Goodbye to All gchat

As some of you may know, Google is killing gchat (aka Google Talk) and moving users to Hangouts after June 26th. Talk users within Gmail will receive a prompt in the next few weeks, inviting them to switch to Hangouts. After June 26, users will be automatically transitioned to Hangouts, unless contractual commitments apply. For users that preferred the Google Talk look, there is a Dense Roster setting in Hangouts that provides a similar experience. [Read More]

Reexamining my Password Management System

For the last year and a half I’ve been using both 1Password and KeePassX to manage my passwords. I’ve been storing most usernames and passwords using 1Password, since I can easily access it on my iPhone and I have the Chrome extension installed at home, making signing in that much easier. I use 1Password with Dropbox by purchasing the license rather than pay a regular fee to 1Password (I took some brief notes when I set it up in 2015). [Read More]

Getting Started with Syncthing

I was looking for an open-source, free, and secure way of frequently moving files between computers. pointed me to Syncthing. I subsequently found a few blog posts recommending it. It doesn’t store any data in the cloud– it merely keeps a list of folders in sync across any number of computers. Syncthing replaces proprietary sync and cloud services with something open, trustworthy and decentralized. Your data is your data alone and you deserve to choose where it is stored, if it is shared with some third party and how it’s transmitted over the Internet. [Read More]

Switching to Xfce and Other Linux Notes

This post is a bit of a sequel to my post about installing Ubuntu on my old Macbook Pro. This is just a collection of notes on improvements I’ve made to my Ubuntu 16.04 Unity installation, the bulk of which has been changing my desktop environment from Unity to other options. Hope this helps you! Application Launcher On macOS I make frequent use of Alfred as an application launcher. Ubuntu’s Unity desktop environment sort of had something like that, which you can initiate by pressing the command key on its own at any time. [Read More]

Building KeePassXC from GitHub Source on MacOS 10.10.5

I’m excited about a community fork of KeePassX called KeePassXC. They offer binary builds for the three major operating systems on their website, however I wanted to build it from source for two reasons: (1) I was a little dubious of KeePassHTTP, which the developers are now building into the pre-built binaries (it appears to be disabled by default, but they have a warning in the README), and (2) I simply wanted the latest version, which already sports some UI improvements from the last time they made the binaries. [Read More]

Moving to Hugo

A couple of weeks ago I was proud of myself for switching from RVM to rbenv. The reason I made the switch was that I wanted something light-weight and I didn’t like the RVM installation process, in particular the need to use the GPG command line tool. The problem was that after I installed a fresh copy of Ruby 2.4.0 with rbenv, I wasn’t able to deploy this blog using my very old version of Octopress. [Read More]

Installing Ricochet 1.1.4 on Lubuntu 16.04

When I first installed Ricochet IM on my machine running Lubuntu, I either ran sudo apt install ricochet-im, or downloaded it through Ubuntu’s GUI “Software” application. Regardless of which I chose, I think both methods install Ricochet version 1.1.2, as opposed the to latest release: 1.1.4. Considering this is a secure instant messaging app and new versions may contain important security fixes, I wanted to be using the latest version available (which I’m actually thanked in, due to some extremely minor documentation fixes). [Read More]

YubiKey and OpenPGP

On Cyber Monday, I took advantage of Yubico’s 2-for-1 YubiKey deal and got two YubiKey 4s for the price on one ($40). My understanding is that usually these keys are used as a 2nd factor in 2-factor authentication schemes. In this capacity it works with Google and Dropbox, as well as a number of password managers including LastPass, dashlane, Keepass, and a number of others. Also, there’s a breakdown of some of the technical differences between models of YubiKeys. [Read More]

Some Privacy and Security Measures I've Taken Recently

Over the summer of 2016 I started to pay a little more attention to my privacy and security on the internet and when using computers more generally. Some of this impetus had been slowly growing since the Snowden/NSA revelations and catching the documentary Citizen 4. More recently I read a few books about computer security, most notably Data and Goliath by Bruce Schneier, and a few on open-source software and Linux: The Cathedral and the Bazaar, Coding Freedom (which I admired for its liberal art sensibility), and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace by Lessig, the last of which I wrote a blog post if you’re interested. [Read More]

Installing Ubuntu on my old MacBook Pro

I had an old 17 inch MacBook Pro from 2009 (college) lying around and I figured it’d be a fun challenge to install Linux on it. I had never installed or even used Linux before (to my knowledge). I also, confusingly, hadn’t found a clean, step-by-step guide for doing this, so I promised I’d write my process out as thoroughly but simply as I could once I got it done. [Read More]