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---
title: Welcome!
layout: home
---
## Welcome!
My online pseudonym is Amolith. However, if we end up meeting in person,
I would be happy to introduce myself as myself. I am a dedicated Linux
user, musician, sysadmin, and founder of
[NixNet](https://nixnet.services). At the moment, I’m a university
student studying to obtain my Masters degree in Computer Science with a
concentration in Systems. I don’t have much time to play music so it’s
(mostly) an “in my room when I have a few minutes” thing. I also host a
(work-in-progress) netcast called [Redacted
Life](https://redacted.life); the subject is Linux and libre software
with a hard spin on personal privacy and security. Nothing has been
recorded yet but it's in progress.
## Blog
I will occasionally blog here and that content can be found on the
[Posts](/posts) page. Below are a specific few posts that give a good
overview of what I typically write about.
* [Replacing YouTube & Invidious](/replacing-youtube-invidious)
* [Typing International Characters](/typing-international-characters)
* [Consuming News](/consuming-news)
* [On smoking a pipe](/on-smoking-a-pipe)
* [Part of my cellar](/part-of-my-cellar)
## Contact
I can be contacted through many methods but the most reliable and my
most preferred will *always* be email. In order of preference…
1. **Email:** [`amolith@secluded.site`](mailto:amolith@secluded.site)
2. **Fediverse:** [`@amolith@nixnet.social`](https://nixnet.social/@amolith)
3. **XMPP:** [`amolith@nixnet.xyz`](xmpp:amolith@nixnet.xyz) *(please use
OMEMO encryption)*
4. **IRC:** `amolith` on [Freenode](https://freenode.net/) and [NixNet](https://docs.nixnet.services/IRC)

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---
title: "Books"
description: "List of books I've read, what I plan to read, and what I'm reading at the moment"
cover: /assets/pngs/books.png
date: 2020-02-24T20:15:47-04:00
toc: true
---
I recently got a [Kobo Aura ONE](https://us.kobobooks.com/products/kobo-aura-one-limited-edition) and started reading a *lot* more. This page is meant to be a record of what I've already read, what I plan to read, and what I'm on at the moment. The categories are in alphabetical order but that's the only organisation there is in the *[Will read](#will-read "wikilink")* section; the others will be a bit more orderly.
All of the book links are to Wikipedia pages with*out* the language prefix so it should redirect to whatever locale you have set. Unfortunately, some of the books don't have dedicated pages; in those instances, I've used one of Wikipedia's features to prefill the ISBN search bar so you can view them using the database of your choice, whether that's [Open Library](https://openlibrary.org), [WorldCat](https://www.worldcat.org/), Amazon, etc. (but please [don't use Amazon](https://stallman.org/amazon.html)).
If you have any suggestions, feel free to send me a message somewhere!
## Currently reading
| Book | Author | Date |
|---------------------------------------------------------------------------------|--------------------|---------------|
| [The Endless Knot](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_of_Albion#The_Endless_Knot) | Stephen R. Lawhead | 07 Mar 2020 |
| [Permanent Record](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanent_Record_(autobiography)) | Edward Snowden | November 2019 |
## Will read
### Fantasy
| Book | Author |
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|-------------------|
| [Shannara](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Shannara) | Terry Brooks |
| [The Witcher](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Witcher) | Andrzej Sapkowski |
| [Earthsea](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthsea) | Ursula K. Le Guin |
| [The Kingkiller Chronicles](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kingkiller_Chronicle) | Patrick Rothfuss |
| [Halo novels](https://halo.fandom.com/wiki/Halo_Novels) | Various |
| [The Horus Heresy](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Warhammer_40,000_novels#The_Horus_Heresy) | Various |
#### Zamonia
| Book | Author |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|--------------|
| [The City of Dreaming Books](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_City_of_Dreaming_Books) | Walter Moers |
| [The Alchemaster's Apprentice](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Alchemaster%27s_Apprentice) | Walter Moers |
| [The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_City_of_Dreaming_Books#The_Labyrinth_of_Dreaming_Books) | Walter Moers |
#### Forgotten Realms
| Book | Author |
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------------|-----------------------------------|
| [The Legend of Drizzt](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Legend_of_Drizzt) | R. A. Salvatore |
| [The Elminster Series](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elminster_Series) | Ed Greenwood |
| [War of the Spider Queen](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_the_Spider_Queen) | Various with Salvatore overseeing |
#### Dystopian
| Book | Author |
|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|--------------|
| [Anthem](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthem_(novella)) | Ayn Rand |
| [Atlas Shrugged](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Shrugged) | Ayn Rand |
| [Robert Langdon](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Langdon_(book_series)) | Dan Brown |
| [Fahrenheit 451](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_451) | Ray Bradbury |
### OSINT (offense & defense)
OSINT stands for [Open Source Intelligence](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_intelligence) and deals with gathering information from public sources. This can include social media profiles, email addresses, passwords, usernames, etc. obtained through a public database dump, what you can find out from talking to an individual directly, etc. There are many reasons to have a working knowledge of OSINT methods but the main one, for me, is defense. While reading books on how to keep your information private is good and all, the best resources are on investigating *other* people; by knowing how to find information about others, you also have a better understanding of how to keep *your* information safe.
| Book | Author |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|------------------------------------|
| [Extreme Privacy](https://inteltechniques.com/book7.html) | Michael Bazzell |
| [Open Source Intelligence](https://inteltechniques.com/book1.html) | Michael Bazzell |
| [Social Engineering: The Science of Human Hacking](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/9781119433385) | Christopher Hadnagy |
| [How to Find Out Anything](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/9780735204676) | Don Macleod |
| [The Art of Invisibility](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/9780316380492) | Kevin Mitnick, Ray Porter, et. al. |
| [200+ Ways to Protect Your Privacy](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/9781721400126) | Jeni Rogers |
| [PGP & GPG: Email for the Practical Paranoid](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/9781593270711) | Michael Lucas |
### Privacy
| Book | Author |
|---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|------------------------------------------|
| [Nineteen Eighty-Four](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four) | George Orwell |
| [Does State Spying Make Us Safer?](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/9781770898424) | Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, et. al. |
| [Little Brother](https://craphound.com/littlebrother/) | Cory Doctorow |
| [Surveillance Valley](https://surveillancevalley.com/) | Yasha Levine |
| [No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the Surveillance State](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Place_to_Hide_(Greenwald_book)) | Glenn Greenwald |
### Science Fiction
| Book | Author |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|-----------------|
| [Flatland](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatland) | *A Square* |
| [Macroscope](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroscope_(novel)) | Piers Anthony |
| [Dune](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Dune_(novel)) | Frank Herbert |
| [The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (series)](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hitchhiker's_Guide_to_the_Galaxy) | Douglas Adams |
| [The Martian](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Martian_(Weir_novel)) | Andy Weir |
| [The Three Body Problem](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Three-Body_Problem_(novel)) | Liu Cixin |
| [Agency](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Agency_(novel)) | William Gibson |
| [Seveneves](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Seveneves) | Neal Stephenson |
### Technology
| Book | Author |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|-----------------|
| [Autonomous](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/9780765392077) | Annalee Newitz |
| [Neuromancer](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuromancer) | William Gibson |
| [Hackers & Painters](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackers_%26_Painters) | Paul Graham |
| [The Cathedral and the Bazaar](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cathedral_and_the_Bazaar) | Eric S. Raymond |
| [Cryptonomicon](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptonomicon) | Neal Stephenson |
### Miscellaneous
| Book | Author |
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|-----------------|
| [The Count of Monte Cristo](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Count_of_Monte_Cristo) | Alexandre Dumas |
| [Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen_and_the_Art_of_Motorcycle_Maintenance) | Robert Pirsig |
| [The Art of War](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_War) | Sun Tzu |
| [Who Rules The World?](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/9781627793810) | Noam Chomsky |
## Have read
---------
This is by *far* not a complete list; I have read more books than I can possibly remember. This is simply a list of either ones I've read since I started again or the first ones that come to mind when thinking back to when I was younger.
### Fantasy
| Book | Author | Date |
|--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|---------------------|-------------|
| [The Silver Hand](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_of_Albion#The_Silver_Hand) | Stephen R. Lawhead | 07 Mar 2020 |
| [The Paradise War](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_of_Albion#The_Paradise_War) | Stephen R. Lawhead | 14 Feb 2020 |
| [The Pendragon Cycle](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pendragon_Cycle) | Stephen R. Lawhead | |
| [The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_13%C2%BD_Lives_of_Captain_Bluebear) | Walter Moers | |
| [Fablehaven](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Fablehaven) | Brandon Mull | |
| [Septimus Heap](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Septimus_Heap) | Angie Sage | |
| [Percy Jackson & the Olympians](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_Jackson_%26_the_Olympians) | Rick Riordan | |
| [The Heroes of Olympus](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Heroes_of_Olympus) | Rick Riordan | |
| [The Kane Chronicles](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kane_Chronicles) | Rick Riordan | |
| [Redwall](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Redwall) | Brian Jacques | |
| [The Wardstone Chronicles](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wardstone_Chronicles) | Joseph Delaney | |
| [The Avatar Chronicles](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_(Kostick_novel)) | Conor Kostick | |
| [Brave Story](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_Story) | Miyuki Miyabe | |
| [The Inheritance Cycle](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Inheritance_Cycle) | Christopher Paolini | |
| [Ender's Game](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Ender's_Game) | Orson Scott Card | |
| [The Sword of Shannara](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sword_of_Shannara_Trilogy) | Terry Brooks | |
## Recommendations
These are books and series I have read and highly recommend. I will likely only list one series per author but I encourage you to look more into them and read more of their work. The first few are ranked in order of favouritism but, after that, there is no particular method to my madness.
### Fantasy
| Book | Author |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------|--------------------|
| [The Pendragon Cycle](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pendragon_Cycle#Novels) | Stephen R. Lawhead |
| [The Lord of the Rings](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lord_of_the_Rings) | J. R. R. Tolkien |
| [The Zamonia Series](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Moers#Zamonia_series) | Walter Moers |
| [Shannara](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Shannara) | Terry Brooks |
| [The Avatar Chronicles](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_(Kostick_novel)) | Conor Kostick |
### Privacy
| Book | Author |
|--------------------------------------------------------------------|-----------------|
| [Extreme Privacy](https://inteltechniques.com/book7.html) | Michael Bazzell |
| [Open Source Intelligence](https://inteltechniques.com/book1.html) | Michael Bazzell |
## Academic reading
My end career goal is to be a university professor. A PhD is all but *required* to teach at a university and obtaining one will be a rigorous endeavour. One of the requirements for that will be reading and writing a lot of academic papers. In addition to the normal books above, I'm going to keep a record of the academic works I've consumed, possibly with some blog posts and notes on them; we'll see where that goes though 😉
### Currently reading
| Paper | Author |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|--------------------------------------|
| [Business Intelligence and Analytics: From Big Data to Big Impact](https://doi.org/10.2307/41703503) | Hsinchun Chen, Roger Chiang, et. al.
### Read
### Will read
| Paper | Author |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| [Protecting TOR exit nodes from abuse](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/9789532330502) | Stjepan Groš, Marko Salkić, et. al. |
| [Improving the Tor traffic distribution with circuit switching method](https://doi.org/10.1109/HPSR.2016.7525647) | Timothy Girry Kale, et. al. |
| [Application of Neural Networks and Friedman Test for User Identification in Tor Networks](https://doi.org/10.1109/BWCCA.2015.88) | Taro Ishitaki, Tetsuya Oda, et. al. |
| [Deanonymizing schemes of hidden services in tor network: A survey](https://doi.org/10.1109/ICOIN.2015.7057949) | Sabita Nepal, Saurav Dahal, et. al. |
| [A hierarchical classification approach for tor anonymous traffic](https://doi.org/10.1109/ICCSN.2017.8230113) | Jia Lingyu, Liu Yang, et. al. |
| [Tor Network Limits](https://doi.org/10.1109/NCIS.2011.48) | Souad Benmeziane, Nadjib Badache, et. al. |
| [Large scale port scanning through tor using parallel Nmap scans to scan large portions of the IPv4 range](https://doi.org/10.1109/ISI.2017.8004906) | Rodney R Rohrmann & Vincent J Ercolani |
| [Web-based collaborative big data analytics on big data as a service platform](https://doi.org/10.1109/ICACT.2015.7224859) | Kyounghyun Park, Minh Nguyen, & Heesun Won |
| [Using Big Data for Profiling Heavy Users in Top Video Apps](https://doi.org/10.1109/BigDataCongress.2015.63) | Chieh-Hsin Liao, Yu-Heng Lei, Kai-Yu Liou, Jian-Shing Lin, Hsiao-Feng Yeh |

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---
title: "Minecraft"
description: "Instructions for joining the official™ Secluded.Site© Minecraft® server"
date: 2020-05-29T23:37:57-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/minecraft.png
toc: true
---
Just a fun server for some friends to play on. The original was a mixture of survival and creative with some massive cities, castles, boats, towers, etc. but everyone eventually got bored with vanilla. Now, it has a few mods and we play more often.
## Joining
1. Set [TLauncher](https://tlauncher.org/en/) up. No account is necessary and
you can enter whatever username you wish.
3. Download [the modpack](/mods.zip) and unzip it.
4. In TLauncher, click `TL mods` in the bottom right, `Create` button at the
top, then select `Minecraft 1.15.2`.
5. Click the settings icon on the left, import all the extracted `.jar` files,
then `Enter` game.
6. Server address is `mc.secluded.site`
There is a [global map](https://map.secluded.site/#overworld/0/14/796/379/64)
generated from *all* of the chunks my server has created. The in-game minimap
only shows where you have been but this one has everything. The red and green
squares are textures from mods that I haven't extracted yet. Will do soon™. To
add a banner for your home, [create a
flag](https://www.planetminecraft.com/banner/) then send me the PNG along with
your coordinates.
### Skins
There are two possible routes for custom skins. The first is through Mojang; if
you have a Mojang account, you can enter your username and other players will
see that skin. The second is through TLauncher itself and *doesn't* require a
Mojang account. Note, however, that only other TLauncher users will see it. For
that, simply create a TLauncher account and select your skin!
If you don't have an account with either Mojang or TLauncher, the default
[player skin](https://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Player) will be displayed.
## Rules
They're listed on signs by spawn but I'll put them here as well.
1. No griefing
2. Don't fuck with spawn
3. Don't be an ass
## Voice chat
We use Mumble for voice chat and installation/usage instructions can be found in
[NixNet's documentation](https://docs.nixnet.services/Mumble). Under `Hosted
Communities`, join `Secluded MC`.
## Text chat
This is available in a few places. You can of course use the in-game chat but
there's also [Telegram](https://t.me/SecludedMC) and IRC. If you want to join
IRC, take a look at [the documentation](https://docs.nixnet.services/IRC) for
server details. The channel is `#minecraft`.
## Changelog
## Mod list
### Dimensions/Biomes
* [Terraforged](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/terraforged)
* [The Midnight](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/the-midnight)
* [The
Bumblezone](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/the-bumblezone-forge)
### Blocks & Misc
* [MumbleLink](https://github.com/zsawyer/MumbleLink)
* [Minecolonies](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/minecolonies)
* [Structurize](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/structurize)
* [Structurize](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/structurize)
* [Cyclic](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/cyclic)
* [Additional
Light](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/additional-lights)
* [MrCrayfish's
Furniture](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/mrcrayfish-furniture-mod)
* [MrCrayfish's Venture](https://mrcrayfish.com/mods?id=venture)
* [MrCrayfish's Enchantable](https://mrcrayfish.com/mods?id=enchantable)
* [MrCrayfish's Glasscutter](https://mrcrayfish.com/mods?id=glasscutter)
* [MrCrayfish's Goblin Traders](https://mrcrayfish.com/mods?id=goblintraders)
* [Simple Farming](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/simple-farming)
* [Refined
Storage](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/refined-storage)
### Quality-of-life
* [Corpse](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/corpse)
* [Progressive
Bosses](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/progressive-bosses)
* [Nether portal
fix](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/netherportalfix)
* [Fast Leaf
Decay](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/fast-leaf-decay)
* [Morpheus](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/morpheus)
* [Quark](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/quark)
* [AutoRegLib](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/autoreglib)
### UI/HUD
* [Blur](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/blur)
* [Neat](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/neat)
* [Equipment
Tooltips](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/equipment-tooltips)
* [Hwyla](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/hwyla)
* [JAOPCA](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/jaopca)
* [Appleskin](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/appleskin)
* [Voxelmap](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/voxelmap)
### Items
* [Nature's
Compass](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/natures-compass)
* [Cooking for
Blockheads](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/cooking-for-blockheads)
* [Miner's Helmet](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/miners-helmet)
* [Mining Gadgets](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/mining-gadgets)
* [Traveler's
Backpack](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/travelers-backpack)
### Performance
* [Phosphor](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/phosphor-forge)
* [MixinBootstrap](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/mixinbootstrap)
* [Lithium](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/lithium-forge)
* [MixinBootstrap](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/mixinbootstrap)
* [Performant](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/performant)
* [MixinBootstrap](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/mixinbootstrap)
* [FastFurnace](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/fastfurnace)
* [FastWorkbench](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/fastworkbench)
* [Clumps](https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/clumps)

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---
title: "Pipes and Tobacco"
description: "My collections and pipes and pipe tobacco"
cover: /assets/pngs/pipe.png
date: 2020-04-01T23:13:05-04:00
toc: true
categories:
- Pipe Smoking
tags:
- Pipes
- Tobacco
- Smoking
- Personal
---
This is intended to be a sort of journal documenting the tobaccos and pipes I've tried along with my opinions. At first, the links will lead to the store page. Eventually, I hope to have them lead to reviews 😉 If you're curious about why I smoke a pipe or how I got started, check the [category](/categories/pipe-smoking/).
## Pipes
* [The Emerald](https://corncobpipe.com/the-emerald-corn-cob-pipe) (in-transit)
* [Nording Partially Rusticated Churchwarden](https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/new/Nording/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=363601) (2020-03-23)
* Mauro Armellini (I know nothing about it yet)
* [Missouri Pride Corn Cob Pipe](https://corncobpipe.com/missouri-pride-corncob-pipe.html)
## Tobacco
### The Country Squire
* [Green Dragon](https://www.thecountrysquireonline.com/product/green-dragon-virginias/)
* [Kingsfoil](https://www.thecountrysquireonline.com/product/kingsfoil-virginia-kentucky/)
* [Rivendell](https://www.thecountrysquireonline.com/product/rivendell-nutty-woody-cocoa/)
* [Second Breakfast](https://www.thecountrysquireonline.com/product/second-breakfast-vanilla-maple/)
* [Bag End](https://www.thecountrysquireonline.com/product/bag-end-traditional-scottish/)
* [Old Toby](https://www.thecountrysquireonline.com/product/old-toby/)
### In-house blends
* Indian Summer

25
content/posts/100-days-to-offload.md

@ -0,0 +1,25 @@
---
title: "School..."
description: "I'm starting a new challenge where I'll write a blog post every day."
cover: /assets/pngs/calendar.png
tags:
- Personal
- School
- 100 Days To Offload
date: 2020-04-25T22:12:40-04:00
---
A friend of mine, [Kev Quirk](https://kevq.uk/), issued [a challenge](https://fosstodon.org/@kev/104053977554016690) yesterday and I decided to take him up on it. In the time between then and now, he's actually set up a website for participants to submit their posts; it's called (quite fittingly) *[100 Days To Offload](https://100daystooffload.com/)*. I'm going to attempt to keep up with it for the next 100 days and see where it takes me. Because I'll be using this blog every day, expect a lot of changes and improvements. With that out of the way, here goes!
---
Part of this challenge is "offloading" and one of the ways that word can be meant is to lay out everything that's on your mind. Today, that's school. I'm generally an *incredibly* laid-back person; I don't really ever get stressed about anything. That is simultaneously a good thing and a very bad thing. Because I don't really get stressed, I don't feel the urgency of getting homework done, communicating with professors about late assignments, studying, the works. In the past, I've enjoyed the content I was learning so the fear of making a bad grade was never a motivator---it was interest in the subject and a natural curiosity. Right now, I'm not interested in any of my subjects except for German. It's very unlikely that I will be dealing with Java in the workforce, Discrete Math is boring, and Calculus II is *killing* me[^1]. I don't even know if I'll pass it this semester.
And yet...I'm still not stressed. My university implemented an optional pass-fail grading system in light of the pandemic and the physical campus shutting down. If a student is making an A, they will definitely opt out. If a student is making a C, the minimum required to move on, they will opt in. This mean the C will remain on their transcript *but* it won't affect their GPA. For those wanting to get into grad school (me), it is a god send. I have been so lax this semester about doing *anything* for my classes that I will very likely end up opting in for all of courses except German. As I said above, I don't even know if I'll make a C in Calculus though that isn't just because I haven't done all of the work; I have one of the most difficult professors in the math department.I am worried but I'm *very* good at keeping that in the back of my mind under many many layers of keeping myself busy. It's a bit like that meme of the dog saying "this is fine" while the house burns around him except I'm not looking at the fire. My head is craned towards my monitor, my fingers on the keyboard, and my mind is somewhere in a server in Germany ignoring every bit of it.
This is very much a badly-written ramble and I'm not even going to read through it before posting. I don't like talking about this kind of thing but it feels good to get it off my chest, even if it is garbled and likely hard to read. I will try to only have a single "downer" post like this in the series; I have a few ideas for much better content.
---
This is published as part of *100 Days To Offload* and is not indicative of the rest of the content there; most of it is much more positive 😅 To join in, simply write a post, submit it [here](https://100daystooffload.com/), and use `#100DaysToOffload` somewhere on your social media 😉
[^1]: I actually took the course last semester and ended up dropping it because my grade was so bad right out of the gate.

39
content/posts/100-days-to-read.md

@ -0,0 +1,39 @@
---
title: "100 Days To Read"
description: "Switching gears a little and reading for an hour every day"
cover: /assets/pngs/book.png
date: 2020-07-23T00:48:16-04:00
toc: true
categories:
- Technology
- Meta
tags:
- 100 Days to Read
- 100 Days to Offload
---
## The idea
I've found it very difficult to stick to a regular schedule for [#100DaysToOffload](https://100daystooffload) for various reasons. Chief among them is simply that I don't have enough time with everything else I have going on; what I want to write and the ideas I've had take longer to get on paper (or screen) than I'm able to dedicate at the moment[^1]. However, I love the intent behind it and want to continue in a somewhat less involved manner. Enter [#100DaysToRead](https://social.nixnet.services/tags/100DaysToRead).
## The "rules"
Quotes are used because they're not solid rules; it can be hard to learn something significant from fiction, you might miss a day here and there, what you learned could be a bit personal and not really suitable for social media, any number of things might result in "breaking" one or all of them. Just do your best. 🙂
### Read for an hour a day
I recommend using some kind of timer or stopwatch to track how long you've been reading. A stopwatch would be best as it allows you to get sucked in without ringing and making you feel as if you *need* to stop; the pull of real life is great and audible reminders only serve to exacerbate the urgency of rejoining the rest of the world. Part of the idea behind this is not only to learn something but to *enjoy* it and that's difficult when you're anxiously waiting for a timer to ding so you can get back to watching a show. I spent a *lot* of time with books when I was younger then fell completely out of the practise once I got more involved with school and want to make it a habit once more.
### Take notes
The *main* goal of this challenge is to learn things and the effects of this rule are twofold; you'll certainly be learning a lot but it will also provide material to write about in the future[^2]. Take notes in whatever manner you prefer, from writing in the margins[^3] to writing on the wall, though the latter might not be the greatest idea. I personally plan to put my notes in [a Zettelkasten](https://zettelkasten.de/) created with [vimwiki](https://github.com/vimwiki/vimwiki/) along with the rest of my notes[^4]. I will first write down whatever thoughts I have in my [pocket notebook](https://www.walmart.com/ip/Moleskine-Classic-Notebook-Hard-Cover-Pocket-3-5-x-5-5-Plain-Blank-Black-192-Pages-9788883701030-Hardcover-Ntb/8402217) (these will likely just be a short summary with the page/paragraph as reference[^5]) then, directly after I've finished the session or later that day—the same day!—I'll go through the notes and expand them a bit. I want the *full* thought stored in my Zettelkasten for use in the future; whenever I read another book and have a related thought, I'll return to this note and add links between them.
### Post a short summary
Whatever you've learned that day, post a condensed version along with the book/page/paragraph on social media using the [#100DaysToRead](https://social.nixnet.services/tags/100DaysToRead) tag! Expanding a short summary then condensing it again with different wording helps to ensure you understand the material and will aid in recollection. Posting about it will give others the same information and might even pique their interest about what you're reading.
## Thoughts
Inspiration for this comes partly from [episode 112](https://www.social-engineer.org/podcast/ep-112-catching-spies-and-paying-parking-tickets-with-joe-navarro/) of [The Social-Engineer Podcast](https://www.social-engineer.org/podcast/), partly from me wanting to learn more, and partly from me wanting more material to write about. There is so much knowledge in books but it takes a great deal of discipline to sit down every day and read for an hour when there are upgrades to perform, emails waiting for replies, games to play, shows to watch, and so much else. Another small aspect of this is partly to alleviate those concerns and stresses; it's a time to sit down, lose yourself in a book, and forget about the outside world.
## What I'm starting with
Fittingly, I plan to begin with *[How to Read a Book](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Read_a_Book)* by [Mortimer J. Adler](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortimer_J._Adler). It provides an in-depth discussion on reading critically and learning as much as possible from a given book. Adler doesn't push a "one-strategy-fits-all" method either. He goes through a variety of approaches for different genres and encourages a deep level of thinking for all, fiction included. I'm looking forward to starting it tomorrow!
[^1]: With finding links, proofreading, revising, expanding, and shortening various sections, this short post took me over two hours to write.
[^2]: Maybe a #100DaysToOffload Take 2!
[^3]: I physically can't bring myself to do this but some people love [marginalia](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Marginalia) and actively seek books with them. However, it's a very effective technique and might be fun to follow your thought trail when re-reading a book.
[^4]: I am currently evaluating [Anytype](https://anytype.io/) as a tool for creating and maintaining a Zettelkasten as well as storing other types on information. At the moment, I can only use it on Windows so it's inaccessible when I *really* need it but the developers say a Linux build will be ready soon™
[^5]: I plan to format these like `p20 ¶2`. The second symbol is a *pilcrow* or, more commonly, a paragraph mark. Usage of that and the section mark (§) are detailed in Matthew Butterick's *[Practical Typography](https://practicaltypography.com/paragraph-and-section-marks.html)*.

42
content/posts/a-mostly-google-free-android.md

@ -0,0 +1,42 @@
---
title: "A (Mostly) Google-Free Android"
description: "My experience running Android without any Google Services or even a compatibility layer"
date: 2020-05-18T15:28:02-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/android.png
toc: true
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- FLOSS
- Android
- Google
- Mobile
- 100 Days To Offload
---
Let me put a little disclaimer right here at the beginning: I don't use my mobile phone how a lot of people do so your mileage will vary. I also say "Mostly" in the title because it's incredibly difficult to *completely* remove Google from Android though [some projects](https://www.replicant.us/) have done a very good job of it.
## My motivation
In short, I value my privacy and Google is about as far from privacy-friendly as you can get. What information algorithms are capable of extrapolating given enough data is downright *scary* and **[that is Google's entire business model](https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/03/google-says-it-doesnt-sell-your-data-heres-how-company-shares-monetizes-and)**. In addition, the company itself is [really quite terrible](https://www.alphabetworkers.org/resignation-letter/), from [launching a censored search engine in China](https://theintercept.com/2018/08/01/google-china-search-engine-censorship/) and [selling AI tech to the US military](https://gizmodo.com/google-employees-resign-in-protest-against-pentagon-con-1825729300) to [mishandling sexual assault cases](https://gizmodo.com/massive-google-walkout-over-sexual-misconduct-marks-tec-1830157276) and [forcing people onto Google services with sheer market dominance](https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/10/eu-hits-alphabet-google-with-android-antitrust-fine.html).
I do not like Google and I do not want it on my phone.
## What I'm using
I have the [Redmi Note 5 Pro](https://www.mi.com/in/redmi-note-5-pro/) and love it. Specifically, one of the things I like is Xiaomi's business model. It's exactly the same as Google's—data collection and advertising—but it's incredibly easy to circumvent. Xiaomi not only uses its [MIUI](https://en.miui.com/) (*me-you-eye*) for user tracking and profiling but it also displays ads on the lock screen and elsewhere. Because of all that, they're able to *seriously* drop the price on their phones and almost sell them at no more than the hardware and manufacturing cost.
Circumventing the data collection is as easy as flashing your own ROM; I prefer [AospExtended](https://aospextended.com/) though [LineageOS](https://lineageos.org/) is a much simpler and "cleaner" Android experience. Many of the installation guide will tell you to flash some [Open GApps](https://opengapps.org/) package but I don't. Others will say to use [microG](https://microg.org/), which is much better but I decided to even omit that the last time I flashed my phone. Thus, I have absolutely no compatibility with Google Services and apps that break without it, well, break.
I also have the [Mi Band 4](https://www.mi.com/global/mi-smart-band-4)
which does give Xiaomi the ability to collect a plethora of biometric
data as well … if I use their app. Instead, I like
[Gadgetbridge](https://codeberg.org/Freeyourgadget/Gadgetbridge/) from
[F-Droid](https://f-droid.org/en/packages/nodomain.freeyourgadget.gadgetbridge/).
I do occasionally want proprietary apps such as
[Linguee](https://www.linguee.com/) for English/German translation and I get those through [Aurora](https://auroraoss.com/) rather than Google Play.
## What it's like
I mentioned that some apps will break without Google Services, however, I find that they are solidly in the minority; most proprietary applications will work perfectly fine without Google Services or microG though you won't get push notifications. That's really not a big deal for me because I've been moving to a more minimal mobile experience and do most things on my desktop anyway. This is closely related to the disclaimer at the top. I rarely use my phone for anything other than communication through open source apps and listening to podcasts; I don't even have an email client installed (but if I did, it would be [K-9 Mail](https://k9mail.app/)). In all, it's perfectly useable but don't expect your banking application to work[^1].
---
This was posted as part of [#100DaysToOffload](https://100daystooffload.com/), an [awesome idea](https://fosstodon.org/@kev/104053977554016690) from [Kev Quirk](https://kevq.uk/). If you want to participate, just write something every day for 100 days and post a link on social media with the hashtag!
[^1]: Why would you bank on mobile anyway? Mobile platforms are some of the most insecure and something that sensitive should be kept far away.

55
content/posts/adding-a-better-scroll-to-top-button-without-javascript.md

@ -0,0 +1,55 @@
---
title: "Adding A (Better) Scroll To Top Button Without JavaScript"
description: "The title is very self-explanatory"
cover: /assets/pngs/code.png
date: 2020-05-11T20:39:00-04:00
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- 100 Days To Offload
- HTML
- CSS
- Websites
toc: true
---
I'm a fan of using as little JavaScript as feasible on a website and implementing a scroll-to-top button in JS is just ridiculous. Nevertheless, there seems to be a plethora of copypasta for it so I thought I would write about implementing one in pure HTML and CSS. The title is just a playful poke at [Kev Quirk](https://kevq.uk) who recently posted about [exactly the same thing](https://kevq.uk/adding-a-scroll-to-top-button-without-javascript/) but with different styling 😉
## HTML
There's only one attribute to add to an existing HTML tag near the top of your page and a single line for the button itself.
For the attribute, you'll need to use an [ID](https://www.w3schools.com/hTML/html_id.asp). When the button is clicked, the user will be taken to whatever element has this attribute. For my site, I simply added it to the header at the very top.
```html
<header class="header" id="top">
```
All that's required for the button is:
```html
<a href="#top"><button class="top">Top</button></a>
```
## CSS
The basic HTML above is exactly the same as what Kev's article has. The CSS is where ours will diverge. Having a button at the very bottom of the page is perfectly fine but I use my site as more than a blog; it's reasonable to expect visitors to simply search for a link or whatever else and move on. Having a floating button that stays in the same place as the user scrolls is a good way to facilitate this.
```css
.top {
position: fixed;
bottom: 10px;
right: 10px;
max-width: 50px;
max-height: 50px;
width: 100%;
height: 100%;
padding: .5px;
border-radius: 8px;
justify-content: center;
background: #3b3d42;
font-size: 1rem;
font-weight: 800;
text-decoration: none;
cursor: pointer;
}
```
The `position`, `bottom`, and `right` lines are what tell your browser to render the item in the bottom right. The position is `fixed` so that means we can put it wherever on the page we want and it will stay there as the user scrolls. `right` and `bottom` say that the element is to be positioned 10 pixels above the bottom of the page and 10 pixels from the right. It's rather hidden on desktop but I'm not expecting desktop users to click it very often; that's what the `Home` key is for, after all, and it works across every website. I'm expecting mobile users to make use of it the most.
---
This was posted as part of [#100DaysToOffload](https://100daystooffload.com/), an [awesome idea](https://fosstodon.org/@kev/104053977554016690) from [Kev Quirk](https://kevq.uk/). If you want to participate, just write something every day for 100 days and post a link on social media with the hashtag!

22
content/posts/arch-spin-pt-1.md

@ -0,0 +1,22 @@
---
title: "Arch Spin pt. 1 — The perfect bootable"
subtitle: "There's no such thing . . . yet"
description: "I started trying to think of a distro that fit all my daily needs that I could take on a flash drive with me wherever I went and I couldn't"
date: 2018-08-15T10:38:00-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/arch-spin/pt-1.png
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- Arch Linux
- Arch Spin
---
Today I had an orthodontist appointment and a voice lesson. The appointment was at 15:00 and the voice lesson at 16:00. I got to the orthodontist's office 10 minutes early, was told to right to the back (like always), I sat down in the seat, and the orthodontist came over after a few minutes with another patient. He looked at my teeth, had me put my retainers in, checked how they fit, then said I don't ever need to come back (unless I do need to). That all took about 7 or 8 minutes. My voice lesson was ~5 minutes away so I had an hour to kill. I drove to the college (where the lesson was), went into the computer lab, and booted my [multibootable](http://multibootusb.org/) bootable.
I went through the distros I had and chose the [i3 spin of Manjaro](https://manjaro.org/category/community-editions/i3/), forgetting that it hadn't written correctly and was corrupt. I went through a couple of other distros that were as well and settled on [Parrot Home](https://www.parrotsec.org/download-home.php). While I love Parrot Home for security reasons, it wasn't what I was looking for. I started trying to think of a distro that fit all my daily needs that I could take on a flash drive with me wherever I went and . . . I couldn't.
I would boot it, try to install some app I'm missing (Telegram, for instance), find that I need to first update everything then upgrade some packages then have no space left to install Telegram. There isn't one distro I can think of that I wouldn't have to do that with. So I thought I'd try my hand at installing Arch on a flash drive.
As I was reading, I decided I would rather make a *live* system. This way, I can log into whatever I need to and, as soon as I turn it off, whatever I did disappears. I asked around in the Arch [Telegram channel](https://t.me/archlinuxgroup) and was given a few pages to read up on the wiki as well as a youtube video. First is [building the arch iso](https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/archiso), [making a custom repo](https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Pacman/Tips_and_tricks#Custom_local_repository) for installing AUR packages, building them in a [chroot](https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/DeveloperWiki:Building_in_a_Clean_Chroot) so you don't mess with your current setup, and the [YouTube videos](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqV1BJtJXEA) that help tie it all together:
# Summary
That'll be it for this post. It was originally a lot longer but I think I want to keep them to a quick read so it's easier to pick up where you left off. I'm not sure what the next post will contain but I am sure that it talks about setting up your dev environment 😉

19
content/posts/arch-spin-pt-2.md

@ -0,0 +1,19 @@
---
title: Arch Spin pt. 2 — Initial setup
subtitle: First steps to rolling your own spin
description: Setting up the basics for build your own Arch-based spin with archiso, the official development tool
cover: /assets/spin/arch-spin/pt-2.png
date: 2018-08-17T14:11:07-04:00
categories:
- Technology
Tags:
- Arch Linux
- Arch Spin
---
*I **think** I'm going to call it a spin . . .*
* Install the package `archiso` from the official repos or `archiso-git` from the AUR
* `$ mkdir ~/<build-directory>`
* Replace `<build-directory>` with wherever you want the iso build to be stored. This is where we'll be spending all of our time configuring. Mine is at `~/liveiso/` and that's the path I'll be using in this and future posts
* `$ sudo cp -r /usr/share/archiso/configs/releng/ ~/liveiso`
* Edit `~/liveiso/packages.x86_64` to install desired software
* This will be addressed in the next post, `packages.x86_64`, where I also give some quick ways to install everything you might want.

19
content/posts/arch-spin-pt-3.md

@ -0,0 +1,19 @@
---
title: Arch Spin pt. 3 - packages.x86_64
description: Getting all the packages you currently have installed from the Arch repos installed to your Arch ISO
cover: /assets/pngs/arch-spin/pt-3.png
date: 2018-08-18T16:52:42-04:00
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- Arch Linux
- Arch Spin
---
# Package configuration
As I said in the last post, this is the file in which you list the applications you wish to install. I won't list the defaults because there a lot. *However*, this basic setup only builds to a total of ~440 MB so you can add *many* more applications.
I want the setup on this bootable to be exactly the same as what I currently have on my system. I did not want to manually enter every single package though. Thankfully, pacman is a feature-complete tool and it lets you get a *lot* of information about installed packages. `pacman -Qne` lists all the currently installed packages that you explicitly installed. It does not list dependencies of those applications. What I did was run `pacman -Qne >> ~/liveiso/packages.x86_64` to add all the apps I have installed from the official Arch repos to the end of the file so nothing was overwritten.
After, I ran `pacman -Qni >> official.txt` so I could get information about all those packages and decide whether or not I wanted to keep them. For example, I removed some stuff from deepin that I no longer used, SuperTuxKart, and a lot of other stuff. This shrunk my iso from 3.6 GB to 2.5. Now I have a lot of space to use for installing my applications from the AUR. This includes [making a custom repo](https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Pacman/Tips_and_tricks#Custom_local_repository) for the packages and [building them in a chroot](https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/DeveloperWiki:Building_in_a_Clean_Chroot) so you make *sure* you have all the needed dependencies while keeping your system from being messed up while building.
All of this will be discussed in the next blog post (when I get to it).

24
content/posts/bluegrass-music.md

@ -0,0 +1,24 @@
---
title: "Bluegrass Music"
description: "My thoughts on old time and bluegrass music"
cover: /assets/pngs/guitar.png
categories:
- Music
tags:
- Music
- Bluegrass
- Old time
- 100 Days To Offload
date: 2020-04-28T02:13:16-04:00
---
When I was younger, I prided myself on being a classical musician. I played piano and organ, I was in a nearby fine arts university's choir (singing soprano of course), and, quite honestly, I was rather stuck up about it. I didn't know any bluegrass musicians so I had never really interacted with them or gotten "into" the genre but, whenever my mother would show me a group of people with a double bass, a banjo, a mandolin, and a fiddle, I would listen for a few seconds and write it off as "boring country". It wasn't until I started taking lessons that I grew fond of genre.
One of the things I had always wanted to play was double bass. However, lessons were *extremely* expensive and the instrument was even more so. Coming from a rather poor family of just me and my mother, classical lessons were completely out of the question. She did end up finding a way for me to take bluegrass lessons at an incredibly cheap rate; I won't say what the program is called because my name is plastered all over the internet for the branch in this area but it allows student to take lessons at a greatly reduced cost. Pricing was based on school lunch status and, with this particular branch, I was able to take free lessons and rent a bass for something like $30/semester. I picked it up quickly and started to really enjoy it, learning some classical pieces on the side and playing with a violin bow rather than the expensive bass bows. Throughout the lessons, my main goal was not to get "roped into" doing bluegrass for the rest of my life because I was entirely uninterested in that; I wanted to keep bluegrass in the back and classical in front.
Because I picked it up so quickly, the style is very common in this area, and bass players in something of a shortage, I ended up playing for a number of different groups at different levels. In one of them, the youngest member was 12 and, in another, I was the youngest with the next being 30 years older. With all of these groups, I ended up meeting *many* amazing and wonderful people, playing *so much music*, and getting to travel quite a lot. It was very slow but, about three years after first picking up a bass, I'm actively seeking out more bluegrass to learn, recently picking up fingerstyle guitar, banjo, and maybe mandolin in the future.
In opening my mind to the genre, I also discovered a lot of beautiful music that's...not quite bluegrass but...not quite anything else I've heard either. I absolutely *love* the style and can't wait to meet up with a friend of mine and put some pieces together. The main band I've been following is [The Punch Brothers](https://www.punchbrothers.com/). [Chris Thile](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Thile), the leader...holy shit he's a *musician*. From classical to bluegrass to jazz, he's an absolute madman. A couple of my favourite songs that The Punch Brothers do are written by him: *[My Oh My](https://invidio.us/watch?v=staHSMEE1pw)*, *[Julep]( https://invidio.us/watch?v=lLdtEiUKDig)*, *[Patchwork Girlfriend](https://invidio.us/watch?v=CMtyWB_Pzic)*, and *[Between 1st and A](https://invidio.us/watch?v=2hsXcl4X5vQ)*. The style is just so unique and different yet has those evident bluegrass roots underpinning it all.
---
This was posted as part of [#100DaysToOffload](https://100daystooffload.com/), an [awesome idea](https://fosstodon.org/@kev/104053977554016690) from [Kev Quirk](https://kevq.uk/). If you want to participate, just write something every day for 100 days and post a link on social media with the hashtag!

6
content/posts/building-a-desktop.md

@ -0,0 +1,6 @@
---
title: "Building a Desktop"
date: 2020-04-27T21:03:46-04:00
draft: true
---

70
content/posts/calcurse notifications.md

@ -0,0 +1,70 @@
---
title: "Calcurse Notifications"
description: "Configuring descriptive and attractive notifications for calcurse"
cover: /assets/pngs/calendar.png
date: 2020-05-13T22:23:25-04:00
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- Calcurse
- CLI
- Notifications
- 100 Days To Offload
---
I recently started using [calcurse](https://github.com/lfos/calcurse) for my calendar and one of its limitations is good notification support in the generally accepted meaning of the word. The developer has [a different opinion](https://github.com/lfos/calcurse/issues/285#issuecomment-620841221) and that's perfectly alright but traditional notifications are a feature I heavily rely on and calcurse doesn't handle handle them very well; it leaves the user to figure something out on their own. Inspired by [one individual's issue](https://github.com/lfos/calcurse/issues/286#issue-608118188), I did just that.
A quick glance at `man calcurse` reveals this section:
```
-n, --next
Print the first appointment within the next 24 hours. The
printed time is the number of hours and minutes left before
this appointment.
```
The output of running `calcurse -n`, for me and at the moment, looks like this:
```
❯ calcurse -n
next appointment:
[17:25] DnD on Mumble
```
It's all well and good but not really something you'd want in a notification; it needs to be filtered down so it only shows the name of the event, `DnD on Mumble`. To do this, I turned to the man pages of standard CLI utilities `tail` and `cut`. `tail` allows us to filter the output to only the last line[^1] with `tail -1`. `cut` is a little more complicated but will allow us to remove the first few columns of text. `cut -d ' ' -f 5-` is the next snippet in this one-liner. `-d ' '` tells cut to use a single space as the delimiter, `-f` specifies the fields to keep, and `-5` says to use all fields starting with the 5th because there are a few spaces preceding the content we want. Chain all of this mess together with pipes and we get:
```bash
calcurse -n | tail -1 | cut -d ' ' -f 5-
```
Great. Now we need to actually get a notification containing the resulting string. This can be achieved by storing it in a variable then using it with `notify-send`. You likely already have `notify-send` installed if you're using Linux but, if you don't, I would recommend looking around to see what's default and using that instead.
```bash
CONT="$(calcurse -n | tail -1 | cut -d ' ' -f 5- -)" && notify-send "Calcurse Event" "$CONT"
```
Now we're actually getting somewhere. With my setup, the notification looks like this:
![It's a screenshot of my desktop with a notification in the top right corner. The title is "Calcurse Event" and the text below is "DnD on Mumble". Surrounding the text is a solid border. Its position and the border are all that designate it as a notification: the background and text colour match the rest of my desktop which is themed with the base16-unikitty-dark scheme](/assets/jpgs/notification.jpg)
It's certainly passable and sufficient for some but I'd like an icon so I can see what the notification is for out of the corner of my eye and decide whether or not to glance over. Thankfully, `notify-send` has this built in with the `-i` flag.
```
-i, --icon=ICON[,ICON...]
Specifies an icon filename or stock icon to display.
```
Now it's just a matter of figuring out what icon to use. You can certainly pass the path of whatever image you want to it, such as `~/Pictures/calendar-icon.png`, but I want something that fits in with the rest of my icons. These are found in:
```
/usr/share/icons/<theme>/it/depends/on/theme
```
I use [Suru++ Dark](https://github.com/gusbemacbe/suru-plus-dark) and the icon I'm using can be found at:
```
/usr/share/icons/Suru++-Dark/apps/32@2x/calendar.svg
```
It's different for Adwaita and all the rest though; you'll have to do some digging. It's also worth noting that, if you don't have this theme installed on another device, the icon won't show up.
After all that, here's my notification command and a screenshot.
```bash
CONT="$(calcurse -n | tail -1 | cut -d ' ' -f 5-)" && notify-send -i /usr/share/icons/Suru++-Dark/apps/32@2x/calendar.svg "Calcurse Event" "$CONT"
```
![This is a screenshot like the last one but with an attractive icon to the left of the text](/assets/jpgs/notification-icon.jpg)
---
This was posted as part of [#100DaysToOffload](https://100daystooffload.com/), an [awesome idea](https://fosstodon.org/@kev/104053977554016690) from [Kev Quirk](https://kevq.uk/). If you want to participate, just write something every day for 100 days and post a link on social media with the hashtag!
[^1]: The opposite of `tail` is `head` and allows for exactly the same thing in reverse: `head -1` will return the first line of whatever input it's given.

56
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@ -0,0 +1,56 @@
---
title: "Consuming News"
subtitle: "My setup for quickly getting news I want and discarding news I don't"
description: "My setup for quickly getting news I want and discarding news I don't"
date: 2020-03-31T14:08:14-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/news.png
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- Productivity
- Reading
- RSS
- wallabag
- TT-RSS
- Firefox
- eReader
- Workflow
toc: true
---
I [recently posted](https://social.nixnet.services/@amolith/103918629088941744) about getting through 487 feed items in less than half an hour and I thought I would write about my setup here. There are three primary applications that require some configuration:
* [Feed reader](https://tt-rss.org/)
* [Browser](https://www.mozilla.org/firefox/new/)
* [Read-it-later service](https://wallabag.org)
## Tiny Tiny RSS
My feed reader of choice is TT-RSS. It's one of the most advanced readers I've ever used and can be tailored for any workflow. My basic preferences are below:
* ✅ Enable categories
* ✅ Combined mode
* ✅ Always expand articles[^1]
* ✅ Show content preview in headlines
Making use of the categories is *very* important; if you have a lot of feeds, getting through them is much easier when you can go topic by topic and leave some for when you have more time.
In addition to categories, the *big* feature I make use of is keyboard shortcuts. You can view those from the hamburger menu[^2] in the top right at `Keyboard shortcuts help`. `n` and `o` is what I make use of more than any other; `n` goes to the next article (or scrolls in particularly long ones) and `o` opens the source in a new tab. This would be great except that most browsers automatically switch to that new tab. If you're just wanting to get it up there to deal with later as I do, this diversion is *incredibly* annoying. Thankfully, it can be disabled in Firefox 😏
## Firefox
This setting is pretty damn easy; open `about:config`, search for `loadDivertedInBackground`, and set it to true.
When you right-click something and open it in a new tab, you're automatically diverted to it. In some cases, this is convenient but I've always found it annoying and worked around it by middle clicking links. Changing this setting in `about:config` will make it so *all* tabs open in the background leaving your current tab focused.
## wallabag
My read-it-later application is [wallabag](https://wallabag.org), a libre alternative to Mozilla's Pocket (which they still haven't made open source 👀). I use the [Firefox Add-on](https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/wallabagger/) so simply clicking the icon will send the URL to my server for download. I also have an application on [my eReader](https://us.kobobooks.com/products/kobo-aura-one-limited-edition) called [Wallabako](https://gitlab.com/anarcat/wallabako/). It downloads articles from wallabag as ePubs so I can read online articles while I'm offline as if they were books. A dream come true 😉
## Entire workflow
With all that out of the way, here's my entire workflow.
1. Select topic of interest (category)
2. Start at the top and use `n` to quickly view the `n`ext headline and maybe a short preview of the content
3. If you want to read more, `o`pen it in the background
4. Continue pressing `n` and/or `o` until you get to the bottom
5. If you have time, move to the next category
6. Use `CTRL+Tab` to cycle through all the links you opened and send them to wallabag for consuming later
[^1]: Depending on what feeds you add, you might want to disable this. Slashdot makes up the bulk of my feed items and they generally fit on one page.
[^2]: A hamburger menu is three parallel horizontal lines typically styled as a button that expands to show a menu of some kind.

224
content/posts/custom-streaming-setup.md

@ -0,0 +1,224 @@
---
title: "Custom Streaming Setup"
description: "My second post of 100 Days To Offload details my custom streaming setup"
date: 2020-04-26T20:24:38-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/stream.png
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- Gaming
- Streaming
- NGINX
- OBS
- 100 Days To Offload
toc: true
---
The other day, I decided that I wanted to start streaming. I'll definitely be playing some games but I might also stream some other things like me playing music. We'll see where that goes. In any case, I don't like relying on third parties for things and didn't want to use Twitch so I started figuring out how to build my own open source and privacy-friendly "platform" (which is really just a [page](/live)).
## The search for a platform
Before settling on my own custom thing, I did some digging into ready-made platforms I could just throw on one of my servers and run. Two of the ones I found were [OpenStreamingPlatform](https://openstreamingplatform.com/) and [Restreamer](https://datarhei.github.io/restreamer/). The latter isn't exactly what I was looking for but it could have worked quite well. The former, at first glance, was absolutely *perfect*. On a functional level, it still is. However, take a look at [the installation guide](https://wiki.openstreamingplatform.com/Install/Manual).
`<rant>`
Steps 3 and 7 are unnecessary unless you feel like manually compiling your web server; it's already available in the [Debian repos](https://packages.debian.org/buster/libnginx-mod-rtmp) and, by extension, Ubuntu's. It's even been backported to Stretch. In step 4, he has `sed -i 's/appendfsync everysec/appendfsync no/'`. Like so many application developers, he's assuming that this is the only project that will be installed on the system. If someone is already using redis in production and they have a different value there, that command will fail. In step 9, the commands are copying the SystemD service files to `/lib/systemd/` but this is where the package manager, `apt`, stores its services. When you have your own that you're writing or copying from somewhere else, best practise is to put them in `/etc/systemd/system`. In addition, all of this is scripted for the "standard" install. Yes, you're always supposed to review scripts before running them but who really does that? When I see a project whose only supported installation method is a script, I nope right on out of there for exactly this reason. I know how my system *is* set up and I know how I *want* it set up. I can't stand it when they assume they know what's best. Just tell me what you *recommend* and I'll make decisions from there.
`</rant>`
## NGINX & RTMP
RTMP stands for [Real-Time Messaging Protocol](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Real-Time_Messaging_Protocol) and facilitates streaming audio, video, and other data over the internet in real-time. The NGINX module mentioned above adds functionality to NGINX that allows it to handle RTMP streams and turn them into something a browser or media streaming client can use. Connecting directly via `rtmp://example.com/live/stream` is not very widely supported so protocols such as [MPEG-DASH](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_Adaptive_Streaming_over_HTTP) and [HLS](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_Live_Streaming) are used instead.
On Debian-based systems, adding RTMP functionality to NGINX is as simple as `apt install libnginx-mod-rtmp`. After that, you'll need to add some things to your `nginx.conf` and whatever host file you're using for your website.
```conf
rtmp {
server {
listen 1935;
application live {
deny publish all;
allow publish 127.0.0.1;
live on;
interleave on;
hls on;
hls_path /tmp/hls;
hls_fragment 15s;
dash on;
dash_path /tmp/dash;
dash_fragment 15s;
}
}
}
```
`1935` is the default RTMP port. `deny publish all` means you are denying *anyone* from publishing a stream (that includes you. `allow publish 127.0.0.1` allows *local* connections to publish content. I'm using this as a form of authentication---before streaming anything, I have to tunnel my connection to my server via SSH or a VPN. At the moment, I'm using SSH:
```
ssh -L 1935:localhost:1935 user@example.com
```
The other options are just the basics needed to get DASH and HLS to work. The only other thing to do is use NGINX as a reverse proxy (sort of) to serve the streams. Add this to your site's virtual host.
```
location /dash {
root /tmp;
}
location /hls {
root /tmp;
}
```
That's it! Now you'll need to test your stream and verify that it actually works.
```
ffmpeg -re -i video.mp4 -vcodec copy -loop -1 -c:a aac -b:a 160k -ar 44100 -strict -2 -f flv rtmp://example.com/live/stream
```
This command has FFmpeg play the video and stream it to the server. You should then be able to open the stream in something like [VLC](https://www.videolan.org/) or [MPV](https://mpv.io/) and watch it from anywhere.
```
mpv https://example.com/dash/stream.mpd
```
However, I also wanted to embed it in a website and this is where it gets a little unstable.
## Browser playback
`dash.js` is currently one of the best ways to play a live stream in a browser plus it's pretty easy to work with. The code can be found [on GitHub](https://github.com/Dash-Industry-Forum/dash.js). Using the setup with NGINX I detailed above, this should work perfectly fine out of the box.
```js
<div>
<video id="videoPlayer" poster="/assets/jpgs/stream.jpg" controls></video>
</div>
<script src="/assets/js/dash.all.min.js"></script>
<script>
(function(){
var url = "/dash/stream.mpd";
var player = dashjs.MediaPlayer().create();
player.initialize(document.querySelector("#videoPlayer"), url, true);
})();
</script>
```
## Web chat
The last thing every stream needs is something for web chat. I tried a few different solutions and had mixed results. The first was [KiwiIRC](https://kiwiirc.com/) but the iframe wouldn't even finish loading because it connected to so many third parties with a lot of tracking. It functions very well and I might set it up on my own site eventually but it was a bit much to go through at the time. As an intermediate solution, I embedded [my instance](https://irc.nixnet.services) of [The Lounge](https://thelounge.chat), a fully-functional web-based IRC client. This loaded perfectly right out of the box but it wasn't quite what I wanted; there were *too* many options and the friends of mine who tested it got frustrated because some of the essential UI elements were hidden due to the small viewport. It's just not quite suitable for embedded webchat.
Finally, I landed on [qwebirc](https://qwebirc.org/) and it was pretty much *exactly* what I wanted. When the iframe loads, you're prompted to enter a nick, you click connect, wait a minute, and done! My one complaint is that the theme is very bright but I'll work on that later on. It's good enough for now 😉
**EDIT:** Since the time of writing, I have switched to hosting [KiwiIRC](https://kiwiirc.com/) on [Secluded.Site](https://chat.secluded.site) so all of the trackers and third parties aren't in use. My configs are below but I recommend going through [the wiki](https://github.com/kiwiirc/kiwiirc/wiki/Configuration-Options) and making your own decisions.
`/etc/kiwiirc/config.conf`
```
logLevel = 3
identd = false
gateway_name = "webircgateway"
secret = "changeme"
[verify]
recaptcha_secret = ""
recaptcha_key = ""
[clients]
username = "%i"
realname = "KiwiIRC on secluded.site"
[server.1]
bind = "0.0.0.0"
port = 7264
[fileserving]
enabled = true
webroot = /usr/share/kiwiirc/
[transports]
websocket
sockjs
kiwiirc
[reverse_proxies]
127.0.0.0/8
10.0.0.0/8
172.16.0.0/12
192.168.0.0/16
"::1/128"
"fd00::/8"
[upstream.1]
hostname = "irc.nixnet.services"
port = 6697
tls = true
timeout = 5
throttle = 2
webirc = ""
```
`/etc/kiwiirc/client.json`
```json
{
"windowTitle": "Secluded.Site Chat",
"startupScreen": "welcome",
"kiwiServer": "/webirc/kiwiirc/",
"restricted": true,
"hideAdvanced": true,
"showAutoComplete": true,
"showSendButton": true,
"sidebarDefault": "nicklist",
"theme": "dark",
"themes": [
{ "name": "Default", "url": "static/themes/default" },
{ "name": "Dark", "url": "static/themes/dark" },
{ "name": "Coffee", "url": "static/themes/coffee" },
{ "name": "GrayFox", "url": "static/themes/grayfox" },
{ "name": "Nightswatch", "url": "static/themes/nightswatch" },
{ "name": "Osprey", "url": "static/themes/osprey" },
{ "name": "Radioactive", "url": "static/themes/radioactive" },
{ "name": "Sky", "url": "static/themes/sky" }
],
"buffers" : {
"messageLayout": "compact",
"show_timestamps": false,
"show_hostnames": false,
"show_joinparts": false,
"show_topics": true,
"show_nick_changes": true,
"show_mode_changes": false,
"traffic_as_activity": false,
"coloured_nicklist": true,
"colour_nicknames_in_messages": true,
"block_pms": true,
"show_emoticons": true,
"extra_formatting": true,
"mute_sound": false,
"hide_message_counts": false,
"show_realnames": false,
"default_kick_reason": "Your behaviour is not conducive to this environment.",
"shared_input": false,
"show_message_info": true,
"share_typing": true,
"flash_title": "off",
"nicklist_avatars": true,
"show_link_previews": true,
"inline_link_previews": true,
"inline_link_auto_preview_whitelist": "secluded.site|nixnet.services",
"channel": "#secluded"
},
"startupOptions" : {
"server": "irc.nixnet.services",
"port": 6697,
"tls": true,
"direct": false,
"channel": "#secluded",
"nick": "viewer?",
"greetingText": "Welcome!",
"infoBackground": "",
"infoContent": ""
}
}
```
## Actually streaming
Once you're ready to start streaming content, I recommend using [OBS Studio](https://github.com/obsproject/obs-studio/). If you're noticing issues with stream performance, play around with your output resolution and FPS---those are the biggest factors. To use OBS with NGINX, you'll need to go to `Settings`, `Stream`, and set `Server` to `rtmp://localhost/live/`. If you're using my configs as they are, the key will need to be `stream`. Literally every component requires specific paths so, unless you're careful, things will break and you'll spend hours trying figure it out like I did. Also don't forget that the connection *has* to be tunnelled if you want authentication as I mentioned above. If you don't have `localhost:1935` on your streaming machine tunnelled to port 1935 on your server, OBS is going to throw errors about not being able to connect.
## Summary
I'm pretty proud of [the set up](/live) I have now but it could still do with some improvements. For example, I plan to mess with the CSS and make both the video and chat panes *much* wider as well as side-by-side rather than on top of each other. Everything is crammed together and it's not a very good experience.
## References
This post has pieces taken from a few other articles and sites that also deserve a mention as well as a read. NGINX actually has an [official blog post](https://www.nginx.com/blog/video-streaming-for-remote-learning-with-nginx/) on setting up RTMP streaming (though they compile NGINX from source as well) that was a *massive* help. I also found another post that is very similar to this one about [HTML5 Live Streaming with MPEG-DASH](https://www.isrv.pw/html5-live-streaming-with-mpeg-dash). A good number of the parts are the same but I used the NGINX module in Debian repos and they used a fork of it with additional features. My NGINX setup was mostly from the NGINX blog post and the embedded stream was primarily from Inanity's. I figured out some of the components I could use for all of this from [Drew DeVault](https://live.drewdevault.com/).
---
This was posted as part of [#100DaysToOffload](https://100daystooffload.com/), an [awesome idea](https://fosstodon.org/@kev/104053977554016690) from [Kev Quirk](https://kevq.uk/). If you want to participate, just write something every day for 100 days and post a link on social media with the hashtag!

19
content/posts/day-3.md

@ -0,0 +1,19 @@
---
title: "Day 3"
description: "Day 3 out of 100"
cover: /assets/pngs/calendar.png
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- Inkscape
- Graphics
- 100 Days To Offload
date: 2020-04-27T23:15:04-04:00
---
Well I had planned to write a post about music this evening but I just spend two hours making the post's cover image, a guitar. Lately, I've been *basing* my images on [Feather Icons](https://feathericons.com/) or [Font Awesome](https://fontawesome.com/). I might download one to use as a reference, download and modify, etc. but I've stopped using the icons as they are. This guitar, however, is an exception; I used the [Bezier Pen](https://www.tutorviacomputer.com/inkscape/the-bezier-tool/) and created it completely from scratch. It's still just a silhouette but I've always avoided this tool because it's so hard to use. You can view it on [my Gitea instance](https://git.nixnet.xyz/Amolith/secluded/src/branch/master/content/assets/pngs/guitar.png).
Anyway, this is my anti-climactic third day out of 100! Prepare for some music tomorrow 😉
---
This was posted as part of [#100DaysToOffload](https://100daystooffload.com/), an [awesome idea](https://fosstodon.org/@kev/104053977554016690) from [Kev Quirk](https://kevq.uk/). If you want to participate, just write something every day for 100 days and post a link on social media with the hashtag!

36
content/posts/day-6-updates.md

@ -0,0 +1,36 @@
---
title: "Day 6 Updates"
description: "I don't really have much to say today so here are just a few things I've been working on"
cover: /assets/pngs/calendar.png
date: 2020-05-03T01:57:03-04:00
toc: true
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- Zettelkasten
- Doom Emacs
- Emacs
- NixNet
- 100 Days To Offload
---
I haven't been able to come up with a specific topic for today so this is just a kind of generic update about me.
## Zettelkasten
In my [previous post about Vim](/vim-as-a-markdown-editor/), I briefly mentioned being inspired to create a Zettelkasten by Daryl Sun in [his fourth 100 Days To Offload post](https://write.privacytools.io/darylsun/100-days-to-offload-day-4). A Zettelkasten is a personal knowledge management tool that allows one to quickly retrieve useful information about a subject, relearn forgotten concepts, and discover connections between those concepts to form entirely new ideas. There are different processes recommended by different people but I think it's a very personal choice and depends on what your workflow will look like. Mine will be as follows.
1. Take *very* concise notes on something I learned in a *physical* notebook
2. When I'm able, go through those notes and add them to my [digital Zettelkasten](https://git.nixnet.xyz/Amolith/zettelkasten), expanding them a little and fleshing the thought out more
The last step is *the most important* as this is the one where you sit down and think about what you're adding and try to draw connections between it and what you already know. The goal is not to make the longest and most complete notes in the world but to add value to each *concise* thought by linking it with others and build a web for you to explore later. You might not see immediate benefits but a mature Zettelkasten with hundreds of entries will constantly surprise you as you tumble into your own store of knowledge and rediscover things. That surprise is actually one of the greatest benefits to this kind of knowledge management system; when something is surprising, we tend to remember it better.
## Doom Emacs
A friend of mine convinced my to try [Doom Emacs](https://github.com/hlissner/doom-emacs) and, so far, I am very impressed. Emacs itself is very powerful but, from what I can tell, this configuration adds a *lot* of value. The main one being Vim keybindings 😉 I'm looking forward to learning [org-mode](https://orgmode.org/) and seeing what it can do for my productivity. As a text editor and programming tool, I plan to stick with [Neovim](https://neovim.io/) on desktop/laptop, [Vim](https://www.vim.org/) on Debian-based systems, [vi](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Vi) wherever else.
## NixNet plans
Today, I fleshed out some of my thoughts on reprovisioning all of my over the summer. I'm going to have [Ansible](https://docs.ansible.com/) or [Salt](https://docs.saltstack.com/en/latest/) build and deploy [LXC](https://linuxcontainers.org/lxc/introduction/) containers to a baremetal server from [Hetzner](https://www.hetzner.com/sb) running a *very* minimal [Alpine Linux](https://alpinelinux.org/) installation. Whatever setup I have for those will of course be available on [Gitea](https://git.nixnet.xyz/NixNet). From there, my local NAS will use something like [borgmatic](https://torsion.org/borgmatic/) to back up files and databases from all of my servers and [LXD](https://linuxcontainers.org/lxd/introduction/) to create container snapshots[^1]. All of that will be mirrored to [BackBlaze](https://www.backblaze.com/) likely using their B2 model as paying per GB per month is generally the most reliable option. Under one of the others, there's always the possibility that I might upload more than they think is reasonable and start limiting me in some way.
Short-term, I'm going to consolidate some of my servers to a single baremetal machine from Hetzner. Long-term, I'm going to look into building and racking my own servers in a datacenter in Germany, likely one of Hetzner's. This comes with a plethora of benefits but a pretty major detriment: the up-front cost will be absolutely *massive*. Building a rack server worth putting in a datacenter will be incredibly expensive at the start. Following that, all I have to pay is a monthly fee for however much space it uses in the rack and it won't be too much. Before any of that is even considered, I'm going to be spending a lot of time discussing things with my father; he did a lot of racking before he got his current sysadmin job and has a ton of advice to give, from using VoIP to powercycle the server to what networking gear to look at and how to organise everything within the rack.
I have a lot of really big plans.
[^1]: This one isn't *really* necessary as building the containers with Ansible/Salt is automated and it's a simple process to rebuild them. Snapshots might just take less time to redeploy should something go wrong.

102
content/posts/documenting-with-mediawiki.md

@ -0,0 +1,102 @@
---
title: "Documenting With MediaWiki"
description: "Setting up MediaWiki to efficiently write quality documentation"
cover: /assets/pngs/mediawiki.png
date: 2020-06-04T12:23:34-04:00
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- MediaWiki
- Documentation
- Writing
- Efficiency
- 100 Days To Offload
toc: true
---
Much to my chagrin, I've hardly posted anything at all the past couple of weeks. This is partly due to university summer classes starting and partly due to me putting some work into [NixNet's documentation](https://docs.nixnet.services). After listening to [Episode 4 of 2.5 Admins](https://2.5admins.com/2-5-admins-04/), I decided to change some things up with my infrastructure planning and, instead of automating all the things, document it first. Only after writing extensive documentation will I look into automating *portions* my setup, like hardening a server directly following installation. To that end, I've decided to use [MediaWiki](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki).
After [downloading](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Download) and [installing](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Manual:Installation_guide) MediaWiki, a very straightforward process[^1], the next step is configuring it. There is of course [a guide](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Manual:System_administration) but I think it can be useful to see someone else's configuration to get ideas from as well, especially considering how many extensions there are. I won't go through *all* of the settings, just the maybe less obvious ones.
## URLs
The first thing in `LocalSettings.php` is `$wgScriptPath`. Different wikis take vastly different approaches for this. Some fill that variable with `"/w"` (default), some with `"/view"`, and some with something entirely different. [Wikipedia](https://wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaWiki) and all of its children use `"/wiki"`. While well and good, the default configuration will have your URLs appearing as `example.com/wiki/index.php?title=<page>` and this is bad practise for SEO; if you want your pages easily discoverable, the URLs need to be a bit shorter. The easiest way I've found to do this is add all of six lines to my NGINX config and set `$wgScriptPath` to `""` (an empty string).
```
location / {
try_files $uri $uri/ @rewrite;
}
location @rewrite {
rewrite ^/(.*)$ /index.php?title=$1&$args;
}
```
The snippet above tells NGINX to rewrite all of your site's base URLs and remove `index.php?title=` from them. This is a similar approach to what [Mozilla](https://wiki.mozilla.org/Main_Page) has done. The result is cleaner URLs that comply with SEO best practises and a setup that avoids [moving MediaWiki to the site's root](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Manual:Wiki_in_site_root_directory).
## Mobile view
I see a *lot* of MediaWiki instances without a good mobile version and, other than keeping the number of extensions down, I don't really understand why. Setting it up is incredibly easy and gives everyone a *much* better experience. The [Minerva Neue](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Special:MyLanguage/Skin:Minerva_Neue) skin is designed specifically for use on mobile devices and is also much more aggressive about optimisation. Though editing is a terrible experience, it also looks great on desktop. The [MobileFrontend](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:MobileFrontend) extension is used to detect the reader's device and serve them either the configured desktop skin or Minerva Neue. You *could* serve a different skin on mobile but I've found that Minerva Neue looks the best by far.
To set them up, you'll need to download [the skin](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Special:SkinDistributor/MinervaNeue) and [the extension](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Special:ExtensionDistributor/MobileFrontend). From there, you'll need to add a few lines to your config file. On a side note, I love how dynamic MediaWiki can be, especially with downloads; providing a copy/paste extraction command that doesn't use wildcards and puts it in the correct directory is *awesome*.
```php
# I recommend putting this with the rest of your extensions
wfLoadExtension( 'MobileFrontend' );
# These can go wherever you want but together is better
$wgMFDefaultSkinClass = 'SkinMinerva';
$wgMFAutodetectMobileView = true;
```
With the skin and extension in place and those lines in your config, save and reload and there should be a link at the bottom of your wiki called `Mobile view`. Click it and you'll see Minerva! On a phone, MobileFrontend will automatically serve it but you can force your default theme by clicking `Desktop view` in the same location.
![Screenshot of the mobile versions of my MediaWiki instance. The left uses Minerva Neue and the right uses Vector. The left has buttons and icons that are much larger and easier to tap making for better accessibility. Though the text is readable, the touch targets are much too small navigation is hell](/assets/pngs/mediawiki-skins.png)
<center><p>Left is Vector (default) and right is Minerva Neue</p></center>
## Discussion pages
The default discussion page for MediaWiki works but, unless you're already used to it, it can be quite odd for new people. That's where the [StructuredDiscussions](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Structured_Discussions) extension comes in. Here's a comparison of before and after enabling it.
![side-by-side screenshot of my wiki before and after enabling the extension. the left really is just the default content editor. it's like giving someone a text editor on a server and asking them to have a conversation with someone else by editing the same file and saving it to see replies. the right side is with the extension enabled and gives buttons to browse by topic and a field to create a new topic. it's very similar to github's issue tracker, for example, but without the ability to sort by tags](/assets/pngs/talk-before-after.png)
<center><p>Left is without StructuredDiscussions and right is with</p></center>
As I said, the left works but most people wouldn't know what to do when given the default MediaWiki editor and it raises the barrier for entry. The right is *much* more user-friendly and works exactly how one would expect. StructuredDiscussions does have a few dependencies but they're easy to add. [Echo](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Echo) is for notifications and the others are included by default. After [installing it](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Special:ExtensionDistributor/Echo), and [StructuredDiscussions](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Special:ExtensionDistributor/Flow), add the following lines to your `LocalSettings.php`.
```php
# With the rest of your extensions
wfLoadExtension( 'Echo' );
wfLoadExtension( 'Flow' );
```
Running the following commands is necessary because MediaWiki's database needs modification to support the extension. General talk pages are `--ns=1` and `User:Talk` pages are `--ns=3`. If you only want Structured Discussions enabled for one of them, only run that one. I personally recommend doing it for all.
```
php maintenance/populateContentModel.php --wiki=somewiki --ns=1 --table=revision
php maintenance/populateContentModel.php --wiki=somewiki --ns=1 --table=archive
php maintenance/populateContentModel.php --wiki=somewiki --ns=1 --table=page
php maintenance/populateContentModel.php --wiki=somewiki --ns=3 --table=revision
php maintenance/populateContentModel.php --wiki=somewiki --ns=3 --table=archive
php maintenance/populateContentModel.php --wiki=somewiki --ns=3 --table=page
```
After that, add these to actually enable the extension. To temporarily disable it, you can comment them out but I don't know how that will affect talk pages that already exist.
```php
# Flow (discussions) configuration
$wgNamespaceContentModels[NS_TALK] = 'flow-board';
$wgNamespaceContentModels[NS_USER_TALK] = 'flow-board';
```
## Subpages
One of the features I'll be making heavy use of for my [Privacy Policies](https://docs.nixnet.services/Category:Privacy_policies) and [Terms of Service](https://docs.nixnet.services/Category:Terms_of_Service) pages is [Subpages](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Subpages). This allows you to create pages entitled `Parent/Child` and the child automatically links back to the parent at the top. This can be seen in [Mozilla](https://wiki.mozilla.org/Apps/Security/Other) and [Arch Linux's](https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Firefox/Privacy) wikis right under the header and [in mine as well](https://docs.nixnet.services/DNS/Privacy). Enabling it is quite simple; just add the following line to your config.
```php
## Enable subpages for all namespaces
$wgNamespacesWithSubpages[NS_MAIN] = true;
```
## Syntax highlighting
The final configuration change I've made (so far) has been to enable syntax highlighting in the default editor with [CodeMirror](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:CodeMirror). After [installing it](https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Special:ExtensionDistributor/CodeMirror), add these lines to your config and you're done!
```php
# Place with the other extensions as always
wfLoadExtension( 'CodeMirror' );
# Enables it by default but allows users to disable it
$wgDefaultUserOptions['usecodemirror'] = 1;
```
![screenshot of the mediawiki editor. headers are larger, code blocks are highlighted, links blue with link text black so it's easy to pick out, etc. In all, it's a much nicer experience.](/assets/pngs/mediawiki-highlight.png)
## Editing in Vim
The final tip I have is that you can edit pretty much *any* MediaWiki instance in Vim, including Wikipedia itself, with [a simple plugin](https://github.com/aquach/vim-mediawiki-editor). The only drawback I've found is that, unless you store your password in your config, you'll have to enter it every time you close and reopen Vim. You can also give Vim [Wikitext syntax highlighting](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Text_editor_support#Vim) for creating MediaWiki pages when offline. A few days ago, my wiki was completely offline while taking a disk image backup but I still wrote the majority of the [libvirt](https://docs.nixnet.services/Libvirt) and [Debian](https://docs.nixnet.services/Debian) pages while I waited and the highlighting was really nice.
---
This was posted as part of [#100DaysToOffload](https://100daystooffload.com/), an [awesome idea](https://fosstodon.org/@kev/104053977554016690) from [Kev Quirk](https://kevq.uk/). If you want to participate, just write something every day for 100 days and post a link on social media with the hashtag!
[^1]: If you're having issues, feel free to contact me and I'll help where I can.

99
content/posts/downloading-courses-from-linux-academy.md

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---
title: Downloading courses from Linux Academy
subtitle: youtube-dl is a phenomenal tool
description: Using youtube-dl to pull Linux Academy courses for offline viewing
date: 2019-10-19T01:35:00-0400
cover: /assets/pngs/youtube-dl.png
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- youtube-dl
- Linux Academy
- Training
toc: true
---
## Forward
Every month, Linux Academy releases courses for free. I'm a very busy college student and don't have time to whirl through everything I want to before it goes behind their paywall again so I figured out how to download a course or two every month using [`youtube-dl`](https://github.com/ytdl-org/youtube-dl/).
## Setup
* Install [`youtube-dl`](https://ytdl-org.github.io/youtube-dl/download.html)
* Make sure you have a browser handy
* Create a community account on [Linux Academy](https://linuxacademy.com/join/community)
* Get some food
* Maybe a drink
* Sit back down in your chair
* Spin around a bit
* Read on
## Downloading
* Log into your account
* Pick the course you want
* Open the developer console and go to `Network` (Ctrl+Shift+E in Firefox)
* You'll want to select `Media` as shown in the screenshot below
![](/assets/posts/linux-academy/scrot-1.png)
* Click the video you want to start with
* Watch the network logs
* You'll see an entry that starts with `playlist` (screenshot below)
![](/assets/posts/linux-academy/scrot-2.png)
* Right click it
* Copy the URL
* Paste it after `youtube-dl` in a terminal:
```bash
amolith@poseidon:~ $ youtube-dl https://video-cdn.linuxacademy.com/vods3/_definst_/smil:box/cdnstore/modules/lots-of-stuff-in-here
```
* Press enter
* Watch the magic unfold
At a high level, `youtube-dl` is acting like your browser and following the `m3u` playlist to download chunks of the file. After it fetches them all, it runs them through `ffmpeg` to stitch them together into a single video!
I found it useful to open a text editor and script downloading a whole course at a time. All you have to do is type `youtube-dl -o` and copy/paste it however many times there are videos. Then, copy and paste the video title in quotes after `-o` and add `.mp4` to the end (command example below). After that, paste the URL. Do that with every video in the series, save the script, run `chmod +x <script>`, then `./<script>` and (after a bit) you'll have an entire course you can watch at your leasure!
```bash
amolith@poseidon:~ $ youtube-dl -o "04 - Conclusion and Next Steps.mp4" https://video-cdn.linuxacademy.com/vods3/_definst_/smil:box/cdnstore/modules/lots-of-stuff-here
```
**NOTE:** You may want to set up your directory structure beforehand so it's easier to script the process. Here's an example of one of mine:
```bash
amolith@poseidon:~/Videos/Courses/Ansible - Playbooks Deep Dive $ tree
.
├── 01 - Course Overview
   ├── 01 - About the Course.mp4
   ├── 02 - About the Training Architect.mp4
   ├── 03 - Course Features and Tools.mp4
   ├── 04 - About Ansible Playbooks.mp4
   └── 05 - Advanced Inventory Configuration.mp4
├── 02 - Playbook Basics
   ├── 01 - Using YAML for Ansible Playbooks.mp4
   ├── 02 - Creating an Ansible Play.mp4
   ├── 03 - The ansible-playbook Command.mp4
   └── 04 - Understanding Playbook Tasks.mp4
├── 03 - Essential Playbook Syntax
   ├── 01 - Using Variables in Playbooks.mp4
   ├── 02 - Working with Templates.mp4
   ├── 03 - Using Ansible Facts.mp4
   ├── 04 - Conditional Execution in Playbooks.mp4
   ├── 05 - Using Loops in Ansible.mp4
   └── 06 - Working with Handlers in Ansible.mp4
├── 04 - Advanced Playbook Syntax
   ├── 01 - Executing Selective Parts of a Playbook.mp4
   ├── 02 - Working with Sensitive Data Using Ansible Vault.mp4
   ├── 03 - Error Handling in a Playbook: limit, ignore_errors, changed_when, and failed_when.mp4
   ├── 04 - Error Handling in a Playbook: Block Groups and The Debug Module.mp4
   ├── 05 - Asynchronous Tasks within a Playbook.mp4
   ├── 06 - Delegating Playbook Execution with delegate_to and local_action.mp4
   ├── 07 - Parallelism in Playbooks.mp4
   ├── 08 - Using run_once.mp4
   ├── 09 - Overview of Ansible Roles.mp4
   └── 10 - Ansible Role Demo.mp4
└── 05 - Conclusion and Next Steps.mp4
4 directories, 26 files
amolith@poseidon:~/Videos/Courses/Ansible - Playbooks Deep Dive $
```

38
content/posts/excluding-your-site-from-the-wayback-machine-keybase-only.md

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---
title: Removing your site from the Wayback Machine (Keybase)
subtitle: A quick and easy guide
description: Quick guide on removing and excluding your content from Archive.org's Wayback Machine with Keybase
cover: /assets/pngs/archive.png
date: 2019-06-03T12:08:00-0400
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- Archive.org
- Privacy
- Sysadmin
toc: true
---
## Preface
There may be a myriad of reasons you want to do this, from removing sensitive information to regaining a measure of control over your content. Whatever your purpose, below should be a quick and easy way to achieve it.
## For domains you own
The easiest way to verify you own a domain is to put a text file in an easily accessible location and email [info@archive.org](mailto:info@archive.org) asking for removal and link to it. Mine is at [removal-request.txt](https://nixnet.services/removal-request.txt). It would be better if you didn't copy mine word-for-word and wrote your own instead though 😉
If that's all you intend to do, this should be sufficient and there's no need to read any further. If you want to exclude your *profiles* as well (for example, all your GitHub repos, Twitter, Mastodon, etc.) read on.
## For domains you *don't* own
There are a few things I used that worked in harmony to verify my other accounts. [Keybase](https://keybase.io/) was the most useful for this purpose. It is a proprietary service but I deem the level of proof it facilitates worth compromising for.
The other tool I used was [GPG](https://gnupg.org/). For the sake of keeping it simple, *this* guide will just deal with GPG from within Keybase. I ***really*** recommend actually learning to use GPG on its own; it's wonderful for protecting your privacy and verifying your identity in a multitude of situations. The next post will be on using GPG *outside* of Keybase for this so [stay tuned](/posts/index.xml).
### Generating your key
After creating your Keybase account, click "add a PGP key", "I need a public key", then enter the requisite information. You should use whatever name is associated with the account you'll be emailing Archive.org from as well as that address. Wait a bit while it generates the key . . .
### Verifying some accounts
This is where you verify whatever accounts you want removed. Just click the option and go through the steps! Aside from personal websites, Twitter, GitHub, Reddit, etc., you can also prove accounts on a lot of other services (including Mastodon). More are being added every day so check back if there's something specific you want to address.
Once this is done, you'll be ready to contact Archive.org about getting your stuff removed.
### Signing some messages
In the top right of Keybase, you'll see this pencil: <i class="fa fa-pencil"></i>. Click it and you'll be taken to a page with a text box. This is where you'll type your email and the text file for your website proof. For the text file, copy the signed message and paste it into your text editor, save, and put it at the root of your website. For example, mine is at [removal-request.txt](https://nixnet.services/removal-request.txt). It would be better if you didn't copy mine word for word and wrote your own 😉 For the email, you'll do the same thing but paste the signed message into your email client, whether that's Thunderbird, ProtonMail, Tutanota, etc. The text file only needs to contain the request for the (sub)domain removal. The email needs to contain the request for everything along with links to the text file, you Keybase account, and whatever you want removed.
Before sending it, you should also go back to your profile, click your key, and copy everything in the text box that starts with `-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----`. Paste that into another text file but save it with the `.asc` extension. For example, `key.asc`. Attach this to the email, send it to [info@archive.org](mailto:info@archive.org), wait a couple days, and you're done!

26
content/posts/forecasting-with-a-command.md

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---
title: "Forecasting with a command"
description: "Using a single command to get the week's weather forecast"
cover: /assets/pngs/weather.png
date: 2018-12-14T21:41:00-04:00
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- CLI
---
We all love the CLI *(and if we don't, we should)* so wouldn't it be great if there was a tool to see your weather forecast with a single command? Ceda EI at <a href="https://webionite.com" target="_blank">webionite.com</a> has written a tool that uses the Dark Sky API to give you the forecast for a day or week, at your location, and in Celsius or Fahrenheit.
## Celsius
+ Weather for one week - `$ curl sky.webionite.com/location`
+ Weather for today - `$ curl sky.webionite.com/location/t`
## Fahrenheit
+ Weather for one week - `$ curl sky.webionite.com/f/location`
+ Weather for today - `$ curl sky.webionite.com/f/location/t`
A great way to make this faster and simpler is to put an alias in your shell's `rc` file. For bash, you can do that with:
```
echo "alias weather='curl sky.webionite.com/f/location'" >> ~/.bashrc
```
If you ever forget how to use the tool, just run `curl sky.webionite.com` and you'll be given instructions.
![screenshot of the output of the command. it shows two rows of four boxes with ascii art depicting rain, overcast clouds, and the sun obscured by clouds. it shows the temperature and the time of day. everything is coloured and looks very attractive.](/assets/pngs/weather.png)

16
content/posts/full-text-rss.md

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---
title: "Site changes"
description: "Update about the RSS feed and plans for the website"
date: 2020-04-13T19:50:25-04:00
categories:
- Meta
tags:
- RSS
- Site update
cover: /assets/pngs/site.png
---
I just created a new category called [Meta](/categories/meta) and it'll be used for updates about this website and about me. The first thing is that I didn't realise until a few minutes ago that the RSS feeds only had summaries of my posts; that issue has been fixed and the full content is available in each one now. The second thing is some of my plans for this site. Until now, [NixNet](https://nixnet.services) has been my online "home". I'm in the process of making this my home instead. As NixNet grows, it needs to become less personal and more . . . "official" I guess. Sometime tomorrow, I plan to move all of the blog posts from there to here and make the `Blog` menu item lead to `secluded.site`. I'll also put redirect in place so links to the old posts will lead to their new home over here.
Another one of my plans is the make the `READ OTHER POSTS` section at the bottom a bit more intuitive. Right now, clicking on the right arrow opens the chronologically previous post and the left arrow opens the next one out of the *global* list. That's fine for now but it will be an annoyance when some of my [D&D campaigns](/categories/dungeons-dragons) get longer or when I do a series of posts on some topic. It might end up being next week or something but I'm going to set up some better logic for determining what's "next" and what's "previous" as well as better visual indicators of which is which.
I don't have *any* idea how I would set it up but it would also be nice to let readers pick combinations of feeds rather than having separate feeds for each one or a single feed for *everything*. The reason why I set up individual feeds is the same as why I'm wanting to give the option for combining them; I know the [Pipe Smoking](/categories/pipe-smoking/) category is something few people will want to read but it's a passion of mine and I plan to write about it anyway. The reading experience of the site as a whole shouldn't be lessened because of it though.

37
content/posts/lossless-screen-recording.md

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---
title: Lossless screen recording
subtitle: Never waste resources with OBS again
description: Recording your screen (or monitors) with ffmpeg for a high-quality lossless video that uses very few system resources
date: 2018-08-12T17:15:20-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/ffmpeg-lossless.png
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- FFmpeg
- CLI
- Minimalism
---
I've been trying off and on for the past few weeks to figure out how to record my 1920x1080 monitor. The recording is going to be some music videos for a friend. Originally, it was just going to be a single background image for the whole video then I had the idea of using [cava](https://github.com/karlstav/cava) in a transparent terminal on top of the background. This didn't work at all because it actually kept freezing when I tried to record it. So I tried switching to [ncmpcpp](http://ncmpcpp.rybczak.net/)'s visualiser. This still had horrible lag so I've been puzzling over how to use ffmpeg to *losslessly* record my second monitor. The reason OBS and similar screen recorders are so slow is because, most of the time, they encode to the end format while recording and that uses a lot of system resources. I finally figured it out and have pasted the command below.
```
ffmpeg -video_size 1920x1080 -framerate 30 -f x11grab -draw_mouse 0 -i :0.0+1366,0 -c:v libx264 -crf 0 -preset ultrafast output.mkv
```
Above is exactly what I used for my 1080p monitor with 768p laptop screen. I've modified the command so you can see what you need to edit for your use-case.
```
ffmpeg -video_size <target-resolution> -framerate 30 -f x11grab -i :0.0+<width-of-unused-monitor>,0 -c:v libx264 -crf 0 -preset ultrafast <filename>.mkv
```
If you do *not* want the cursor recorded, add `-draw_mouse 0` directly after `x11grab` like I did in the first command.
My video was 470mb for a ~13 minute video. If you're going to archive the recording or are concerned about file size, re-encode it with a slower preset. This will be a lot slower and take a lot of CPU but the resulting file is *significantly* smaller than the original and still lossless. I this as a general purpose screen recorder. Previously, I was using OBS and the lag in the video was incredible but with ffmpeg, it's smooth as butter. The command for re-encoding is below:
```
ffmpeg -i output.mkv -c:v libx264 -crf 0 -preset veryslow output-smaller.mkv
```
![](/assets/gifs/ffmpeg-lossless.gif)
# Note
This command only works with X, not Wayland. Skimming `ffmpeg`'s man page, I see that `video4linux2` is another option for capturing video so you may be able to replace `x11grab` with it for the same result. I have not tested this so I don't know if it'll work or not.

68
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---
title: "LWN Theming"
description: "Giving LWN a nice dark theme"
cover: /assets/pngs/code.png
date: 2020-06-19T16:41:16-04:00
toc: true
categories:
- Technology
tags:
- LWN
- News
- Theming
- 100 Days To Offload
---
After [a poll by @karan](https://fosstodon.org/@karan/104368387973787714), I started thinking about where I get my news and decided to subscribe to [LWN](https://lwn.net). Their content is really good, they've been running for a long time, and I want to support their work. However, I think the default theme is quite terrible. I spent about an hour last night messing with it and I think I improved it significantly; it's based on the theme of this site.
![The theme has a dark background, vibrant pink links, and light text](/assets/pngs/lwn-themed.png)
<center><p>Screenshot of my LWN theme</p></center>
After [subscribing](https://lwn.net/subscribe/), navigate to [your account page](https://lwn.net/MyAccount/) then click the link under `Customization`. The following tables are the options and values I've set for my theme but note that I have *not* changed the `Old (seen) comment background color` as I haven't had an opportunity to experience what that looks like yet. Once I do, I'll update my theme and this post accordingly.
## Display preferences
| Option | Value |
|----------------------------------------------|----------------|
| Page background colour | `#292a2d` |
| Left column background | `#292a2d` |
| Middle column background | `#292a2d` |
| Headline background | `#3b3d42` |
| Form/byline background | `#292a2d` |
| Sidebar background | `#292a2d` |
| Text colour | `#f5f4f7` |
| Link colour | `#fe5186` |
| Visited link colour | `#d0738f` |
| Quoted text (in email) colour | `#7ec699` |
| Old (seen) comment background colour | `#cccccc` |
| Navigation box on printable page | ✅ |
| Minimum width of main text column (em) | `40` |
| Maximum width of main text column (em) | `50` |
| Display old parent in unread comments screen | 🟩 (unchecked) |
## New page engine preferences
| Option | Value |
|---------------------------------------------|-----------|
| Use the new page engine | ✅ |
| Left column color | `#292a2d` |
| Maximum width for handset presentation (em) | `48` |
| Fixed navigation menu on small screens | ✅ |
| Font family to use| `🔘 sans-serif`
## Quoted text preferences
| Option | Value |
|------------------------|-------------|
| Quoted text style | `🔘 normal` |
| Quoted text weight | `🔘 bolder` |
| Quoted text colour | `#a9a9b3` |
| Quoted text background | `#292a2d` |
After applying the changes, this is what comments look like:
![The theme is basically the same as above with slightly lighter headers and a soft green for the quotes](/assets/pngs/lwn-comments.png)
<center><p>Screenshot of LWN comments</p></center>
## Conclusion
I'm already happy with my LWN subscription and plan to remain subscribed for a long time. The recent post about [*Tools to improve English text*](https://lwn.net/SubscriberLink/822969/76cf4f582a5a1e15/) looks especially interesting and something I'm already looking into for [Arbor's documentation](https://man.sr.ht/~whereswaldon/arborchat/) (big blog post about the project coming soon™). If you have an extra \$3.50/mo, I really encourage you to subscribe to LWN. News is important and high-quality news especially so. Blinding though the default theme may be, LWN is, bar none, the best news site I've ever seen and I want to ensure they stick around.
---
This was day 12 of [#100DaysToOffload](https://100daystooffload.com/), an [awesome idea](https://fosstodon.org/@kev/104053977554016690) from [Kev Quirk](https://kevq.uk/). If you want to participate, just write something every day for 100 days and post a link on social media with the hashtag!

13
content/posts/moving-my-old-blog.md

@ -0,0 +1,13 @@
---
title: "Moving My Old Blog"
description: "Moving my blog on nixnet.services to Secluded.Site"
cover: /assets/pngs/editor.png
date: 2020-09-23T18:09:15-04:00
categories:
- Meta
---
Just a heads up to those subscribed to this RSS feed: I'll be moving my posts on nixnet.services to secluded.site either today or tomorrow. I'm leaving their timestamps as they are so I don't know how they'll appear in your feed. I apologise for any mess they cause!