating a little bit of money toward their continued good works. Beyond that I think it’s just a nice thing to call out some projects that deserve a mentioning. Some even made it back for another year in a row! Here are just some of the projects that I felt needed special mentioning this year:
Shove ads in your pi-hole!

Shove ads in your pi-hole!

There are loads of neat little projects out there for your Raspberry Pi from random little hacks all the way up to full scale home automation and more. In the past I’ve written about RetroPie (which is an awesome project that you should definitely check out!) but this time I’m going to take a moment to mention another really cool project: pi-hole. Pi-hole, as their website says, is “a black hole for Internet advertisements.

Fixing Areca Backup on Ubuntu 16.04 (and related distributions)

Seems like I’m at it again, this time fixing Areca Backup on Ubuntu 16.04 (actually Linux Mint 18.1 in my case). For some reason when I download the current version (Areca 7.5 for Linux/GTK) and try and run the script I get the following error: tyler@computer $ ./ ls: cannot access ‘/usr/java’: No such file or directory No valid JRE found in /usr/java. This is especially odd because I quite clearly do have Java installed:

Podcasts worth listening to (Part II)

A while back I posted about some of the podcasts I thought were worth listening to. While by no means an exhaustive list I thought it might be good to post again with some new additions. So again in no particular order here are some other podcasts I would recommend listening to: Canadian Couch Potato If you enjoy reading the blog you’ll likely also enjoy listening to this podcast
The “war” over PGP

The “war” over PGP

Recently there have been two very good, and opposing, articles written on the state of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) and whether or not it is worth using in 2016/2017 and beyond. You can find the original article, I’m throwing in the towel on PGP, and I work in security, at Ars Technica here but I’ve reproduced it below in case the link stops working at some point. You can also find the follow up piece, Why I’m not giving up on PGP, also at Ars Technica here and again I’ve reproduced it below just in case.