• Why do You Want to Install Your Personal Mastodon Instance at Home


    This post is about the rationale of installing my own personal Mastodon instance at home, not in a VPS or in a cloud provider.

    In it, you will find hints on how to do it, but not a detailed recipe to overcome all the tasks, as such is not the goal of the article.

    I’m not going to relate all my trajectory on Mastodon because I want to make things short.

    The idea is that Mastodon is an application with non-trivial machine requirements, and the Cloud is Expensive.

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  • Gnome 42 has gone too far

    I used to like Gnome in their previous versions, because I could apply some theming to reduce the (absurdly excessive) height of the windows’ title bars. They take too much real estate, so much so that you feel like you’ve got a 1366*768-or-even less laptop; except, of course, because the font size which is still very small and that you have to squint. And for there is no chance to use fractional scaling, and… there we go spiraling on manual tweaks and endless fixing of a few developers’ bad decisions. Not wrong, not arguable, just bad.

    The thing is that Gnome 42 does not support themes any more, so there’s no way to reduce the size of those window titles. And I don’t care that much about Gnome 42 to try fixing it in any other way.

    I guess it’s time to move on to something else. Trying Cinnamon for now.

  • Moved to Fedora

    Quick update* – I’ve moved to Fedora a couple of releases ago (34), after almost 20 years since the last time I used Red Hat Linux and the earliest versions of Fedora Core.

    I had been recently using Debian for almost 10 years, and then moved to Manjaro for about a year, or so. The reasons for eventually moving to Fedora were:

    1. The need or convenience of having more recent versions in the packages than in Debian. We all know about how stable, and behind the curve, Debian is.
    2. More stability when compared to Manjaro. In this case, I have to clarify that I hadn’t had any real issue, but I had a couple of warnings when using AUR packages. AUR is a week ahead of Manjaro, and installing packages from there may eventually pull dependencies that render the system unstable.

    Fedora fits in my tasks perfectly well and it doesn’t get in the way. It seems it will be staying around my computers for a while.

    My three Raspberry Pi units remain in Raspberry Pi OS (64-bit) for the foreseeable future.

    (*): I recently removed a couple of uninteresting posts and this one is probably a brief substitution of those.

  • Cleaning the Terminal Screen While Preserving Last Exit Code

    When working on a shell script it’s usual to find oneself trying commands in the terminal emulator to capture their behavior. This usually garbles the screen, and sometimes we need to clear it.

    There’s a command to do so, clear, present in most shells.

    The downside of running a command to clear the screen is that its exit code will overwrite the previous command’s in the environment variable $?. This can make our sesions on the shell a bit harder: as the clear exit code is 0 except in catastrophical scenarios, we lose the ability to prototype the script’s control sentences on the value of $?.

    Cleaning the terminal

    The alternative consists on pressing CTRL+L in the Linux terminal emulator (e.g.: Gnome Terminal). By doing so, we make it to scroll down the necessary amount of lines for the screen to appear clean, no command involved. Thus, the exit code of the previous command will persist in $?.

    On macOS’ terminal the keyboard shortcut is CMD+K (⌘+K).

  • Fix: Firefox not Opening Links from Other Gnome Applications

    Firefox is my browser of choice. With the latest versions of the browser and of Gnome, it is not working as expected when clicking a link from another application.

    If Firefox is already running, and you click on a link in any other application, such link should open in a new tab. Instead, you can get the following error:

    Firefox is already running, but is not responding. To use Firefox, you must first close the existing Firefox process, restart your device, or use a different profile.

    Firefox is already running, but is not responding. To use Firefox, you must first close the existing Firefox process, restart your device, or use a different profile.

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  • This Site Has Zero Cookies

    As of two days ago, this site is absolutely free of cookies. There is no tracking of you whatsoever.

    No cookies! Yay!

    The only cookie that this blog has had since I removed the comments system (it was a tracking beast!) was Clouldflare’s __cfduid. They have deprecated it on May 10th.

    If you want to know more about how this site is done, and where is it hosted, check this previous blog post.

    TL;DR: Jekyll on GitHub Pages and no comments, no third party plugins or social integrations.

  • Verify Your Downloads!

    When we download software, we need to verify two things:

    • The integrity of the software we have just downloaded.
    • The authenticity of the package.

    Checking these two things will ensure that the download went well, and that the software is authentic (and not malware, for example).

    Verifying the integrity and authenticity of a Manjaro ISO

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  • Python Formatters and Style Checkers

    Working in a software project, as part of a team, has quite a few challenges. Other than the cultural side of things, timezone differences, remote work, communication tools, and sharing the knowledge across the team members, there are a lot of technical bits that can create a lot of issues and friction at the source code level.

    One of this bits can be the lack of a set of code style conventions and their enforcement.

    TL;DR: check this repo.

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  • Render LaTeX in Jekyll Pages

    This is a test of \(\KaTeX\), a way to render \(\LaTeX\) in a Jekyll blog. It supports inline code, as in the previous sentence, and also block code as shown below.

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  • Fixing a Common User Home Service Error in Synology NASes

    If you have a Synology NAS and you are a technology enthusiast, or have some interest in using such machines as home servers, you may run into a problem that is quite common. Judging from the amount of Google results, the User Home service gets somehow broken quite often the first time it is activated, and neither is detected by some other services that use it as a dependency, nor can it be deactivated.

    I came across the cause of the problem and its solution; keep reading to know more.

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  • Disinformation and Misinformation

    I came across a very fine example of how precise language can be.

    Disinformation is the act of conciously fabricate and spread false statements or claims not backed by evidences or facts. This implies bad intentions and the will to cause harm.

    Misinformatinon is what we do when we bite the bait of such pieces and begin spreading them to our circles of acquaintances, friends and relatives, probably unaware of the fact that the story is absolutely fake, and with the best of the intentions.

    For example, the fact of doctoring a picture to misrepresent a situation, or completely fabricate it, is disinformation. Likewise, placing an old or unrelated picture in an article not backed by any evicences or facts, in order to mislead, is disinformation.

    If we, not being the authors, came across such pieces and we believe them, and we shared them, that would be misinformation. We can be doing that in good faith, because we were victims of the disinformation in the first place, but in the moment we share it, we are misinforming others.

  • Privacy and Anonymity

    Often confused, anonymity and privacy are undoubtedly different things. They can be combined, for them to act together for your benefit, but they are rather independent. As such, we should never criticise privacy activists for things such as speaking or acting under their true name.

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  • Installing Linux with Secure Boot

    This post is motivated by the confusion and the still prevalent recommendation of disabling Secure Boot when installing GNU/Linux, no matter what distribution we are talking about.

    Contrary to the mainstream trend of such a disablement and proceeding with an outdated bootstrap, security-wise, many distributions do support Secure Boot since a while ago.

    In this post I will provide some links, references, and “glue text to make sense” in order to provide clarity about Secure Boot: what it is, what it provides, and what it takes from us –mostly in terms of user experience, or friction.

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  • Lenovo ThinkPad T490s: a Battery Review Under Linux

    It’s been a while since I decided to get a new laptop and, finally, the replacement to my MacBook Pro mid-2014 came in the mail last Monday (April 21st, 2020). The selected laptop has been a Lenovo ThinkPad T490s, and I decided to use it entirely with Linux.

    In this post I will link some power management tweaks and explain them, as well as some other tips and resources, and analyse how this laptop battery performs using Ubuntu 20.04.

    TL;DR – Too Long; Didn’t Read

    The battery life of this integrated GPU laptop can comfortably last a whole 9 to 5 day for a developer-like job, with CPU demand peaks here and there, like building binaries and running automated tests. That kind of usage also includes browsing static documentation and not very fancy sites like Stack Overflow connected to a WiFi, and streaming music to a bluetooth headset to get in the flow.

    When it comes to browser-based jobs, like online publishing or editing, the battery life can drop a bit but I still believe that it can make the day if we are not too much into graphics and animation-oriented web publishing.

    We have to be careful about the choices we make with regards to the browser we use, and take some precautions against parasitic browser code like tracking and advertising. These things are draining our battery and making our laptop work for someone else, and that’s definitely something to avoid.

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  • This Site is Still Up And Running

    It’s been a while since I started this website in 2018, using a very simple setup with Jekyll on GitHub Pages. I haven’t used it very much, namely I’ve written 4 posts in these, almost, 2 years. Indeed, the previous post is exactly one year old today! I’m back to it because I miss a space in where I can share my thoughts on a subject, my conclusions after some specific chain of events, studies, experiments or personal projects (if they don’t die after a few weeks, which is often the case). Or if I have a position on something on the news, or if I just want to share content.

    I don’t promise that I will post more often, what I’m saying is that this will be the place for them. Also this is not a new year’s resolution, it’s just the conclusion of a series of events that made me turn back to personal websites instead of just having social media profiles.

    This post is about some thoughts about websites, Facebook and Twitter.

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  • Notes on budgeting

    Those of you who follow me on Anchor, or who listen to my Spanish-spoken podcast “Sobre la marcha” may have listened to a bunch of episodes about personal finance, You Need a Budget (YNAB) and budgets in general. In this post I want to share some notes with those of you that you haven’t listened to that, either because you don’t understand Spanish or because whatever reason.

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  • I left Twitter for a month

    I’ve been using Twitter for about 11 years, since September 2007. Through all this time I have been quite neat in my approach to maintain my timeline clean of both bullshit, human garbage and hathred; my timeline is useful, inspiring and valuable to me. Thanks to that curation Twitter has been, by far, my best source of news and a very useful way to stay connected to many matters, as technology and security, and to many social movements.

    It was the beginning of last November when I realised that I had developed a mechanic habit of browsing Twitter blindlessly, mindlessly and meaninglessly, almost as an act of reflex. I was scrolling through my timelne while literally daydreaming. After that moment of realisation, I decided to stay away from it for a month.

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  • There is no security by default

    Security and safety by default are things that many people claim that technology should provide, some sort of baseline requirement for any digital product or electronic device. I profoundly believe that such a statement is naive and unrealistic. It is merely an excuse to avoid our own responsibilities. We have not been succesful when it comes to provide security and safety by default in anything, no matter how old and established is the practice or the objects we designed, so, how could we pretend to make something that is not even one hundred years old, secure or safe by default?

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  • This site is up and running

    If you can see this line, then this site is OK. You should also see that it has SSL-enabled. You can check the about page to find out what you can expect of this blog. See you soon!