Monthly Archives: April 2018

Using A Laptop Without Internet

This is one of my favorite subjects.  Repurposing an older computer and using it when there is no available internet connection.  If you have internet that is a big plus and you can and should use it but computers are still pretty useful with no network with the addition of a couple of pieces of inexpensive hardware.

What can a computer do that isn’t hooked to the internet? Quite a lot actually. Here’s a few things you can do:

  • Watch digital over the air television
  • Listen to FM or AM radio
  • Listen to Shortwave Radio
  • Listen to Amateur Radio
  • Listen to emergency service transmissions such as police, fire, weather, etc.
  • Decode NOAA Weather Satellite Images
  • Detect Aircraft Overhead
  • Decode Digital Transmissions that are unencrypted

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How to do Screen Sharing on Ubuntu 18.04

I set Screen Sharing up on Ubuntu 18.04 but then found out none of my clients could connect to it.  After a little digging I found that in order to use VNC Viewer (or other software) from another computer that I had to disable encryption.  Yeah, not ideal but I need it to work.

First go to Settings and then “Sharing”.  Make sure to turn the Slider in the upper right hand corner to the ON position.

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pfSense Hardware Firewall

I am always blathering on about network security. The only real security is a firewall. Your router that you bought on Amazon or at Walmart is NOT secure. Look at the box. It says it is FAST. It doesn’t say it is secure. Furthermore there is a sticker on the bottom of it with a WiFi password that looks like this:


That’s awesome. It really is.

So then you plug your router into the cable modem which attaches it to the INTERNET via direct physical connection. Guess what the password is for that direct physical connection?

Answer: password

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Squix E-Paper Device


Who doesn’t check the weather everyday? Most have a favorite website or just check the local news. The folks at WeatherUnderground have an exportable Weather API that can be used with Internet of Things (IoT) devices. I built another device recently with a little color OLED screen and it’s cool but it is a battery hog and dies frequently. Then when you turn it on it goes through this updating routine that leaves you waiting 20 seconds or so to see the weather. Heck I could check 2 websites in that amount of time.

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The Bionic Beaver is here!

No, the Bionic Beaver is not the name of Stormy Daniels new Porno………… 😀

Finally!  Last night Canonical released Ubuntu  version 18.04, aka, Bionic Beaver.  It can be downloaded here.

18.04 is a Long Term Support (LTS) version with support for 5 years.

I installed it on only one laptop so far and all seems to be working fine.   It does appear that some of the software that I used with version 16.04 isn’t all compatible yet however that will likely change in the following days.

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I guess it is ftting that my first entry on this new blog would be on the platform I’m posting it from.  WordPress.   For years I have used something called Rapid Weaver, which is awesome, and Rapid Weaver also has a blogging plugin called Armadillo which is very WordPress-like.

Still, you know me, I have to dabble in everything.

So the first thing one needs to know about WordPress is that it requires some smarts to get running.  It runs on a webserver that uses PHP and ties into an SQL database.  One can deal with that generally in Linux by running the following command:

sudo apt-get install lamp-server^

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