Looking for more active Flickr accounts to follow. Post your Flickr account handle so I can follow you.

Paramount+ day — Halo and Star Trek:Picard 🖖

Where can enterprise network administrators get a list of CSAM URLs and IP addresses to block?

How’d they get Bill Gates to play the Riddler?! #noxp

Watching Batman - still wish they got a better Bruce Wayne.

Looking at Microsoft 365 Family. Anybody knows how much it costs to add more users beyond 6?

Ever since my SodaStream broke (and deciding not to replace it since the CO2 canisters are not readily avaibale), I searched for the soda maker that matches it as close as possible. Got that Soda Splash, but it just couldn’t get as close to SodaStream’s. Search continues.

PH President vetoes SIM Card Registration Act — thank you very much! Thank you to everyone who voiced out against it, and to whoever told the president that it is a ridiculous bill!

Elon Musk offers to buy all of Twitter! I wish this pushes through only because I’d like to see changes and improvements that were slow to roll out (if it even gets released at all). #noxp

Agnes Larsson talking about Minecraft on #TED2022 - saying that Zucka’s metaverse is NOT THE ONLY metaverse, which is true!

On the #TED2022 now, Catherine Price talking about the importance of having fun! I agree! Love this session on Play!

Going 64 and saying good-bye to “pi”

RaspberryPi OS just got refreshed — this time, it ditched the default user account, “pi”, in favor of user-created account name on first run. In addition to this, you can now pair a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse during the configuration process, making it easier to setup a RaspberryPi without messing with USB cables. These are just some of the new features added in the 04-04-2022 release.

This morning, I figured that I might give the 64-bit version another try and see if I can finally replace the 32-bit Bullseye install currently running on the RPi. So, off I went to download the installer.

I unwrapped a new 32GB SD card and flashed it with the new 64-bit RaspiOS. Using the spare Raspberry Pi 4, I booted the new OS to test the new features. As advertised, it asked me to provide the username. The RPi is connected to a touchscreen display, so there is no need for a mouse, but a keyboard is required since the installer did not come with on-screen keyboard support enabled at the get go. Tapping the Bluetooth icon quickly detected an old wireless Logitech keyboard (bought this a couple of months ago and have not used it yet).

Doing the usual — removed Geany, Thonny and Chromium, since they’re useless to me, but added Midori (but was replaced by Firefox-ESR since Midori was acting a bit weird) as browser. Installing Pi-Hole hit a snag since it didn’t detect the usual operating system, but a quick addition of a parameter to ignore the OS check did the trick. Log2ram, VNC, Unbound, Rclone, Plexmedia, and YT-dlp were added and configured. With the basic software up and running, the new 64-bit RaspiOS now powers the home media server and the Pi-Hole that protects the home network.

Lastly, the Siri shortcuts that I have on my iPhone, iPad and Mac need to be modified to reflect the new user subdirectory as /home/pi is no longer valid. Also need to change the SSH keys.

Everything is up and running now – hoping that the next OS upgrade can be done without re-installing the entire thing again. Now time to clone the SD card.

Spinning up my own cloud desktop

Sometimes I find myself wishing that I have a Linux desktop that I can access remotely. Whilst having a cloud-based desktop is not new, it is, however, a bit expensive when used sparingly. If, however, you prefer working on the cloud-based desktop most of the time, then it becomes affordable (Shells.com offer one at $4.95/mo for 10 hours of use, Microsoft and Amazon have similar products, though not sure of their pricing).

Ponying up $4.95/mo for 10 hours of use for a single purpose subscription is not really an option for me. I do have Linux servers running 24x7 for the same price — currently have one running the kids’ Minecraft server and works as WireGuard VPN server at the same time. Heck, I have another server on Oracle that is on the free-tier, but this one is exclusively running WireGuard VPN.

I decided to give VNC on the Minecraft server a try and see if it’ll work. So I went off armed with the guide, “How to Install and Configure VNC on Ubuntu 20.04”, written by Mark Drake. It does not take you long to do the install and configuration.

With the Minecraft server now running VNC, the next step is to test it. On the iPad Pro, I use Screens as my Remote Desktop app. I use it to access my Raspberry Pi desktop when I need to run SD Copier to clone the main system. I also use it when rclone.org requires a browser to generate the access tokens.

The guide protects the VNC by limiting access to localhost, i.e., you cannot connect directly to the server from the internet (besides, the ports are also blocked). First, I tried connecting to the server via the WireGuard VPN and then get Screens to connect, but that failed. Yeah, I know this was not part of Mark’s guide — tried it, even with the firewall deactivated. No dice.

With the firewall up and ports blocked again, I configured Screens to establish an SSH tunnel (as written on Mark’s guide) and then connect VNC. Copying the SSH keys from the MacBook Pro and setting Screens to connect to localhost got it working. The desktop appeared on my iPad Pro! Not bad.

A quick install of a lightweight browser, Midori, completed the exercise. A couple of reboots made sure that everything is automatically launched on boot. Now my cloud desktop is up and running.

Anyway, I prefer working locally, i.e., not on the cloud (yeah, I don’t like using online productivity suites like Google Docs or Office365), and on the device (not a fan of Chromebooks, too). When your internet connection is expensive and unreliable, then you’d understand.

screenshot of Screens Remote Desktop iPadOS app

I forget #TED2022 started already… watching it live now.

The latest episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” is about online data brokers — watch it! #privacy