💭 Toby's tinylog

author: @toby@tobykurien.com

avatar: 🤘

licence: CC-BY-NC-SA (Attribution, Non-Commercial, and Share Alike)

2021-11-19

Beginner's Health and Fitness Guide

"I don't want to become some huge bodybuilder freak, I just want to get in better shape and look better. Should I read this?

That's what this guide is for. It's a basic guide to diet and fitness for beginners who want to get in better shape. "

Liam Rosen

https://liamrosen.com/fitness.html

2021-11-14

This is a thought-provoking and insightful podcast filled with deep thinking about #crypto #NFT #DAO and the future of #Web3

The Tim Ferriss Show

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlNDYMNJ5zQ

2021-11-10

Long-tailed widowbird and red-collared widowbird #birding #photo

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2021-10-19

This is an amazingly well produced, must-watch video about the influence of technology in our lives. #socialmedia #echochambers #isolation #chaos #surveillance

Mrwhosetheboss

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZvee3-PEzo

2021-10-15

"You're Not Addicted to Your Phone. You're Just Distracted."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AwFZC8sepU

2021-10-05

To get my digital vaccine certificate for covid-19, I have to use a government website protected by Google Recaptcha 🤦 This hits me particularly hard since I evade Google tracking, so I get forced into doing free labour to help Google train their self-driving cars. It's infuriating. Why don't they just implement a simple rate-limit if they are worried about bots?

2021-09-30

"The Single Most Productive Thing You Can Do" #sleep #productivity

Grace B

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PP90uBF_cU

2021-09-28

This season of Formula 1 is the best I've ever watched. If you're not watching, you're missing out. The next Netflix "Drive to survive" is going to be epic!

2021-09-28

So true: There's still no beating "git push heroku" for deployment. #devops

Changelog

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTV437JsiXg

2021-09-19

Book recommendation: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. #novel #fiction #scifi #space

Project Hail Mary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Hail_Mary

2021-08-01

"A practical philosophy of health, wealth and happiness"

Happiness

https://nav.al/happiness

2021-07-28

Surely, the mother of all unboxing videos: unboxing a quantum computer!

IBM Quantum System One assembled in Japan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPMY4oP3Qgk

2021-07-24

I recently discovered the Coc plugin for vim, which brings VSCode-like smarts to vim. I can finally use #vim full-time instead of #VSCode, which has become bloated and slow over time. Coc has a marketplace with a large breadth of language support. In a like-for-like comparison, vim uses 500Mb less RAM (including language server) than VSCode for Python or Java editing (with intellisense), and is much faster. I also managed to set up vim for editing and uploading #Arduino and #esp32 code by integrating with PlatformIO.

Conqueror of Completion

https://github.com/neoclide/coc.nvim

2021-07-20

A fairly compelling argument for publishing documents as PDF files rather than as HTML pages. #goodread

lab6 Issue 0 (PDF)

https://lab6.com/0

2021-07-13

I blogged about how I create audiobooks from epubs and the like, using text-to-speech.

Creating audiobooks

https://tobykurien.com/creating-audiobooks/

2021-07-08

Really cool online browser multi-player games to play with colleagues during lunch break:

https://shellshock.io

https://blocktanks.io

https://smashkarts.io

https://sidearms.io

https://krunker.io

2021-07-04

The "Physiological Sigh" provides instant reduction of anxiety and stress and is easy to do, although you shouldn't undo it by resurfacing the anxiety to test if it worked! #neuroscience

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBdhqBGqiMc

2021-07-02

Sampler is an amazing text visualization tool for the terminal. I was able to make a smart-mirror type of dashboard really easily with it. #text #console #dashboard

Sampler

https://github.com/sqshq/sampler

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2021-06-26

Some photos from a recent trip to a mountain resort. #photo #trip

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2021-06-02

TIL: there's Android ransomware that works not by encrypting your files, but rather by showing a system modal window that cannot be dismissed by the user until the ransom is paid. Latest variants use machine learning: "TinyML model is useful for making sure [the ransom note] would appear less contrived and more believable" #android #malware #ransomware

Mobile randsomware

https://www.microsoft.com/security/blog/2020/10/08/sophisticated-new-android-malware-marks-the-latest-evolution-of-mobile-ransomware/

2021-06-02

"Over a month ago, I came to the realization that my smartphone was having several negative impacts on my mental health... In a desperate attempt to regain some control, I ditched the smartphone."

gemini://tobykurien.com/articles/2021-05-23-digital-declutter.gmi

Digital de-clutter

https://tobykurien.com/digital-declutter/

2021-05-23

A great talk arguing that software is in fact getting worse, because of more complexity. (via alex.flounder.online)

Jonathan Blow - Preventing the Collapse of Civilization

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW-SOdj4Kkk

2021-05-22

Photos from a recent trip down to Port Edward, KZN South Coast. A really beautiful and relaxing place for a holiday. #photo #kzn

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2021-05-18

Instead of installing and configuring a heavy GUI app for my calendar and todos, I've discovered the command-line based pimutils. Once vdirsyncer is configured, I can use khal and todoman. Very simple, powerful, portable, and lightweight. #opensource #commandline

pimutils

https://github.com/pimutils

2021-05-18

And here's a gorgeous screenshot of khal in action, if you're still on the fence about #cli PIM tools. #commandline #pimutils #khal

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2021-04-28

Book recommendation: Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. Talk about discovering the right book at the right time! After ditching my smartphone, I needed answers: why was it bad? what do I do with my time? This book answers that and more.

Digital Minimalism

https://www.calnewport.com/books/digital-minimalism/

2021-04-23

By a truly unbelievable coincidence [...] I saw a small package fall off a truck ahead of me.

😂

Turns out the software used to extract data from your phone when seized, has security vulnerabilities 😁 #signal #cellebrite

Exploiting vulnerabilities in Cellebrite...

https://signal.org/blog/cellebrite-vulnerabilities/

2021-04-20

I made a music player using the awesome Pimoroni Pirate Audio HAT for #RaspberryPi. It plays any format including OGG and even videos, remembers where it left off, buttons work exactly how I like it because I wrote the code, and it has outstanding audio quality (24-bit DAC + headphone amp). The UI needs work tho! #maker #diy #audio

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2021-04-20

Birds on a wire. They congregrate at this exact spot every morning just before sunrise, and disperse as soon as the sun rises. #birding

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2021-04-18

I let out some of my frustrations in a ranty response to a Github feature request for my app. I love that a user was invested enough in my app to write a long and frustrated feature request.

Quote:

I sense your frustration in that the app is close to what you want and how you use it, but not quite there. Unfortunately the bad news is that I will probably stop supporting this app this year, despite this app being a labour of love and one I'm proud of. The above-mentioned sandbox leaks, combined with browser fingerprinting, supercookies, FLoC, and other hostile abuses of Web technology, have made me come to the conclusion that the Web is a lost cause for private browsing. Yes, WebApps offers only limited protection, and that protection will probably decrease every year. Something like Gemini (https://gemini.circumlunar.space/docs/faq.gmi) is probably the way forward for privacy minded geeks, and I for one am moving as much of my content creation/consumption there as possible.
Another factor is that Android is also increasingly hostile to the developer (you need at least 16Gb RAM to compile a 3Mb APK, every year devs are forced onto new APIs, Gradle builds break often, Google now wants your developer signing key, the tooling I had used is now deprecated, etc, etc, etc). Couple that with the spyware preloaded onto phones and the increasing difficulty of getting control over your device (e.g. my phone kills VLC after 30 mins and there's nothing I can do about it), and I'm ready to ditch Android and go back to good 'ol desktop computing (https://tobykurien.com/post-1618319359/).
WebApps Feature Request: Tabs

https://github.com/tobykurien/WebApps/issues/249#issuecomment-821967876

2021-04-13

Giving up the smartphone (currently in airplane mode in the drawer) for a dumb phone. I want my attention span back. I want control over my computer. I want to eschew mobile computing for good old fashioned desktop computing.

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2021-04-09

TIL: trackers/spyware can bypass even third-party blocking and same-origin-policy by using CNAME cloaking. There's almost no hope of having privacy on the web, other than to resort to other protocols like Gemini.

Characterizing CNAME cloaking-based tracking

https://blog.apnic.net/2020/08/04/characterizing-cname-cloaking-based-tracking/

2021-04-06

Not really about 5G, the article mentions ways that SAPS could get hold of your data. FYI My phone was confiscated and searched at OR Tambo without any warrant. #surveillance #privacy

5G opens the gates for surveillance on steroids

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-04-06-5g-opens-the-gates-for-surveillance-on-steroids/

2021-04-05

Great video with a LOT of information for privacy-aware smartphone users. Sadly, even us hackers have lost control of our tech. #privacy #smartphone

Spyware-Free Phones in 2021: We're being Squeezed!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPrugkYJpO8

2021-04-04

Photos from a recent #hike near Hartebeespoort dam

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2021-04-04

I was recently treated to a visit from an African Grey Hornbill. Right on my doorstep!

birding

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2021-03-11

A #loadshedding solution I've been playing with: Blue Nova 280Wh LFP battery + 300W inverter. Runs my laptop for over 6 hours, charges with standard car battery charger, over 10 years of cycle life, weighs less than 3kg, costs under R3000.

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2021-03-09

WebApps is my #OpenSource #Android app I am most proud of. Many years in the making, it allows you to save websites as apps, with privacy-enhancing features similar to uMatrix.

WebApps sandboxed browser

https://github.com/tobykurien/webapps

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2021-03-06

Analysis of how Google's FLoC can hurt users.

"FLoC is meant to be a new way to make your browser do the profiling that third-party trackers used to do themselves"

Google’s FLoC Is a Terrible Idea

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2021/03/googles-floc-terrible-idea

2021-03-04

Not super proud of this, but when it's a choice between tossing out an old tablet because of a broken USB charging port, or an ugly fix to save it, I'll do the ugly fix.

MakersGonnaFix #diy

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2021-03-02

This article explains why a few kilobytes of macOS updates ends up as gigabytes of downloads and 45 minutes of updating.

Users are losing out against Big Sur’s sealed System

https://eclecticlight.co/2021/02/28/last-week-on-my-mac-users-are-losing-out-against-big-surs-sealed-system/

2021-02-28

'People often ask: “What’s the next Covid?” An attack on our digital infrastructure is a leading candidate.' and other interesting insights in this great read.

Yuval Noah Harari: Lessons from a year of Covid

https://www.ft.com/content/f1b30f2c-84aa-4595-84f2-7816796d6841

2021-02-16

I have added a section to my #gemini capsule

gemini://tobykurien.com

for aggregating what people are saying about Gemini, e.g. tweets, toots, and now also the Gemini mailing list, where most of the announcements and spec discussions take place. You can now browse this on Gemini itself!

Gemini mailing list archive on Gemini

gemini://tobykurien.com/cgi-bin/mailing_list.py

2021-02-14

"Culture I/O is a website about utopia as seen through the haze of the dystopian present. You’re laughing, but we’re serious. There’s a manifesto. That’s how serious we are."

Culture I/O — The Road to Utopia

https://culture.io/manifesto

2021-02-11

New blog post! In which I attempt to cure my #doomscrolling

My war on doomscrolling

https://tobykurien.com/war-on-doomscrolling/

2021-02-10

FreeHacker is an ezine "created to help the spread of DIY culture in cyberspace". A good, if somewhat short read.

FreeHacker: Issue 2

https://anarchistnews.org/content/freehacker-issue-2-available-download

2021-02-05

This Sojourner #pwa is a beautiful way to browse and bookmark talks from the #fosdem '21 schedule.

Sojourner

https://fosdem.sojourner.rocks/search/

2021-02-04

Few years ago I moved my personal projects from #Git to #Fossil, and can recommend it. It is easy to host (single binary file), feature full (bug tracking, wiki, forum, etc), and all the repo data is stored in a single sqlite db (easy to backup). You can also allow anonymous access so that people can collaborate without creating accounts. That's 2 files you copy into a machine and you have your entire source control and repo up!

Fossil: Fossil Versus Git

https://www.fossil-scm.org/home/doc/trunk/www/fossil-v-git.wiki

2021-02-02

My #Gemini capsule is up! It includes my #gemlog which is generated from my website microblog, which is also syndicated as tweets/toots via #IndieWeb. Very cool that all these technologies can play well with each other and are easy to script to my liking.

Toby's Gemlog

gemini://tobykurien.com/microblog.gmi

2021-01-30

A well written blog post (from a Google dev advocate) about using machine learning for baking, resulting in inventing a new dessert. Much 'maker' spirit, such wow. #ai #machinelearning

Baking with Machine Learning

https://sararobinson.dev/2020/04/30/baking-machine-learning.html

2021-01-22

"This means in two to five years we may be able to surf the internet or talk on our 900 MHz phones while walking down the sidewalk in nearly any city whose occupants own Amazon or other competing devices."

We may Soon have City-Spanning 900 HMz Mesh Networks

http://cheapskatesguide.org/articles/900mhz-mesh.html/

2021-01-20

Some thoughts on the #Gemini protocol:

1. Gemini is to the web what reading a book is to watching TV. The former is focussed, simple, requires some effort, and may be more rewarding. The latter may be more compelling but also full of distractions and advertisements.

2. Gemini is just text and links, which HTML can easily do, but by removing features (like CSS, JavaScript, and inline media), Gemini guarantees that your experience will be simple, fast, and user-respecting. No complicated issues like browser fingerprinting, popups, tracking, XSS, etc.

3. Gemini might be a good fit for disseminating information in low-bandwidth long-range mesh networks like Meshtastic, which might become part of our apolcalyptic/dystopian future.

4. Gemini is a good format for scraping web content or generating content for displaying on devices like DIY smart mirrors, Raspberry Pi tablet screens, Smart watches, etc.

Curious? Try this link below which uses a web proxy to display some random feeds from Gemini sites.

Capcom Gemini Aggregator

https://proxy.vulpes.one/gemini/gemini.circumlunar.space/capcom/

2021-01-20

"These all use some form of local radio signal. Some, such as Briar, may use short-range Bluetooth and Wifi, while others use radios such as LoRa that can reach several miles with low power. ... Every item on this list uses full end-to-end encryption" #offline #messenger #lora #meshnetwork

Roundup of Secure Messengers with Off-The-Grid Capabilities

https://changelog.complete.org/archives/10205-roundup-of-secure-messengers-with-off-the-grid-capabilities-distributed-mesh-messengers

2021-01-17

Awesome talk about the ideas and possibilities behind the Beaker Browser, a peer-to-peer browser. #beakerbrowser #decentralizedweb #dweb

Imagine This: A Web Without Servers (2018)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ_WvfF3FN8

2021-01-13

"On the Internet, your rate of learning is limited not by access to information, but by your ability to ignore distractions"

The Paradox of Abundance - David Perell

https://perell.com/note/the-paradox-of-abundance/

2021-01-08

Bumper harvest of cherry tomatoes from my #aquaponics

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2021-01-07

You may be in a quandry about deleting WhatsApp, because EVERYONE is on it. How quickly we forget that this was true of Mixit and BBM. We've moved before, we can move again, the businesses will follow. #deletewhatsapp #deletefacebook

2021-01-07

Facebook really wants your data! The long term solution is decentalized/federated, like Matrix.

WhatsApp gives users an ultimatum: Share data with Facebook or stop using the app

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/01/whatsapp-users-must-share-their-data-with-facebook-or-stop-using-the-app/

2021-01-05

My fav gadget of 2020: the LCD writing tablet. Costs under R200. 2 year battery life. Doesn't sync with anything. Can only erase whole screen. Helps me focus distraction-free on today's tasks and jot down notes.

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2021-01-05

Contact tracing is so dangerous, it gives governments an irresistible tool for tracking, surveillance and control. The abuse of the tech has already begun.

Govt confirms that police can use TraceTogether data for criminal investigations

https://theindependent.sg/govt-confirms-that-police-can-use-tracetogether-data-for-criminal-investigations/

2020-12-30

Using some simple scripts, I have automated the process of publishing microblogs to my static-generated website (which uses #Pelican). It makes use of the #IndieWeb standard #micropub format, so I can even share links and upload photos to my blog via the Indigenous app. Now you can too!

IndieWeb scripts for publishing using micropub to a static-site generator like Pelican.

https://github.com/tobykurien/micropub-to-markdown

2020-12-28

Now watching 0xcon talks from last month. #infosec #southafrica

0xcon 2020 - YouTube

https://youtube.com/watch?v=UsXYRp-4uWk

2020-12-26

Interesting new protocol: "Gemini is a new internet protocol which: Is heavier than gopher; Is lighter than the web; Will not replace either; Strives for maximum power to weight ratio; Takes user privacy very seriously"

Project Gemini FAQ

https://proxy.vulpes.one/gemini/gemini.circumlunar.space/docs/faq.gmi

2020-12-24

Tiny World is an amazing documentary with incredibly beautiful photography. Well worth watching. #tv #documentary

Tiny World — Official Trailer l Apple TV+ - YouTube

https://youtube.com/watch?v=oGNb4d6UdeU

2020-12-24

Pavel Durov, the creator of Telegram blogged this:

Consume Less. Create More. It’s More Fun.

https://telegra.ph/Consume-Less-Create-More-Its-More-Fun-12-04

2020-12-24

Another epic Joburg sunset, taken yesterday afternoon. 😍

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2020-12-22

To be or not to be :-)

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2020-12-22

Raspberry Pi portable PC

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2020-12-22

Flowers in the yard

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2020-12-22

Beautiful Joburg sunset

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2020-12-21

The #gpcoronavirus #covid19 dashboard has been updated with a powerful hotspot analysis provided by @WitsUniversity which will hopefully assist @GautengProvince with the second surge.

Re: tweet

https://twitter.com/Wits_News/status/1340979463824273410

Details:

https://www.wits.ac.za/covid19/covid19-news/latest/ai-helps-to-identify-new-covid-19-hotspots-in-gauteng.html

Dashboard:

https://gpcoronavirus.co.za

2020-12-20

My #aquaponics runneth over! That's cherry tomatoes hanging off the side, bearing plenty of fruit.

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2020-12-20

Holiday reading for the geeky: NODE zine contains articles about interesting open source, decentralized, censorship-resistant and cutting-edge technologies.

NODE zine

https://n-o-d-e.net/zine/

2020-12-19

Right, clearly that first post revealed some kinks that needed working out. Here are some kittens. #IndieWeb

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2020-12-19

First micro-blog post on my own site, which will hopefully be syndicated to social media via #IndieWeb tech!

12-4-2021

I discovered the #Gemini protocol about a year ago, and it's still a thing! I spend way more time reading posts here than on Web. Check out this quickstart page if you're curious.

Gemini quickstart!

https://geminiquickst.art/

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