Back Up All The Things Everywhere!

2020 marks the 20th year of me writing incoherent babble on the internet. At least it’s the twenty year anniversary of recorded ramblings.

The first proper website I created was a collection of pictures of the South Korean Playboy model Sung-Hi Lee. I’m not entirely sure when, but I suspect it was in either 1996 or 1997. All I can remember is that I was still in high school. Thanks to some creative search engine manipulation, my humble compilation of nude photos of Ms. Lee – who turns 50 this year – made it all the way to the top three list of the most popular sites hosted by Norway’s largest ISP. Then the ISP nuked the website, and I departed for my year of mandatory military service.

My first personal website was called Central Park West for no other reason than that it sounded cool and classy. I’m not sure when it was launched, but I think it was during my first year at college, so either in 1998 or 1999. After Central Park West came a site on my first personal domain, SnuffCity.com. I have a very vivid memory of taking the name from a song title I saw on the back of a CD cover I had on the desk in my bedroom. The problem with the memory is that, according to the internet, no song with that title had been published at the time.

So where I got SnuffCity.com from, I don’t really know.

2020: The Year of No Social Media?

Late last year, one of the more voices in the Linux community, Bryan Lunduke, announced his 2020 New Year’s resolutions. One of Lunduke’s resolutions was to cut social media out of his life, a thought that has crossed my mind as well.

Here’s a quote from his Patreon post, 2020 New Year’s Resolution: No Social Media, No Cellular Data:

Yep. Cutting Social Media out of my life.

I’m talking about things like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, the Fediverse (Mastodon, LibremOne, etc.). No more posting, reading, liking, commenting on, or re-sharing posts on any of those services (or any services like them). I’ll keep the accounts so that nobody else can claim them and pretend to be me… but otherwise, they’ll be shuttered.

Bryan Lunduke, December 22, 2019

In today’s day and age, that’s pretty radical, especially for a guy like Lunduke. He runs The Lunduke Show, a show about technology news, Linux, and retro computing, and social media is a key tool for building an audience for an online show.

How To Use KeePassXC with Firefox

After having installed KeePassXC on Windows 10, and followed the convenient user guide to store our first password, it’s now time to learn how to use KeePassXC with Firefox.

Even though you can safely store all kinds of accounts, passwords and notes in KeePassXC, it’s likely that the majority of what you will store are usernames and passwords for various internet accounts. And most of those accounts will be accessed through a browser. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a handy way to automatically fill out online login forms with the account information stored in KeePassXC?

Well, you’re in luck, because there is.

With a handy browser extension installed, your browser can automatically discover that you’re trying to log in to an online account which username and password is stored in KeePassXC. The extension will pull the information it needs from the password manager, and you can log in with a simple click of the mouse.

I’ll cover how to use KeePassXC with Firefox in this guide. Why Firefox? Because it’s a fast and reliable, open-source browser with built-in privacy features, and that’s just the way I like my browsers. There’s a good chance you’re using Chrome, which is quite the opposite; a secretive, proprietary, closed-source browser controlled by Google, a company that earns its living by violating your privacy. You should dump Chrome. And while you’re at it, you should also dump Google.

But I digress. Let’s see how we can use KeePassXC with Firefox before it happens again.

How To Install Pi-hole on a Headless Raspberry Pi

It might come as a surprise, but I don’t really mind internet ads.

What I do mind, though, is how internet ads work today. To present you with relevant ads, the advertisement companies will track your every move on the internet. You might think that the sites you visit are isolated from each other, but ad trackers keep following you around everywhere you click.

That’s why I use EFF‘s Privacy Badger, a browser extension that blocks tracking cookies. By blocking this horrendous cookies, you fall off the advertiser’s radar. Because of this, I see very few ads on the internet. So Privacy Badger solves the problem for me.

But there are more people in our household that use the internet. Installing the browser extension on every device isn’t really feasible, and there is a lot of trackers that Privacy Badger won’t block. Mobile app advertisements is a good example. The ads shown in the apps my oldest kid plays on their tablet also track their every move.

So it’s better to attack the problem at its core.

This is where Pi-hole comes in. Pi-hole enables network-wide ad blocking. Configured as a DNS service, it will check every internet address that is accessed through the local network against a set of blacklists of known trackers. If the address is on one of the lists, the DNS request is blocked, and the tracker will receive no information.

With Pi-hole, everyone who is using our Wi-Fi access point are protected from pesky ad trackers.

What is The Best Open Source Password Manager?

In recent posts we’ve covered what a password manager is, and why you should use one. Now it’s time to find the best open source password manager.

If you’re not sure what a password manager is, or why you should use one, I recommend you read two of my previous posts. What is a Password Manager? covers the “what”, and Why Should I Use a Password Manager? covers the “why”.

What is the best password manager is, of course, subjective. But my criteria are as follows:

  • The password manager has to be open source. Open source code means that everyone can audit the code and make sure nothing fishy is going on.
  • It has to be free as in speech (libre). There are no restrictions on how the password manager can be used.
  • The password manager doesn’t have to be free as in beer (gratis). If it’s good enough, and the price is fair, I’d gladly pay for it.
  • The password manager has to work on the operating systems I use frequently: Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android.
  • It has to be possible to self-host the password manager. This means that I can install and run it on my own server or computer.
  • It has to be possible to synchronize the password manager’s database across multiple devices.
  • Backing up the password manager’s database has to be hassle free.
  • The password manager has to have an accompanying browser extension to make using it with a browser as user friendly as possible.

The open source and self-hosting criteria limit the number of possible password managers. While there are a lot of different password managers available, only a few of them are open source and supports self-hosting.

Now let’s get cracking!