post-1673198619

Since about 2015, smartphones have been getting increasingly user-hostile and locked down. It started with Google Play Services, a permanently running auto-installed, auto-updated service that has full access and control of your device. One a new Samsung Galaxy phone, I found 262 packages pre-installed, which were mainly from Google, Samsung, Facebook, Microsoft, and the cell provider. I tried disabling some of them, and at some point the phone locked with the message: "Your phone is locked because the Device Service was uninstalled without authorisation". Ok, so I enabled all the apps again, but that didn't unlock it. Tried a full factory reset and reboot, and now the phone says: "Phone Locked. This phone can't be used without authorisation." Just, wow! We are no longer allowed to uninstall the surveillance and bloatware on our phones. #smartphones #bloatware #surveillance

Sun 08 January 2023

post-1672040157

My house got struck by lightning again, taking out the alarm system again. This time I decided to #diy my own alarm system with an #arduino. It's a bit of a rat's nest right now (prototype), but it works! Controllable via Telegram and standard remote. Gotta solder it up on a board next and add some lightning isolation/protection. There's surprisingly little info on the internet about replacing a commercial home alarm system with custom Arduino one. The biggest challenge is that the long wires to sensors can pick up noise/EMF so I had to do some filtering in software to avoid false triggers.

Mon 26 December 2022

post-1670753167

Shout-out to Podgrab, an excellent self-hosted podcast manager/downloader written in Go. #selfhost #podcast

Podgrab
https://github.com/akhilrex/podgrab

Sun 11 December 2022

post-1670772992

Bought this ESP32-based Esplay Micro V2, and it is sweet! Not only is it a great form-factor and fairly priced, but it comes fully assembled with an SD Card loaded with some music and cool retro games. It's a #DIY #maker dream as I can turn this into almost any device I can think of! #esplay #esp32 #retrogaming #diy

ESPlay
https://www.robotics.org.za/MES32PRO

Sun 11 December 2022

post-1668947201

Today's project: #diy battery for my 2015 phone. Original battery down to 6% of it's original capacity. Replacement battery costs only R90 and is readily available at hobby shops. Had to make an adapter plate using my favourite material: masonite board. Sealed it with a polyurethane coating. I've avoided buying new electronics and am still sticking with my 2015 phone and 2015 tablet as my main mobile devices because they are hackable in this way, and the software (after disabling all the bloat) is still running sweetly.

Sun 20 November 2022

post-1668861239

If you're part of the #TwitterMigration #TwitterExodus to #Mastodon then you can follow me there on @tobykurien@mastodon.social - I've been there since April 2017. Heck, you can even just stick the URL https://mastodon.social/@tobykurien.rss into an RSS feed reader. #MastodonMigration

Sat 19 November 2022

Simpler Linux self-hosting with tmux and bubblewrap

simpler-linux-selfhosting


I describe a simple method I use to self-host portable server applications using tmux and bubblewrap

Sat 08 October 2022

post-1664809805

Grey go-away-birds (AKA grey loerie) having a party in my bird bath! #birding

Mon 03 October 2022

post-1663077784

I bought this comically tiny phone in June and it's been my daily driver since. It has some amazing features in it's diminutive package: dual sim, microSD card slot, bluetooth (for calls and music, or to act as headset/dialler for your smartphone), camera for photos and video, voice changer (making it a great burner phone), 4+ days of battery life. Call quality is as good as on any smartphone, and it cost less than R400.

Tue 13 September 2022

post-1662452469

Made a distraction-free audiobook player using a Raspberry Pi 3A. Doesn't even distract me with a progress bar :) #diy

Tue 06 September 2022

post-1661603379

Book recommendation: THIS IS HOW THEY TELL ME THE WORLD ENDS, Nicole Perlroth. The fascinating story behind the biggest cybersecurity threats like Stuxnet, NotPetya, election interference, etc. Reads like fiction, but sadly it is not. #book

Nicole Perlroth
https://thisishowtheytellmetheworldends.com/

Sat 27 August 2022

post-1658844533

Here's a pic of my fridge-top Smol Data Centre, which I previously blogged about on gemini at gemini://tobykurien.com/articles/2022-05-17-smol-data-centre.gmi #photo #diy

Tue 26 July 2022

post-1655365331

Everything you need to know about #happiness, distilled in one insightful #podcast episode

Evidence-Based Strategies for Being Happy | Laurie Santos | Knowledge Project
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yWxI9clgv8

Thu 16 June 2022

post-1653126035

Made an extended battery pack for my aging MacBook that also acts as a comfortable base. The 55Wh battery pack consists of cheap and easily replaceable 21700 cells. Plenty of space to add more batteries, USB hub, hard drive, or other accessories. #diy

Sat 21 May 2022

post-1650354125

Everything that becomes popular turns to crap. So now I have to ditch DuckDuckGo and find an alternative. No, I'm not telling you what I'm moving to, lest they get enough users to dictate their terms to us. #rant

Tue 19 April 2022

post-1650362059

Computers were "good enough" 5 years ago, and we're still using them for the exact same purposes. So why do we have gigs of software updates every week, and why do our computers get slow and "out-of-date" every 2 years? Where's the extra value from all this added complexity, compared to 5 years ago? Is it purely aesthetic? I'd argue that we're regressing, not progressing. #computing #philosophy

Tue 19 April 2022

post-1650286143

Photos from a recent trip to Hartebeespoort #photo #holiday

Mon 18 April 2022

post-1650286695

Birds photographed on a recent trip: Half-collared Kingfisher, Black Swan (in captivity), Giant Kingfisher . #birding

Mon 18 April 2022

post-1650183163

After decades of Ubuntu use, I've replaced my desktop OS with antiX. It's a minimal Debian system without systemd. Boots to desktop in about 5 seconds and uses only 150Mb of RAM. It's a simple system that I can get my head around easily and administer without unlearning and relearning things all the time like I had to with Ubuntu. It feels fast and efficient, and looks good too. For similar reasons, on the server side, I'm moving from Ubuntu to OpenBSD where I can.

antiX Linux
https://antixlinux.com/

Sun 17 April 2022

post-1649400213

"Nearly all of modern computer engineers are working above so many layers that there’s no human way to understand what they are doing." gemini://rawtext.club/~ploum/2022-04-05-firefox-ubuntu.gmi #computing #philosophy #ubuntu #snaps

The Theological Problem Behind Firefox in Ubuntu 22.04
https://kineto.tobykurien.com/x/rawtext.club/~ploum/2022-04-05-firefox-ubuntu.gmi

Fri 08 April 2022