Tell me if this sounds familiar: you have an idea for an amazing new article/story/blog post, so you flip open your laptop, load up WordPress, and…nothing happens. You’re at a total loss for words. The idea’s there, but somewhere between your brain and your fingers is a broken link; a faulty synapse firing off into nothing. What happened, and what do you do about it?
I spend a lot of time working remotely, and while I have a decently sized laptop, I often miss having a second monitor. I looked at USB monitors, but then I remembered my old 2014 Galaxy Tab. Could I use it as a second monitor? The answer is: yes!
In an earlier post called A Novel Approach to Writing, I presented my setup for creative writing using the Atom text editor and Markdown files. Since then, I’ve found an even better writing program called Typora. And while it’s not open source (or even out of beta), it’s such an amazing little program that I couldn’t help but write about it.
Note: This is not a sponsored post. I’m not affiliated with Typora or its creator.
What does freedom mean to you?
Freedom is the ability to pull yourself away from things that limit your potential. Freedom from obsession, from doubt, from criticism (both self and from others), from social norms and expectations. Freedom is an escape from the artificial worlds we build around ourselves and the impositions that we place on ourselves because of them. Freedom is the permission to be who and what we truly are: not as people or citizens, but living, breathing, thinking, and feeling animals.
Troy Hunt posted an article on poor password protection practices (try saying that fives times fast), resulting from an analysis of a major corporate data breach. Some of the highlights were:
- 93% of passwords are only 6 to 10 characters long
- Two-thirds of passwords are reused across different services
- Over a third of passwords can be found in a common dictionary
This is bad news for two reasons:
- Lots of passwords are easy to guess
- If an attacker guesses a password, chances are they can use the same password to access other services
The key is to use passwords that are long, complex, and difficult to guess. The challenge, of course, is that the harder a password is to guess, the harder it is for us to remember.
Digital ads are a disaster. While ads themselves are a legitimate and often necessary source of income for service providers, the way they’re delivered to users can be downright malicious. On mobile devices, ads have been shown to drain battery life and surreptitiously deliver malware, without the content providers even being aware of it. Until content providers can get their act together, it’s up to users to protect themselves.
In this post, I’ll present a convenient, root-free way of blocking ads on Android devices using free and open source tools.
I came across an article about the lack of interest in open source software among younger programmers. And while I think it’s an important topic and worth discussing, I think the article misses a few important points about who millennials are, how we were affected by changes in computing and why so few of us seem to care about open source.
Wanting to better yourself as a person is a noble and admirable endeavor. As humans, we have the power to think critically about our actions and our behaviors. More importantly, we have the power to change them. This insight and desire for change is a core tenant of what we call “the human experience”, but it’s also a core part of our suffering. As someone who is actively working to overcome my own faults, I want to take the time to look into the idea of “self-help” and how it can actually be damaging when applied in the wrong ways.
This past week saw the release of PixelMaestro 2.0, and with it, a bunch of fixes to device communication and control. You can now plug in any Arduino-compatible board with an attached LED strip or matrix and start controlling it in a matter of minutes. Not only can you send commands to it in real-time, but you can upload complete configurations and store them in EEPROM for long-term storage, even across reboots. This was possible in previous versions of PixelMaestro, but now it’s even easier.
This post demonstrates some of PixelMaestro’s new device integration features and example sketches.
Google’s Digital Wellbeing app found its way onto my phone yesterday, and it’s an interesting new app. Unlike most apps, which fight to hold your attention as long as they can, Wellbeing is all about getting you off of your phone. For a company that amassed its fortune on clicks and views, this seems counter-intuitive. What exactly does Wellbeing offer, and can it actually help you spend less time on your phone?