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Practical Computing Advice and Tutorials

Sun: 26 May 2019


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29 April 2019:~ Anyone?

Well, it's been 6 months since I launched the Forum section, but I've yet to attract any members. Sure, I've had a few spammers trying to create accounts, but they were just so blatantly obvious that I never allowed them to take hold.

So, is it that the subject matter is of no interest? Is it that you don't trust me? Anyone? Any feedback?
You can use the guest account if you don't want to register.


02 February 2019:~ OverTheWire

Do you want to learn some useful CLI Linux commands, but don't know where to start?

Well, if you do, then please follow my OTW Challenge guide. You'll find it listed on the Side Bar. Look for the OTW link and follow along. You'll very soon be learning some really useful commands.


02 December 2018:~ CVE-2018-10933

In this latest update, I demonstrate an 'In the wide' exploit. You can read about it from this link.

You'll find a link to my page at the bottom of Side Bar, under 'Security'.


22 September 2018:~ Forum

Aside from my interest in Computers in general, which was sparked from the get-go of Home Computing back in the 1980s and now includes Computer Networking and all of the sup-topics, I also have a passion for finding the truth behind how our lives are being manipulated and the researchers that are doing some very good work in exposing the lies that are being perpetrated by the Main Stream Media and Governments, alike.

To that end (if there is an end) I follow the work of several investigative researchers, but it's taken me years to discover who to trust. I'd like to converse with other like-minded people on this topic, but I've never found a forum with which I'm happy to be involved, so I've started my own.

This is a new project and can be found here. I hope that you'll have a look and contribute to this project.

Thank you.


21 August 2018:~ It's Been Awhile

I've been a little busy with 'life' and as such it's been awhile since my last update, but in the meantime, it seems that the issue with the News Feeds has resolved itself.

I'm now working on some new content for this site and will update as and when, but the 'life' thing is not fully resolved and as that's what pays the bills around here, it has to take priority, but I think that the new content will be of interest to you.

Thanks for reading and please call back soon.


01 April 2018:~ News Feeds & Blogs Issues

There seems to be a problem with some of my News Feeds & Blogs pages. I thought the issue was only with the http feeds, but not the https feeds, that thought being that the none-https feeds were being blocked by my configuration file, but no, I've checked and it's not that.

I'll keep an eye on things over the next day or two and if the issue does not correct itself, I'll remove the pages.

This is really just an F.Y.I post, so that visitors know that I'm aware of the issue.


31 March 2018:~ (Another) Site Re-launch

Having learned much more about CSS, php and html, I've now developed the code and changed both the layout and navigation of my site. I've yet to fully test it on a mobile device, but I hope that the pages will render much better than before. I'm now using all of my own code, including my own CMS as I wanted to be able to say that This site is 100% my own work. I'm pleased with the results and I hope that my visitors will find this site to be a much better experience.

Feedback would be much appreciated and thank you for reading.


15 March 2018:~ News Aggregation

A while ago, I put together a web page of aggregated RSS feeds that I try to keep up with, as they were beginning to clutter up my email client app, which I simply ran from a localhost server. That page of links has grown over time, to the point where I don't have time to read all the features that feed in.

Just out of pure convenience, I created a sub-domain to this site and moved the RSS feed pages to that. It occurs to me that maybe some of you would also find some of the feeds of interest, so be my guests and have a look: you'll find a menu link at the top of the page.

**UPDATE**

I've been testing this idea in a sub-domain and I've now nailed it. The sub-domain has now been deprecated and I've moved the aggregation pages to this domain, as it has a TLS connection. In doing this I've noticed that some of the feeds themselves are not TLS. This has nothing to do with my code (which I'll publish if anyone is interested) rather it's how the RSS Feed has been set-up.

I'll be adding more feeds as and when, so pop back at any time; you never know what I may have found and included...


10 March 2018:~ Site Content Update

Added a new tutorial on the Linux command 'Alias'. It's a very handy thing to be able to create custom commands and is just one of the reasons a really like using Linux based operating systems.

As always, if you find that tutorial of use, please drop me some feedback and maybe tell me what commands you have created. I'll publish any that may be of general interest to, and could be used by other readers, but mostly you'll find that the alias commands you create will be specific to your system.


02 March 2018:~ This almost passed me by...

From a BBC Radio 4 series called The Life Scientific...

When Eben Upton was in his twenties, he wanted to get children thinking about how computers think, to boost the number of people applying to read computer science at university. He dreamt of putting a chip in every classroom. The result was Raspberry Pi, a tiny gadget, little bigger than a credit card, that can be hooked up to any keyboard and monitor, to create a programmable PC. And it's cheap. Raspberry Pi Zero, sticker price just £5, was given away free with a computer magazine in 2015. Eben tells Jim how it all began, in his loft with soldering irons and post it notes, and how, by ruthlessly pursuing a philanthropic goal he became CEO of a highly successful business enterprise.

It's available for D/Load right now.

Enjoy. <*_*>


21 February 2018:~ Site Improvements

I've been working on a few things to improve my site, which I've now implemented.

The change that visitors will see is the menu system. I was not happy with the way that it looked on a small screen, so I've redesigned things and it now looks much better.

The major change (that visitors won't see) is that I'm now not running the 'Matomo' code that I mentioned at the beginning of the month. I was not happy about the fact that I was asking you to trust what Matomo is saying about its code. I had the intention of vetting it, but it turns out there's over 8000 files, which, I'd guess would mean at least 100,000 lines of code, code that I have only a faint idea about what it's doing: "Free open-source software" it may be, but I don't have the time to audit that, so it's now gone; it's history and I'm now in a position to say that the only unknown factor associated with my site is my hosting provider: all the other stuff is what I've been able to either develop for myself, or what I've been able to audit.

I run a very small (it's about 50 lines) php script so that I can see what pages are being visited and how many visitors I get, and that's it: no tracking, no Google Analytics, in fact no JavaScript of any kind.

My site is also now https enforced; you can't get to my site with http. This means that nothing can get between my site and my visitors. It also means that the feedback form is a secure way of contacting me as it's over a https connection.

I'm working on expanding some of the content and will update as and when.

Inlakesh.


17 February 2018:~ P.C Firewalls

If you've read my page on P.C Firewalls you'll have noticed that I made a recommendation, based on my own experience. I now withdraw said recommendation as I'm no longer using that product and have removed it from my system. The reason being is that GlassWire have chosen to remove the app blocking from the free version, which means that it will only report on what apps are connecting.

So, I'm now going to be using TinyWall. I'll be trying it out over the next week or so and updating my P.C Firewalls page. If anyone has any recommendations on the topic, please post some feedback.

Thanks.


15 February 2018:~ Site Re-launched

Today I've re-launched my site using Defuse.ca's HelloWorld! CMS. It took way less time than I thought it would. You'll find a link to Taylor Hornby's site in the 'About' menu link, as well as at the bottom of each page on this site. {Things have a habit of changing...}

My hope was that I would be able to address the 'mobile device issue', but unfortunately, I've not been able to do that, but I'm still working on it. Don't get me wrong; that issue has nothing to do with this CMS, rather it's the way that I've chosen to do things which don't render well on a small screen, not the design of the CMS.

What I have been able to do is to re-design my pages so that they look better (or so I think). Please leave me some feedback either here, or you can Tweet me @rob42_rc

I hope you find my site interesting, and please call back soon.

Thank you for reading.

**UPDATE**

I've now learned how to make the Script-Free CCS based menu system work as it should for mobile devices. The inspiration for this system has to be credited to Mr. Steve Gibson of grc.com I've not used S.G's CSS code, rather I've been able to implement the w3-CSS code upon which the design of this site is based, but full credit to S.G for making me aware that it was even possible to have a JS-free menu system.


13 February 2018:~ CMS (Content Management System)

I've been testing a new CMS that I've been aware of, for a few months now and I like it. It's going to be a big job to convert my site over, but in the long term, it's going to make life easier and adding new content quicker. If you want to get a preview of what the changes will look like, you can see it and keep up with the changes by going to my development site which is simply /dev/ It will also address the 'mobile' device issue as it seems to be good for that also.

As always, your feedback would be appreciated.


11 February 2018:~ Feedback

I've had some feedback from a couple for visitors, along the lines of...

-----------------------------------------------------
Name of sender: Andy
Email of sender: anon
----------------------- COMMENTS --------------------

Hello
I like your site, but it's not very mobile friendly.
The new menu system is unusable.

-----------------------------------------------------

My thanks, not only to Andy, but also the others that have taken the trouble offer some constructive feedback.

I've now altered the menu css so that the menu bar now has a minimum width; it's not ideal, but it's the only fix I can come up with at this time. When I find a better solution, I'll implement it, maybe a .mobile sub-domain.


I've now (as of 21-Feb-2018) updated the menu system and it works much better on the mobile platform.

My thanks to visitors for their feedback on this issue.


04 February 2018:~ Vivaldi

If you've been reading my blog, you'll know that Mozilla upset me back in December of 2017 and since then I've been trying alternative browsers. The one that I've settled on is Vivaldi. If, like me, you check most of the stuff you want to know about, with Wikipedia, I can save you the bother of a search: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivaldi_(web_browser). Just remember to donate a little cash to Wikipedia every now and then; it's one of the best sites ever and needs to be supported by the community.

One of the reasons I've now switched from using Pale Moon, is that I like my Browser Extensions, A.K.A: Plug-ins, many of which are simply not available with Pale Moon.

One feature that I use extensively, is Browser Tabs; I love them! And with Vivaldi I get Stacked Tabs which is even better! Maybe this feature is old news to some, but for me it's a new experience and I now group subject topics from different sites into the one Tab: Brilliant!

I've been using Vivaldi since the beginning of the year and I hope that I'll be able to for the foreseeable. If you want an alternative, and I'd say, a more Professional browser, give Vivaldi a try; it's a bit of a learning curve, but well worth the effort.


03 February 2018:~ Script-Free, Pure-CSS Menuing System

I've now done a full redesigned of my website as I didn't like the navigation system that I had; I figured that if I didn't like it, maybe others found it to be a bit of a pain also.

I'm now running a full Script-Free, Pure-CSS Menuing System, so the only bit of JavaScript that is now loaded from my site is for counting page hits. If you're curious about the details for that, I use the Piwik (now re-branded as Matomo) solution so as to respect your privacy. As soon as I work out how to do that job without using JavaScript, I'll implement it {Update: Done}.

I have a some serverside test code running which is inserting the 'Test Hit Counter' at the bottom of the pages which I may develop further, over time.
{This is now a fully functional system}

I hope you like the new look and feel, and thanks for reading.


01 February 2018:~ Spectra and Meltdown

If you've been keeping up-to-date with the tech news, you'll probably be aware of a couple of theoretical vulnerabilities called Spectra and Meltdown. The story broke around the 2nd week of January of this year and since then there has been quite a few people running around with hair on fire and saying OMG! hackers can steal passwords or confidential data, stored in other programs!!, but no. Calm down and take a step back.

In fact, one of the biggest problems has come from people rushing to "fix" the issue, with botched updates to computer operating systems that have done more harm than good. As of the time of writing this, there is no known malicious software that takes advantage of either Spectra or Meltdown. In fact, if your computer is using an AMD CPU, the chances are that you're not even vulnerable to Meltdown.

The thing that everyone needs to be on their guard about, is that as soon as the M.S.M pick up on this meme and start to panic uninformed computer users, there's going to be loads of malicious software masquerading as tools checking for Spectra and Meltdown. DON'T FALL FOR IT! There's more chance that the tool you're offered is going to do more harm than good, than there is of your system being compromised by the Spectra/Meltdown bugs.

If you feel the need to check your system, Steve Gibson has, with the help of a very knowledgeable community, developed THE tool to do the job: https://www.grc.com/inspectre.htm

Right now, it's still very early days. Let things calm down and, to coin a phrase from one of the best books ever written: Don't Panic!


24 December 2017:~ Feedback

Although I put this site together just because I wanted to have the experience of doing so, it would be nice to know if anyone is in fact reading anything on here and, if so, is the information of any use?

Please consider leaving me some feedback. You don't have to enter an email address if you don't want to.

Thank you.


18 December 2017:~ Pale Moon

Okay, I've now tried Opera and Brave, as alternate Browsers, but no, they're not for me, neither is Google Chrome: I knew that I'd not use Chrome for too long, but simply as a get-me-by, until I found something which I could trust, from a privacy point of view

I've been make aware of a Browser called Pale Moon, and I have to say, it's VERY nice. If, like me, you long for the days when Firefox was just the best thing that you'd ever come across, in the world of Web Browsers, then Pale Moon may be just the thing that you've been looking for.

I've only been using PM for a couple of days and I've read some reports that not all sites work as intended, when PM is used. But, these reports tend to come from users that are using the Internet in ways that I don't. If I find that PM does not work with the sites that I frequent, I'll need to find something else, and I'll report back here. Right now, PM is just fine and does all that I expect a Web Browser to do.


17 December 2017:~ Mozilla! What Are You Doing!!

Not too long ago, if anyone had asked me which web browser I'd recommend, I would have said, without any hesitation, Firefox. But, as is always the case, things have a habit of changing.

I've just come across this story [Firefox-is-on-a-slippery-slope] which, if I hadn't have already dumped Firefox, would have made me think very carefully about it.

Mozilla has really upset its user base. I had already noticed that extensions were being installed without my say-so, but I simply put up with it and removed them, but I can now see that, as with any failing relationship, you can't simply ignore things that you're unhappy about in the hope that things will improve, because they won't. I've broken up with Firefox and, as is my way, I'll not be going back.


12 December 2017:~ Opera

I've decided to try a web browser that I've not used in years:~ Opera. I'm not a fan of Google Chrome and, as I've said, I'm having issues with Firefox V57. I've done a little research into Opera and I know it had some issues a few years back, but I seem to remember using it after Netscape went away. I've just started using Opera and it's VERY fast! I'm unsure at this point if I'm going to stick with Opera, but time will tell.


10 December 2017:~ A Sad Day...

It's a sad day for me. After over 15 years of using Firefox I've been forced to make the move to Google Chrome.

It all started when Mozilla released V57. That version broke one of the best plugins that (I.M.H.O) has ever been released: NoScript. But, I persevered, and just as I knew would happen, Giorgio Maone released an update to NoScript and Rob was again happy.

But, not content with that, Mozilla updated Firefox to V57.0.2 and that broke my entire system, pinning my CPU at 90% and making my system unusable. Well, that was the final straw! I can't be spending what little time I have fixing what Mozilla break. I've had to dump Firefox and I'm now using Google Chrome. It's not anywhere close to how Firefox used to be, but it works and I need a browser that works. Way-to-go Mozilla...