A first tonight!

July 2, 2015

I am recording my first guest appearance on another podcast tonight! I’m excited and a bit nervous. I will be speaking with John Wilkerson of The Wired Homeschool podcast and we will be talking about open source alternatives for homeschoolers. This is going to be a great opportunity to get some visibility for my show, as well as passing on my passions for open source software to a new audience.

Check John out at http://thewiredhomeschool.com or follow him on twitter @wiredhs!

Peace,

Matt

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iOS vs Android: Which one should you pick and why?

May 14, 2015

I am an android and open-source fan boy, but…

Anybody who knows me knows I am a huge fan of free and open-source software. I have been an Android fan ever since I heard of it, knowing that an open-source alternative to Apple Inc’s iPhone operating system would be a great boon to the free software movement and to freedom in general. I mean, the promise was so great: an open operating system; transparent development; code available to be inspected and audited by the community; no more wondering what the software was doing behind the scenes. I knew if I ever got a smart phone, it would definitely be Android.

Fast forward almost a dozen years to last week. I was having a conversation with my dad and he was talking about replacing the Android tablet (a Motorola Xoom, btw) we had gotten for my mom, several years ago. We were discussing options and talked about a Chromebook, a new Android tablet, etc. Then we came around to my dad’s new, work-issued iPad. Knowing my fondness and preference for Android and open-source, he made some joke about I would never let him buy my mom an iPad. My response was, “Actually, it’s probably the best idea.” He was surprised, to be sure but, there is some method to my madness. It comes down to security. Now, obviously, we are talking about iOS, a commercial product of Apple, Inc, a company known to give info to the NSA like it was water and the NSA was dying of thirst. When I suggest that there are advantages in security that is different from there being advantages in privacy. iOS isn’t open and it isn’t private. There is one thing iOS has over most implementations of Android, and it has to do with how the OS is updated. Because Android is licensed by device manufacturers and in partnership with wireless carriers, it is incumbent upon them to update the version of Android installed on your device. There is an exception. If you buy a Google Play Store edition of the device, your updates come directly from Google. Therefore, your operating system is patched and updated regularly. But, if you rely on the carrier or manufacturer of the device, you might wait forever for that update. Meanwhile, you are using your device on public wifi and exposing yourself to any number of hacks and exploits. So, what is the average person to do? What does a g33kdad like yours truly do? Well, I reccomend iOS to average people becase I know they will be getting timely updates from Apple, Inc and they will be getting security patches on a regular basis. Myself, given a perfect world, I would own my device outright and not be dependant on a carrier for subsidy. Then I would run my own os, either CyanogenMOD, if I want something Android-based, or perhaps Ubuntu Phone or Sailfish, if I am ready for something new. However, I don’t currently own an unlocked phone, so I takes extra precautions. I never use public wifi for anything sensitive. If I have to use public wifi, i will elect to use my chromebook or laptop so I can set up an ssh tunnel as a SOCKS5 proxy…. but, that’s another article. 😉

Thnaks for reading. Subscribe to the podcast, please. Our next episode is a follow through on the discusion of ownCloud which I teased in the last episode. After that, I think we’re going to leave the techie stuff and talk about something more domestic. See you on the podcast!

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Hacker Public Radio

April 22, 2015

Hello all you happy people out there in blogland! Today, I would like to tell you about a very cool project that I have been a fan of and contributor to for about a year and a half now. It is a self-described “community podcast network” and it is called Hacker Public Radio. Also referred to as HPR, Hacker Public Radio is a podcast that is hosted by different hosts each episode. The topics range from how the host got interested in Linux or other open source software to interviews from technology conferences, to the always entertaining “What’s in my bag?” episodes. According to the website HPR shows can be on any topic that is “of interest to Hackers”.Basically, anything you are passionate about can be an episode on HPR. I, myself, have recorded 3 shows for HPR and you can find them on my Correspondent page. I hope you will take some time and peruse the HPR site, not just to check out my episodes, though I hope you will, but to see the awesome and interesting things all of the hosts are talking about. You might learn something. Also, if you decide you enjoy listening to HPR episodes, perhaps you will host one, yourself! If you are interested in recording an episode, I would be more than happy to help you out. Drop me a line at matty@thestrangeland.net.

Have a great day!

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Product Review: Logitech K480 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard

February 6, 2015

logitechk480

This is a great item! I purchased this item from a brick and mortar store that was going out of business. I was most interested to use it with my phone (LG G3) and I was drawn to this particular product because of the slot in the top for holding a device. My G3 stands up very well in the slot and I use this keyboard to SSH into various servers I administrate. This is very handy because, I can pull over to the side of the road or set up at a coffee shop and easily log in to my servers and perform maintenance and troubleshooting. If you plan to use this device with an android phone or tablet, I highly recommend you install “Null Keyboard” (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wparam.nullkeyboard) from the play store. This app installs as a keyboard but doesn’t do anything. Essentially, it keeps the onscreen keyboard from popping up while you use the Bluetooth keyboard.

As I said, I had intended to use this mainly for my smartphone, however I have also paired it with my laptop and my Chromebook and it works spectacularly for both of those as well. The handy selector switch allows you to pair to up to 3 devices and switch between them without having to disconnect/reconnect. Very cool!

As I said, this is a fantastic keyboard and I highly recommend it. This keyboard is supposed to also work with OSX and iOS devices as well, but I don’t have one to test it with. However, my dad has and iPad and if I get a chance to test it out, I will update this review.

One response to “Product Review: Logitech K480 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard”

  1. Cory says:

    Hi, nice review. I have a K430 as well, really like the form factor too. Your review summed up exactly how I feel about it. It’s very easy to work with.

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Arch Linux Review

July 18, 2014

Hello! For the last several weeks, I have been using the Arch Linux distribution on my main laptop. It has been a really good experience and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I had committed to myself to use Arch for 30 days and my experiment has actually lasted a little longer. So let me tell you a bit about my experience, and what I have learned.

archlinux-logo-light-90dpi.d36c53534a2b

I first installed Arch in the first week of May, 2014. I installed “true” Arch, using the ISO from archlinux.com and following the Beginners Guide from the Arch Wiki. I did not use an Arch-based distro like Antergos or Manjaro. For the most part, I found this to be a fun and interesting experience. I did not run into any major problems and I got my system running, with X and a DE in about an hour. I did not run into any problems with wifi or graphics, either. I should say, this was not my first time installing Arch this way, but it was my first time using it as my primary machine’s OS.

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Chromebook For The Win

May 30, 2014

Hey everyone!

For my birthday this year, my wonderful wife got me a new Acer C720 Chromebook. I would like to share my thoughts after a couple of months with the device, but I have a couple of comments first.

First of all, for anybody who might not know, a Chromebook is a light weight laptop computer running Google’s ChromeOS. This is a Linux-based operating system that is built on the foundation of Google’s Chrome Browser. Chrome is my browser of choice and I also use Google’s Apps for Domains to manage my email. (I have also made great use of Google Docs and other Google services, but that’s another article).

Second, you may have seen some (idiotic, IMHO) commercials from Microsoft about the Chromebook. They were referred to as the “Scroogled” ads. In these ads, various people spent time insulting the Chromebook as being “only a browser” and “useless offline”. While the first is “kinda” true, the second is completely false.

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Using DokuWiki for Note-taking

November 24, 2013

To start things off, here is a guest blogpost I wrote for Knightwise.com. Knightwise.com has awesome content; check it out!

Cheers,
Matt

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