tech

Setting Up a VPN Connection on Linux Mint 16

I worked from home yesterday for the first time since getting Linux Mint 16 installed on my new laptop. That meant I spent all of yesterday morning figuring out how to get the VPN connection to my office working. I ended up having multiple problems throughout the process, and none of the guides I found were definitive or included all the steps required for resolving the entire issue. I’m recording this for posterity, in hopes that people will be able to find it and won’t have to dig through multiple sources just to get stuck on the next issue down the chain.

Continue reading

tech

Advanced Internetting: Password Managers

Image via datenform.de

Did you know that your LinkedIn password is on display in a German Museum? Is your password “123456?” How’d I guess?  Well, it’s the most common password in use today. Scary isn’t it? Here’s something truly terrifying: for 20 years, the US secret nuclear launch code was “00000000.” Even if you aren’t launching nukes, your passwords are important. Why are they important? Unless you want someone you don’t know to have access to your Facebook, Gmail, and Twitter accounts, you need to care about your passwords.

Continue reading

tech

Advanced Internetting: RSS

UPDATE: In the post I say that I say that I am too lazy to separate feeds out into more categories than “comics” and “everything else.” But then I was on vacation for a week and had several thousand items to read.

Now it’s split into the following:

  • comics (same as before)
  • pay attention (stuff that I want to make sure I pay attention to)
  • bullshit (stuff that I don’t care if I blindly mark as read, but is actually really fast to blast through – typically these are sites that post single images as the sole post)
  • too many posts (these have good content, but they’re first on the chopping block, because they post too often; eg hacker news and fark)
  • subscriptions (my catch all, which needs a better name)

Ultimately, the point is to be able to prioritize which categories I really care about if I have too much stuff to read, and I need to mark an entire category as read, so I don’t have to declare complete RSS bankruptcy.

There was a pretty big dustup when Google announced it was shuttering Google Reader earlier this year. If you were using it, you’ve almost certainly found a replacement by now. But if you weren’t, and you aren’t familiar with RSS, now is probably the best possible time to get familiar. Google Reader replacements have started popping up all over the place, but they won’t do you any good, if you don’t know what they do.

Continue reading

tech

Advanced Internetting: The Bookmarklet

tl;wr: bookmarklets are awesome, and you should use them.

When I was home for Christmas, I discovered that my brother didn’t know what bookmarklets were. This sort of blew my mind, because he is a pretty savvy internetter. I use bookmarklets more than any other bookmark I have. The fact that he had no idea what they were made me realize that maybe they aren’t commonly known and used. Which, frankly, is a shame.

Continue reading

tech

What would it take for me to stop using Google

TL;WR: #FirstWorldProblems and Google is EVERYWHERE

Google makes me nervous. The oft mentioned slogan “Don’t be evil.” makes me even more nervous. Google has to make a point of reminding themselves not to be evil. People don’t walk around with the mantra “don’t murder anyone” repeating in their head. Unless that is actually a risk. I use Google a lot, and I’ve been thinking lately about using them less. This post is mostly just me thinking “out loud” on how, or even if, that’s possible. Hell, this blog is hosted through Blogger, which is owned by Google.

Continue reading

tech

Automatically Send Documents to Your Kindle with Dropbox & ifttt

A great feature of the Kindle is the ability to email documents to it. (That isn’t quite how it works, but the details of that aren’t important for the purposes of this post.) I send at least 5 documents per month to my Kindle. It’d be nice if I didn’t have to go to the trouble of attaching files and sending mail to the device though. If only there were a way to automate this…

Continue reading

tech

Retweeting/Replying in tircd with Ticker Slots

tircd is a Twitter client that runs on a server, and mimics an irc channel. I have used it on and off for a couple of years, and just recently re-installed it. The biggest reason I stopped using it before was that I had to go into my browser or another client to retweet or to reply to tweets in a way that would tie the conversation together. When I recently installed it, to my surprise I found that this had been taken care of – HOWEVER, I couldn’t figure out how to do it.

Continue reading