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    A tech blog.

    Lorem Ipsum · 7 days ago - 14:56 edit · 5 minutes


Hello, my name is Lorem Ipsum. I'm a graphic designer by degree, 3D artist by profession and lifelong nerd by passion. I love my job, but after almost 20 years of doing it, I'm looking for something else to complement my routine. Also, money has been tight over the last 3 years or so and I've been wanting to have an extra source of income while creating something of value to... well... the world. Hopefully.

Being such a nerd, I've gathered a fair amount of knowledge about a broad range of technical subjects; especially since 2014, when I moved from Windows to Linux. That move changed my life! I went down the r̶a̶b̶b̶i̶t̶ h̶o̶l̶e̶ penguin slide and became a passionate open source and privacy advocate.

In this blog I want to write about topics like: Linux (of course); privacy tools; graphic design software; image, video and audio compression; ffmpeg tips and tricks; cryptocurrencies; digital security practices; gaming; Android and phone tools; open source alternatives to popular commercial software, science, technology... and pretty much anything else that I find worthy of writing about.

A bit of necessary background.

I live in a country that is going through a rather disastrous situation: 3-digit annual inflation (and for a time, 4 digits); corruption that comes from the very top of the government down to everywhere in the streets; malnutrition in about 1/4 of the population, hunger, violence, death...

I'm actually among the "lucky" few that has a relatively decent standard of living; and still, 3 years ago me and my family couldn't afford to eat more than twice a day for several months. Some people didn't have that privilege and had to endure days without food. 2019 was the worst year of my life and I don't want to go through that ever again.

These days things are definitely better, but there's plenty of things that can still improve. I need to keep saving money for me and my family and I think I have enough skills and knowledge to earn some extra money sharing what I know.

I was a teacher/instructor; my students seemed to really enjoy my classes, so I know I'm good at explaining things. English is not my first language, but I'm confident I can engage in complex topics without much trouble. I can write good tutorials, tips and tricks articles and software reviews in a way that brings something new to the table.

Something new, you say?

This blog will be different from the norm in several aspects.

  • I'll use free and open source tools and platforms to generate, write and post all the content. I'll probably write articles about this process as well.

  • Everything I write will be under the Creative Commons Attribution license. Feel free to copy all the content I post, feel free to even post it in your own blog/site, just give me proper credit and a link to my blog post as the original source, please.

  • All the articles I write, will be downloadable in PDF format so you can have a local copy for future references or in case this blog disappears.

  • I need to make money with this blog to be able to continue, but I don't want to do sponsored content, show adds or hide stuff behind a paywall or Patreon subscription.

Regarding monetization.

I could have gone the "writing for an existing site/blog" route before trying to create yet another blog by myself... That was actually my first plan; but the more I thought about it, the less I liked it. I don't want to deal with deadlines, a "writing style", "site policies" and those kind of things that make me feel restrained about what I write. So I'll try this "having my own blog" route first.

Being a privacy advocate, I hate adds and trackers; especially the new, evil breed of targeted adds. I'll actually post ways of blocking them, so the idea of working for a site that has them as their way of generating revenue makes me feel like a giant hypocrite. Not to mention that they wouldn't approve of me writing those specific articles.

So the way of supporting me (if you want to) will be through cryptocurrencies.

Back in 2019 I was able to bring food to the table and help people around me because of cryptocurrencies. I had a fantastic human being of a client who accepted to pay for my work in crypto (doing 3D modeling and animation for a project)... Popular and mainstream ways of payment are absent in my country. If you really want to use them, you have to jump through an absurd amount of semi-legal hoops that I just refuse to do. It's a common occurrence to have your funds temporarily (and in some cases permanently) frozen in those services with no way to appeal. Not to mention the transaction fees involved cut a significant percentage of my already limited income. When I barely had enough to eat back in 2019, the money I saved in fees made all the difference.

Those difficulties made me vow to never use services like PayPal for the rest of my life. I owe that commitment to this forgotten part of the world where all those mainstream, centralized, privileged services treat us like garbage.

If you like cryptocurrencies and like my content, cool. I'll leave at the end of every article addresses and ways of sending a few bucks, cents or sats. If you hate them but still like the content I post, enjoy it! Everybody will have unrestricted access to all the content I write regardless of their opinion about cryptocurrencies or contribution.


I still hope to generate enough revenue here to make it a secondary source of income for me. The longevity of this blog depends on it. So I really hope you find the articles in this blog valuable and consider sending a few bucks to help me continue.

I have a few articles already finished. They will be published over the coming days and weeks. I don't have a regular schedule for writing content. It could be days before a new article comes out or it could be weeks. I will always put quality over quantity.

This endeavor might fail... The odds are not precisely in my favor, but I still want to give it a shot. In the words of a wise man:

"I can live without being a success… but I couldn't live without trying." - David Brent

Anyway, that's it for now...

I'll see you in the next article!

#new #blog #technology #Linux #opensource #foss

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    Pi.Alert or WatchYourLAN can alert you to unknown devices appearing on your WiFi or LAN network

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Saturday, 17 September - 14:04

You can self-host these open source apps that will regularly scan the devices connected to your WIFI / LAN and alert you the connection of unknown devices. Pi.Alert has a few extras like warning of the disconnection of "always connected" devices, additional notification options, presence history, and others I show in the video.

In this video I compare these two apps and show what they look like in action, as well as covering some tips and solutions for issues I had experienced.


#technology #security #PiAlert #selfhosted #opensource

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    Open Source Self-Hosted Home Assistant home automation with a Modbus TCP interface to a Victron Solar System

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Sunday, 21 August - 13:31 · 1 minute

Home Assistant is an open source self-hosted home automation tool that puts local (not external cloud) control and privacy first. My system is running in a Docker container on a machine at home.

Home Assistant is more than just the monitoring and managing of smart home switches and lights. It has powerful automation that can be triggered by all sorts of events or device states to notify you, or manage even solar systems, garage doors, and much more. For example, I have an automation that announces it has started to rain so we can get the washing off the line before it gets too wet.

In this video I show what my HA dashboards look like, and how I managed to read lots of information via the universal Modbus TCP protocol from my Victron solar energy system, and to also write data back to the Victron system to change the battery minimum state of charge values from HA (or other registers).

I have shared my config files on a Github page so that it is easier for others to replicate some of the same functionality (without spending 4+ hours like I did on a single value statement line).


#technology #homeassistant #smarthome #opensource #selfhosting

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    Kdenlive is a powerful free and open source video editor, and this is how I edit my videos

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Wednesday, 27 July - 22:43

This multi-track video editor runs on Linux, Intel macOS and Windows. You can use it for simple editing as well as far more complex work. I've been using it for many years for all my video editing work.

In this video I cover the layout of the user interface, show how I use it to apply all the basic edits I do to my videos, and end off with briefly looking at the settings.

This video is for you if you wondering whether you want to choose Kdenlive as your video editor, or if you have done so, and want to just get started quickly with the basics.


#technology #video #videoediting #Kdenlive #opensource

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    Top 10 Best Music Players for Linux in 2022

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Saturday, 23 July - 10:35

While many of us rely on music streaming services, several users prefer to use the good-old music player on their Linux system.

Of course, you already get a music player program pre-installed with every Linux distribution. However, depending on your requirements, you might want to try a variety of music players, providing you with more features or a better user experience.

You could save time organizing your collections, sorting the best playlist, and other things.

And so I learnt from this list that Clementine (which I got with Manjaro Linux) is no longer being updated and has been forked to be called Strawberry (maybe this is the downside of a rolling distro where you never do a fresh install?).


#technology #linux #music #audio #opensource

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    Dashy is an open source, highly customisable, easy to use, privacy-respecting dashboard app

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Thursday, 14 July - 21:23

It's packed full of useful features, to help you build your perfect dashboard. Including status checks, keyboard shortcuts, dynamic widgets, auto-fetched favicon icons and font-awesome support, built-in authentication, tons of themes, an interactive config editor, many display layouts plus loads more.

All the code is free and open source, and everything is thoroughly documented, you can get support with any questions on GitHub.

I explain in this video how and why I use a dashboard, and contrast some differences between Heimdall and Dashy. I'll also highlight some features, such status indicators and widgets that display data from the Glances monitoring tool.


#technology #dashy #dashboard #opensource

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    TinyPilot is open source software to allow you control a remote computer giving you a virtual console during BIOS and boot

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Friday, 20 May - 12:29

It is basically a hardware device (buy theirs or build your own with a Raspberry Pi 4 or above), that is connected to the remote device's HDMI/DVI/VGA/USB so that you have a working keyboard and mouse, and can see the actual display output. It therefore requires no software or drivers at all on the remote device that you want to manage.

I have a use case for this with my CCTV device where nearly everything can be down through it's web interface remotely, except that I cannot actually shut it down, nor can I update camera firmware remotely. TinyPilot allows me to do this.

One thing to note though is the open source version does not remotely mount media such as a USB stick. You'd have to have the USB stick stuck into the remote device, allowing you still though to flash that USB stick, or work with other files remotely downloaded.


#technology #remotemanagement #opensource #tinypilot