Over the past month or so I’ve done a lot of “modernizing” stuff I’ve been too lazy to take care of over the past few years.
My website is now reactive (at least more than it was before) and uses https. I’m updating my blog more as well.
My personal email to my domain was always configured kinda weirdly. My domain is owned through Godaddy but my site is hosted by Mediatemple, and my DNS zones were pretty convoluted. I’ve got my CNAME back on Godaddy and my email is now going through the Outlook web client (my primary way of accessing my email), so no more dealing with POP or any kind of delay in sending or receiving emails.
I’m desperately trying to stop using Facebook but unfortunately Messenger is a primary way of contacting my friends so I can only deactivate my account rather than delete.
I can now be found on Mastodon. The federated social network is a very interesting idea, and it’s cool to be part of it.
I’m trying to decentralize my online presence from Microsoft services. When I owned my Windows Phone and was using my Surface a lot more I got pretty ingrained into their stuff. Right now I’m paying $10 a month for Microsoft 365. At some point I’d like to build a second computer as a server and run Nextcloud on it, but then I’d be at the mercy of my home internet reliability and keeping it secure and up to date myself. I’d also have to get my Plex server running on it. Right now when I switch over to Windows my Plex server goes down and all my torrents stop seeding. If I had a second computer to host all that stuff I wouldn’t have any issues. I’d also get a ZNC set up on it so I wouldn’t have to pay monthly for IRCCloud.
It’s taken me a long time to do a lot of this simple sounding stuff but the pandemic has spurred some productivity in me.
I’d like to de-centralize my online life and get back out of the Microsoft ecosystem I entered when I bought my Surface and still had a Windows Phone. I think I’m going to set up a nextcloud one of these days.
If you’re following this blog for whatever reason, you’ll start seeing my GNU Social posts here. I like the thought of microblogging because I can just say whatever without having to devote a long article to explaining myself, and I like GNU Social because I’m adamantly against the mainstream social networks for privacy reasons.
Off topic addendum: I’ve added https support and I’ve given my website a bit of a refresh over the past few months. I’m still very partial to the plain white theme though. Don’t expect any big deviations from that; it’s pretty easy to maintain.
I made the switch from the Pok3r (well, the Code VP3) to the Race 3 and I’m mostly happy with it. There are a few changes I made to make the transition a bit simpler, and I recommend anyone who has a programmable keyboard try these suggestions as well.
The thing about the Pok3r I loved is how much I could do without moving my fingers a significant distance. The arrow keys were FN + I, J, K, and L. This is an amazing setup for web browsing and general daily usage. It’s a lot more convenient than moving your fingers all the way over to the arrow keys. I quickly programmed my Race 3 to do this. I also set FN + H to Home and FN + E to End.
Unfortunately the default layer of the Race 3 is not programmable, so I’ve switched over to the red LED layer full time. This causes a red LED (hence why I call it the red LED layer) to light up under the space bar, which is pretty ugly. I put some black tape over it and it’s no longer an issue.
The picture above shows the keyboard equipped with the RGB keycaps, but I like the gray keycaps much more so I quickly moved back to them. Cherry MX Blue is still my switch of choice. I do not like the lack of bumps on the F and J keycaps that come with the keyboard. Instead, there’s a very subtle dip that isn’t subtle enough for me, so a lot of the time my fingers come to the G and K keys and it’s very annoying.
I’m not sure if I’d recommend this keyboard over the Pok3r, but it’s a very solid keyboard and it’s a very good middle ground for someone going from a full size or tkl keyboard to something smaller. I went from full size with numpad all the way to the Pok3r and it took me a while to get used to it, but eventually I fell in love. I’m still not in love with the Race 3 like I expected to be…
Update: I returned this keyboard. I did not like it nearly as much as my Pok3r.
Last June I bought a 1973 standard (as in not a Super, but also manual) Volkswagen Beetle off Craigslist. It was “fully” restored in around 2007, albeit poorly (more on that later), and have been working on it since I got it. It’s my daily driver at this point, mostly because it’s my only car. It came with all the receipts of the “restoration,” the original bill of sale, and other goodies.
It’s got a 1600cc dual-port, carbureted, air-cooled engine that produces about 50 horsepower. I’ve had it up to 87 miles per hour and it was a terrifying experience. No air-conditioning, no diagnostics, no airbags. It does have three point seatbelts and a collapsible steering column though!
If you know about aircooled VWs and you take a look at my engine bay you’ll notice a couple things wrong. I’m running a mechanical advance (009) distributor vs a vacuum one (034) with my 34-PICT 3 carburetor. This pairing results in a terrible “flat spot” during acceleration. I push down on the gas and the car doesn’t go anywhere for a few good seconds, then all of the power suddenly appears and it jerks forward. This makes merging onto interstates particularly harrowing. I’ve also got a paper element air filter vs the oil bath filter that originally shipped with my Nov. 1972-manufactured Beetle. It’s definitely more stock than the chrome air filter that was on it when I bought it.
Like I said the car came with all the receipts of the restoration, and it was a cheap restoration. I’ve been working on bringing it back to as close to stock as possible. The front fenders on it were $69 a piece from JC Whitney. Those have gotta go, even if it means the paint job is mismatched. Same with the bumpers; they’re Chinese reproductions that rust super easily. Also another small issue: it’s rusting from the inside out. When this gets really bad, I’m going to have it all sandblasted down and taken care of, then repainted all in one fell swoop.
The car is a lot of trouble, but it’s so fun and it brings a smile to my face every time I drive it. I hope to own it for a long, long time.
A couple months ago I got rid of my Lumia 950 (RIP Windows Mobile) for a Nokia 6.1 and it’s a terrific piece of hardware. For $280, it’s powered by a mediocre but serviceable Snapdragon 630 and 3 GB RAM. It’s got a 1080p display, USB C, and a headphone jack! Having a headphone jack was a requirement of mine. I will always choose a phone equipped with one over a phone without. The bezels are kind of big, and the camera hangs a lot on shutter. Other than that it’s definitely a great phone. Highly recommend.
I do really miss Windows 10 Mobile. It had such potential but Microsoft just killed Windows Phone with too many reboots and not enough focus or attention.