I’ve switched to Linux as my primary OS, at last.

My current desktop, using KDE.

I’ve been using Windows, as my main OS, since pretty much the turn of the century. I’ve never hidden my disdain for the 9x (95/98/Me) codebase. It was a horrid experience, full of badly made drivers, plug and play that never worked, and guaranteed crashes/freezes more than once a day. Fortunately, I hardly had to deal with it, as my Amiga happily carried on being my main machine, whilst I fired up the PC (an AMD Duron @ 700mhz running Windows 98 and, later, Me. Ewww) for secondary tasks. However, this changed when x86 CPUs started reaching gigahertz speeds, and Windows 2000, built on the NT codebase, was launched. Out of the box it was so much more stable than it’s 9x siblings. Plus it offered excellent networking technology meaning I could finally share files across my home network, and control who could access them. I also built a new system based on an AMD Athlon processor, at this time, and the shift to the Windows environment begun. Of course, every Microsoft OS since has been an evolution of that (2000, itself, an evolution of NT 4), so there’s always been an air of familiarity to it. In hindsight, I probably should have gone with Linux all the way back then. But most of the software I wanted to use was Windows only, at that time. But things have moved on, and with MS baking in lovely telemetry data in to Windows 10, it’s time to ditch and switch.

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Securing Your Website With SSL Part 2: Free Certificates With Let’s Encrypt.

In a previous tutorial we looked at setting up an SSL certificate using a paid for CA provider. With it we got a pretty cheap option that would do for a single low-traffic site. However, whilst still being a decent price, this can start to get pretty expensive, especially for devs that do this as a hobby, should there be multiple sites they wish to secure. Also, businesses have to secure their dev and staging sites, which is cost they don’t really want. Well today, we’re going to go one better than cheap; we’re going to set up SSL, on a website, for FREE. That’s right. Absolutely nowt. Enter Lets Encrypt.

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Shut Your Pi-Hole

Adverts. Whilst probably being a necessary evil in a world that expects more for free, for the most part they are also intrusive, loud, garish and a waste of processing time and memory. Some places allow you to pay a subscription, to enjoy an ad free experience. Which is certainly something I do if it’s an application I use often and has usefulness to me. The less said about places that charge a subscription and still show garish ads the better. And there are some sites that have unintrusive ads that may actually be relevant to the person viewing them. They’re okay (should I ever allow ads on this site that’s the sort of route I’ll go down) but, personally, I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything that I’ve seen on a web page as (I’m just as bad with TV ads too), and I’ve never once clicked on one. So I’d rather minimise the wastefulness on my household systems, make my eyes happier and my brain less cluttered. Whilst you can use extensions for your browser, there is a network-wide solution which will cover every device entering your home network, including in-app ads on mobile devices. Say hello to Pi-Hole.

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Securing Your Website With SSL Part 1: Paid For Services.

Having a website that can handle encrypted traffic is more important than ever, in this vastly connected world. Billions of transactions per day are carried out across the web, and encrypting your data is another in the fight against data theft. Browsers are also now being set to tell you if the site you are using is secure or not.
Not only that but SEO rankings now favour sites that have https enabled, over their non-encrypted counterparts. So just having it will boost your site’s visibility in searches. If you want traffic, you’ll need SSL. All in all securing the traffic on your site, even a very basic one, is a very good thing.

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Using the Raspberry Pi as a DHCP server.

In the first tutorial, we set up the Pi with Rasbian, stuck it on the network, with a static IP and enabled SSH for remote log in. That’s all well and good, but there’s no point if it’s doing absolutely nothing. It’s time to get it performing some tasks. Here we are going to set the Pi to act as a DHCP server.

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Setting up a Rasberry Pi with Rasbian

The Raspberry Pi was, and still is, a neat little device. I got one of the first of the v1 Model B boards off the production line, with the full intention of doing so much cool stuff with it. Even though, at the time, I was poor undergraduate the allure of a PC, capable of running Linux, for about £30 (more like £50 once you factor in a case, and power supply) was too great. The initial lead times for quite high, so it was a bit of a wait between purchasing and actually receiving it. And, truth be told, it essentially found life as a media server, running RasbBMC, as I imagine a lot of them did.

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