food packaging complaint message to supermarkets and manufacturers

Please send this message to supermarkets and manufacturers.

The problem: I saw a "made from 100% recycled plastic" label on my soda bottle and other food packaging

Why it is a problem: Plastic that comes into direct contact with wet foodstuff should never be made of recycled plastic, because it will chemically react and release unwanted substances into the food, which always happens with all plastics to some degree, especially if the food is acidic (juices, lemonade, vinegar, tomatoes, etc.) or the container is subjected to heat or sunlight.

Concerning recycled plastics, consumers and manufacturers cannot escape to rely on blind faith alone in order to determine if the source materials have not been contaminated with toxic substances commonly found in other plastics, such as Bisphenol A, plastic softeners, other auxiliary chemical agents or whatever potentially harmful substances from the utilized waste stream sources that may have accidentally entered the recycling chain. Some of the substances that are commonly found in high quantities in plastic waste are highly potent in the microgram range and can for example cause abnormal mental and physiological developments in children, such as feminization, diabetes, obesity, ADHD or autism.

In addition to that, the percentage of additives and pollutants found in the material necessarily increases with each additional recycling cycle. A plastic bottle that has already been recycled 10 times in a row also contains 10 times as many additives. Additives are a necessary part of the recycling and production process. This way we could easily end up drinking from plastic bottles that are hundreds of times more contaminated than pristine plastics. All plastic additives are a potential health hazard and have only been classified as safe, because they are rendered mostly inert inside the polymer, so that the small amounts released into the food from pristine plastics are generally considered to be negligible. However several studies have shown that this is not universally true, especially if heat and acid are at play, and the assumed rate of release is multiplied by orders of magnitude.

Recycled plastic has no place in food packaging like drinking bottles, cheese or meat wrapping, in which the food comes into direct contact with the plastic and the food is in a wet/processed state, which makes it chemically reactive. This plastic must always be freshly made, as it has always been the case so far, in order to avoid potential health concerns.

 

German version:

So what should we do now?

Concerning bottled water switching to glass bottles is comparably very expensive, and for very good reasons. A reusable glass bottle is almost as heavy as the water that it carries, whereas a single-use PET bottle can hold 100 times its weight in water (it weighs about 15g). Glass also needs to be transported inside heavy plastic boxes that shield it from damage, and the empty bottles also need to be transported back to be reconditioned and refilled. This means that the trucks transporting the bottles use more that twice the fuel, which makes up most of the carbon footprint of PET bottled water. In addition to that glass bottles have to be made inside extremely hot furnaces running at around 20 times the temperatures required by PET bottle manufacturing. At 100 times the mass of a PET bottle, this is not negligible, even if a glass bottle is on average reused 50 times in a row. It translates to roughly 2000 times the energy from heat during glass bottle manufacturing, or 40 times the energy for each time you use it. This calculation is obviously much much worse for single-use glass containers, which have by far the worst carbon footprint of all food packaging. On the other hand PET bottles from a refund system have a close to 100% recycling rate and can be made into other materials, e.g. polyester fabrics, non-food packaging or casings for electronic devices, which means that they are not a pollutant to the environment.

So due to the high carbon footprint, glass bottles are obviously very bad for the environment. Naturally, this directly reflects in price (twice as expensive), as it also does with any other product, at least roughly as a rule of thumb.

Fortunately water quality in Germany is very high, and you can simply use tap water here. In a lot of regions the tap water is on par or even superior to a lot of bottled water brands. However due to the recent drought and heat wave here, the quality of our water reservoir has suffered somewhat, which is why I personally had switched to bottled water temporarily.

I also preferred to use PET bottles as drinking bottles, because they were guaranteed to be food-safe and free of pollutants. When you buy a plastic bottle on Amazon, you really don't know much of anything about it. The original manufacturer could be in the developing world, where standards are as low as 8 year old children permanently living inside giant waste dump towns and making a living by collecting any sort of plastic item for recycling. There could also be harmful additives in it to make it more durable. Metal bottles will cause more mercury to dissolve from amalgam fillings by electrochemical reaction, and aluminium is toxic much like mercury itself. This only leaves glass bottles now that PET bottles have become questionable. They are a huge waste of space though in a back pack, twice as heavy too, and they damage easily.

Concerning other food packaging, there seems to be no option but to write complaint letters or go into politics. If you only consider how pervasive aluminium has been in food packaging, despite its extreme toxicity with up to 7 year long half-life, then it is obvious that this will probably just lead nowhere at all. Up to this day some aluminium still comes into direct contact with food, due to lack of plastic lamination, and in fact most of a person's aluminium load is directly caused by food packaging. If people are not outright dropping dead from the poison but only poisoned a little bit, it just doesn't pack enough punch in politics to change much of anything at all.

This recycling fad is clearly going too far where it is starting to impact our health and it pushes us into alternative solutions that are in fact much worse for the environment. People need to move away from the idea that recycling is universally good, and that plastic is universally bad. Such a blind attitude only proves to be exploitable and harmful to everyone.

transgender tolerance short educational flyer (en & de)

in Germany about 0.008% of the population is diagnosed as transsexual [1]. This makes transsexual rights an extremely low priority in terms of minority rights, and it means that discussing this topic at all diverts our attention away from the great many of other minority groups that we could be more considerate and mindful about. Such as people suffering from depression (500 times more prevalent) or PTSD (1000 times more prevalent), or the thousands of people who die every year, because they are denied access to new experimental treatments. An almost endless list of similar topics exist that are literally thousands of times more important, because they affect much more people much more seriously, we can exert much more influence on them and we share more responsibility of them. It is therefore objectionable to even mention transsexual rights, in terms of improving society, in almost any situation.

Yet it seems this topic has become a cultural gag to many, a part time hobby to instigate discord with, vent off hate against people of different opinion and make themselves feel more virtuous than the other side, each inside their own ignorance. Politics and media institutions cash in on it as well, amplify it and bend it to their liking. In many ways this huge call-out on the topic makes the situation just much worse for transgendered people. Yet people continue to push it onto others, bend their mind around it and fight about it as some form of disturbed entertainment. It needs to stop.

The injection of this new radical ideology into our culture, which tries to turn the nature of human existence and biological realities upside down, creates a lot of ill effects. Actual harm can arise from this to a great many of people on the long run, especially children and teenagers. This is why I wrote this very concise flyer as a printout in order to appeal to reason, educate and confront people about transgenderism, but in the real world, the offline world. Far away from the media circus, and far away from filter and lobbying bubbles in the highly volatile, censored and manipulated online content that we see today.

You are invited to print it out and hand it to others if the topic creates problems in your community.

about your obligation to boycott Windows 11

Microsoft did a highly unusual move with the new Windows 11: It requires the activation of a piece of hardware in your PC called the "TPM" module (Trusted Platform Module) . This module will turn your PC into a so called "trusted computing" platform. A lot of PCs (if not almost all of them) ship with this module disabled, for very good reasons.

You better hold your socks, because this is not some alarmist nonsense, it is quite a big deal. How you decide today about it not only affects your operating system, but also your fundamental basic rights and freedoms and the well-being and integrity of our society.

Why it is there

Many branches of digital industry did not like the idea that people are in principle in full control over the things that happen on their PCs. They wanted to e.g. make a product that charges the user double or triple in a row for the same benefit, such as listening to a song, opening a PDF file or playing a video game. But given that the owner still has actual control over their PC - like a car owner has control over their car who can in principle decide to drive wherever they want - then no software can effectively dictate such things upon you. And even if it tried, then you can just use tools to repair the software and stop it from trying. Because it is your PC and you are ultimately in charge of what it does. Even if the software is trying to pull tricks on you.

This is where the name "trusted" stems from: the industry has no trust in how you use their products and whether or not you use them in a manner that they personally deem as desirable and permissible. It wants to cripple the abilities and possibilities you naturally have, in order to charge you extra for having it run in a normal manner. This is why the industry needed to establish a hardware mechanism, where you no longer have a say in how your PC internally functions. You would just take a backseat like in a taxi that used to be your own car, or a backseat in a restaurant that used to be your own kitchen. And after everything was easy and free the first year, suddenly a glass of water will cost $3 instead of $0.03 and you have already been too contracted and entangled into their scheme to move away from it.

This is why the lobby organizations TCPA/TCG were formed at the end of the 90s, that ultimately pushed the TPM 2.0 module into each and every modern PC that exists today. Digital rights organizations such as the EFF have fought the TPM module and warned about it since its inception. Now that the trusted computing infrastructure has been established, Microsoft is making its final move in trying to take you for a fool.

What it does

To put it simply, the TPM grants any piece of software the ability to effectively hide data from the user. The user (who is not to be trusted) cannot make sense of this data and cannot change this data in a meaningful way. This is ensured by special cryptographic processes that run totally isolated inside the TPM module. This also implies that the data cannot be erased without the software ceasing to function entirely, until this exact hidden data is reinstated. In many ways this is comparable to websites being able to store secret cookies on your PC that you cannot ever erase. It might not strike you as such a doomsday scenario at first, you might think that cookies are just a small thing after all.  And they are really useful for a lot of totally harmless features. But you have to consider, that this thought only holds true to how websites function today with regular cookies. Over time websites and governments would team up, adapt to this new power and abuse it for all kinds of purposes. Some of those purposes are highly dangerous and detrimental to all sorts of issues. The exact same is true to the TPM module.

Where it will lead to

20 years ago there was a huge public outrage online, caused by the plans of the TCPA/TCG and later of Microsoft with their "Palladium" platform. Back then, many experts and organizations have warned about the dangers and long-term implications of "trusted computing". In the early 2000 internet, unlike today, Wikipedia did not exist yet and corporate disinformation campaigns were rather limited to conventional methods, like buying research and academic papers, politicians or simply B2B advertising. Ultimately the resistance of major outlets and associations seemed so high online, that the industry did a pull back. Palladium did not happen - yet. Under the disguise of giving you a choice about the TPM, they covertly implemented trusted computing on every modern PC in the shadows. The "innocent" TPM module was planted like a ticking time bomb. Long since then buried, forgotten and grown plenty of grass over, Palladium is now making a comeback. The mandatory TPM module in Windows 11 is Microsoft's silver bullet designed to outpace any public debate or informed choice about it.

Here are some of the negative long-term consequences of trusted computing:

  • it enables universal censorship by corporations and governments and thus cripples free speech (affects: journalists, critics, activists, writers, consumers, ordinary people)
  • it enables infallible, unpreventable and totalitarian forms of tracking, profiling, deanonymizing / personal identification, mass surveillance and spying by corporations and governments
  • software can run in any sort of arbitrary manner, e.g. to milk money, and it can not be changed
  • software within the scheme can execute untrusted malicious code that the user has no control over
  • it can lock users out of their own data intentionally or accidentally
  • it can prevent users from exercising their rights and basic freedoms
  • it enables corporations to engage in anti competitive practice
  • it ultimately enables corporations to entirely shut down free software and digital freedoms

Further reading

"The real problem is that it's possible to make a service or product that you can only access if you have an activated TPM. In the future, if you disable your TPM you may lose the ability to exchange documents or email with your coworkers, buy music online, or do any number of important things that require your computer to communicate with other computers. This will force you to keep your TPM enabled all the time in order to get stuff done. If you have to keep your TPM enabled all the time, then you get all the bad effects of Trusted Computing like government/commercial spying and other people controlling your computer. " ~ Disabling TPM

The solution

It is very easy: never ever activate the TPM module, no matter the cost. If you know people who are ignorant of the problem then send them information material and try to explain it to them. You cannot run Windows 11 without the TPM module, fine. This will eventually change, if enough people boycott it. Windows 11 might even become a failed OS, like Windows Vista did or Windows 8 and the next version will be less erroneous. Also consider that you will probably be able to run Windows 10 for another 8 years. So switching now will only yield disadvantages to you.

But if you ask me personally: your best bet is to switch to Linux right away. Pick Ubuntu, it even runs on a substantial variety of phones now. There are local Linux groups that can help you. Free software is about freedom, for yourself and for all of us. We need to care about our environments and the future we set for our children. What political parties and software we elect to have power over our lives and society. The digital realm and the internet are no exception to the rule. It matters just as badly.

Always check that the TPM module is disabled in the BIOS. Never enable it. It is highly dangerous.

If you have already made the wrong choice, there is still time to do the right thing.

remap gamepad controller buttons on Linux

I got this old Chinese "Gasia Co.,Ltd" 054c:0268 PS3 controller. The buttons are all jumbled up and some Windows games don't even allow for remapping them. In order to fix this, you can install the package "xboxdrv", which will emulate an Xbox controller and allows for remapping. Here is the command with the mapping for my controller:

xboxdrv --evdev /dev/input/by-id/usb-Gasia_Co._Ltd_PS_R__Gamepad-event-joystick --evdev-keymap BTN_DPAD_UP=lb --evdev-keymap BTN_DPAD_DOWN=lt --evdev-keymap BTN_DPAD_RIGHT=rb --evdev-keymap BTN_DPAD_LEFT=rt --evdev-keymap BTN_TL2=back --evdev-keymap BTN_TR2=start --evdev-keymap BTN_THUMBR=a --evdev-keymap BTN_THUMBL=b --evdev-keymap BTN_START=x --evdev-keymap BTN_SELECT=y --evdev-keymap BTN_TL=tl --evdev-keymap BTN_TR=tr --evdev-keymap BTN_NORTH=du --evdev-keymap BTN_SOUTH=dd --evdev-keymap BTN_WEST=dl --evdev-keymap BTN_EAST=dr --evdev-absmap ABS_X=x1,ABS_Y=y1,ABS_RX=x2,ABS_RY=y2 --axismap -Y1=Y1,-Y2=Y2 --mimic-xpad --trigger-as-button --deadzone 4000 --deadzone-trigger 15% --force-feedback # --silent

You can then use "wine control" to disable the hardware controller in wine.

I used this random post for reference to the Xbox button names (lb is L1, lt is L2, back means select and so forth).

DIY horn

It is so good, you could easily use this horn to play in a concert and it can be very loud. If you have never blown a horn before, it requires at least a few 5-10 minute practice sessions to get a good tone out of it, a week to be able to blow very very loudly and weeks to months to play tunes that are pleasant to listen to. You tense your lips differently, to cause different vibrations which generate the sound. The longer the hose the more notes are possible, but the more difficult it is.

Great for protests, kids or if you are thinking about playing a blowing instrument but don't want to make any investments.

Polycaprolactone is very safe. Don't use epoxy because of bisphenol A.


 

List of Docker caveats / bugs

Build instances don't allow for debugging with interactive console

This is very likely broken by design. Docker wants Dockerfiles to be reproducible and not changed arbitrarily by convenient user input. However nothing could be more crippling to a developer than being unable to directly inspect a broken environment. In many ways building docker containers feels just as frustrating as building and testing live embedded systems. Imagine only how helpful it would be, if docker simply dropped you into a shell once a command failed. Instead you cannot even run the last layer in a new container if using buildx with foreign architectures. At least not without some major shenanigans. And even then most of the really painful and time-consuming issues you run into are actually entirely exclusive to the build environment.

Luckily you can use this workaround via improvised netcat console:

RUN apk add nmap-ncat && ncat 172.17.0.1 8080 -c 'while true; do read i && echo -en "$($i 2>&1)\n # "; done' && false

Buildx instances are not network-isolated from each other

You might tend to believe that build instances behave like docker containers, but that is not really true. If one build instance starts a daemon that is listening on a certain network port, the other instances will not be able to start that same daemon because the port is in use. Since all instances do exactly the same things instructed by the Dockerfile, the first instance will succeed and all successive instances will fail. Although buildx has an --isolation option, it sadly doesn't change the fact as of this writing.

The only workaround is to plug in a script that checks if the port is in use, before the daemon is started:

while(true); do if netstat -putlan | grep MYPORT; then sleep $((1 + $RANDOM % 60)); else break; fi; done

Port publishing mostly broken for greater numbers

Quite often you need to publish more than just one port. Some RFCs and use cases call for more than 40,000 ports to be available (if counting UDP and TCP seperately like Docker does). By default Docker starts a new "userland proxy" process for every port which consumes time to start and memory to run.  Publishing as little as 100 ports will already cause major slowdowns. But even with userland proxy disabled, I ran into the situation that docker would hit internal limits of maybe 512 ports per port range and 1024 ports total. It would then silently, and without warning, stop publishing ports specified higher and after that limit. End of story: Don't use docker to publish ports, if you need to publish more than 512. Use this iptables workaround instead. Always check twice with netstat.

Why XMPP instead of Whatsapp?

  auf Deutsch anzeigen

XMPP is an instant messenger like Whatsapp and it is almost the same to use. However unlike Whatsapp, Signal, Wire and similar XMPP is an open and free standard that is employed in a federation of a great many of servers. You can use it with free "open source" software. Free software is a common good and it is most often produced altruistically, without financial interest, for the better by the community. That's why it's not only free to use, but also why it's free of many bad, malicious and ill influences. Because the source code is open, anyone can check if this is really so, and they can copy and change the program however they like. That means you could for example write a program that archives your chat history on your PC, or send messages to other providers who also use open standards.

To the contrary Facebook could for example decide to reprogram Whatsapp in such a manner, that the end-to-end encryption is bypassed, and that all private messages are copied to market research agencies, secret services, governmental agencies, and other intermediaries in the private sector, where they could potentially be processed and analyzed in any arbitrary manner. In fact the EU has recently decided to make exactly this mandatory. Because Whatsapp is proprietary software, it has been deliberately programmed in such a way that it cannot communicate with other message providers, so that people cannot easily switch away from it. The program acts like a cage in which the user and their content are imprisoned, and in which it's very difficult to think beyond the limited horizon that it offers. It's this way in which virtual environments are created, that almost exclusively serve the purpose of commercial exploitation. And it's always commercial exploitation that's in many aspects again and again in direct conflict with truly good values and goals. That's why e.g. Facebook doesn't facilitate healthy social exchange, but instead only amplifies whatever it is around us that captures people as long as possible to the screen, to view as many ads on their site as they can show to you. Nobody can change this situation, because we are dealing with programs (which websites are also) that have a closed source code. And for the same reason no one can see and control what the program is doing covertly in the background.

Small ambitious providers like Signal, Telegram or Discord share many of the problems that made people want to switch away from Whatsapp in the first place. Even worse: Eventually all small companies will be bought out by the big tech giants, if they become too popular.  From that point on they only change and behave in malicious ways. Additionally, small companies can just as easily be forced by  governments to become and instrument of mass-surveillance and mass-censorship.

Free software, if necessary with peer-to-peer technologies and in a big federation of independent providers, is therefore the only real solution. And not only for instant messaging. You can replace any software in your computer with free software, including the operating system. There is almost no commercial software left nowadays that would be significantly worse or even better than free software. What's left are only a few exceptions more or less in the professional sector, like CAD machines, music production maybe and video cut (unfortunately). But if commercial software had not always been developed in the shadow of being some day outcompeted by free software, commercial providers wouldn't even have programmed it as extensively and with as much functionality as you are used to. Instead they would try to withhold as many features as possible,  try to trick you where they can e.g. by pretending that certain fees or issues arise from real necessities or challenges, just in order to maximize profit with superfluous additional costs. You should therefore always use free software from the beginning and thereby support it.

But why is it then that most people use so little free software? The reasons are sadly for many similar to those that people have if it comes to food and nutrition. It begins with the problem that a lot of people do not even really understand which foods are truly healthy for them and what impact they have. And even if they understand it, then they often judge the food by the picture on the package. Or they buy sweets because it is more seductive than vegetables. Software producers are messing us around by the nose the same way, bait us with marketing and the extra sugar on top of the big dessert. That leads most of us to not switch to things which are actually really good for our digital world and our societies. Instead people are choosing things that just look as comfortable and easy as it can get initially. Where they have to put as little thought into it as possible. That is sad and it shouldn't be that way. Because it shapes the world around us that we create in our digital lives. A world that we live to set others as an example and that we seemingly endorse to them.

I want to live in a world of freedom that respects democratic and human values. That's why I use free software.

 

To get startet with XMPP as easily and best as possible, I highly recommend that you install the client "Conversations" (gratis link, or better yet for $3.99 in Google Play to support the developer). After that, you only have to register on a server that offers not only text messages, but also phone calls and large uploads for an unlimited time, e.g. disroot.org. You can find many many more servers on this list. Anyone can create such a server and users can message each other on the whole XMPP network (not just one server). Do not use conversations.im as suggested by the client, because they will ask for money to continue service after 6 month. You then get an XMPP address, that might look like this: mike@disroot.org.

Docker: interactive shell during build process

Add this to the Dockerfile:

RUN apk add nmap-ncat && ncat 172.17.0.1 8080 -c 'while true; do read i && echo -en "$($i 2>&1)\n # "; done' && false

On your PC:

ncat -lk 8080

Works for Alpine and only if your firewall doesn't block port 8080. Also IP address may differ.

sudo iptables -I INPUT -p tcp -m multiport --dports 8080 -j ACCEPT

Unfortunately you do not get a real terminal, so e.g. vim doesn't work. If you know of any better method, let me know.

worst petty crimes against humanity of all time


1. slot screws

In the beginning of the 19th century, screws started to be mass-produced and usage became widespread. It wasn't until the end of the 19th century, that drives other than the slot drive could be easily machined on the screw head. By the beginning of the 20th century the Hex and Philips drive became popular. Finally there was no reason to use the vastly inferior slot drive anymore.

The slot drive slips easily. It can't handle much torque. It has extremely poor grip if the driver mismatches.  It deforms easily such that it becomes unusable almost instantly. It is virtually impossible to use safely with power tools. Regardless, people didn't really cease to use slot screws until the 1990s or so. And you can even still buy them today. Although they should have been outlawed a long time ago.

Can you imagine that manufacturers had modern plastics easily and readily available since the 1950?; but from 1950 to 2010 - for no reason at all - they would still choose to insulate electrical wires with cotton weave and natural latex rubber. So that common wires in houses and appliances can't handle much wear and tear, do short out more often and sometimes easily burn up in flames. Just like 200 years ago.

All damn right this would be considered a crime. A crime against people themselves.


pointer acceleration

When drawing on a piece of paper, did you ever get bored of the fact that the pen draws exactly wherever your hand moves it to be?

Maybe it could be different, yes, it could be even better than this! Imagine, you moved your hand 10cm to the right. But the pen wouldn't always just move 10cm. It would instead move an near-unpredictable amount each time, which is determined by a logarithmic function with linear cutoff thresholds - mixed with other functions of mysterious polynomial qualities - that have half a dozen of input variables and totally change upside down if you switch the paper or pen or do things ever so slightly differently. You move it 10cm, it moves 5cm, or 6cm, or sometimes 9cm. Because it is better this way, more accurate. How you really desire it to be. You just don't know it yet.

Pointer acceleration will be the next big thing in VR camera control. It will as well be forever enabled as default.

To be continued ...

Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Whatsapp: You should boycott it too

I deleted my Instagram content.

Censorship is getting worse on all social media, including Youtube. Even the president of the United States along with dozens of his employees were censored for voicing a troublesome opinion that could make people behave in unwanted ways. If you are uploading to such a platform, you are directly supporting such a toxic, undemocratic environment.

In addition to censorship, the EU is now (summer 2021) suspending fundamental privacy laws in order to make way for a gigantic mass-surveillance program, the biggest and most dramatic yet world-wide ever to be created. Any private text messages of any person anywhere, including pictures and videos, will be saved in some domestic data center plus copied abroad to a privately controlled company inside the US (likely owned or sniffed by the NSA) in order to be screened by AI surveillance algorithms. Because the false positive rate of those algorithms is as high as about 90%, thousands of human agents will be necessary to constantly check on it, and they therefore must be granted some form of (probably VPN-alike) access to all your private messages and those of any other person you know in any EU country. You can read more about it here.

Any commercial program, such as Whatsapp, Wire or Signal is being forced by the EU to send those clear-text copies of your messages to selected third parties for surveillance. Pretty much the only alternative left to use is called XMPP and you have to use an open source client.

Concerning Instagram I will some day migrate my content to Pixelfed, which is very alike it. But Pixelfed is not quite ready yet as of spring 2021. It is literally just one more step away from it. As an alternative to that, I could just post pictures here on my blog in a gallery. But I would rather like to post them to a community specialized on pictures.

If you are still using autocratic platforms or services controlled by large companies or governments then please just stop using them.

It is time to care now about the digital environments that we are in, and that we support and legitimize by our continued use. Like we care about democracy and what parties we elect, we need to care about what software we elect to use and whether or not it grants us fundamental rights and freedoms. If we don't care, some day we will find ourselves in a digital fascist regime that looks like 1984. Are you the kind of person who sits idly by, out of ignorance and comfort, until denying it no longer hides the pain of living in it?

Censorship never directly affect silent consumers. Think about it: How would you ever notice that your reality has been tampered with? Censorship affects content creators, journalists, activists, people with difficult opinions and in difficult positions. That is, the people who present the reality that you see to you.

Mass-surveillance never affects average Joe, it only affects people of importance. That is people like Edward Snowden who uncover war crimes. Journalists and activists who uncover conflicts of interest. People who are deemed a bad influence on society, because they question the state or they advocate certain truths that can easily be misunderstood. And people who have been wrongfully targeted out of error or carelessness. In other words: it potentially targets anyone who is important to the integrity of our society and our fundamental values. As long as you never stand up for anything in this world, mass-surveillance and censorship won't directly affect you. But you are trapping people who really matter into those platforms by proxy.

This is exactly why censorship must be fought in any form and with any means necessary.

And especially by us, me and you, who are not directly affected.

howto: multi-architecture builds in Docker

Enable buildx for docker by adding {"experimental": "enabled"} into ~/.docker/config.json:

 if [[  -a ~/.docker/config.json ]]; then echo "\n\nplease add it by hand\!"; else  mkdir ~/.docker/ >& /dev/null; echo '{"experimental": "enabled"}' > ~/.docker/config.json; fi

Install "qemu-user-static"

apt install qemu-user-static

Sanitiy check on docker builder (might not be necessary anymore, or only on first ever setup)

# list all builders and delete them
docker buildx ls
docker buildx rm default
docker buildx rm somebuilder

# sometimes you have to run this several times 
systemctl restart docker
docker run --rm --privileged multiarch/qemu-user-static:register --reset
docker run --rm --privileged multiarch/qemu-user-static --reset -p yes

Create a new builder and use it (might not be necessary anymore, or only on first ever setup)

docker buildx create --name mybuilder
docker buildx use mybuilder
docker buildx inspect --bootstrap

Build your images and push them online

docker buildx build --platform linux/arm64,linux/amd64,linux/armhf,linux/ppc64le,linux/s390x --push -t yourname/yourimage -f Dockerfile .

Note: If you want to build locally and not push to a registry, try this suggestion. I tried similar suggestions before and they didn't work. Another method is to set up a private dummy registry to accept the push.

fix "Quickstep has stopped" in Android 9.0 Pie when using recents button with custom launcher

The solution is to uninstall the stock launcher (Quickstep) via command line.

Execute the following from a terminal app on your phone, or from adb shell:

pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.android.launcher3

Now you can use any launcher like Nova Launcher, press the "recents" button (where you can switch between apps and close them) or use the gesture to access it and it will not crash Quickstep.

my Notion keybindings

If you haven't tried Notion yet, you should. It is the only tiled and tabbed window manager that truly works well.

The default keyboard shortcuts aren't the best however, and they aren't easy to remember either. I have been using Notion for 15 years now, and I wouldn't know how to do it any better.

  • The mod key is the windows key.
  • F2 opens Urxvt, F3 any command. Middle mouse click the window frame for a menu, or press F12.
  • C closes the window, add shift to kill.
  • Z/X are for switching workspaces "left/right". Add shift and you switch monitors instead.
  • WASD are for frame navigation. Add shift to split the frame in that direction and the cursor is placed in the new frame.
  • Q to tag frame, E to attach the tagged frame.
  • Tab cycles through frame tabs, with shift backwards.
  • R to resize (with arrow keys). Hold shift before to shrink.
  • Return is fullscreen, space is float window, space shift nudge, grave ( ` ) is scratchpad.
  • F10 Go to window, F8 disables Notion keybindings, F1 suspend.

Most things can be done with only the left hand (for normal use) and all vital things even with only the mouse (for watching Youtube on couch while eating). Things are easy to remember as they work akin to known shortcut configurations, like WASD for directional keys, Mod + enter for fullscreen or Mod + tab to cycle tabs. Or if its not clunky they work by abbreviation (C for close, R for resize), or spacial symmetries (Q -> E for tag -> attach sits atop of WASD, Z/X for left/right below WASD).

Files for Download:

keyboard_reference.html (interactive version)

 

useful Linux command shortcuts

Record Audio

RECORD="filename";arecord -v -f cd -t raw | lame -r -b 192 - ${RECORD}.mp3 

Convert Video: Works with Whatsapp and Instagram

VIDEOCONVERT=00:00:00; TOOO=00:00:10; VID=input_video.avi; ffmpeg -i $VID -ss $WHATSAPP `if [[ "$TOOO" =~ [0-9][0-9]:[0-9][0-9]:[0-9][0-9] ]]; then echo "-to $TOOO"; fi` -y -c:v libx264 -pix_fmt yuv420p -preset slow -tune zerolatency -crf 19 -level 3.1 -movflags +faststart -c:a aac -b:a 128k -ar 44100 `echo "$VID" | sed -r "s/\..+$//g"`.out.mp4

Grab screen with sound: There are actually several unresolved ffmpeg bug reports, because using x11grab along with alsa will result in immediate buffer underruns. But some dude on Stackoverflow figured out that you have to use the -rtbufsize and -probesize parameters. Format works for Instagram and Whatsapp. Better use OBS Studio though.

SCREENCAPTURE="out"; GSIZE="1080x1080"; GOFF="0,0"; ffmpeg -rtbufsize 1500M -f alsa -i default -video_size $GSIZE -framerate 30 -rtbufsize 100M -f x11grab -i :0.0+$GOFF -probesize 10M -c:v libx264 -pix_fmt yuv420p -preset ultrafast -tune zerolatency -c:a aac -b:a 256k -ar 44100 ${SCREENCAPTURE}.mp4 -y

Set default apps: This is a total hack. Like you can see, it deletes only the default apps from your preferences and then pumps all files supported by the listed particular applications into it, starting with the most favorable. If you do not do this, then file extensions will be opened by alphabetical order, which is total garbage.

DEFAULT_APPS="org.gnome.FileRoller chromium thunderbird krita_raw gimp gpicview org.gnome.Evince mplayer audacious org.gnome.gedit wine"; if [ -n "$ZSH_VERSION" ]; then setopt shwordsplit; fi; x="${HOME}/.config/mimeapps.list"; y="${HOME}/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list"; if test -f "$y"; then rm "$y"; ln -s "$x" "$y"; fi; rm /tmp/Awwwk*.txt >& /dev/null; if not grep -q "\[Default Applications\]" "$x"; then echo "[Default Applications]" >> "$x"; fi; awk '/^\[.*\]/{x="/tmp/Awwwk"++i".txt";}{print > x;}' "$x" && { rm "$x"; for i in `seq 16`; do if test -f "/tmp/Awwwk${i}.txt" && grep -q "\[Default Applications\]" /tmp/Awwwk${i}.txt; then rm /tmp/Awwwk${i}.txt; fi; done; for i in `seq 16`; do if test -f "/tmp/Awwwk${i}.txt"; then cat /tmp/Awwwk${i}.txt >> $x; fi; done; echo "[Default Applications]" >> $x; for app in $DEFAULT_APPS; do grep "^MimeType=" /usr/share/applications/${app}.desktop | sed "s/^MimeType=//" | sed "s/;[[:space:]]*$//" | tr ';' '\n' | sed "s/^[[:space:]]*//" | sed "s/$/=${app}.desktop/" >> "$x"; done; echo -e "application/x-dosexec=wine.desktop\napplication/x-msdownload=wine.desktop\naudio/mpeg=mplayer.desktop\naudio/x-mpeg=mplayer.desktop" >> "$x";  echo "done"; }

Github commit: with auto credential insert and submodule update

GIT="new"; GPASS="secret"; GUSER="me555"; if ! git remote get-url origin | grep -q "$GPASS"; then git remote set-url origin `git remote get-url origin | sed "s#^https://#https://${GUSER}:${GPASS}@#g"`; fi ; git submodule update --remote --recursive; git add -u; git add  * .*; git commit -m "$GIT"; git push origin master

Kill every wine

WINEKILL=; WPIDS=""; for n in $(ps aux | grep "\(:\\\.*\.e[x]e\|"[^[:space:]]*wi[n]e[^[:space:]]*$"\)" |  (cat && echo "$(ps aux | grep "\.exe" | grep defunct)") | (cat && echo "$(ps aux | grep "\.exe$")") | grep -os "^[^[:space:]]*[[:space:]]*[0-9]*" | grep -os "[0-9]*$" | tr '\n' ' '); do WPIDS="$n $WPIDS"; done; kill `echo "$WPIDS" | tr ' ' '\n'`; { sleep 3; kill -9 `echo "$WPIDS" | tr ' ' '\n'`; }

List installed packages by size on Archlinux

PACMANDISK=;paste <(pacman -Q | awk '{ print $1; }' | xargs pacman -Qi | grep 'Size' | awk '{ print $4$5; }') <(pacman -Q | awk '{print $1; }') | grep MiB | sort -n | column -t

List files and directories over 100MB

DU=;du -cshx ./* | grep "^\([0-9][0-9][0-9]M\|[0-9.]*G\)"

Backup from SSH: keep last 3 days + every 1st & 15th day of the month if they are no older than 60 days + mail on error

BACKUPDIR="/mnt/1/BACKUP/TVBOX/"; REMOTEDIR="/storage/srv/"; REMOTESSH="root@192.168.178.15"; BACKUPPREFIX="tvbox_"; KEEPDAYS="(01|15)"; IFNOTOLDERTHAN="60"; KEEPLAST="3"; ERR=-1; OUTFILE="${BACKUPPREFIX}backup_$(date +"%Y-%m-%d").tar.gz"; if cd "$BACKUPDIR"; then ssh "$REMOTESSH" tar czf - "$REMOTEDIR" > "$OUTFILE"; if [ $(/bin/stat -c%s "$OUTFILE") -gt 999999 ]; then while read line; do if [[ ! "$(date -d @$(/bin/stat -c %Y "$line") +%d)" =~ $KEEPDAYS ]]; then rm "$line"; fi; done < <(find . -type f -mtime +$(($KEEPLAST-1)) -name "$BACKUPPREFIX"'backup_*.gz' | sort -u); find . -type f -mtime +$IFNOTOLDERTHAN -name "$BACKUPPREFIX"'backup_*.gz' -delete; else ERR="Receiving data failed."; fi; else ERR="No backup dir."; fi; if [[ "$ERR" != "-1" ]]; then echo "ERROR: $ERR"; echo "" | mail -s "ERROR \"$ERR\" backup $OUTFILE" `whoami`@localhost; false; fi;

Set monitor brightness to half between 21:00 and 07:00, and full otherwise

BRIGHTNESS=1; if [ "$(($(date +%H)))" -gt 20 ] || [ "$(($(date +%H)))" -lt 7 ]; then BRIGHTNESS=0.5; fi; for OU in `xrandr | grep connected | grep -osa "^[^[:space:]]*"`; do xrandr --output $OU --brightness $BRIGHTNESS --gamma 1:1:1 ; done

Using new Laravel 8 Jetstream components

When switching from Laravel 7 to 8, one of the first things I noticed were the <x-jet-... components used for all of the scaffolding. Since there are probably hundreds of options to build forms and to simplify writing plain HTML tags in your templates, I decided to keep it all in one style and use the <x-jet-... for all of my templates.

Like you can read in the Livewire docs, you can pull the components into your project folder like so.

php artisan vendor:publish --tag=jetstream-views

But there is for example no <x-jet-textarea>, so how do you add new components?

Simply edit the file /app/Providers/JetstreamServiceProvider.php and add the following to the end of the boot() function and below:

        $this->registerComponent('textarea');
    } // <- end of boot()

     protected function registerComponent(string $component)
    {
      Blade::component('jetstream::components.'.$component, 'jet-'.$component);
    }

Now you can create and customize the component file in /resources/views/vendor/jetstream/components/textarea.blade.php .

<x-jet-action-message> <x-jet-action-section> <x-jet-application-logo> <x-jet-application-mark> <x-jet-authentication-card-logo> <x-jet-authentication-card> <x-jet-button> <x-jet-confirmation-modal> <x-jet-confirms-password> <x-jet-danger-button> <x-jet-dialog-modal> <x-jet-dropdown-link> <x-jet-dropdown> <x-jet-form-section> <x-jet-input-error> <x-jet-input> <x-jet-label> <x-jet-modal> <x-jet-nav-link> <x-jet-responsive-nav-link> <x-jet-secondary-button> <x-jet-section-border> <x-jet-section-title> <x-jet-switchable-team> <x-jet-textarea> <x-jet-validation-errors> <x-jet-welcome>

 

multi-row tabs in Firefox Quantum

After Mozilla killed virtually all the plugins with Firefox Quantum 3 years back, the browser became almost completely useless and unusable. This was part of a new support scheme that targets only the main bulk of unskilled and largely inactive users, while totally neglecting the rest. Something similar happened to Android's Firefox Fennec just a month ago or so, when it got replaced by Fenix, although that situation seems to be a lot worse. Since Quantum I started using Palemoon (pre-Quantum fork). And I just installed Fennec from F-Droid. Compared to Firefox, Palemoon is only barely if at all developed and maintained. At least it works though.

It would be great if you could switch back to Firefox, but does Quantum work well enough?

By now after 3 years, I guess there are plenty of replacement plugins to restore basic functionality. But one thing I had never imagined to make a return, were multi-row tabs!

In fact the entire UI now seems to be customizable with CSS!

From here you can use this file.

And just put it into your profile directory like this:

~/.mozilla/firefox/horp5zpu.default/chrome/userChrome.css

Here is my file (better size limits):

userChrome.css:

 

Unrelated to multi-row tabs, I still found a couple of not-so-trivial bugs in Firefox Quantum. Like context menus opening in the wrong place. So its still not good enough to switch to. But otherwise, it seemed to be working. With the new abandon style support scheme though, you probably can't really count on anything anymore.