We Need to Toot About Mastodon.

Is Mastodon the silver bullet, or yet another social media dud?

First of all, we’ll have to clarify one thing. This post isn’t about the American heavy metal band Mastodon. It’s about the social network Mastodon. You’d think that the creator of Mastodon (the social network) would to at least a little research before picking a name, but apparently not.

With that out of the way, let’s get on with it.

The internet is great. It makes it incredibly easy to for us to connect, share, and educate ourselves. It’s also a place where trolls breed and feed, and hate is amplified. The anonymous nature of the series of tubes that is the internet often brings out the worst in people. There are few things that will make you lose faith in humanity faster than reading comments on a random, high-traffic site on the internet.

Historically, any lack of anonymity has restrained the trolls to a certain degree. And life was good. But with the rise of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, we’ve seen that some people really don’t need anonymity to go absolutely nuts. They’ll write and share whatever they think about race, sexual orientation, global warming, and other heated topics. This has turned many social media sites into very hostile environments, and people are looking for alternatives.

So wouldn’t it be great if there was a Twitter, but without all the hate and hostility? Mastodon tries to be just that, but can it succeed?

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Finding the Best Router for OpenWrt, DD-WRT, and LEDE.

Let’s find the best router for OpenWrt, DD-WRT, and LEDE.

OpenWrt, DD-WRT and LEDE are all Linux-based, custom firmware for your router. They give you a whole lot more features than your average stock router firmware, and they are more often than not better maintained than the firmware provided by the router vendor. From what I can see, OpenWrt, DD-WRT, and LEDE have enough in common that if one of them works well on a router, it’s a fair chance it’ll also work on the other two. OpenWrt and LEDE, in particular, have a lot in common. LEDE is an OpenWrt fork that was started because of internal disagreements among the OpenWrt members. Now they’re all friends again, and LEDE and OpenWrt will merge again soonTM, using the more actively maintained LEDE code base, and keeping the well-known OpenWrt brand.

But what router works best with third party firmware? It’s not easy to figure out. All three projects support, to various degree, a large number of routers, from a wide range of vendors. But some routers are better supported than others, in particular when it comes to WiFi support. The reason for this is that router vendors use different WLAN chipsets in their routers. How easy it is to obtain drivers for the different hardware varies, with Broadcom in particular being a hard nut to crack.

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Defeating PoisonTap (and Other Dirty Tricks) with Beamgun.

Late last year, a neat little device called PoisonTap surfaced. With it, anyone can easily steal passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive data from any computer – even when it’s locked. But hot on the heels of PoisonTap came its antidote: Beamgun.

PoisonTap takes advantage of Windows’ and OS X’ inherit trust in devices connecting to USB and Thunderbolt ports. A lot of different devices can be connected to these ports. Keyboards, mice, printers, scanners, storage devices, and network cards. Just to name a few. Both Windows and OS X will happily activate whatever device is connected without asking the user if it’s OK. Even if the computer is locked. Because if someone has physical access to the computer, they always have good intentions. Right? Wrong. It’s a terrible assumption to make, and one PosionTap takes advantage of. A better assumption is that everyone who has access to a computer has malicious intentions.

When connected to a USB or Thunderbolt port, PoisonTap quickly registers itself as a network card, and effectively becomes a man-in-the-middle (MitM) on the computer. As a MitM, PosionTap can intercept all inbound and outbound network traffic.

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Korkusuz.

You can say a lot of bad things about the internet. It’s used for bullying, and criminal activities ranging from extortion to trafficking. It’s a series of tubes that are depressingly efficient for spreading lies and hate. It also most likely got the man who will be the end of the world as we know it elected.

But a few good things have also come out of the internet. Crowdfunding, humanitarian campaigns, funny cat videos, and the possibility to report uncensored stories straight out of war zones. It has also created millions of jobs (including mine). And thanks to the internet, I recently discovered the amazing movie gem that is Korkusuz.

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Facebook Sucked Me Back In!

In 2011, I deleted my Facebook account. But now, through my selfish need to spread the good word, my old nemesis has sucked me back into its cold and clammy embrace.

Deleting a Facebook account can quickly prove to be social suicide. In my case, that wasn’t much of a problem. Contrary to what you might have heard in April, I’ve never had an outrageously active social life. The people I spent time with still answered they phones, and Anniken, who was on Facebook, was my other social lifeline. Even without Facebook, I’ve somehow miraculous managed to get on with my life, and function like a normal human being for the past five years.

A while ago, however, I decided to start dabbling in cryptocurrency. More precisely, I wanted to get a Steemit account. Steemit is a bit like Reddit, but its users don’t seem to be narcissistic trolls who want to see the world burn. Also, the content on Steemit is mostly user generated, whereas Reddit functions a lot more like a link machine. The most attractive feature of Steemit, however, is that users get paid for the content they create. If you write a popular article, you are awarded with STEEM, the platform’s cryptocurrency. STEEM can then be traded on one of the many cryptocurrency exchanges.

There was one huge issue with Steemit at the time, though: You had to have a Facebook account to register.

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